Can I change him?


I think every abuse victim, at one time or another, thinks they can change their abuser. Often the thought is if you love him enough he will stop abusing you. This thought usually occurs after the victim has suffered abuse for awhile and they desperately want it to stop. An abuse victim is often told by the abuser that the abuse IS their fault so it is natural the victim would eventually try to solve the problem. Sadly though a victim can shower their abuser with love, be the best spouse they can be and the abuse will still continue. It is futile. Abuse does not happen because of the victim. It does not happen because she dressed too sexy or burned last night’s supper. Abuse happens because of what is going on inside the Abuser. It is not the victims fault. It is the Abusers.

Why does abuse happen then?

Power and control.

An abuser wants to have power and control over their victim. and they will achieve this through fear and intimidation.

ch1-graph The Power and Control Wheel used in Abusive Relationships.


An abuser wants to have power and control over their victim and they will achieve this in many ways (see above photo of the Power and Control Wheel). At the base of each tactic used is the use of fear and intimidation on their victim. Every time they yell, threaten, hit or push they are instilling a level of fear in their victim. By blaming their victim for why the abuse happened they set their victim on the endless cycle of trying to always do the “right thing” in order to prevent another abusive episode.  The terrible thing about this is the reason why they have abused you is never the same reason twice which adds to the insanity of the situation.  For example one time I made Hamburger Helper for supper.  That night my ex exploded about their being too much grease in the meal and it resulted in various pieces of cutlery being thrown at me while he screamed at me.  Now a few weeks later when I made that meal again I obviously remembered the past incident and was trembling inside. I made sure I really drained the meat grease this time, but in the end the meal turned out the way it  had before.  I felt sick with fear.  I waited for my ex to explode once again, but this time he did not explode.  This time he told me it was the best meal ever and thanked me for supper.  My head was spinning.  I had lost all control. He had it. He could decide how my day went.  After years of such incidents  I no longer knew what was right or wrong.

The abuse was never about  me, it was all about him. Like other abusers he was broken inside. He did not know how to deal with it. Instead of going to counselling and learning the proper tools he projected his inner pain onto me. He felt so out of control inside he tried to control me. I became a possession, not a wife. I became a part of him like his arm or his leg. That broken part of him would stir inside and the tension would start to build within him and between us ( the tension building stage. See picture below of the abuse cycle). As the tension built he would set me up (a tactic used by abusers) in a situation where I would fail. He would then explode (the incident stage) and I would be assaulted. After the explosion I would be crying and he would apologize (Reconciliation). He would then be calm because he has released all of his tension while I felt all over the place (Calm stage). This cycle happens over and over, year after year.


All of this IS about him. He chose to hit. He chose to call me nasty names. He had complete control over everything he did. That was a really hard concept for me to accept. It was easier to blame his dad for abusing him or blame his mom for not protecting him  than to think his anger was not out of control. His abuse was actually very calculated, very controlled and there was nothing I could personally do to stop it.  The only way things would ever change was if he wanted to change and did years of therapy. I couldn’t change him. Like the saying says, “A person will only change if THEY want to.”

Mentor at Verbal Abuse Journals. I mentor victims of Domestic Violence offering free support and guidance – or facebook page


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5 thoughts on “Can I change him?

  1. it progressed before i knew it i was left scratching my head all the time.
    it snuck me just like my addiction did. Its very similar.
    I loved my abuser but never was in love with him. I thought he was my best friend. The only one that knew me. I guess over time, addiction, having my daughter it was all like a blur…the whole damn thing was like a tornado at the end I wanted to either kill myself or kill him. Thats the only way i thought i could get out or for him to leave me alone.
    Addiction to drugs and alcohol and a abusive relationship i look at them all the same. it will kill me. My spirit was dead from all of it. It was so sad at the end and one of the most painful experiences in my life.
    HE had me believe i needed him or i could not survive. 17yrs was a long time. I wish the storm didn’t last so long. but i accept it now. just wow.


    1. I think it was more like i was dependent on him. He knew that. I was party raised by a sociopath. Crazy.
      He knew what I needed and capitalized on all of it. Just like any pimp would.


    2. Being in and leaving an abusive relationship is beyond difficult. Abusers want to control every aspect of you, hence why he had you believing you could not survive without him. Your dependency gave him what he wanted. But you got out and that is so amazing!! I am proud of you. How are you doing now?


  2. This is so true. I spent so much time, energy, and emotion in trying to help my abuser to change. He never did. It took me a long time to realise that nothing I did or would ever do would work – because he didn’t WANT to change (though he wanted me to think it was my responsibility). Thank you for sharing.


    1. You are welcome. Abusers rarely want to change. although often they say they do but it is often part of their manipulation. By making it your responsibility, if it didn’t work it isn’t his fault. Ulitimately though we are all responsible for our own actions.


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