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Can abusive men ever change?

(29 Posts)
gamerwidow Fri 23-Sep-16 14:55:23

My DSis has just got engaged for the second time to her abusive partner. In the past 2 years they have broken up and got back together numerous times because of his controlling emotional abusive behaviour. They were due to marry last year but he left her (along with all the debt from the cancelled wedding). During their time together he has strangled her, pushed her, punched her and stamped on her face knocking her front tooth out. He had also belittled her calling her a slag and a whore if she glances in the direction of another man when she is out. When she left him 6 months ago I really thought it was for the last time but now I find out they are back together and got engaged last week. She swears he had changed but I can't forgive her did the hurt and upheaval he has caused. I worry so much about my niece and nephews and I don't know what to do for the best.
Am I wrong is it possible he has changed? I want to be happy for her but I just feel like it's a times

gamerwidow Fri 23-Sep-16 14:56:21

Time bomb waiting to go off.

(Posted too soon)

PickAChew Fri 23-Sep-16 14:58:52

Not without a complete personality transplant. This guy isn't even subtly selfish in a way that can be ameliorated with a bit of mindfulness and good communication. He's a violent, nasty bastard and violent, nasty bastards very rarely stop being violent, nasty bastards.

Froginapan Fri 23-Sep-16 15:01:41

What pickachew said

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 23-Sep-16 15:03:33

It will not take long for him to show his true colours again. He feels entitled to do this to her and he will in time abuse her again; the nice/nasty cycle is a continuous one. He has not changed at all.

gamerwidow Fri 23-Sep-16 15:04:03

That's what I thought but she can never see it and is surprised when it all goes to shit again.
I don't know what to do for the best I love my sister but I'm so angry with her at the minute I can't bear to look at her.
I know I've got to suck it up because I'm playing into his hands otherwise but it's so hard.

skyyequake Fri 23-Sep-16 15:06:05

He has absolutely no reason to change. He knows he can manipulate, threaten and bully her into anything he wants. From what you say I'm concerned he will now play Mr Nice Guy until they are married and it is much harder for her to get away from him. Has she been to any domestic abuse organisations?

ThatStewie Fri 23-Sep-16 15:06:06


Best research into this is about the Respect perpetrator program which takes over a year to complete and shows a statistically significant decrease in physical and sexual violence but not in controlling behaviours or entitlement. Other research suggests that some male perpetrators can change their behaviour in subsequent relationships but not in ones where domestic violence has already occurred.

hermione2016 Fri 23-Sep-16 15:06:43

Has any of the incidents been reported to the police? I really doubt he has changed.

gamerwidow Fri 23-Sep-16 15:13:06

When he stamped on her face and broke her tooth the police were called but she dropped the charges. I've also had to phone the police to my house when she was trying to make my niece move back home with her. My neice lived with me for 6 months because she was scared. I've had my sister and all three of her children living here last year in my 2 bed house with me,Dd and DH because she thought he was going to set her house on fire. I don't know what he has to do before she wakes up.
It's always her who contacts him. He hadn't spoken to her for 4 months before she begged him to try again this time round.
I have tried to get her to contact women's aid and she had started to arrange counselling but she never follows it through.
I don't know what else to do its breaking my mums heart too.

queenoftheknight Fri 23-Sep-16 15:19:01

They can change, but not in six months, and not without expert therapy, probably lasting years.

queenoftheknight Fri 23-Sep-16 15:20:42

Both parties need to engage in serious therapy. For years too.

2kids2dogsnosense Fri 23-Sep-16 15:24:56

He won't change - except to get worse and more vicious.

I don't know why some women can't break free of violent partners. Even if they couldn't do it for themselves, you'd think they could for the sake their children.

Children of these relationships have dreadful terrifying lives, working about their mothers, their siblings and themselves. They often grow up to be abusers and/or abused themselves because it is the only life they have ever known.

Perhaps your sister's waste-of-skin fiancee was from a similar home - but even he was it doesn't excuse his brutality.

I wish she would listen to you, but it seems that all you can do is pick up the pieces. It isn't a love relationship 9even though she may think it is) it is a dependency, in the same way drug-addiction and alcoholism are, and it is even more destructive IMO.

skyyequake Fri 23-Sep-16 15:34:43

The fact she always calls him first, and "begs him" to try again, suggests to me that she is still in the mindset that she is at least partly responsible.

What you haven't seen behind closed doors, is when he manipulates and confuses her into believing that its her fault. He'll make her think that if she had done x, y, z differently then he wouldn't have lashed out, punched her, etc. She'll be thinking that if she can just be better then he will be too, because he has put all the responsibility for his actions on her shoulders. She can't see the abuse as anything other than a reaction to her own inadequacies. He will have convinced her that he's very very very sorry, and then as a footnote add that she really did have it coming, and she will have internalised that now.

I don't have much advice about getting her out, except possibly reminding her that it's really not her fault!

MrsToddsShortcut Fri 23-Sep-16 15:43:58

Buy her a copy of 'Why Does He Do That?' by Lundy Bancroft. (although she may not read it). It's a bible of sorts for DV surviviors.

Lundy Bancroft is a psychologist who has spent over 20 years running court ordered Domestic Abuser courses for men convicted of DV in the US.

He suggests, based on his own experience, that the percentage of men who truly change (and only after extensive counselling) is 2%.


I suspect the only thing that might force her to wake her up would be SS involvement, but you may not feel able to go down that road. flowers

gamerwidow Fri 23-Sep-16 15:55:22

It is very much an addiction on her part and I try to remember that she's not really in full control of actions but it's frustrating. I just wish she had more self esteem and loved herself the way we love her sad
Suppose I've just got to wait until they break up again and start from there ...

ahsan Fri 23-Sep-16 16:12:25

No they don't change. I'd suggest you try make her see sense as what you've described sounds like he's a vile bastard that doesn't care about leaving any women in a mess. Why would he hurt her if he loved her. Think your daughter has low self esteem and for some strange reason thinks it's ok for a man to beat her. I'd try and protect your daughter if I were you or you may find her coming back to you in a body bag.

Luvjubs Fri 23-Sep-16 16:12:38

No, in my opinion someone this extensively abusive will not change. He belongs in prison. It's a sad reality how a lot of women with men like this end up. I guess all you can do is always be there for her. I hope one day she has enough self esteem to see clearly and be rid of this poison for her and her children's sake.

Luvjubs Fri 23-Sep-16 16:40:37

If also involve SS As soon as next incident occurs. Might give her a needed push!

KindDogsTail Fri 23-Sep-16 16:44:10

Your sister needs therapy herself. Something is making her want more of the wonderful things he has to offer.

2kids2dogsnosense Fri 23-Sep-16 19:50:53


And that 2% is 2% of the 6tiny6 percentage that actually make the effort to go for therapy.

mummyto2monkeys Fri 23-Sep-16 21:06:48

I think it is imperative that you contact social services. Social services only have to talk to your neice to see that your sister is deliberately putting herself and her children in danger. Anyone who stands back and watches her own daughter refuse to return home for six months, then despite being free from him begs him to return, in my eyes should have her children taken into care. That is a controversial statement which might not be popular, but she is putting her wants, his wants ahead of the safety of her own children. It is one thing to choose to return by herself, I have every sympathy for the manipulation that has warped your sisters mind. But these children are frightened, they are crying out in pain and she is ignoring them! They deserve a safe place to live, would you be able to take them in again op? I can't help but think that before long these children might witness the murder of their own Mother. No child should ever have to witness that.

ChocolateFuzz Fri 23-Sep-16 21:10:33

I'd be skeptical, abusive people CAN change but rarely do

Chillyegg Fri 23-Sep-16 21:22:36

Bloody hell. Ring social services the kids need protecting. All you can do Is make sure the kids are in a safe space. I'd tell the school about it aswell so the teachers are aware.
I'd ring women's aid aswell and ask if they can offer support. Your sister has been so brainwashed her fuckwit boyfriend seems like the only option she has got. It won't end well. He'll just amp up the abuse and she won't be happy but just feel like this is the only option she has.

skyyequake Fri 23-Sep-16 21:29:31

How old is her DD? Because if she's nearing teenage years aka womanhood, its not unusual for her to start being abused as well.

This type of abuser seriously hates women. And once the DD turns from little girl, to starting to become a woman, he may resent that and punish her for it.

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