Can A Verbal Abuser Change?

October 13, 2013 Kellie Jo Holly

Can a verbal abuser change? You will only know if he or she shuts up long enough to prove change is happening through their actions - not his or her words.

Can a verbal abuser change? I've heard that question so many times and it is always delivered with a longing tone. Verbal abuse victims very much want their abuser to want to change. Some verbal abusers honestly do want to change. I don't know how rare those types of abusers are, and there's no way to know if your partner wants to change by listening to what they say because it is so easy to lie.

Can A Verbal Abuser Change Without Saying A Word?

A verbal abuser who wants to change will not have to say a word. He or she will, however, prove that change is happening because the abuse will end. Eventually. It is a good idea to have individual therapists at this point, not marital counseling.

Abusers want you to pay attention to their words, not their actions, because

  1. their words can be so sweet and convincing (causing you to stay) or
  2. so hateful and mean (causing you to doubt your perceptions and abilities).

Diverting your attention to what they say over what they do keeps you under their control - that is how verbal abuse works and why it is so effective. Proof of change is in their consistent action and behavior. You can simply ignore their words.

When you point out discrepancies between what they say and what they do, the ones who do not plan to change abuse you more. The abuse can be sugar-coated lies that sound like apologies or it can be a thundering accusation about how you never give them a chance. No matter how the abuse reveals itself, the point is to put you back into your place as the unquestioning partner who shuts up and acts how they're supposed to act.

Testing To See If Your Abuser Can Change

Can a verbal abuser change? You will only know if he or she shuts up long enough to prove change is happening through their actions - not his or her words.I spent many years going back and forth in my head between wondering if he was the problem or if I was. Or if he had a mental disorder or if I did!

Finally, after realizing I was dealing with domestic violence and abuse and not a mental disorder, I decided to follow Patricia Evans' advice in her book The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He Change? I prepared a contract similar to the one she prescribes, then gave it to my husband.

The first test is to see if your partner is willing to work with you on the contract.

  • If they are not willing, you'll know they won't change.
  • If they are willing but does not hold up their end of the contract (through their actions and behaviors), you'll know they won't change.
  • Or, if you see definite signs of change in their behavior, then the miracle of miracles, they could change.
  • On the other hand, they could change for just long enough for you to think they've changed, then revert back to abuse. At this point, believing there was real change, you will feel more confused than ever and probably immediately start to blame yourself for their abuse (again).

The contract I made doesn't exactly follow the plan in Ms. Evans's book because I'd already left my husband when I wrote it. If you want to see it anyway, you can view it here.

My ex-husband took it and read it. When I saw him next, he said, "I will never go to counseling." That was that. The divorce proceeded.

Can You Change Your Noble Desire To Help Your Abuser Change?

In earlier days I may have continued trying to convince my husband to go to therapy, believing in my heart that it was in his best interest. This time, after studying domestic abuse and analyzing his answer with my brain, I decided to believe him when he said he would never go to counseling.

Everything he had ever done (his actions) supported his statement. There was no reason to disbelieve him. And if he couldn't accept outside help for himself or for us, then I couldn't continue the relationship.

Some decisions are absolute deal-breakers. (Example of a deal-breaker? See What is Battering?)

I wish I could tell you a sure-fire way to get from thinking you know what is best for your partner and believing that they know what is best for them. That thinking leans toward co-dependency and is an attempt by you to control the abuser. Sure, your motive for wanting to control them is noble, but giving your partner the ability to answer and you believing their answer is just plain smart. (If your abuser constantly lies, believing the lies and going on about your business will confuse him or her for a change!)

In fact, everyone, even mean nasty abusers, deserve to lead their lives as they see fit. Who are we to tell them otherwise? Leaving or staying with an abusive partner boils down to giving them control over themselves only. To do that, you must believe them when they say "I like who I am." Then you have to decide if you can live with your partner just as s/he is, or if the behavior is a deal-breaker for you.

You can find Kellie Jo Holly on her website Verbal Abuse Journals, or social media on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

*Both women and men could be abusers or victims, so do not take my pronoun choices as an implication that one gender abuses and the other is victimized.

APA Reference
Jo, K. (2013, October 13). Can A Verbal Abuser Change?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 24 from

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

July, 15 2018 at 5:50 pm

We have been married for 1 year, have a son of 8 months. In relationship for 9 years. I realized I was being emotionally abused two years ago. He has since promised me he will change every day/week. I believe him that he doesn't want to be this kind of a person, but he continues to be it. He got physically abusive this year and since then I just can't...Two weeks ago he yelled at me: STUPID! because I asked him to look out for our son meanwhile I needed to go to the office for a meeting. I told him to leave the house and file for a divorce. He goes to the psychologist every week and he tells me he know he has done wrong and he want to change. I am so lost and have no energy for believing him once again and starting over once again. I feel there is so much pain and soo much anger in me towards what I have let him do to myself for so many years and brought such a beautiful baby to life in all this. I need space to think, and if he pushes me to anything it is his loss because I don't want it and I am not afraid of loosing him.
The difficult part is that I love him. And that I believe that all relationships have their issues, perhaps staying in this and working on this issue is my best way in this world. Maybe he will change? Maybe just maybe he will respect me for me? And value me as I am?

October, 15 2017 at 9:53 pm

i have been emotionally abusive to my husband of 14 years. we have 3 kids (under 10). he had an awakening earlier this year and realized i was abusing him, fell into a very deep clinical depression with heavy alcohol use and very much threatened divorce. he has been very clear on all the different ways i was abusive (including infidelity) and although he says he still loves me and wants to work it out, i feel that there is barely a hair holding us together. i have acknowledged all my wrong doings, apologized to him multiple times (in person, in writing, to his parents, etc) and taken steps to change my behavior. i have been to therapy, defended him to my parents, researched and enacted many positive behavior traits (controlling my anger, apologizing for more minor, daily infractions without being provoked, regularly acknowledging and apologizing for specific things i did to hurt him through the years, etc). he is a really good man and was always the one trying to keep me happy, etc and now i truly see the breadth of my actions, i am committed to rebuilding him and our marriage. my reason for commenting now is that i really need success stories. i need to hear from people who have been in my place and have been able to heal their abused husbands and repair their marriages. all statistics are against me and our marriage continuing. every lawyer, therapist, etc who hears this story (especially from his very descriptive point of view) just cannot believe we lasted this long...and to think about continuing???? my husband is a broken man because i broke him. he feels his life is ruined, dreams lost, life wasted because of me. does anyone have a story to share with me that ends happily? as in: able to reconcile and ultimately live happy and healthy as a married couple? thank you in so in need of something positive i can share with my husband.

September, 29 2016 at 6:29 am

I have been verbally abuse on and off for 20 years to my wife.she filed for divorce 6 months ago and now i am in therapy and do not drink any alchol at all.I am treating her kind but she is very distant and i think she is going to go through with the divorce. i think the drinking was a part of the problem and my lack of understanding of the damage verbal abuse could do. also im pretty sure she is off and on with some guy. iwish a had woken up along time ago!!!going to continue to work on myself and improve! dont know what else to do we still live in the same house . im 55 and im sure now sober and in therapy i would be much better but she doesnt want to go to counseling with me..she said shes fine.. i love her but i may have done too much danage for now im giving her her space as per therapist suggestion. any suggestions ive always worked and made a good living..sometimes she does talk to me but not often

LaToya Johnson
August, 16 2016 at 6:48 pm

I had a ex i been with for 4 ½ years until i couldn't take it anymore and finally broke it off March 15, 2016. We broke off it before of last year when i almost jumped out of a moving car just to get away from him and end my life. He was trying to keep and take me far out to where his family was and have me stranded because i didn't want to be with him anymore. I realize now that i was in emotionally abusive relationship but and i knew something wasn't right. I had my share of warning signs from this guy and thought “hell he will get better, i am only tripping about this”. No i still recalled the first night where he was putting me out of his mother's house because of what i’ve done or said to him so i told him i am leaving and he slam me against the toilet stall and sink choking me out. And from that night i knew it wasn't right but i stay and i ask myself why. And i answer saying because i love him and i am going to make this work even though sometimes i wanted to give up but i needed him for some strange reason. He apologize to me when he choke me but i was scared of him.
He embarrassed me so badly in front of his family while i lived there at the time when we got into arguments or when i told him something, he says something that hits below the waist. My feelings are hurt from this. He ripped my clothes, through my stuff out and called me a bitch, that i am fat and ugly. He could do better, i am broke and nothing, he can have a better type of woman than me and says my attitude is the worst and no other man is going to put up with me and if i do get a man he gonna abuse me and treat me like trash but in the back of mind that’s happening now. He had snappish ways if i was to tell him eat a sandwich or if i'm out with family and there was no room i told him to sit on the floor he gotten real upset with me and when he got me alone. He made me feel worst.To make matters worst he was an ex gang banger, so the story he told i thought about too.
Don’t get me wrong he has a good ways but the bad ways over power it so much i forgot it. If i needed anything he would do it, jump up per say. I give him that but it wasn't right for me. As the time being in relationship i had health problems dealing with over excessive bleeding with top of something else but i was in a dark place from that and i thought he understood it he showed it and told me he did. But i was wrong. He made me feel so dirty about myself. I had semi confidence about myself but it was shattered by being with him, to the point if you tell me i am beautiful i do not believe it. Cause he made me feel real low about myself. He compare me to his past relationship, he wanted to change who i am and said i was trying to change him but all i wanted to do was help him and love him the way i could. Yes i admit i am not affectionate but i was willing to learn that but i was playful and silly so i was showing my affection through that. I guess that wasn’t enough. I been depress so much while being with him while being scared. He threaten me if i was to leave him and said i wasted his time but only to have me beat up so badly. So i was afraid to leave and i couldn't even believe i was letting him do this to me because this is unlike me, i am strong but that went out the window being with him.
Are arguments are so awful he says a lot of hurtful things to me and all i would say okay deshawn you are digging yourself into a grave. I told him i even gave him warning signs if i go back to my old self you not going to like it. He’s born again christian and told me several times he spoken to God about us and he sees what he is doing wrong but only reverts back to his old self. He stay judging me and others around him because he went to church. But i started to fight back after he choke me again for saying something hurtful to him but i wanted to show him what it feels like saying hurtful things to me but i got hurt in the process. He never once punch me only choke me but that is still wrong.
I haven't told my parents everything about it because i know i don’t want to give that bad of image of him. So i keep protecting till this day. In the midst of him trying to fix himself to be better he was trying to rush me to get over the pain and suffering he cause and i told him it doesn't happen that fast. Until one night he stop pressuring it and i told him we gonna do better. Why did i keep lying to myself. I didn't’ want to be with him anymore, i don't want a relationship anymore. I was struggling with that for a long time. All the while he kept saying i'm going to change then with back and i started to believe less and less on what he said.
Now my heart is cold and i am trying to forgive him, i told him i will remain to help him get on his feet because he disable now. Why i keep worrying about him? I guess it's because of my conscious i still want to be there for him but i don't want him around me anymore because i need to heal. Even though we not together anymore we still have fights and i cry because he keep asking for another chance. And i don't want it. I told him i don't want you anymore. He realize the damage he done and wants to fix him but wants me to be with him and i don't want too. I need to fix me and i'm slowing going back to me once he is completely gone.
I am 26 now, just graduate from college and i am proud of myself for pushing forward and trying to get back to normal. I realize i am strong for what i been through and fought to keep myself from going under. I do know the healing process starts once i completely get rid of him but didn't really think i was in emotionally damage until i answer some question. I just wanted to share what i been through since being in a 4 ½ years relationship and breaking it off since this year. It's hard but i am making it and will continue to push forward.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
August, 17 2016 at 4:33 am

You're an inspiration <3 I'm proud of you, too. He's dead weight.

July, 3 2016 at 3:11 am

I feel like this is the first useful article I found on this topic. I am with an abusive boyfriend. It is a LDR that started off really amazing. We met each others families and friends and managed to bridge the distance for almost 5 years now. I know from his actions that he loves me, but his words say something else.
Lately it has gotten worse and during our relationship I got more and more depressed. This only shows though, when we argue. "Argue" means he hurts my feelings and verbally and emotionally abuses me. He says things like I am "not worth changing" and that he could replace me anytime. Then the next day he will write the sweetest messages, like I am the perfect girlfriend and the best girlfriend he ever had. These mixed up signals really mess with my head. He broke up so many times with me but he always comes back (after I beg, I must admit).
This stress has taken such toll on me, that I started hurting myself and contemplated suicide. He literally drove me insane. In the beginning he was understanding and wanted to help me. He was very supportive. We both thought this was the damage from my past engagement that was showing. Now I've come to realize this has all to do with him.
I will finally go for therapy. I realized that my happiness is solely dependent on me. I want to break up with him and hope it will make him change and come back. If not, I don't know how I will deal with the pain. I feel we invested so much in this almost impossible LDR. I once suggested therapy for him too and he was open for it. But nothing happened.
I am scared that if I break up with him he will abuse me again. I also have to add that he is a narcissist, and he openly admits it. I never met a meaner person in my life, but on the other hand I do know for a fact that he loves me dearly. Otherwise he would be long gone. Should I just end it with him or try to work it out on terms of a contract? I feel in our case it is more difficult but we are currently 6000 miles apart. If I end it it might be easy for him to not come back and forget his feelings for me. This is the hardest decision of my life. We have/had something so good...

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
July, 4 2016 at 10:50 am

If you reread your comment, you'll see that his actions do NOT show that he loves you. His actions, all things abusive people can do, include coming back after you ask him to (I bet you "behave" the way he wants you to after he returns for a while). If you break up with him, he will not change - he admits to being a narcissist (diagnosed or not) and promised he'd go to counseling but lied about it.
With everything I read in your comment, I suggest you leave him. A contract with him will be a lie, no matter what he says or if he signs it.
The only "good" you've experienced with this man is when he's honeymooning you, setting you up for failure.
Here's a list of what you do now:

May, 11 2016 at 4:06 am

Great article Kellie,
Few people are aware of how much words can hurt someone who is suffering from illness like depression. Some peoples realities are more sensitive to changes and fluctuations in the environment and I believe that you are promoting a higher consciousness by encouraging people to be more aware of the language they are using to communicate with others. Let's continue to use words to do good to others and hopefully we can avoid from hurting each other's feelings too much. =p

March, 29 2016 at 10:22 pm

I am an emotional abuser of my wife who has recently left me. We were only married for a little over two years and quite frankly after reading some of the replies on this post. I'm glad she left me. I regret everyday that I treated her the way that I did. I always blamed my behavior on childhood traumas, intoxication and current stressors in life. She has moved out of our apartment but is still in constant contact. I love this woman and I do want her back in my life as soon as possible but I also know that I most likely won't be ready to give her what she needs. I'm afraid that she will find someone new and the same time I am relieved that she would be able to find some calmness in her life. I know I have ruined her emotionally by my constant acts of manipulation and attempts at controlling her. I am looking to take anger management, have not used liquor to cope (as this further exacerbated the abuse while we were together), speaking to a therapist but this does not change what damage I have done to her. Are there any self help books for abusers? Should I cut myself off from her? What can I do to help her regain back the confidence and happiness I took from her? What type of changes can I do in order to gain back her trust and ability to love me again?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
March, 30 2016 at 4:21 pm

There is no way to control her feelings for you. You must do what is right (get yourself straight) and release her. By releasing her, I mean admit to her you know what you've done, apologize and tell her exactly what you're doing to end the behavior. This doesn't mean she will or must forgive you - you must give up on the idea that you can "fix" her. She must fix herself. IMO, counseling for you (NOT marriage counseling) is great, and you're already doing that. Consider a sobriety program, and think of ways to reduce your stress levels daily, not just when they're building. Doing this alone, meaning without her in the home, will help more than with her there.
I see you had childhood trauma, and it's important to discuss those with your therapist. I suggest you also ask him/her for some cognitive behavioral therapy so you can catch yourself thinking the thoughts that lead to abusing.
I recommend Patricia Evans book, "The Verbal Abuser: Can He Change?" solely for the contractual information. You could make a contract with yourself - it would be great guidance for you. If your wife doesn't take you back, you'll be a more loving man for someone else in the future. (Don't rush into another relationship - it will likely have the same dynamic as the one you experience with your wife).
Besides that, doing a search on "how to stop abusing my wife" turned up quite a few reputable sites. Always check where you're getting your information - you want the good stuff. You can also visit and call or chat to find programs near you meant for batterers (not that you hit her, but that the info would be helpful). Verbal abuse, in time, always leads to physical violence.
Good luck to you. I'm happy that you recognized and admitted your problem. That's always the first step to any solution.

March, 27 2016 at 11:27 pm

I have been a emotional abuser to the women i love we are no longer together just recently and i fill horrible about what i have done. I have my first counseling session this week i wished she would have stayed so i could prove it to her. It is a hard realization for me because i wasn't aware of my behavior but i will change i can't do that to someone i care about i understand why she left I'm not mad at her 1 bit i hope she is okay i know she is dealing with depression and that's my fault i was supposed to be the one who builds her up not break her down so Lorin if you come across this just know I love you and i will change and I'm sorry

February, 2 2016 at 8:57 am

Thank you for showing me the light! My boyfriend and I have dated on and off for over a year. During that time, we have broken up over some very bad, volatile (once semi-violent) fights. After the semi-violent one, I told him if he ever did that again we were completely through, so since then I have not felt at risk. But when we argue and fight, he plays dirty, and says the most hurtful things, and I have begun to retaliate and say abusive things back, which I hate about myself. I have recently become pregnant, and after the last fight where he told me to get out and he accused the baby wasn't his, I left. He called me a couple of days later wanting to get back together with some 'conditions', so I gave him some 'conditions' of my own, which is where your lovely website has come in to help me set my boundaries! I wrote up a relationship contract that was modeled after yours. He immediately said, "Why is all of this in your favor?"...I'm like what? It's for us to have a healthy relationship, where we BOTH do the behaviors. Now he is trying to change things on there, saying just because I don't like it, doesn't mean it's abuse. What should I do? He says he wants to work on this relationship and himself, but he will absolutely NOT go to individual therapy (we are currently in couple's therapy). Should I give him another chance or just cut ties, because I'm just getting exhausted over this... why am I trying argue and convince someone to treat me respectfully?! I don't want my baby to think it's ok to take verbal abuse or dish it out, but I also want it to have a father...ugh so overwhelming. :(

February, 1 2016 at 6:48 am

Thanks so much, Kellie Jo! You are a wise woman! :-)
I read your contract and found it very inspiring. And obviously very effective! Yes, I've read both of Patricia Evans' books, but while they were eye-opening in many ways, they still left me confused and undecided.
I like the idea of a year apart and have already considered suggesting something like this. Unfortunately, however, there are two major reasons that speak against this.
For one, I fear it would upset and confuse our adolescent kids, who could get quite destabilized by constantly wondering whether their parents will stay together or get divorced. I feel we owe them clarity, not more confusion (because they are, of course, already aware that something isn't right).
Moreover, we don't have the money to sustain two separate homes, and since my husband is the main breadwinner, and vehemently opposed to separating, he would simply refuse to help pay for a second place.
Anyway, I obviously don't expect you to resolve my problems -- I'll have to think this over for a while longer and consider my options. (God, I'm so fed up with losing sleep over this marriage!).
Thank you very much for your input and for this fantastic resource, which, I see, has been very helpful for so many of us!

January, 31 2016 at 9:43 pm

I have been in an emotionally abusive, sexless marriage for 21 years. It took 20 years of constant criticism, belittlement, name-calling, word-twisting, blaming, etc. for me to realize that I was being abused! I just thought that difficulties were "normal" in long-term relationships, made allowances for my husband's traumatic childhood, and kept telling myself that if only I could be the perfect wife and mother, our relationship would improve. (Classic co-dependent pattern!)
The reason I put up with this situation for as long as I did is that we have 3 children and I am financially dependent on my husband. (I shouldered the vast majority of the child-rearing and home-making responsibilities, so was unable to also earn a decent income.)
Last summer -- after a year of individual counseling made me realize just how destructive my marriage was -- I told my husband I was leaving him because I couldn't bear the abuse any more. We did 10 sessions of marital counseling, which stopped the hostility (apart from occasional flare-ups), and he started seeing an individual therapist 2 months ago. He is also seeing a therapist with our eldest son, whom he had also damaged with this abusive behavior.
He is now much calmer with me and our children and is even taking care of occasional jobs around the house. He has apologized for the abuse and has promised to work on himself to become a kinder, more loving partner. However, while I used to be endlessly forgiving for 20 years, I now find myself unwilling to reconnect and get closer with him, despite his repeated assurances that he is changing, and his pleas for a second chance.
Why is it that, after wanting him to be a loving husband all those years, I am now not willing/able to give him another chance? I am trying to let go of the past, forgive and forget, but the hurt runs so deep that I find it impossible to trust him and to believe that he will really, truly, fundamentally change. The only way I feel comfortable relating to him is at a great distance (I have been sleeping separately for 8 months and we have hardly any interactions), and the thought of letting him back into my heart, or returning to his bed, sends shudders down my spine. Am I a vengeful, cold-hearted bitch? Or are my instincts (which I ignored for all those years) right in telling me that he will never fundamentally change?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
February, 1 2016 at 3:57 am

Carrie, I believe in your instincts. 20 years of trying to be the perfect person and ignoring your instincts is causing you to doubt yourself now.
Here's the thing. Some people will change, fundamentally and permanently. Your husband's willingness to go to individual counseling is a good sign, but then it's been only 2 months. The counseling with your eldest son is a good thing, too.
Unfortunately, all of these great changes could be a scam. He could be acting nicely because he's setting up for divorce behind your back. He could be setting you up with the longest "honeymoon" period he's ever given. There's no way to know.
How about a compromise with yourself for the time being? No one says you have to be physically together while he works out his issues. The trust is broken, you're still walking on eggshells and you haven't yet seen for yourself any real change. What is 2 months of being "good" to 20 years of abusing you? You say you're only comfortable from a distance, so get some more distance. If he is truly working with his counselor, he will understand why you want to "get away" from him for awhile. Tell him that you want a year (or whatever time you decide) apart, separate houses, and then make up your mind if the relationship can work.
All I'm saying is that you're 50% of that relationship whether he wants you to be or not. You figure out what is good for you. You are not a cold-hearted bitch. That sounds like something he would say to you. I'd bet on your instincts any day.
If you haven't read it already, Patricia Evans wrote a book called "The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He Change?" In it, you'll find a contract of sorts you can present to him. It worked really well for me - not because my husband agreed to do it, but because he didn't take it seriously.

January, 9 2016 at 12:46 am

I am glad to have found this websight with other women going through what I'm going through. We are a partially emty nest now. When the 2nd left, it was just me and him. I did not like who he was anymore, without distractions of kids around!!! A very rude awakiening and soooo lonely I was. Many incidents happened that I could not forgive. I started researching and now know it has been verbal abuse He has never been physically abusive to me. Since the kids are out mostly, he hates his job, the people he works with, and so many little things blow up into huge things. It got so bad that last spring/summer, I said he go to counseling for his anger or I didn't know what our future would be. He agreed. I saw improvement very quickly! I had hope. Now, things have slipped and he is right back. This past week, so many incidents happened, for example, he is controling, telling me I'm going to hit someone with a shopping cart in the store, when I was not! He has told me when to cross the street. He gets angry at things having a fit, then saying I take it personally and it had nothing to do with me. He gets very impatient very quickly. I feel like I'm walking on eggshells, and even on a hike, he blamed me for walking in front of him (a few yards) and that's why we missed the other path. I was like, am I really hearing this? He blamed me for not telling him the salmon was not farm raised and that's why it was "tough". Huge argument at the table. I mean little things turn into huge things. If we ask him something, he can get very mad. He has anger problems. But he thinks it's everyone else, not him. He is not like this all the time and can be very nice and sweet, taking care of everyone. But I'm so sick of the unpredictable behavior. How can you love someone in a consistant way? He thinks that to treat someone with a mutual respect and kindness, that's asking way to much and he won't do that. That means I want him to be perfect. I want a "perfect" man. It's irrational. no one is perfect. I set us up with a marriage cousnelor next week. I'm afraid of his negative reaction.... I am on the fence with the marriage and am so scared to be alone at 55.

December, 9 2015 at 3:24 am

Like most of you, I had a wake up moment when I realize that I had been verbally abused emotionally destroyed and controlled. Many people who know me well you're frustrated with me before I realized this. They see me as a professional woman who couldn't possibly fall victim to such a relationship. But yet, it happened. The man I'm involved with is now my husband. We've known each other our whole lives. Since we were kids. In fact, we were each others first love. We had a child together when we were 16, which we later had to give up for adoption. So almost from the beginning of our relationship, we were bonded on a trauma. Over the years we remained friends and later in life when we were both divorced, we found each other again and fell in love. Those several months together when we recording were amazing. I never felt like anyone listen to me better than he did. In fact, he seemed to hang on my every word. Months later, we were on our way to get married in another country and we were involved in a terrible life threatening accident. So, another point of trauma bonding for us. And we knew that. We were cognizant of the fact that we had these incidents in our lives of trauma that was a point of bonding for us. What I don't think either one of us understood was the reason that we weren't getting along well was because of the verbal abuse emotional abuse and the destructive behavior. Almost from the very beginning, he treated me poorly. How can someone treat you well and treat you poorly? Well they have personality characteristics that enable them to be dr. Jekyll and mr. Hyde. I was told I was crazy, that I need to see a doctor to be put on drugs or hormones, any time I express how I felt about something it was an opportunity for him to fly into a rage. Any small disagreement or point out of a problem would be caused to fly into a rage that would land me outside of the house, on 112 trip somewhere, with a trip our plans being cancelled, him not going to work and calling out of work, him using my confidences against me, and of course if none of that worked, then cursing in in defaming and belittling. The strange thing is, I didn't understand what was happening, but I always was committed to trying to stay and help figure it out. Well recently, the incidence of region abuse became more frequent and more intense. He had successfully convince me to leave my career, to leave my family and friends, & I was living in the middle of the ocean on a tiny island with him. I have no access to my own money, I had no control over my daily activities, I was expected to be there for him every waking moment of the day, and used to look forward in the end when he would go to work and I would have my peace. I was increasingly becoming depressed, not taking care of myself, became overweight, started drinking daily to cope with my feelings, and lost touch with nearly everyone who loved me. When I started to express my concern over that, he blew up at me, in a fit of rage and controlling statements and hurtful dialogue that lasted for 3 days. At the end of it he told me that was why people got choked or stabbed with a knife. That made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. And considering that he is a healthcare professional, I was very confused. The next morning I left. And now he appears to be accepting that he is a controlling and verbally abusive and emotionally manipulative person. But he is also angry. Angry that I have left and now withholding communication and all money from me. I am moving forward in my life the best way I know how which is to get a job and get myself reestablished in life. Whether he discusses this with me again in the future or decides to do anything about it, I don't know what he will do. He is repeatedly told me that he wants to divorce and for me to send him the papers. I will not send him the papers. He can download them himself from the internet. I'm so confused and so hurt that someone who loves me so much what do these things to me. But, I can't focus on this anymore as I'm tired of feeling like a victim. That's not who I want to be. I just wanted to say that one of the worst days of my life was on my last birthday. He came home from the hospital where he worked in the morning of my birthday. I was busy straightening up our condo. And excited about my day. For reasons I still don't know, he started into a verbal tirade with me. He told me that everybody who knows me thinks I'm crazy. He told me that no one loved me. You told me that I should leave and go back to where I came from and my family, even though no one would be there waiting for me. He said that I was a horrible wife and the worst person he'd ever known in his life. He told me that I was just a disappointment professionally and personally. That he wished he never met me. And that I should go away forever. That I should just die. This was on the morning of my birthday. A day he knows is special to me. Then, he just went to sleep. And left me twisting in the wind all day. This is what abusers do to get you under control. They are trying to quote t2n quote how to behave with them so that you can avoid their hurtful behavior. If you disappoint me, I will punish you with this abuse. I wish everyone healing. I wish no one had ever been abused so that there would be no more people being abused. For everyone who was abused growing up and childhood who learned how to abuse that way, I wish them healing and the ability to understand what they're doing, and to be compassionate with themselves. I wish them a way out. For those who have been abused, I wish you healing and that you're able to move forward in your life and be healthy.

December, 8 2015 at 6:09 am

I was married for 42 years to an abusive man. I left 5 months ago. We have two married daughters and 3 grandchildren, our lives will always be connected. I thought he would try to change, instead he is hiring prostitutes, constantly. I would love to try, but see no possibility, now.

December, 8 2015 at 5:10 am

Hello, I have been married to the same man for 18years, we have been together since I was 17 and I am now 40. My husband and I have been through alot in the 20+ years we have been together. I had brain surgery back in 1999 and 2000, we have a 16 year old daughter, and we were a great team!
In the past 4 years things have changed. Alcohol has become a problem. My husband is an alcoholic but I have asked him to stop drinking and he has told me "no I will never stop I am a alcoholic". He has been verbally abusive up until 4 week ago. He seems to be trying, and tells me he is trying and that he loves me and will not lash out to me anymore and will NOT fight with me anymore. Well.. the issue I have is believing him! I feel like my husband has cheated on me, I cannot seem to move past this! He told me last night that "I need to just divorce him, I will never get past this" ! and I told him I want to move past these feeling but I don't know how!
I have found an Alanon meeting to go too, but the thought of him never quitting his drinking is a problem to me. I really need help. He is just so matter of fact that he is not changing, that I all I want want is for him to sit around, and be old, he told me last night he is always going to be a kid at heart, he is 42 years old. I know what his thought of kid at heart is. I just would love for him to say I will do whatever I need to do to make our marriage work, and DO IT!!!!I am scared to leave him because I do not want to give up, and I do not want to loose my family but I am tired of feeling this way! I do love him and want us to get back to loving each other again but I just don't know where to start?
Please Help! Confused!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
December, 11 2015 at 10:05 am

When my ex told me, "I like who I am, I'm not changing," I didn't believe him for many years. Finally, I couldn't deny it any longer. He really truly likes who he is and he liked having me around as a punching bag.
If you don't like who he is anymore and feel yourself unable to heal and feel free, then perhaps it is time for you to believe your husband, too. Since you've been asking him to help you save the marriage and he is resisting, he already gave up. You can't give up when the other party does so first. Now you just have to decide what to do to be happy.

December, 1 2015 at 5:45 am

Listen to your instinct that the situation doesn't sit right for you... Your intuition is speaking volumes about your boyfriend!
He backed off his verbal abuse just long enough to get you back, and trust me when I say that it will "build up" again (I've been through this countless times).
Run, don't walk, as far away as you can, unless you want to be his maid and constantly made to feel like you're "not good enough" - because in his eyes, you never will be!
The fact that you called him on his crap and he retorts with "you have things to change too" is a very effective way for him to avoid dealing with his behaviour.
You deserve better - you deserve a man who will count his blessings for being with you.
Get out now, before your self-esteem goes down the tubes. I have also been there, and I am in therapy to bring myself back to the vibrant, confident person I used to be.

November, 27 2015 at 8:42 am

My boyfriend was verbally abusive to me and did some things physically when we were together. We broke up and got back together this year, and he has not touched me. But I think the verbal stuff is starting up again. He called me loser again because I haven't gone back to school to get my degree. I point out when he says things like this but when i do that he says that no one is perfect and that I have things to change about myself too. Only the things he wants me to change are to go back to school, clean for him (we don't live together), do a certain something that he wants in bed that i don't want to do (but I do everything else), things like that. Like he's trying to trade for it. No one is perfect, he's right, but something about that doesn't sit right with me. I feel like I have to do all these things (there was more than this) for him to change the verbal stuff. He's kind of missing the point, it's not supposed to be a trade-off. I'm just confused.

November, 9 2015 at 9:08 am

Why is is that abusers have to hit "rock bottom" or face divorce before they will even consider changing their behaviour? (And even then, some never do and continue blaming their exes - just like my spouse did, but I didn't see that "warning" sign.)
I have been with my current spouse for 12 years. He has never been physically abusive but I have been called all the names in the book from stupid, thick, dense, screwed up, argumentative, a shit disturber, etc.
His verbal and emotional abuse were so bad that I started having dizzy spells and bouts of severe nausea just thinking how he was treating me. I was in a vulnerable situation - no stable employment, a failed business and I was at a risk for losing everything I worked so hard for. Yet, I am highly educated, intelligent, eloquent, well travelled and am surrounded my loving family and friends who love spending time with me. (He has no friends and is estranged from his siblings.)
Then I had an epiphany. After reading Patricia Evans' book, The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Lundy Bancroft's book, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, and one year of individual therapy (we had done 2 years of couples' therapy to no avail), I FINALLY GOT IT.
His anger, his disproportionate rage, his accusations, were not in response to some provocation on my part. They are about him controlling me and crushing my spirit. He is completely oblivious to his own dynamic. I can now see it for what it is, and his horse manure is quickly losing its effect on me. I still love him, but I detest the way he treats me. We have not been intimate in over 2 years (of course, he blames me for that) as I cannot bring myself to being intimate with someone who does not care about my feelings anymore.
It has become so bad that this is how our "conversations" go. He will spend 15 minutes spewing out all him venom at me, telling me how everything is my fault, and that if I just learned to "shut up and do as I'm told", we wouldn't have any problems, etc. Then, when he's finished, he actually says "OK I'm finished. Now go away. I don't give a sh*t what you have to say." So after a couple of those "monologues", I now promptly excuse myself and leave the room. He then turns it around and says "See? See? You just refuse to look at your flaws! No wonder we can't resolve anything!" It takes the patience of an angel not to fight back and tell him to bugger off!
I still have moments of weakness but am getting stronger every day. I know the day will come soon when I will say "I have had enough" and that will be end for us. The thought makes me sad, but at the same time, I must do this to preserve my own sanity and well-being. I have no intention of living like this until I die.
Incidentally, as soon as I started regaining confidence in my abilities, I have been getting interesting and very lucrative contract work and my career prospects (I changed careers just 4 years ago and I will be 60 soon) look very promising.
I say to all you women out there: There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and you are not alone!
I say to all you men out there: If she starts telling you that she feels like she's "walking on eggshells", she misses what you used to have, she shuts down sexually, TAKE NOTICE! She's trying to send you a message and you need to start listening with your heart, if you don't want to lose her.

November, 7 2015 at 2:01 am

I am a medical doctor myself, 33, British with no children. I left my emotionally abusive marriage which is only 1.5 years old after my husband became physically abusive aswell last month during a fit of rage. There were red flags during courtship which I hoped would not evolve any further and get better after marriage. Emotional abuse has occurred on and off during the marriage, he would engage in silent treatment for weeks for small things I had said that upset him and he wouldn't communicate even after I apologised. Once, he shoved me and has thrown a bottle near me in the past and bruised me when drunk and we were not even arguing and actually going through a better patch (so I thought) but for some reason I didn't consider that physical abuse as he didn't hit me or mark me. I know now that it was physical abuse but denied the magnitude to myself as I was desperate to work on our young marriage. I was trying to juggle postgrad diploma and full time work in a new job. The incident last month was black and white due to smacking my arms and pushing me very hard and smashing up my phone to the point I was so scared and couldn't go home to him again and his blaming me again for pushing his buttons as I was trying to calm him down before during and after the abuse.
He used to do all the classic signs with anything I raised about his behaviour or pain he caused me (minimising, denial, blaming, gas lighting) and for the first time since we have been together he is remorseful as I have left. He has apologised occasionally and over the summer he admitted to overreacting sometimes. That took a lot of effort to get him to say that. Despite screaming every two months that he wants a divorce during rage he now says this is the last thing he wants and he will now get help and see a counsellor. He has admitted he has blamed me too much (all problems were ultimately mine - to the point that he insisted I saw a therapist which I did over the summer when I begged for marriage counselling and he said to drop it). However still even now he is invested in my playing a role in the poor state of the marriage and saying we need to see someone together eventually, perhaps once he sees a skilled counsellor he will start realising the role of his destructive behaviours. He is a different person in public, charming as anything and so handsome, I am always being told by others who haven't seen the other side of him, that I am so lucky to have him.
Of course, there have been good periods in between and not every day is a nightmare but the years of Blame, intermittent rages and no accountability or admittance have left me feeling so empty and a shadow of my former self. I have a great supportive family who say they will support me no matter what but I feel lost. I am exhausted, confused and lack self esteem. I don't know how to navigate this. Don't feel ready to start again with him or to leave. I love him but I also feel so let down, angry and sad all at once. I question is it love or trauma bonding? The thought of leaving him feels me with sadness about how this happened after investing so much. He says he wants to be a good husband to me now but I don't know if he has the capacity as his thinking seems so distorted and his behaviour has escalated over the years. Scared to stay and go through a honeymoon period and have children and this nightmare start again later I life. I feel he needs to enrol in a domestic abuse perpetrator program before I can consider reconciling but given that he is only now admitting there is a problem and agreeing to seeing a one to one counsellor, I don't feel he would agree to this. Very confused about the path to take. Feel that I have lost my ability to make a good choice.
I am cautious about reconciling as each time we speak since the once time he was
Sorry he has started backtracking and now says it's unfair to say he hit me, though he did and is preoccupied with being portrayed as a 'wife Beater' though I haven't used that term. He hasn't seen a counsellor yet or read a book on abuse I mentioned. It's been nearly 7 weeks since we parted.

August, 24 2015 at 12:44 pm

@Lucy: Your story is almost mine exactly... Just over 10 years married, and were together off and on 5 years before that. We have 1 child together, 2 1/2. I just told a friend, "well, he hasn't been mean to me since Monday..." And I hear myself say it and know how ridiculous it sounds. What kills me the most is KNOWING this is a cycle. But still, every time, I'm thinking, ‘well what if this is the time that it won’t happen again?’ Like ... realizing that for 8.5 years it was a cycle of ‘not-great but not-bad and abusive’ ... then 9 months of hell, then another 9 months of ‘not-great but not-bad and abusive’ ... like how is that not enough for me to GET IT? I'm emotionally checked out ... don't trust him at all ... have zero sexual attraction to him (which I now understand due to SEEING and recognizing the abuse) ... I think the only reason I've stayed is because I don't want to put my child through divorce. This statement could be mine: "I want to be strong and I know I have grown so much since my discovery but it is almost like I need confirmation from someone that has been through the same thing that it isn’t going to get better and it is time to let go of my hope." *sigh* Although, I met a woman 2 days ago who was and said exactly that ... and I'm still struggling.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Tired and done.
December, 28 2022 at 2:09 pm

I know this is an old post, but take it from me that it doesn’t get better. I am coming out of a 26 year marriage. He progressively got worse over the years. He also cheated on me about 14 years ago when I had our third baby at home. I suspected a night and He denied and denied. I was stupid!!! We ended up having 5 children together because I was happy with a life we were building even if I had to navigate around his BS but his rages kept getting worse and more frequent. He had no regard for me. He is great to the outside world and speaks with adoration of me and the kids, which left me in a very confused gaslit state. I am done. He now suddenly doesn’t wanr us to end and sees the errors of his ways and has started counseling, but I begged him for years while we were together and I got nothing but hurt from him.

July, 28 2015 at 3:18 am

I found this because I am trying to make sense of all of the stuff in my head. Last night I saw the ugly truth of myself in the mirror and realised that I am not what I thought. Like my father, I am an abuser (Even if not to the same, physical degree). Although my abuse was verbal and did not follow through on the physical threat it contained, it was abuse nonetheless. And the road that has lead me here is one of stubborn denial and a refusal to admit that I need help to resolve this behaviour.
I don't say this for attention, I say this in penance, in front of people who are like the ones I have abused. To you all, but especially her, I say I am sorry. I have read your contract and thought of it being handed to me. My response to it is, "Yes." I don't want to lose my fiancee but I know that I must show that most rare of changes in order to hold this, our life, together. I must do this to be an everyday part of my son's life. I want to do this so I can be.
Regardless of whether or not I have actually told her she is useless or worthless (And for the record, I haven't done that - said actual derogatory words), I have made her feel completely useless and worthless. I have blamed her by making her actions as excuses for my anger. I have escalated arguments with words knowing that she will lash out so that I can make her the 'abuser'. I have rejected any simple criticism by refusing to admit any wrongdoing. I'm glad to see that I am not the only abuser making a confession here, it gives me hope that I may be able to change this before it is too late.
I am no longer going to blame and excuse my mental state by a cycle that I have the power to end. My past will not define my future. Until today, I have abused. No more.

July, 14 2015 at 8:30 am

I have been married 11 years and was with my husband for 4 years before that. Our relationship has always been abusive and I realized that about 4 years ago. The switch came on and I wanted a divorce. Of course things were going to change and he was going to change so I thought to give it a try. I find myself in the cycle. He doesn't really call me names anymore but undermines me in front of the kids, makes me feel down about myself, he just has this black cloud over him. He told me that I always bring up the way he used to be and don't recognize his changes (which is not true) and he will say things like "at least I didn't stay mad as long" or always tries to point out when he feels like he handled a situation well and wants me to praise him. Of course I love my husband but I deserve so much better. It is easier to say walk away but we do have kids and I still find myself figuring out what is normal and what is not. Sometimes he can be such an amazing man that I feel as if I am cheating on him but that guy never sticks around. Yesterday was a big argument and the name calling started again all because we ran out of paper towels and I should've known what we have and don't. Mind you I work full time, do most of the cleaning, all the laundry, cooking, plus all the financials, mind you we have three kids and I go to school full time. He works 8 days and is off 6 days and that is when he contributes. This whole incident was still on one of his days off. I have read all the books and did my research but don't feel that I am strong enough to stop feeling bad for him. Being through everything I have, I always put him first and think about his feelings and feel bad for him. I want to be strong and I know I have grown so much since my discovery but it is almost like I need confirmation from someone that has been through the same thing that it isn't going to get better and it is time to let go of my hope.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
July, 27 2015 at 8:54 am

In Patricia Evans's book "The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He Change?" there is a contract suggestion. Following the author's guidance will show you if your husband can or will change.

July, 13 2015 at 8:01 am

I just left my husband of 25 years and came back after a week and a half. I did not realize I was being abused because he never hit me. He abused me emotionally, verbally and mentally, he manipulated me and has narcissistic traits as well as depression. I sought counseling and they told me to look for signs of change. That night, he and I met up and he showed all the signs that he will and wants to change. He took full responsibility and quit blaming everybody else for the way he treated me. When he cried, I knew he meant it, you just don't make this up. Unfortunately, he shared with me the extent of his abuse as a child for the first time in 25 years. He shared things that I just felt bad for the little boy lost. My humanity could not let him stay the night alone, so I went back. I laid down the law and gave him a checklist of deal breakers. I notified him that anything that was broken is a cause for divorce and that even after it all, there was no guarantee I will stay.
Right now I'm feeling confused, I feel that if I had stayed gone, it's was the wrong thing to do and now that I'm back, it was the wrong thing to do and I did not give myself time to fully think. I think this is going to drive me crazy. I know he wants to change, but how do I know that years from now, he'll go back to his old self? How do I know his addictions won't come back?
Then I'll have wasted a few more years of my life for nothing.
He also denies that his secretary was his mistress, He'll never admit it. I asked that he fire her and he said he will, to give him 2 weeks. How will I know they've truly kept away from each other. I work and he's self employed, so I can't be around him all the time. she also has many phone numbers, he could be calling a unknown number and I'd have no idea that he doesn't talk to her.
I'm so confused and I don't know what to do. I just wish I knew what God wants me to do.

May, 8 2015 at 5:30 pm

I also am an verbally abusive man ,and unfortunately on my second marriage and 4 children two from each marriage, I have been separated for a year and a half and have chosen to understand why . A prayer filled life has brought many understandings that I'm ashamed of myself and the way I have treated and manipulated both my wives. This journey has brought me to the book verbally abusive man and while starting to read it was saying to myself that's not me but as I read it painted the exact picture of my life and I can a 100% see myself in this book. Hence has brought more of a discovery of the pain I have caused to the Women I committed to love! I want to change and have committed to doing so. My actions and behavior I honestly never knew what I was doing I really thought it was just different personality types and stupid argument . But I was controlling and defining . Once again so ashamed of my behavior. I believe my wife will not come back . And with what I know now they have saved my children from becoming men with my behavior. I have asked my children for forgiveness and will continue to lift them up in a positive direction and strive to not be the man I was. And pray my wife will see my actions for my past words and lies have only scared her keeping her from believing anything I say. I want to Honor Her the way she deserves. YAHSHUA is the only one that can keep me on the path of change and I am so thankful for where he has brought me. My ex wife and I are actually speaking healthy and our children noticing the change. There are men that want to change and honor and respect their wives that they committed to. Men seek to change!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
May, 9 2015 at 12:46 am

I am always so happy to hear of men realizing how they've behaved and making big changes. I am happy for you, Joseph, and I wish you all the successes. Change is a hard road for anyone. Look up MEVAC online if you want support. It stands for Men Against Verbal Abuse & Control. The group is for men just like you.
As a side note, women have yet to write me to say that they were controlling and saw the light. I wonder why that is.

March, 2 2015 at 2:24 pm

Ok obviously im here because I think or ill be honest I know im verbally and emotionally abused. Ive been married to this man for 19 years and I have been cheated on, humiliated, threatened and weirdly enough "loved" at the sametime. My marriage has been such an emotional roller coaster ive been thinking on writing a book about it, besides the fact I gave this man 4 kids. I ahave 2 teenage daughters and 2 younger daughters less than 10 years of age. I am involved in an emotional internet affair which I consider emotionally abusive also and have tried many times to end it but I am so depressed and lonely sometimes I keep him around, because my husband works out of town for like 2 weeks at a time which actually makes me happy in a way. I think I still love my husband but im not even sure because how can you love someone who has caused you so much damage. His latest threat was he was going to kill me and my family because of my instagram and not having any pics of him which I do just not recent ones because im so fed up with him I dont want to. Ive told him to go to counceling but he just tells me to find one and personally im tired of putting in all the work. Im actually scared his jealousy might lead him to do something stupid. My problem is I am not financially stable and I feel stuck in a never ending cycle. Please help...

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
March, 7 2015 at 8:49 am

Drop the Internet affair like a hot rock. Block him from all of your social media accounts and never take his phone calls. You can find some THING that makes you feel better - the Internet guy is another person like your husband and leaving for him will put you in a worse situation.
I know it's hard - but a week of happiness isn't worth the threats and mean things he says and does. If he loved you, he wouldn't threaten your marriage. He would leave you alone.
You cannot make him go to counseling. He doesn't think he needs it, so nothing that happens in therapy will help or change him. You do need to go to a therapist and not because he says so but because you need individual help to decide what you want and the best strategies to get there. You will remain in that cycle until you do something different. Right now you're a source of fuel for the abuse, and I know you don't want to be the fuel for something that will burn you alive.
Go to counseling.

February, 23 2015 at 9:44 am

I am trying to learn all I can about verbal abuse. I am reading Patricia Evans book, "the Verbally Abusive Relationship". I am a woman who's been married for nearly 14 years and I am the one who has been the abuser. This has just sunk in with me within the last few days. I feel absolutely horrible that everything I've said has hurt my husband so much to the point where he has stepped out numerous times to feel accepted. He has been able to identify with other women on an emotional level. It's been something we haven't been able to achieve. I also hadn't noticed how destructive my behavior had been. I literally had forgotten what it was I said that was so harmful to him. I hadn't realized how much I was in denial. Reading Evan's book makes me feel so sick because it has described me and who I've become to nearly a T. I am filled with so much guilt. All this time, I thought it was my husband who had serious issues because of his unfaithfulness. Reading how low the statistics are for an abuser to change has made me feel like a lost cause and beyond reproach. I've really had to pray and ask my Heavenly Father to help me change and be better. I feel I am genuinely a kind person. I know I have a good heart. I felt some hope after reading Jessica's comment. We all have our struggles. I am so ashamed of who I have become. It doesn't, however have to define me. I have a heavy heart and feel I can change because I am finally recognizing all my shortcomings. I am repentant. I know I need help and can't overcome this alone.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
February, 28 2015 at 5:32 am

Patricia Evans once wrote that the women abusers who contacted her only did so once. When she offered help, she didn't hear from them again. Prove her wrong. Vist http://verbalabusecom/ and click on the links for the message boards. You will receive a call from her and she can advise you. I respect her very much and if anyone can set you on the right path, it is her.

Brian N
January, 15 2015 at 4:25 am

@Kellie Jo - Thank you so so much Kellie. This has really helped. I am in a much better place today and am 100% positive I have and will continue to change for the best. All I can do is realize my past transgressions, move on and be the best person I can be each and every day. I have done this and will continue to do this. Thanks again for the website and support. You have changed my life for the best!

Gregory Willaims
November, 27 2014 at 1:54 pm

Having read this page, I would like to talk about it on my blog where I journal how I am trying to change my ways. It is hard, and without making excuses for myself, the realisation that I have been an abuser, and still am, has led me to some horrible discoveries about my own childhood abuse, not abdicating my responsibility in this. I don't think my wife will take me back and I respect that choice. The sad thing about abuse isn't that it is a cycle, but it is a chain. Abuse creates abusers and/or codependents. I'm not sure I can change even though I desperately want to. I want to share my life with my wife, but realistically it is too late for that. I just don't want to live the rest of my life with the hurt and anger that caused the abuse and clouded my self value. Highly recommend Patricia Evans' work, but be prepared that it may start to sound familiar, not in terms of what you have done, but in what others gave done to you to for you to have no self value. If you do read my blog, be aware it is a journal of how this abuser has felt over time, so you may stumble across some dark or disturbing posts as my mood continues to fluctuate, you will realise recovery isn't linear.

Brian N
October, 15 2014 at 7:00 am

I am the verbal abuser of my wife. We have been together for 20 years and married for 11. We are now going to counseling where I no am aware of how hurtful I have been. She has mentioned in the past from time to time but as soon as she mentioned the DIVORCE word, my world has completely changed. All I want is to love her and to have one more chance which I am not sure she is willing to give me. My only excuse is that I had no idea how bad my actions until NOW. I have been researching non-stop and vow to fix myself. I am having a hard time with the fact that we have 4 small kids, this is the first time I am FULLY AWARE of how hurtful I have been and just want one more chance to change myself. I know I can, I know I am a good person, just everything I read is not in my favor and scares me to death.
Can I change if I am 200% committed and this is really the first time I am aware, understand what I was doing, researching my actions, getting tips to resolve, etc.
I feel that now I fully understand; I can change. Please help me or reach out to me if possible. My world is falling apart.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
October, 16 2014 at 5:33 am

Brian, yes, you can change. Look into behavioral-cognitive therapy. In my opinion, because you're looking to fix your behavior quickly, behavioral cognitive therapists may help you the most. Also, there's a website called Men Ending Verbal Abuse and Control (MEVAC). The creator has teamed with Patricia Evans on some projects, so the site probably would benefit you.

October, 27 2013 at 3:46 am

I was verbally abused for a very long time. We have been working things out and life has been very good. Now he is under a tremendous amount of stress from work. So some rough times. I feel I have forgiven but if I bring up anything from past or even say I did something because it was a learned response resulting from past actions he insists I am bitter. Is this right or just a tactic. Tonight he says he can't handle me. I have. I have not forgiven. He is enforcing a separation not a physical distance but he wants me to leave him alone. This is like some things from the past. But if I say it is like that the. I am bitter etc. I wAnt to know if it is right or wrong for him to feel I have not forgiven if I ever bring up the past or think he is acting like something from the past.

October, 16 2013 at 3:34 pm

Kellie, this is SO timely for me. Thank you!

October, 16 2013 at 7:31 am

Good article. I would add that when you see change and progress in a partner who has emotionally abusive tendencies, they are bound to "relapse" and will not suddenly just snap into not ever being abusive again. It's not necessarily that they "change long enough to make you think they have changed." I've been in a four year relationship that started out emotionally abusive round the clock and he will still blow up sometimes, but it's just every few months or so, and he catches himself and apologizes immediately, before it gets out of hand. It's rare that a man is without a little emotional abuse tendency if they themselves were abused or if they have PTSD, and the answer isn't always to leave. If they are dedicated to change (mine was and is), it can be so worth it.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Holly
October, 20 2013 at 9:59 am

Jessica, you're right when you say "If THEY are dedicated to change"... They are the ones who have to change. Whether the abuser "relapses" or "changes long enough to get you to stay" is a judgment only the victim of abuse can make for him/herself. At some point, the victim may not care one bit whether it's a relapse or a trick ... it's up to each of us, individually, to determine how much abuse we are willing to take after the promise to change is initiated. I am happy that you and your husband are able to keep your relationship intact and I wish the best for you and your family! <3

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Michelle Mckay
March, 26 2017 at 9:37 pm

my h the Left 4 times in the fifth time I kicked him out because I can't stand the domestic verbal abuse anymore in front of the kids to me the fighting the breaking the leaving it's so out of control that I can't take it anymore

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Luis Morales
November, 2 2018 at 9:59 am

Thank you that gives myself hope. Because I am fighting my self to change and lots of therapy and resilience to not do it again. But she obviously hasn't healed she is still hurt. So I am focus and changing when the time comes to be ready and not fail again.

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