Can abusive men change?
This question is more geared toward the ladies, but of course guys can answer, too. Has anyone here ever been in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship where the abusive man was able to change and stop being abusive? If not, do you know of anyone first hand? I'm looking for first hand accounts or at least stories about someone you know well, not something you heard through the grapevine or read on the internet.
The reason I'm asking is because I am afraid for my close friend. She is in her late 20s, and got married to her husband very quickly after meeting him. They have been married for 5 years and he has been physically abusive to her for about 4 of those years. I just found this out recently and I am overwhelmed with shock. I don't know how I didn't know and how she kept it a secret for so long.
During the course of their relationship during arguments, he has slapped her, punched her in the arms and legs, hit her with different objects, choked her, and other things like that. The abuse hasn't been so bad that she has been hospitalized, but obviously any abuse is bad enough!
Last summer, I saw a huge bruise on her arm. It was nearly the size of a softball. She explained it away as a sports injury, which I believed because she is a very physical person who is always running, hiking, playing sports, paint balling, etc. I now know the bruise was from him punching her repeatedly. I never saw anything else. I feel like such a terrible friend for not noticing.
He has promised to stop before and of course hasn't. The most recent promise was 3 weeks ago, and he said he wants to change and go to counseling. He has not been physical with her in the past 3 weeks since the promise and he points to that as evidence that he has changed and is now "cured". However, they have gotten into a few bad arguments where he has been emotionally abusive (calling her stupid, retarded, a b*tch, a w*ore, etc) and where he has threatened to hurt her ("I'm going to slam your head against this counter until your face is covered in blood"). He also spit in her face after she exploded on him and said something nasty after an entire day of being picked on emotionally.
I have personally never heard of a man that was able to stop being abusive. I am hoping to show her this thread so she can get some advice or hear from other people's experiences.