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Has anyone known an emotional abuser to change?

(37 Posts)
medicellen Fri 01-Dec-17 18:49:06

Some years ago I came to suspect that my husband was emotionally abusive. After reading books and these forums (many-a-time), I came to know it for sure - it is textbook. Hearing other women's experiences helped me to understand that it wasn't me going mad.

A year ago we went to counselling and I had hope (perhaps naively) that things could change and that he realised what he had done. There were some good times and then, as you probably expect, it all crept back again. If it weren't for my 3-year old son I would have gone long ago - but I don't want to ruin his world.

Yesterday I told my husband that I didnt want us to be together. Today he has been in pieces (as the books say they often are) and has begged me to give him another chance. He "will do anything" (as the books also say they will say). I have virtually no hope that this can be resolved - already too much emotional scarring. But as a last and final ray of hope, I wondered if anyone had experience of abusers changing.....

Justmuddlingalong Fri 01-Dec-17 18:52:08

Yes they can and do change...short term, until the next time. He's promising you the world now, but only because you are taking control. Good luck for the future flowers

Leo07 Fri 01-Dec-17 18:59:39

I'm going to go against the grain here. My DP was emotionally abusive, things came to ahead and I showed him the door, he begged and pleaded and said "one more chance I swear I'll change" I gave him that last chance and he changed, it's been nearly a year now and it hadn't ever returned. Maybe the odd insecurity now and again but nothing that I would call abusive.

caringdenise009 Fri 01-Dec-17 18:59:50

Only for the worse,I'm afraid.

Regularsizedrudy Fri 01-Dec-17 19:14:12


Olicity17 Fri 01-Dec-17 19:26:28

No. Stbex dh had counselling, read all the books, took full responsibility etc. He changed. He was amazing.

Then it started again. The better he got, the more my confidence grew. Then he didnt like me being happier, more confident etc. And he went back to how he was before.

For 3 years i would have told everyone how an abuser can change. That cousellinh can work if the abuser wanted to change. But This time is escalated into sexual abuse, when he couldnt get me to accept the abuse. Sex was his way of me proving I was still 'his' wife. I had become a possession.

Unfortunately we are undee the same roof until the house sells and his abuse continues. But much more low level.

Panicattheschoolgate Fri 01-Dec-17 19:33:59

People don't change they adapt. Basically they adapt behaviour to suit a better nature.
There is nothing wrong with this but an abuser will always be one. They can work hard to not show this and be very successful in adapting new behaviour but there is always a risk.

PNGirl Fri 01-Dec-17 19:36:06

No. Even if they don't express the abuse in the same way to maintan the status quo, they want to. That isn't a nice thing to live with.

heyhosilver Fri 01-Dec-17 19:39:56

No I'm afraid not

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 01-Dec-17 19:43:08


No they do not change, they adapt to changing circumstances and are also adept at telling you what you want to hear. Such behaviour as well is often learnt and is deeply ingrained.

Leave for your sake as well as your son's. He cannot afford to grow up in a household where his dad abuses his mother because he could well repeat that behaviour in his own relationships. You will ruin his world if you stay with your husband. It is also never a good idea to stay simply or solely for the sake of the child.

medicellen Fri 01-Dec-17 19:53:34

I very much appreciate your comments

Leo07 - is the odd insecurity yours or his? Were you ever able to forgive what had happened to you?

Olicity17- so he was ok for 3 years before resorting to sexual abuse? Why is the abuse now lower level?

Attila - my reason for telling my husband I wanted to separate was for the sake of my son. He has seen some instances of daddy being angry and I have had to hide my tears from him. I am now an empty shell of nothing and have very little hope in my own happiness, however I still have some fight in me for my son. But I would so much like for it to be all good again. As per the normal story, it can be good despite the shit

Olicity17 Fri 01-Dec-17 21:53:01

Olicity17- so he was ok for 3 years before resorting to sexual abuse? Why is the abuse now lower level?

He was great for 3 years. Then a year ago it started creeping back in. But the escalated when he realised I would expect it. He had always sulked and moaned about not having enough sex. But this waa a new level. Him trying penetrate me while i slept, trying to have sex with my in the kitchen while the kids were in the next room and kicking off when i said no. He even admittes he used to lie about how kuch alcohol he had in my drinks. He would tell me it was a single measure, but it wasnt. It was a double and he hoped i would get too drunk to say no.

Sex became something he had to do. It put a claim on me. I was a possession. Not a person.

Its low level now, because he knows if he tried to assault me now i would call the police. So this week he has hidden my keys, told me he was getting rid of the dog etc. I donr rise to any of it and he cant make me back down now. Doesnt stop him trying though.

medicellen Sat 02-Dec-17 08:04:44

Olicity, That sounds very difficult. I have not experienced sexual abuse but recently my husband complained that I never show him any affection - with absolutely no insight into the fact that it is very difficult to generate any affection for someone who frightens you and has been an utter shit

medicellen Sat 02-Dec-17 08:07:11

Perhaps it is worth saying that as part of "I will do anything", my husband has suggested that he reports himself to the police, both in terms of the way in which he has behaved towards me, and the amounts of marajuana we have in our house. I have no idea how to respond to this

Olicity17 Sat 02-Dec-17 08:14:25

husband complained that I never show him any affection - with absolutely no insight into the fact that it is very difficult to generate any affection for someone who frightens you and has been an utter shit

Not to scare you. But thats how the coersion started. I got all the lines 'its not about sex its about affection', 'i just want to feel loved', 'if you showed more affection i wouldnt be so bothered about you having friends/going out etc'.

Let him report himself to the police. He still wont change, in the long run. But will make it easier of he is on record as abusing you.

CocoDeMoll Sat 02-Dec-17 08:24:18

I know it's a very unpopular view and it's only based on my own relationship but my dh has completely redeemed himself after becoming more and more abusive (after many happy non abusive years before that).

It took a drastic change, made by me to change things and he's been a vastly better dh and dad since then. Almost a year to the day. I haven't adapted. He has.

category12 Sat 02-Dec-17 08:42:22

That's big words and gestures, but would he actually hand himself in? Isn't he relying on you not calling his bluff? All high drama there, but realistically can you see yourself saying "go on then" or are you meant to be swayed by his 'sacrifice' ?

What about him getting rid of the marijuana and not making it a full scale theatre production of which you're audience?

1DAD2KIDS Sat 02-Dec-17 08:49:44

I wouldn t trust my ex to change. However there was poster on another chat that used to be abusive an violent to her husband. She got profestional help to sort a lot of her issuses out (from previous abusive relationships). So I guess it possible for people to change

medicellen Sat 02-Dec-17 11:20:14

I am grateful for all of your examples - whatever your views.

Coco de moll - how did he make the change? Does vastly better mean that there are still things that you are unhappy about?

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sat 02-Dec-17 11:36:06

Wait, so he will do anything? Anything except taking drugs that affect one's mental state?

Have you asked him to get rid of the drugs from the house and never ever have any back again.

The whole police thing is such an obvious ploy. You say no of course not which is interpreted as you saying it's ok to keep illegal substances in the house.

He's a devious fucker isn't he?

medicellen Sat 02-Dec-17 11:43:59

I am prepared to contact the police, even if only to have things on record as suggested above.

bastardkitty Sat 02-Dec-17 11:48:44

You are done with him OP and you know you are. They don't change. He's had the opportunity to do that and he didn't bother. Please don't put your son or yourself through any more of this. As for his tears...walk away. How many tears have you shed at his hands.

AnyFucker Sat 02-Dec-17 11:49:25

Your husband is abusive and he keeps drugs in the house

And you are staying "for your son" ?

Have a really good think about that

medicellen Sat 02-Dec-17 11:59:32

Many tears. Mostly hidden

bastardkitty Sat 02-Dec-17 12:02:30

It's okay to say enough's enough.

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