If you are living in an emotionally abusive marriage or committed relationship, you have two questions:
1. Can emotional abusers change for the better?
2. How to heal from emotional abuse?
This video, How to heal from emotional abuse — a guide for past abusers, will answer both questions.
If you have been abused, and you want to know what your partner needs to do to make it "right" — or at least try to, watch this video.
If you have been an abuser in the past, watch this video for precise guidance on how to help heal your relationship and earn forgiveness. Committed relationship and marriage builders: repair broken relationships — they don't "throw them away." Join their ranks. Be a committed relationship and marriage builders.
Text of this video:
Hi, this is Marriage and Family therapist Abe Kass
Today's topic: How to Heal from Emotional Abuse if You are the Abuser using The 8 Relationship Guidelines for Past Abusers
If you are a former emotional abuser YOU CAN FIX THE RELATIONSHIP YOU BROKE… and contribute to your partner's healing.
Know that emotional abuse recovery is a process. Just like any type of healing, it takes time and effort. Don't rush it!
At this point in time, you may be feeling ashamed of yourself, fearful about your future, and not sure how to undo the mess you have created.
Perhaps your partner is threatening to leave you or has already left, and you want to get him or her back.
To start, know YOU CAN FIX THE RELATIONSHIP YOU BROKE… and contribute to your partner's healing, and the only way you can achieve this is if you acknowledge your 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 either have low self-esteem, or as children grew up in homes where emotional abuse was present, or if you are a man you were 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 find to improve your self-esteem, to educate yourself, so you know how to treat your partner with respect, and to accept 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 seriously want to change for the better.
If these three points apply to you, then the following 8 Relationship Guidelines will help you clean up the ‘relationship mess’ you have made and reduce the likelihood that your abusive behavior will return in the future:
Unless you know what emotional abuse is, it will be impossible to stop this bad behavior. Thus, your first task is to learn what in fact is emotional abuse. When you know what emotional abuse is, only then can you 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 abuse is and what is not.
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 accept 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 — 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 you will fail in your efforts to stop abuse in the future and 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 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.
Recovering from emotional abuse requires humility. You need to listen and understand how your abuse devastated your partner.
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, point out inconsistencies, or 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…
4. Be patient
Healing from injuries, be they physical or emotional, have their own timeline.
You need to let your partner decide when and how the work on recovering from emotional abuse is to happen. He or she may get over their injuries quickly, or it may take a long time. You should be prepared for either and adjust appropriately.
Willingly hang in there 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 abuse" has come from, stopping your bad behavior will be more difficult. Like leaking water, if you don’t know the source of the leak is, how then can you stop it?
Ask yourself the question: Why have I abused my partner? Make sure you answer this question. 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, and unreasonable.
Be calm and appreciative when your partner gives you feedback letting you know that he or she is 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 feel you are "controlling, mean, 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 committed to not letting abuse happen in the future, you can then ask your partner to forgive you.
Should your partner be gracious and forgive, 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 feel in his or her heart that you have made amends and it will not happen again in the future.
Because forgiveness is a feeling and 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.
Follow carefully The 8 Relationship Guidelines for Past Abusers and you increase the likelihood that your partner will eventually forgive you.
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.
Unlike many serious medical conditions, emotional abuse can be cured. However, it is up to you — YOU are the relationship doctor!
Use these 8 Relationship Guidelines for Past Abusers as a map to heal yourself and everyone injured by your past abuse.
Be a marriage builder, fix past mistakes and make for yourself and your loved ones a healthy relationship future.
Good luck. Contact me if you need professional assistance, Abe