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Can An Abuser Make Amends?

    * I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.

    One of the most asked questions regarding abuse, is whether or not abusers can make amends.

    We’ve all heard the saying ‘a tiger never changes his stripes’, but does this actually apply to the situation at hand? So, Can An Abuser Make Amends?

    Can An Abuser Make Amends?

    The fact of the matter is that real change takes time, and happens gradually in small increments, so if an abuser were to change, this would not be immediate.

    To find out more about whether or not an abuser is able to make amends, keep reading, as we take a look below.

    Can An Abuser Change?

    This is an incredibly hot topic, and has been the subject of debate for many psychologists and domestic abuse survivors.

    It is difficult to know whether or not abusers are able to change, because each person and situation is different.

    It is incredibly difficult for a person who is abusive to change, because oftentimes, the abuser themselves has been the subject of a traumatic upbringing, which subsequently results in their behavior.

    In order to really change, the abuser has to be fully committed to reforming.

    This means taking responsibility for their actions, as well as stopping making excuses, admitting to what they’ve done, and offering help and support to their partners.

    One of the ways in which an abuser can make a positive change is by attending a certified batterer intervention program which places the focus on accepting responsibility and taking accountability.

    How Can An Abuser Change?

    There are several different things that an abuser can do in an effort to change, some of which we’ve touched on briefly above.

    In order to fully be committed to making long term, sustainable changes, the abuser should:

    • Accepting that recovery will last a whole lifetime.
    • Not looking for credit for any improvements that they’ve made.
    • Not engaging in any kind of abuse tactics and using the fact that they haven’t done anything for a long time as an excuse.
    • Carrying the weight of their actions and allowing it to fuel them to become a better person
    • Fully accepting the consequences of their actions
    • Making amends with their partner and anybody else that they’ve abused
    • Stop making excuses for past and present actions
    • Recognizing that abuse is a choice, and taking accountability for that.

    Some Steps Toward Change

    In order to fully change, abusers need to take several different steps to make a positive recovery.

    Many of these involve seeing a therapist, and delving deeply into their issues and why they choose to abuse in the first place.

    Can An Abuser Make Amends

    Practicing Humility

    One of the most important things that abusers should do in order to change fully is to always practice humility about the situation.

    Abusers often have a very brittle sense of worth that can’t stand up to any kind of criticism.

    As a result of this, they put on a false persona that shields them from any negative feedback.

    In order to fully recover, abusers will need to draw down that wall, and accept responsibility for past mistakes and apologizing for them.

    Develop Empathy

    Unfortunately, the reason why many abusers struggle to recover is because they have a lack of empathy.

    There is however, a way to develop this. Instead of merely self pitying themselves, and not seeing the hurt that they’ve caused their partners, abusers need to focus on the latter to be fully empathetic.

    Seeing things from the victims perspective through therapy can help them to take accountability for their actions.

    Share Feelings

    In order to recover, abusers need to be fully honest with themselves and share their thoughts and feelings openly.

    The primary emotion demonstrated by abusive men is anger, but this is only a superficial feeling.

    When we dig deeper, we find that there are far deeper emotions brewing under the surface. Most of these include shame, sadness, and hurt.

    The reason why identifying deeper emotions is so important in abuse recovery is because they dictate our actions.

    For example, if an abuser was feeling angry, then they would act on that anger.

    If they were feeling sad on the other hand, having identified the deeper emotion, then this wouldn’t cause them to engage in abusive behavior.

    Tolerance

    One of the most difficult points of recovery for abusers is tolerating injury.

    When we engage in an argument with somebody, and they’ve made us feel slighted in any way, the natural reaction is to bite back.

    Abusters will need to build up their tolerance in order to not retaliate in a violent way when their spouse says or does something which hurts their ego.

    Expand Knowledge

    Many times, abusers don’t even fully comprehend the extent of their own abuse.

    It may be easy for them to understand that physical actions such as hitting their spouse is wrong, but they may not comprehend that jealousy, name calling, and shouting can also be abusive.

    By expanding their knowledge about what abuse actually involves, and all of the different ways that a person can be abusive, they will be able to take accountability for their actions.

    For example, an abuser might not understand that when they shout, they can make their spouse feel threatened, even if they have no intention of physically harming them.

    Final Thoughts

    There have been no extensive studies conducted on whether or not abusers can change. Unfortunately, it is difficult to tell if this is possible.

    Those out there who have engaged in abusive behavior should start attending therapy, as well as some groups which deal with abusive people.

    Making real change, if it is possible, takes real time. It’s not something that will happen overnight.

    Abusers need to take full accountability for their actions, as well as understanding the extent of their abuse, and practicing tolerance.

    Keep Reading…

    If you need a crisis hotline or want to learn more about therapy, please see below:

    For more information on mental health, please see:

    If You Need A Crisis Hotline Or Want To Learn More About Therapy, Please See Below:

    • RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) – 1-800-656-4673
    • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255
    • National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233
    • NAMI Helpline (National Alliance on Mental Illness) – 1-800-950-6264

    For More Information On Mental Health, Please See:

    • SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) SAMHSA Facebook, SAMHSA Twitter, SAMHSA LinkedIn, SAMHSA Youtube
    • Mental Health America, MHA Twitter, MHA Facebook, MHA Instagram, MHA Pinterest, MHA Youtube
    • WebMD, WebMD Facebook, WebMD Twitter, WebMD Instagram, WebMD Pinterest
    • NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), NIMH Instagram, NIMH Facebook, NIMH Twitter, NIMH YouTube
    • APA (American Psychiatric Association), APA Twitter, APA Facebook, APA LinkedIN, APA Instagram

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