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Thread: Abusers Getting Help

  1. #1
    Unregistered Guest

    Abusers Getting Help

    I would like to hear others experience with their abusers getting help. My husband of 8 years was arrested for domestic violence almost 2 years ago. Since then he has quit drinking and started going to anger management classes. He's been sober for over a year and going to the classes for almost that long as well now. I see an improvement in his communication, but I still find myself tiptoeing around subjects and being afraid when he's angry. Has anyone ever experienced this? Does it get better? Do they get better?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    i think a lot of it depends on how abuse is defined. someone who deliberately, cold-bloodedly, violates another person, knows s/he is committing a crime, and still does it - idk, i think it takes some major personality change. dont wanna say its not possible, but i personally never witnessed such a thing. im sure humans are capable of change, i just never met one such person. who suddenly started valuing other people more than they used to. i think everyone, including diagnosed sociopaths, are capable of learning the rules and following them, and might choose to do so for one reason or another (e.g. to avoid jail time or divorce, or to retain custody of their kids, or whatever), but the people i knew were doing it for pragmatic reasons, like above, not cuz they suddenly grew to love/respect/care about other people. not that its necessarily a bad thing, i guess at the end of the day what matters is the persons actions, not their reasons behind these actions. just when these reasons are based on self-interest, like avoiding jail, this change in behavior isnt as reliable - cuz they might very well commit the same crimes as before, if no one is looking, if they know they wont get caught, etc. i knew four such people that i can think of off the top of my head, i could get along with them, but couldnt trust them, cuz their behavior was conditional, based on external factors, not their internal convictions on right and wrong.

    and someone who knows that abusing others is wrong and doesnt wanna do it, but cant manage to avoid it cuz they just dont have the skills to - i think they are totally capable of learning those skills, why not. idk, i briefly dated a guy who was physically violent. his dad used to beat up his mom whenever she displeased him, so my bf felt that thats how couples relate to each other, that thats how he should respond when i displease him too. he just didnt know how else to handle it. felt that letting me "get away" with it would be a sign of poor boundaries and would result in even more conflicts between us. we were young kids, open to ideas, and wanted things to work out, so we kinda sat down and negotiated these things. that we can use our words and all. that its not necessary to fist-fight, that we both speak english and can talk like adults. and the violence stopped. took some time for him to learn to control his impulses, habits dont change overnight, but it was resolved pretty soon. the thing is though - he wanted to change. genuinely wanted it. it wasnt make-pretend to keep me, wasnt a facade to avoid criminal charges (i never complained to anyone), he just genuinely felt that hurting me was unnecessary, after our talk. that was my only experience of an abuser changing. i actually feel silly atm calling him an abuser, so long ago it was and so young we were. maybe just a kid confused on how relationships work, who soon figured it out.

    other people i met who were abusive - did not want to change, cuz acting the way they did was a part of their personality, they felt justified in their actions. they usually didnt say so openly, didnt declare this "right" they felt they had, but they would say that its not a big deal, or that all couples fight, or that they were provoked, or whatever else, summing up to the idea that their actions were justified somehow. they would go through the motions of "change," when pressured, like apologizing, or even taking anger management classes (and dropping off soonish), but they werent really motivated to change, they didnt want to do it, they were only doing it under pressure, so that everyone would get off their back and let them be. so yeah, those "changes" didnt last.

    and specifically about alcoholism - my dad was an abusive alcoholic, and we did manage to find some sorta balance in the end. not picture-perfect, but somewhat functional, i was at least able to kick him out of my house when he was drunk. i was aiming to have him not come to my house while drunk in the first place, but idk how realistic a goal that was. he had periods of sobriety, then relapses, etc. ive met some recovered alcoholics, but i personally dont trust changes that are less than two years old. cuz alcoholism alone takes at least a year (cuz different seasons have different triggers, they might relapse specifically on christmas, or on their childs birthday, or whatever their triggers are, you cant know till they lived through a full year sober), and then they need to figure out some new coping mechanisms. cuz, i mean, both alcohol and violence are coping mechanisms, the person doesnt know how to handle their stress, so they handle some of it through violence and some of it through alcohol. if you remove alcohol - violence doubles, unless they learn some better coping skills, which takes time. then again, im sure it depends on the degree of both alcoholism and violence. the recovered abusive alcoholics i know used to be binge-drinkers stabbing their loved ones with knives or some such. probably an extreme thing, im sure some are less addicted and less violent, maybe it takes less time for them to recover...
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  3. The following user says thank you to Manya for this useful post:

    freshair (01-30-2018)

  4. #3
    Unregistered Guest

    Thank you

    Thank you so much for reply. It was perfect.

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