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Can abusive men ever change?

(36 Posts)
Lamplight5 Sat 09-Mar-19 16:20:46

In my late teens & early 20s I was in a relationship with a man for four years who thrived on coercive control. He was controlling and verbally abusive, but never got to full violence. I wonder sometimes if he would have, had I not left.

He came up in my recommended friends on Facebook yesterday and he's married with two kids. I looked at his wife & wondered if she is going through what he did to me, or whether it's possible for a man to change and be a different person in a different relationship. I hope for her sake it's the latter, but can a person ever really change?

I've also been single for ten years, I've never had a proper relationship since him, just flings. I actually posted a thread on mumsnet recently wondering why. After seeing him, I wonder if it's because I subconsciously don't want to end up with someone like him again.

Lamplight5 Sat 09-Mar-19 16:21:06

Ah bollocks, this was meant to be in chat.

wonderingsoul Sat 09-Mar-19 16:23:31

I think some can, but the majority cant or wont.

My exh is re married but has given up the drink, though she does everything for him and talks about him like you would a toddler. So he prop has no reason to act like he did with me

Chouetted Sat 09-Mar-19 16:44:41

I think some actually can - my dad seems to have had a personality transplant for the better since he retired, so I'm wondering if his previous behaviour was more of a reflection of whatever he was experiencing at work.

So, if there are external factors, of course, yes. The obvious but extreme example would be a brain injury.

TealandAbs Sat 09-Mar-19 16:50:04

No, abusive men never change. Had some abuse spewed at me this morning via phone call from ex.

LiftedHigh Sat 09-Mar-19 16:51:29

With the same person, within the same relationship ....no. I've never seen or heard of it. Not my experience with my exH and I/we tried for 13 years.

With a new relationship, idk maybe.

@OP you didnt miss out. But maybe talk to your gp for a therapy referal so you can talk about the DA you went through and work on healing and moving on, if you do want another long term relationship now

MrsTommyBanks Sat 09-Mar-19 16:52:16

No.

Lamplight5 Sat 09-Mar-19 16:53:05

My exh is re married but has given up the drink, though she does everything for him and talks about him like you would a toddler. So he prop has no reason to act like he did with me

Perhaps this is a part of it. Perhaps this woman is happy to go along with whatever he says.

NuffSaidSam Sat 09-Mar-19 16:56:42

I think sometimes, maybe.

I think most people do mature and become a bit more reasonable as they get older. So if he was also a teen when you were together and is now in his 30's I think it's possible.

It's also possible when behaviour is driven by alcohol, drugs or mental health issues. People can change if the source of the behaviour is removed.

But people don't change from one month to the next by magic. If you're in an abusive relationship it's not going to change because he said sorry and promised not to do it again .

I hope for this other woman and his kids that he has changed.

Lamplight5 Sat 09-Mar-19 17:07:39

Me too, NuffSaid.

In the fourth year we were together he joined the police. I remember him telling me all about the signs he'd been taught of when men control women. Isolating them from their friends etc. All the things he'd been doing for years, & I pointed it out to him and he seemed shocked, even though I'd complained about his behaviour many times. Perhaps he had taken it on board properly before he met her.

MrsTerryPratcett Sat 09-Mar-19 17:52:49

With the same person, within the same relationship ....no. I've never seen or heard of it.

This. Unless there's a very major shift for him, like getting into healthy recovery from drugs. But even then it's vanishingly rare.

YouSayPotatoesISayVodka Sat 09-Mar-19 18:00:18

I haven’t known any to change their ways- well they behave like they have, for a while, and then the mask slips.

Took me years of continuously going back after leaving before I got the message. These people know how to manipulate us into doing what they want.

SweatyUnderboob Sat 09-Mar-19 18:05:54

They might do, eventually but it’s best not to waste your life waiting for someone to.

I had an abusive bf ten years ago. He resurfaced a couple of years ago and got back in touch for a bit, he said he’d changed. Turned out he had a secret girlfriend and was doing the exact same thing to her, replaying the same dramas, even recycling the same paragraphs he would send me in arguments.

In that case, he didn’t change, merely mutated in the same way a virus does.

MissConductUS Sat 09-Mar-19 18:12:35

This. Unless there's a very major shift for him, like getting into healthy recovery from drugs. But even then it's vanishingly rare.

True. There are plenty of sober arsehole men in AA, and the nice ones were not abusive while they were drinking.

CocoDeMoll Sat 09-Mar-19 18:14:20

I think if they are truly evil then no but some men can change. My dh was slowly becoming very anusive a few years ago and it came to a horrible head when he attacked me (completely off his head) in the same room as our sleeping daughter. Needless to say I left him but he changed and we’re back together and he’s never done anything like that ever again. My leaving him was a wake up call and he’s not actually a bad person but wrestles with addiction and depression.

Long post to say I think sometimes good men can go down a wrong path but far more abusers and just evil shits.

EnglishRose13 Sat 09-Mar-19 18:19:04

My ex was controlling and physically abusive and I also often wonder if he treats his current partner the same. I hope not. No one deserves that.

DownstairsMixUp Sat 09-Mar-19 18:20:39

Depends. I worked with a lot of this. If they have issues like anger and generally are violent to anyone regardless of gender, yes. If only women, no. They never change.

TakenForSlanted Sat 09-Mar-19 18:31:03

I think some can, but the majority cant or wont.

Pretty much this. My ex is re-married, too, and his relationship seems a lot more relaxed than what we had. But then he married a woman from cultural background where him calling the shots and her following his lead is pretty much expected, whereas I was the daughter of a single radfem mother with all the general assumptions this entails, outperformed him career wise interms of both progression and earning power and was never going to be the happy little housewife he kept on trying to bully me into being.

Having said that, he's still an arse and I'm sure he's a bully towards her in other ways. The last few times I ran into him, he instantly started complaining that his now wife wasn't as clever and successful as I had been (he utterly despised these traits in me in our time) and that she was far too religious (again, the fact that I just never could bring myself to believe in god used to really upset him).

I think he just gets off on bullying women, to be honest.

MitziK Sat 09-Mar-19 18:37:47

I do hope you blocked him immediately, OP.

The last thing you need is for him to get back in contact and to find out he really is still the same arsehole he always was.

AdoraBell Sat 09-Mar-19 18:42:29

Anyone can change if they want to. That requires them to see their behaviour realistically.

Many people will not change. It is up to them.

I wouldn’t contact or accept a friend request via FB. Just ignore and move on.

Bobbycat121 Sat 09-Mar-19 18:57:07

I think they can change yes.

BanginChoons Sat 09-Mar-19 19:00:32

I don't think so. If their ingrained values are that they think their own needs are superior to the needs of others, then I don't see how that would be different with another partner.

Waveysnail Sat 09-Mar-19 19:06:23

Yes I believe some can to some extent but they have to want to. I know guy who was awful when I was younger (we were both young) but he got help, did counselling, worked on himself and grew up. He now has lovely wife who takes no crap and tells him like it is, a less powerful personality probably would be controlled by him tbh

JRMisOdious Sat 09-Mar-19 19:07:27

In my experience, no.

SnuggyBuggy Sat 09-Mar-19 19:11:41

I think you can change behaviour of you really want to but I'm not convinced anyone can change their personality.

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