Jim and Cindy have a lot in common, they have never met but both are in counseling to help them stop being abusive and learn what is causing them to be so angry and out of control.
Jim has already lost everything and knows that he is ready to change. He discovers in counseling that he never confronted the physical and sexual abuse he and his brother endured at the hands of their father. Jim wanted to be a tough, strong man, he now realizes even though he’d buried the memories, they still controlled him and his life.
Cindy has only recently accepted that she is abusive to her husband and children. After a recent separation from her husband, she knows she doesn’t want to end her third marriage in divorce. Cindy had always been jealous woman, but the the anger she was inflicting on her family was new to her and she had a hard time accepting it. She doesn’t want to live this way anymore.
Jim and Cindy aren’t their real names but I receive countless comments from those being abused and abusers themselves, both wanting it to end. We all want the cycle of violence to stop, but in the end, you must either be the one that leaves the abuse or the abuser must make the decision they want to change. Most abusers have already lost everything that mattered to them when they come to the realization that they really want to change for all the right reasons, even if they can’t get their old life back. This is the key, they are ready for the change, not you.
I had thought for many years that if I loved my husband and endured his anger, which would indeed show my loyalty by staying, someday I would be rewarded and he would stay sober, deal with his demons, stop being abusive and we would live happily ever after. How many of you are clinging to this pipe dream today?
Well, I am living happily ever after, but he isn’t. His anger killed him, at 42 he died of a heart attack. His years of abusing his body and mind killed him. I often felt that he had wanted to die for such a long time that this must have come as a relief to him. He too had wanted to change which I said is key, but the next step has to be actual making the changes and committing to them. This is the one thing that can’t be done by anyone else but you.
Everything has a lesson, the lesson in this for me is that it is hard enough to get myself to follow through on things that are important to me, I have a hard time breaking bad habits. I learned to realize that I could never change anyone else. I would want it, wish it and pray for it, but that would never be enough.
My point, you can’t insist, force, plead or pray for someone you love to stop being abusive or to make any other change for that matter, they are the ones that have to want to make that change.
Put yourself first, don’t let the abuser change you!
Love & Peace,