Marriage Counseling Self-help
Relationship Toolbox

You are a past abuser? Help your partner heal in 8 steps

Professional help for people in a committed relationship who inflict emotional abuse on their partner

If you want a healthy, happy, and long-lasting relationship, and you have been mean, cruel and insensitive to your partner, then you need to take responsibility for your bad behavior, for the emotional abuse you have inflicted on them. You need to initiate a process of relationship healing. Only then will you have the happy relationship you desire.

Hi, this is Couple Therapist Abe Kass. I want to teach you how to stop being an emotional abuser because emotional abusers can change.

If you acknowledge that you have behaved badly with your partner in the past, that there has been emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and psychological abuse, I encourage you to use these 8 Relationship Guidelines for Past Abusers listed below to change yourself and contribute to your partner’s healing.

You can contribute to the repair of the relationship damage you have caused and do your best to make things right with your partner.

How are you feeling now?

Help Your Partner Heal

At this point in time, you may be feeling ashamed of yourself, fearful about your future, not sure how to undo the mess you have created, and how to get over emotional abuse trauma caused by your past behavior.

I want you to know you to know with a small amount of participation from your partner (your partner needs to accept your positive changes), you can turn your relationship around and make it loving, respectful, and healthy. I am here to help.Know that emotional abuse recovery is a process. Just like any type of healing, it takes time and effort. Don’t rush it!

Your first step is to make sure there is no more emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and psychological abuse at all in your marriage or committed relationship.

Perhaps your partner is threatening to leave you or has already left, and you want to get him or her back. The only way you can achieve this is if you acknowledge your previous bad behavior, your abusive behavior, and work through it with your partner so he or she can begin to trust you and feel safe around you once again.

Typically, individuals who abuse others have low self-esteem, as children they grew up in homes where emotional abuse was present, or if you are a man you may have been taught that men have the right to control women.

If any of this is true for you, you certainly CAN change for the better. There are ways you can learn to improve your self-esteem, to educate yourself so you know how to treat your partner with respect, and to accept the fact that men and women are equal in value.

As we discuss this matter, I am going to assume three things:

1. You have abused your partner in the past.

2. You are a ‘good’ person, but you never learned the ‘how and why’ to treat your partner with respect.

3. You want to change for the better in order to have a successful committed relationship.

If these three points apply to you, then you are ready for the 8 healing steps on how to stop inflicting emotional abuse in your relationship and reduce the likelihood that your abusive behavior will return in the future.

You Are The Abuser — Learn How to Help Heal Your Partner In 8 Steps

8 Relationship Guidelines for Past Abusers

Unless you know what emotional abuse is, it will be impossible to stop this bad behavior. Thus, your first task is to learn just what is emotional abuse. When you know what emotional abuse is, only then can you learn to stop it!

For example, sustained anger, ignoring, name-calling, threats, curses and more are all examples of emotional abuse.

Not all relationship fighting is abuse. You need to learn what is the difference between emotional abuse, verbal abuse, psychological abuse and what is, although regrettable, common place marital conflict.

 An essential component of emotional abuse recovery is taking responsibility for the abuse you have perpetrated upon your partner.

In other words, you have no one to blame for your bad behavior except yourself. You need to accept this fact, or you will never stop your abusive ways.

If you blame someone else for your ‘bad behavior,’ what you are saying is that another person is controlling you — that they determine your behavior.

If this is what you believe, this means you can’t control yourself — that YOUR behavior — good or bad — is dependent upon someone else. If so, how then can you ever stop future abuse? Obviously, this is an unacceptable position, and this position will cause you to fail in your efforts to stop abuse in the future and you will be unable to heal yourself and your partner from the past abuse.

Verbalize to your partner — the victim of your abuse — that what you did was hurtful and wrong, that you are at fault and no one else, and that you will make every effort to make sure it does not happen again. This is what it means to take responsibility for your past bad behavior.

Stopping to inflict emotional abuse requires humility. You need to listen to your partner and understand how your abuse devastated them.

When humble you can be empathetic, understand your partner’s pain, and have the possibility to reconnect as a couple.

Let your partner describe in detail his or her feelings without becoming defensive.

Don’t explain yourself, justify what you have done or point out inconsistencies and hypocrisies regarding your partner’s point of view and feelings.

In fact, unless you are asked, don’t give your opinion at all. Just listen, listen, listen…

Be patient, healing from injuries, whether they are physical or emotional, takes time.

You need to let your partner decide when and how the work on recovering from emotional abuse is going to happen. He or she may get over his or her injuries quickly, or it may take a long time. You should be prepared for either case. Give your partner the time they need to heal without pressuring them.

Willingly hang in there for as long as it takes. Let your partner decide when to ‘close the book’ on the abuse.

Examine yourself to learn the sources of your abusive behavior. Knowing why you have behaved abusively in the past will help you understand your feelings and will help you take appropriate steps to make sure your bad behavior does not return in the future.

If you do not know where in your life ‘your abusive self’ has come from, stopping your bad behavior will be more difficult. Like leaking water, if you don’t know the source of the leak, how then can you stop it?

Ask yourself the question: Why have I abused my partner? Make sure you answer this question honestly. This is an essential part of the healing process.

Ask your partner to help you monitor your behavior and to let you know ‘if and when’ your behavior feels controlling, intimidating, or unreasonable.

Be calm and appreciative when your partner gives you feedback letting you know that he or she is feeling uncomfortable with your behavior. This feedback must be used to refine your behavior, making it more loving, kind, and respectful.

Your partner’s perception is what matters. It does not matter whether or not you agree with their perception of you as ‘controlling, mean or, threatening.’ It’s how your partner EXPERIENCES YOU that matters. Perception is everything!

If your partner says that your behavior is bad, ‘accept’ his or her words and improve yourself.

After you have spent some time working on taking responsibility for having abused your partner, and you have shown remorse and are committed to not let abusing occur in the future, you can then ask your partner to forgive you.

Should your partner be gracious and forgive you, be grateful. If you are not forgiven, humbly accept your fate without protest.

You can always ask again for forgiveness at another time.

Forgiveness cannot be forced. Genuine forgiveness requires that your partner feels in his or her heart that you have made amends and that the abusive behavior will not happen again in the future.

Because forgiveness is a feeling, it cannot be forced. The feeling of forgiveness must come naturally. However, how you behave during the recovery period will greatly influence whether or not, in the end, you will be genuinely forgiven.

Be grateful the victim of your emotional abuse is giving you a second chance. He or she is not obligated to do so.

And when he or she does give you a ‘second chance,’ be grateful and know that a terrible fate for you and your family has been avoided.

Verbalize your gratitude. Your partner needs to hear with his or her ears your sincere feelings of regret for the hurt you have caused and your appreciation that you have been given an opportunity to correct the bad behavior you had in the past.

Emotional abuse is a deadly relationship disease. Many families are torn apart because of emotional abuse.

Follow carefully The 8 Relationship Guidelines for Past Abusers, and you increase the likelihood that your partner will eventually forgive you.

Unlike many serious medical conditions, emotional abuse can be cured. However, it is up to you, YOU are the doctor!

Not everyone has a 'perfect relationship.' However, when there is a problem, you can seek solutions and apply them until you have a 'perfect relationship' and the problem no longer exists.

Use these 8 Relationship Guidelines for Past Abusers as a guide to heal yourself and everyone injured by your past abuse.

Make sure there is no more emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and psychological abuse in your marriage or committed relationship, now and in the future.

Fix past mistakes and create a healthy relationship for your loved ones and yourself before emotional abuse ruins your life.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

10 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Aninymouse
Aninymouse
5 months ago

Hi abbey

I have emotionally abused my wife over the last 2 years when I went through a mental health breakdown. I drank a lot and I dredged up our past about when we were younger when she cheated on me and I sent her many messages calling her nasty names.
I have since stopped drinking I went to rehab and have apologised many times. but she has left me.
will she ever forgive me?

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 months ago

Hi Abe, I have emotionally abused my husband the last two years. He is close to leaving me, and I feel desperate because I don’t want him to leave. There is a lot I need to change. I’m scared it’s too late. My mental health has been extremely bad the last two years and I’ve really hurt him and put my pain onto him. I’m doing all the right things, going to therapy, taking medication for my mental health, joining a mental health group. I’m desperate to change and at the same time I keep feeling like I’m making mistakes even when I think I’m trying. I keep feeling like I’m failing. It’s difficult to explain, but I just hope these next 3 months I can make some significant progress.

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 months ago

Thank you for this!

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 months ago

trying to save my marriage after I had an affair I have told my husband but everytime he wants closer why I did it I get frustrated and shut him down or I attack him. I was in a mental abuse relationship years ago and because of that I use it on my husband today I abuse him and I don’t want to do that anymore to him cause I see that it’s hurting him. But I need the help to get over my mental abuse and not abuse my husband.

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 months ago

Hi, I am in a really difficult spot. I have been in a long distance relationship with my now fiancé for the last 5 years, and for the entire time, I have narcissistically abused him. Whenever he told me things that I did not like to hear, I blocked him and left, only to return after a couple of hours to see if he would still care about me or want me back. Things got especially bad in the last year where I tried to get a restraining order on him for physically abusing me during one of the times that we had been together. However, the only reason he was hurting me in the first place was because I just wouldn’t listen to him and he did not have any other way of getting through to me. The last year has been so mentally painful for him that he has developed severe PTSD and stress induced depression. I myself am severely depressed as well due to the way things have gone. He keeps telling me that he can’t trust me due to the many lies that I have told and that he will never get over the fact that I have watched porn and used a sex toy after he had specifically asked me not to. I have tried everything and I am apologizing for what I have done every single day, but he believes that the only reason I‘m even trying to fix things between us is for my own good and stems from my narcissism. Despite everything, he doesn’t want to leave me and hasn’t tried to in a long time, telling me that he still loves me and wants to marry me. Please advise me on what to do because I am so lost at this point. He has a drinking problem as well, but he refuses to go to rehab for a variety of reasons, one of them being that he thinks most psychologists are stupid and don’t know what they are talking about. He has an above average IQ, and everyone that he has talked to has advised him to leave me, only he doesn’t listen to them. He keeps telling me that he will stop drinking as soon as our relationship is in a good place, but after what has been three months now, he drank about a gallon of alcohol last night to drown his pain from the last five years. I don’t know how he is even alive still, but I need help because I fear that he is going to die. I would be willing to do anything for him, even leave him if it would ensure that he will be happy in the end.

Share this
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Telegram
Email
Print