Has My Extremely Abusive Partner Really Changed?

Reader’s Question

I was married for 3 years to a man I dated for 8 years. He was extremely verbally abusive and would have anger outbursts at home and break things. He would also drink, and then lecture me for hours on how I did this and that wrong, and how I wronged him in this or that situation. He would bring things up that had happend 10 years ago, etc. If I responded he would get mad, and if I kept quiet he would get even more pissed off. He would play the victim in every situation and everything was my fault. He started developing a drinking problem, and wouldn’t want to go anywhere with me. It was to the point that I was afraid to go out because he would be drunk when I got home and would yell at me. He would call me lots of times during the day and send text messages, and if I didn’t answer, he would get mad. But on other days, we would be in a honeymoon state: everything would be great, he was great and calm and would even take me shopping and buy hundreds of dollars of clothes for me, and was a loving and understanding guy. I ended up becoming sick, and was diagnosed with clinical depression, gained weight, and was just a mess. So 6 months ago we got divorced, I moved back home, and now I am doing great. I’m happy and back to normal. I do miss him for the great times that we had. He keeps trying to get me back. He seems like he’s changed, but I’m afraid to beleive it… Is it possible that someone who is like that would change?? I just don’t want to waste my time, or go through everything all over again… I need some guidance.

Psychologist’s Reply

Well, he hasn’t changed…he’s only changed his way of manipulating you. You are describing a Personality Disorder (see my introduction to personality disorders on this site). You are also describing the individual I discuss in my article on Identifying Losers in Relationships, also available on this website. Men who behave in this way are highly manipulative and always keep prior victims/partners on “back burner” — continuing to contact, call, email, text message, etc. to see if they can get them back for more abuse. Keep in mind that if you return, he will feel entitled to abuse you more because you left. The divorce will be the next excuse to abuse you.

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You are also experiencing what I’ve described in my article on Love and Stockholm Syndrome. Now that he’s acting “honeymoon” — you feel he might have changed and everything will be different if you return. Sadly, it will actually be worse. Antisocial Personalities don’t change, but they do change their lies, schemes, manipulations, and strategies to obtain their goal — another partner to abuse and control. Now that you’ve escaped — don’t look back and keep going.

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