Can Your Verbally Abusive Partner Change?

Can Your Verbally Abusive Partner Change? I work with quite a few women who are in abusive relationships. I’m not talking about physical abuse. I’m talking about verbal and emotional abuse. One woman said she didn’t think she was in an abusive relationship. She suffers from Battered Women’s Syndrome but without the physical abuse. If she remains in that relationship it could easily escalate to physical as abusive people have no boundaries.

Highly intelligent women are victims of battered women’s syndrome. I work with women who are doctors, lawyers, scientists, MBA degreed women, etc.  Because these women were pretty much tricked in the early stages of their relationships they naturally formed an emotional bond with these men. It doesn’t mean they are stupid. They were tricked as pre-marriage behavior often  shows up as “best behavior” so the abuser gets what he wants.  In Patricia Evans’ book entitled, “The Verbally Abusive Man Can He Change?” she explains how this happens. She states that counseling is not always helpful. The abusive partner has to want to change. No one can change anyone who doesn’t want to change.

An abusive partner is more likely to change:

  • If he has actualized himself to some degree in the world. ex. he can keep a steady job, earn a living, support his family.
  • If he hasn’t indulged in violent behaviors.
  • If he doesn’t threaten to take the children away from his partner should she choose to end the relationship.
  • If he has an honest character. ex. he has never been convicted of a crime or engaged in fraudulent activities.
  • If he doesn’t pursue other women.

An abusive partner is less likely to change:

  • If he has nothing to lose financially when the relationship ends.
  • If he has behaviors that keep him from facing himself. ex he is an active alcoholic or drug addict.
  • If he has compulsive behavior. ex. gambling or spending.
  • If he has been diagnosed as having a personality disorder, ex. Narcissistic personality disorder, Bi-polar, etc.
  • If he has had affairs during the marriage or committed relationship.
  • If he has a history of physical violence.
  • If he has no friends or emotional connection with anyone.
  • If he is verbally abusive before living with the partner.
  • If he consistently blames other for any problems in his life.
  • If he plays with weapons.
  • If he consistently demonstrates violence.
  • If he mistreats animals.
  • If he teasingly torments a child.
  • If his culture gives him permission to dominate other human beings.
  • And….here’s a clue……If he has said, “I won’t change.”

Ok, so we know the profile of a verbally abusive man (women can be abusive, as well). There is poor prognosis if the majority of the above list is checked.  What to do about it.

What to do if you’ve been tolerating bad behavior:

  1. Give your partner the opportunity to make the necessary adjustments.
  2. Give them time to demonstrate either their ability or incapability to make those adjustments.
  3. If change isn’t happening determine whether there is a “can’t” or “won’t” factor.
  4. Then call me at (858) 7351139.

If the acting out partner cannot or will not make the necessary adjustments for learning to behave appropriately, there is poor prognosis for moving forward and you may have to leave your relationship to move on. Don’t worry, life isn’t over. But, life, as you know it will be. You can free yourself to have the life you really want. It does take courage so get help through your support system and any legal resources to do that.

So the answer to the question…..can your verbally abusive partner change? In my professional and personal opinion……”not likely if he demonstrates most of the above traits.” It takes more than just saying he’ll change.  It takes more than just doing a couple nice things for you.  It takes more than doing a few household chores for a week. Consistency tells the truth.

For more information call me at (858) 735-1139.

Subscribe to get relationship tips and insights by being notified when new blog articles are published