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Please read....your questions anwered! Can an abuser change?
September 29, 2006
8:51 am
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revelation
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A LITTLE ABOUT CHANGE

From the book Why does he do that? Inside the minds of angry and controlling men, by Lundy Bancroft.

There are no shortcuts to change, no magical overnight transformations, no easy ways out. Change is difficult, uncomfortable work. ..he needs to go through a complex and critical set of steps.

STEPS TO CHANGE

1. Admit fully to his history of abuse (psychological, sexual, etc.) Denial and minimizing need to stop, including discrediting the victims memory of what happened. He cant change if he is continuing to cover up, to others or to himself, important parts of what he has done.

2. Acknowledge that the abuse was wrong, unconditionally. He needs to identify the justifications he has tended to use, including the various ways that he may have blamed the victim an to talk in detail about why his behaviors were unacceptable without slipping back into defending them.

2. Recognize the effects his abuse has had on the victim and show empathy for those. He needs to alk in detail about the short- and long-term impact that his abuse has had including fear, loss of trust, anger, and loss of freedom and other rights. And he needs to do this without reverting to feeling sorry for himself or talking about how hard the experience has been for him.

3. Make amends for the damage he has done. He has to develop a sense that he has a debt to his victim as a result of his abusiveness. For example talking with people whom he has misled in regard to the abuse and admitting to them that he lied, paying for objects that he has damaged, and many other steps related to cleaning up the emotional and literal messes that his behaviors have cased. (At the same time, he needs to accept that he may never be able to fully compensate his victim.)

4. Accept the consequences of his actions. He should stop whining about, or blaming the victim for problems that are the result of his abuse.

5. Accept that overcoming abusiveness is likely to be a life-long process. He at no time can claim that his work is done by saying o the victim, Ive changed but you havent, or complain that he is sick of hearing about his abuse and control and that its time to get past all that. He needs to come to terms with the fact that he will probably need to be working on his issues for good and that the victim may feel the effects of what he has done for many years.

I can tell you I have not seen this process.

Also from the book Why Does He Do That,

CLEAR SIGNS HE IS NOT CHANGING

He says he can change only if you do too

He says he can change only if you help him change by giving him emotional support, reassurance, and forgiveness.

He criticizes you for not realizing how much he has changed

He criticizes you for not trusting that his change will last

He criticizes you for considering him capable of behaving abusively even though he in fact has done so in the past (or has threatened to) as if you should know that he would never do something like that, even though he has.

He reminds you about the bad things he would have done in the past but isnt doing anymore, which amounts to a subtle threat.

He says Ive changed, Ive changed

These things I have seen.

September 29, 2006
9:18 am
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risingfromtheashes
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I have seen the second part of the list - saw it for two years.

thank god it was ONLY two years.

September 29, 2006
10:46 am
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lovetocrochet
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Revelation, thank you for posting this. I'm thinking about how my brother responded when I called him on his abuse and told others he had molested me. He sent me an IM going on about how I "destroyed" his reputation and demanding we talk, and then later chastized me for making what he called our "differences" a "burden" on "our children."

When I line all that up with what's listed here, boy does it put the writing on the wall for me. I remember him telling me three years ago when he was threatening me and rubbing my past in my face after I stood up to our mother, "At least I've changed, I'm different."

Bull! This all tells me there is NOTHING different about him at all. He is still the same mean, sadistic monster that tortured me almost from birth. He just knows how to charm people into not noticing it. Not everyone though, I've got plenty of friends who are more than happy to say he's an @$$#0!3.

I'm angry he has the gall to think he's above me somehow and that he doesn't have to be accountable and can justify what he did. But I'm also relieved I can see it, that other people who aren't under his spell can see it, including childhood friends. I'm relieved that I know my decision to keep him out of my life is the right one when I put it all together.

Thank you again rev.

September 29, 2006
10:49 am
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lovetocrochet
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I also want to add that I think these things can be applied to abusive and controlling women, too. It shouldn't just be the men held accountable, there's lots of women who wreak havoc and destroy lives too.

September 29, 2006
1:42 pm
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kke22417
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September 29, 2006
2:16 pm
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Travlin_lite
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This sure does say alot and I agree that it also applies to us women too! I know personally I have been the provoker and also verbally abusive not a pleasant inventory of myself but it is honest!! Thanks for sharing!

September 29, 2006
9:12 pm
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lollipop3
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Great post Rev...and so important for those currently in abusive relationships.

I know first hand how badly we want to believe that they CAN change and that they ARE different. It can be so easy to deceive ourselves.

Lundy Bancroft's book was definately an eye opener for me. It doesn't say that change is not possible but gives a very realistic view of what it really takes for even the possiblity of change.

October 2, 2006
10:00 am
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lovetocrochet
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Bumping as I think this is very important reading. Hope nobody minds!

October 8, 2006
9:29 pm
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armyleo
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"I know first hand how badly we want to believe that they CAN change and that they ARE different. It can be so easy to deceive ourselves. "

Someone wrote this, call me crazy and insane but sometimes, I wish and pray real hard. and hope that by wishing and praying things will change.

Sometimes, I think that is the only reason I haven't ended it all. Because I'm hoping he will change. Am I crazy or what. Just screwed up.

October 8, 2006
9:42 pm
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Worried_Dad
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Abusers can change, but why should they? They like the way they are.

October 8, 2006
10:04 pm
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Ladeska
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I don't believe abusers can change. Sorrym Worried Dad. I just don't. I've seen too much to ignore the evidence before me. I believe you're born who you are. Abuse makes psychopaths worse, gives them an "easy out" like Foley but it's not a real excuse. If it were an excuse then I would have plenty of leeway here to do alot of evil, but I don't.

What we don't realize is that there is something at work here called - emotional intelligence and how that gets stunted early on and the other part of us that has to conduct business in the real world takes over but the emotional self is merely a child, stuck where something traumatic happened to us, usually hated by by us because it causes us so much heartbreak and makes us extremely vulnerable to predators.

It's "that child" that writes here in Armyleo. She wants to "fix it", keep trying to win the old war and it won't work. It was never her responsibility in the first place. We've been taught by Hollyweird and everyone else that everyone has some good in them, the bad boy James Dean can change, they can be "born again" blah, blah but - the bottomline is - people wihtout empathy don't have the part of their brain there or functioning to - change. It's not there. The sooner we realize that, see it, move away and don't engage, or learn how to disengage in time with it - the sooner we can really learn how to live our short lives with some kind of meaning attached to it.

There are some breeches that never need to be forgiven or overlooked or given a second chance. You do it to me once and you have no access. Period.
Predators don't like that because they have to work for, expend more calories for - the kill, than they are usually willing to give. Entertain them, show them your weak side, expose your neck, tell them your secrets, come running back, forgive and forget and guess what? You're food.

We've all bought a load of B.S. with this thing of everyone is the same and everyone has a silver lining, you just have to find it, etc. Uh, can we say - that's CRAP? Because - it is.

We don't need to see it one more time, or the 30th time or tap into our need to be needed or to be a martyr. We're all taught that but we need to - lose that kind of thinking because it's - lethal.

You do that one - one time in combat and you're dead.

October 9, 2006
11:08 am
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mamacinnamon
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Armyleo:

I think once in a blue moon,and I've not seen many, but once in awhile an Abuser can change, but it takes years of counseling, years of practice, years of getting up daily and saying "for today I won't abuse". Very very rare indeed.

I will add tho that they all can change for awhile, but it's in the longterm that they fall back into it or they were just foolin in the first place. Time is their enemy and our ally in this instance.

October 9, 2006
11:35 am
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Rasputin
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Al- Yes, abusers CAN change. But they have to WANT to change. A good book I recommend to you is "Broken children, grown-up pain" by Paul Helgerson. It's about a pastor who was abusive to his co-dep wife for 17 years. Suddenly, he separated from her & the 3 kids they had and started to work on his own healing.

The outcome is very happy. He was re-united and re-married to his wife and they lived happily ever after. of course at 1st she could not trust him and he was very understanding. He needed to earn her trust.

Where there is a will, there is always a way, healing, recovery and happiness!!!

Smart thread indeed (((AL)))!!!

~Ras

October 9, 2006
11:54 am
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Inca
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Good Question. I think I was a bit of an abuser. I yelled alot when things didn't go my way but when people really want to change, I think they can. But they really have to want it and the sad thing is, not everyone wants it.

October 9, 2006
11:55 am
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Matteo
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I believe that psychopaths - people who have no conscience, who cannot tell good from wrong cannot change, because they don't see, they simply can't see any need for it. Apparently everybody else can change, or could if they would put effort into it, just like those who are addicted can change and live their lives free of addiction. Does that mean that they actually do change? No.

Narcissists are people who have no empathy for others, and Sam Vaknin said that yes, even they can change sometimes in those super rare instances when they get old, they don’t try anymore to see themselves for who they are not and then the family rejoices. He also said something like: "There are some people who survive tornado. Does it mean that you should go and look for one?"

Change is painful and brings a lot of hard work around difficult issues within; it is much easier to apply all the tools from their arsenal of control onto the victim, and if that doesn’t work – move smoothly onto another victim. Change would involve accepting themselves first; but they cannot accept themselves because they would have to heal first. They cannot love while they hate themselves, and are you surprised that they do, that they reject themselves and despise themselves? They put the victims down and control their world because they are not in control of their own. Change for them is not simple “I’ll do it differently tomorrow”; it involves inner war and revolution, and who would want to go through it, having uncertainty with the outcome? Not many, maybe tiny fraction of per-cent. I wouldn’t hold my breath, armyleo.

October 9, 2006
12:42 pm
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newmoon
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I'll answer with a personal anecdote.

I grew up in a very abusive household and eventually abuse seemed "normal" to me; both giving and receiving. For years, I lived in ignorance and denial: I didn't consider any of my behaviors abusive (I saw myself as the "victim')... until recently. Through a dramatic life change, I have been given the opportunity to reflect upon and change my behaviors in an intimate relationship. I feel very lucky that light has been shed on the darkness in my life.

Awareness is key and taking accountability: believing and embracing the Serenity Prayer. Accepting what we cannot change (or we may become abusive against others, ourselves, the world); mustering courage to change what we can (ourselves, our dysfunctional behavior); and wisdom to know the difference.

Unfortunately, another codependent may assist in building an atmosphere of denial by:

1) believing the false idea that they have the power to change us or

2) reinforcing the false idea that our behavior is their fault

As others have said here, the abuser can only change by themselves, by their own inner desire and willpower.

I have been helped, however, very much by another... someone who was patient and spiritual enough to give me an awareness of what was happening... and then it was up to me to discover why and how to change. That burden is mine alone.

October 9, 2006
4:48 pm
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Inca
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New Moon, I loved your response. YOu sound like me. I grew up the same. So I guess I gave and took abuse quite well and if you read my thread, you'll see how I'm still taking it.
Like you, I've taken the steps to work on myself to stop the cycle and patterns that hurt myself and others. I now see what I'm doing now is reflective of what I went thru as a kid. My brother is now even going thru the steps as well. It can be frightening. As for the abuser, they have to want it as well and if your in a relationship and they don't want to change, you cannot change them. Sometimes if you were the abused ones, you just stick around b/c you're so used to being treated badly that you are comfortable there, but you don't have to be. I wish everyone w/ this feeling strength to get past it.

October 9, 2006
10:30 pm
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newmoon
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Inca, thank you for sharing - 🙂 You are so right about how our current behavior can reflect exactly what we endured in childhood. Looking back at my behavior toward my ex, I realize I practically played out scene-for-scene the drama between my parents. I also began to realize I had a lot of unresolved anger toward my dad (who looked the other way during my childhood abuse) and my anger got misdirected toward my ex. It was as if I wanted my ex to fix what had been done to me; to change or correct my past. This thinking of mine was so skewed that it caused a lot of chaos and unhappiness between us. All of this is so new to me, though, and I am just beginning to recognize, acknowledge, accept and make amends for my behavior.

I'm so glad to hear you're taking the steps for positive growth - it's a steep slope, but I hear the view is worth it - 😉

P.S. What is the title of your thread???

October 10, 2006
10:22 am
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Inca
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New Moon,
OMG..You sound just like me! My thread is the one about "How to convince someone you didn't cheat" or something like that. I have the unresolved anger too and just downright "issues" towards men. I know it's b/c my real dad left when we were young and was a lunatic w/ my mom and my stepdad was so abusive to me, physically and mentally. I went into dating thinking men have the upper hand and can treat you any way they can. I did EVERYTHING for them and would get resentful when things went sour. I got used, I got burned. I'm now trying to fix my recent break up which I'm big enough to say I made mistakes in. I didn't cheat but I made mistakes int he relationships that makes him not trust me.
Chaos is the perfect word you chose. My life was full of chaos. I guess I felt like if I didn't have chaos then I couldn't function. I'm feel so relieved to hear your side of things. I can't believe someone went through the same kind of life like me. Hugs to you b/c I think, especially as kids, all we wanted and needed was to be loved.

October 16, 2006
4:15 pm
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Matteo
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