How To Tell They are Not Changing Abusive Behaviour
(For "he" also read "she" if the abuser is female)
How can we tell if they are not changing abusive behaviour, even when they appear to have made changes, have maybe attended a course, or made some other show of commitment to change? The following have been collected from the experiences of our message board members, as examples of how to tell they are not changing abusive behaviour, mabe just changing tactics!
How to tell he is not changing abusive behaviour by what he says:
He says "I can't change unless you do." Which means that he's trying to get you to agree to give up your rights and freedoms in exchange for him not abusing you. Also stated as "I've changed, but you aren't changing"; "I'm not the only one who needs help". He tries to get sympathy from you, family members, and friends. He is still lying to you, the children, your family or other people about what he's done. He continues to attempt to cover up what he's done to you and the children. He won't acknowledge that it was wrong. He doesn't seem sorry that he did it, he only seems sorry that he has suffered some consequences for it.
He refuses to let the subject of his abuse come up or gets angry when it does. He won't discuss his controlling behaviors and attitudes. He still tries to deny it, minimize it, excuse it, or justify it. Defends his behaviors He insists you just get past it.
Not changing abusive behaviour is going to occur if the underlying beliefs which allow him to be abusive are still in place.
He plays victim. He says "How could you do this to me.?" He still blames you for all the problems. He is overly charming, always trying to remind you of all the good times you had together and ignore the bad. He tries to buy you back with romantic gifts, dinners, flowers. All while trying to convince you that you need to stay together to work it out.
He will not get help or He says he'll get counseling or other help, but never does. Or he does and tries to convince you that he's cured and you need to take him back now. "Now that I'm in this program, you have to be more understanding." Or "I'm learning a lot from this program". If a man is pressuring you this way, then as soon as he gets back in, he will most likely drop the program. This is why it's so critical, if you're considering taking him back, to watch his behaviors, to talk in depth, and to give it time. Sometimes, instead of counseling they will suddenly claim to have found God; he goes to church a few times.
He cries and begs, they particularly like to do this in a public situation so that you are embarrassed and appear to be "cold hearted".
How to tell he is not changing abusive behaviour by the way he acts:
Other ways which show he is not changing abusive behaviour can include the things he does to try to sabotage your efforts to make it on your own.
He harasses or stalks you. If you ask him for space or time, he refuses to allow you to have any and continues to make contact in any way he can. Harassment by phone calls, threats, legal frustrations, showing up at work, hanging around family.
He continues to restrict your rights. He still behaves as if he's superior. You aren't able to express yourself and speak freely. He still demands constant attention, won't allow you to take care of your own needs. He still picks at you and criticizes you, and ignores your strengths and contributions to the relationship. He doesn't support your independence, still refuses to acknowledge that you have rights. He hangs on to double standards. He is still denying you your fair share of the marital assets, money. He puts his wants and needs above yours.
He doesn't recognize the damage he's done. He gets angry with you over the consequences you've suffered over his abuse. He's mad or seems confused as to why you fear him, don't trust him, are hurt, and angry. He tries to get out of the consequences by trying to convince you that something's wrong with you for allowing him to have any consequences. He behaves as if he's above reproach. He claims that he would never hurt you, despite that he's done many things to hurt you. He's mad that you left, instead of recognizing your right to have done so. He still acts like you owe him. He's impatient or critical with you for not forgiving him immediately, for not being satisfied with the changes he may have already made, especially if he hasn't made the changes you requested, or hasn't changed but claims he has.
He's only concerned with how hard the situation is for him, and no one else. He feels sorry for himself. He doesn't show appropriate concern for how you and the children feel about what he's done. Abuse does more than just hurt, it is damaging, and if he doesn't show appropriate concern for the damage he's done, then he hasn't changed.
He shows that he is not changing abusive behaviour by continueing to still do things that are inappropriate for an intimate relationship. Cheating, not including you in family decisions, hoarding all the marital assets - money, property, cars, stocks, bonds, etc. and won't allow you to have access to them.
He says he can only change if you help him, he wants emotional support and forgiveness, and give up your break from him.
He says I'm changing but you can see that he's not. He gets angry with you for not realizing how much he's changed. He gets angry for not trusting that he's changed for good. Abusive men often say I'm sorry then get mad if you don't immediately forget what they did, he thinks his sorry resolves the matter and it should be dropped and you should just move forward.
He pressures you into taking him back because he "can't wait forever".
One easy way to spot that he is not changing his abusive behaviour is if he continues to be rude about you to the children, or undermines you in front of them. Playing the bad father.
He threatens and tries to intimidate you. The next step of behavior if you don't stop trying to ask him to change is generally one of threats and attempts to intimidate. This will often include threats to attack family and friends, threats to kill you or "put out a contract on you." Threats that he will take the children away or get custody of them himself, or threats to kill himself. All signs that he has no intention of changing how he is. This is then his choice of how to live his life.
(This article has been lifted from Rhiannon3.net and modified slightly)
In This Section:
Lundy Bancroft has written what is probably the most comprehensive and readable book on domestic violence, the beliefs of the abuser and the dynamics of abuse. This truly is a MUST READ for anyone seriously trying to understand domestic abuse and how to cope with an abusive relationship:
To order in the US: Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
To order in the UK: Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
Living with the Dominator by Pat Craven is the book to accompany the Freedom Programme in the UK. This book should be compulsory in schools - the information is so clear and so obvious and such an eye-opener! After studying domestic violence issues for years, this is the one book which finally enabled me to click it all into place and answer all my whys. Just read it:
To order in the US: Living With the Dominator (Kindle version only - and well worth buying a Kindle just to get this book!)
To order in the UK: Living with the Dominator: A Book About the Freedom Programme: 1
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