Hi everyone, I just joined a few minutes ago. This is my first post, and it's a little heavy.
Can an abusive husband change?
I can forgive, but I cannot forget. We're separated now, and looking at divorce. Neither of us wants divorce, but I can't compromise much more of myself while waiting around for him to change. Our child has seen and heard too much. I've been cornered, grabbed, pushed, scream at, and called terrible names. I've had my personal belongings destroyed and family pets threatened if I didn't come back after leaving once before.
He doesn't think it's abuse, because he doesn't do it everyday. Then, he's saying we should stay together and work on things. He says he needs my help to get through anger managment, but since I'm leaving, he's decided there is no point in continuing the program. We've done individual sessions, joint sessions, previous separation, and a marriage retreat. He was not like this when we met or married. This has been a gradual change.
Two factors are affecting his behavior: 1) joining the military, 2) growing up watching his dad beat his mom (they are still married, and she insists I do the same)
I still love him as a human being. I want him to get help and be a better man, but this treatment has killed any respect or trust I could possibly have for him. I was abused growing up and I just can't hand my life over again. This will change everything. Our child misses him and asks when we'll be together again. I'm hoping to set a good example of what not to accept in a healthy relationship, but I feel so terrible about disrupting the routine. His career has built a very comfortable lifestyle for us all and now I have to dust off my resume and underused degree to start from scratch.
I was never that physically abusive to my now ex wife, but there was a lot of yelling on my part. I feel terrible about the way I was with her now, but back when I first got out of the Navy I was a controlling d!ckhead and treated her the way I was treated without realizing it.
The moment she left I fell into a deep depression but then I started working on myself and never stopped. I managed to make it up to her family and they fully forgave and still loved me, but she was too deep in an affair (with another bipolar d!ckhead) to care at that point and divorced me for that train wreck.
To answer your question, YES he can change. BUT not until you leave and show him what it truly means to lose everything. That is because he's basically is an addict and will please you long enough to stay until he can take his anger out on you again. If you love him then stop enabling him to act like this and show him you mean it. I promise you he will change when he experiences the true fear of loss.
There have been wives on this site who have kicked out drug addicts and alcoholics, filed restraining orders, and divorce papers.... to their surprise to see their stbx loved ones have underwent treatment soon after and are serious about changing for good once their wives stopped enabling them to hurt themselves and feel comforted.
You actually don't have to divorce him to see him change but you need to show him you will not be talked out of this by sweet words to come home or how he 'could' change. The military has good programs on anger and stress management and even better resources for help. Oh yeah, he will seek these out! I'd say within a a few weeks of not hearing from you after seeing D papers at the very least.
I know you're mind may be made up by now but you have no idea how hurt some of military guys are by their divorces and restricted child visitations. I've been on watch and caught some of the toughest guys crying in confined little spaces looking at family pictures from a few years ago.
There's at least a dozen suicides a year all over the armed forces mainly do to work stress and loss of loved ones. I by no means trying to guilt trip you but I want you to be aware that he is still a soft compassionate person in there somewhere. It's just the nature of the military machine to toughen guys into controlling @$$holes to get the job done, but a couple extra threads on your shirt after 20yrs isn't worth losing everything that made you happy in the beginning.
Pull up your big girl panties and let him do the equivalent.
Of course he can get help on his own.
How silly - a grown-up needing someone else to make their day to day life happen. You actually believe that, really?
And these 'factors' you do mean your excuses for his behavior, right?
Labelling them clinically doesn't change what they are...you are excusing him based on his past. Well, what about your past? You've had enough of abuse...so there's your 'factor' for leaving. Or excuse, if you need one. Tell him because of your past you can't deal with any abuse, and so sorry about that, but you gotta go.
By uncle was an abusive bastard who made my aunt's life hell. His family supported him till he was diagonised with Borderline Personality Disorder and has been fine since taking medication. Buit for years the situation between him and our family was strained to point where he had completely isolated my aunt.Please don't let your life slide away in the hope that he will change.My aunt could never have kids thanks to the problems he kept creating for 15+ years.
I hate to say this but my husband became mentally abusive once he joined the military as well. I stuck it out and he ended things (cheated, not saying yours will), but i have lost my husband to the military. He isnt the same at all. First he was mentally abusive when he first joined, then he came back from Afghanistan and was cold to me, left me for an 18 year old. These are things he would have never done before he joined the military. It makes me so angry because i was there for him while he was deployed and when he got back i tried to help him, he came home and became an alcoholic and abused sleeping pills and even started doing cocaine. He is now being kicked out of the army because of it.
I am a child of an abusive alcoholic father. For 35 years my mother, my siblings and myself dealt with physical and mental abuse. It will affect your child. At the age of almost 41 it has affected my life and I ultimately believe my marriage in many ways. I'm not abusive myself but I believe its contributed to trust issues and other psychological issues.. My oldest sister is abusive and an alcoholic.
Someone like that has to acknowledge their problem and they have to want to get help.
I know its hard but please I watched my mother go through this abuse well into my 20's until he passed away. Dont do this to yourself and especially your child.
I do believe people can change but he has to acknowledge it and get help.
I am active duty military. Abuse of your spouse is NOT taught in any training session in the military. Blaming the military is not the correct thing to do. Your husband had issues long before he joined the service. The military environment may have accelerated his abusive behavior but did NOT cause it. I want to be very clear on that. Having said that, you can get past abuse but your H will not change unless his cage is rattled. This can be done by moving out and filing for D or filing for a domestic violence restraining order and having him evicted. You should report these incidents to familiy advocacy on base. This WILL NOT hurt his career and he will not be arrested but can help him get treatment and will put his service on notice that there are problems at home. DV is NOT tolerated in the military and troops who are repeat offenders are shown the door.
Your husband is not even acknowledging that he abused you.
I don't see any reason for you to hope that he will change. This is so hard, and I'm glad you've found this site - you will find plenty of support here, which you will need as you rebuild your life, but as you have seen from the above comments, you will not find people who will help you keep fooling yourself about this man.
I'm not doubting that I should leave. It would just be nice to know that he will be okay someday. We're still pretty young and I would hate to think that this is who he is going to be for the rest of his life. And to give a little more background:
- We've separated before. I've packed up our child and gone, and he has been escorted into the barracks for the 72 hour period.
- Command is fully aware of this. I've reported him several times, but because of his rank and job I don't think they're going to give him up so easily. They've been pretty accomodating, giving him time off to go to counseling sessions. He's been chastised, but only enough to make him more resentful of me, not enough to make him ashamed of himself.
- The most frustrating part about all of this is that I've been talking to other wives who can relate to the verbal abuse and smashing things, but they have no intentions of leaving: "Oh, I know. It'll get better. You just have to work on it." Huh? I know I'm doing the right thing as a mother, but I can't help but feel a little dopey walking away from such a cushy lifestyle (and the benefits!) in this economy.
I was supposed to be with him for better or worse, sickness and health. I want to believe this is just a sickness, but it's been years now. I do understand that leaving him is the right thing to do, but it still feels like I'm abandoning him.
For better or worse does not mean for bruises and abuse. No person ever deserves that. He might change, he might not, but that is his responsibility. You have certainly shown him that there is help out there. Now show your child how a loving, responsible adult actually behaves by protecting themselves and their child.
Change is rare, very rare from an abuser. I was physically abused for 14 years and have been emotionally abused for most of my life. I can forgive, I cannot forget enough to make me go back with someone who is abusive to me once I've gotten out. His not acknowledging the abuse is a surefire red flag that it will happen again. His saying there is no point to working on himself because you've left means that he will NOT change. If he doesn't see that what HE is doing to YOU is wrong, what would make him change it?
Abuse is not a sickness. It is a choice. Please read the book "Why does he do that?" by Lundy Bancroft. It is an excellent, realistic look at angry and abusive men by someone who was in on the beginning of treatment of abusers. He cuts through all the excuses of abusive parents, addicted parents, etc.
Short answer: there is no excuse for abusing you. Until he 1.) admits it AND 2.) takes responsibility for his actions, there is really no chance he will change. He has already moved to physical abuse. it will only get worse, and that is statistically proven.
I know it sounds harsh, but you and your child are not safe. You are not responsible for whether or not he completes anger management. He is. He is addicted to controlling you. He is addicted to the power he gets from abusing you. That is the blunt truth.
Not everyone who witnesses a mother being abused becomes an abuser. Not everyone who was abused as a child becomes an abuser. Not everyone who was in the military becomes an abuser.
Whenever he throws something at you, or grabs you, or puts you down, he chooses to do it.
I feel very strongly about this, and I want you and your child to be safe. Yes, you took vows to stay with him. It says 'til death do us part,' but doesn't say you should stay with him and give him a chance to do the job. Please take it seriously. Get out while you still can. It will be hard to break away; you obviously care a lot about him. But your child is a small, innocent being. She only has you to protect her. You need to be strong and get out of the abuse.
Are you going to any kind of therapy, or have you talked to your local domestic abuse shelter? Please find out what kind of resources are available in your town and take advantage of them. If he does change, your taking care of yourself and your child will not do anything to prevent a reconciliation.