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Is My Abusive Partner Really Going to Change this Time?

Positive Signs That They Are Changing

  • Your partner has stopped being violent or threatening to you or others.
  • Your partner acknowledges that their abusive behavior is wrong and is their responsibility.
  • Your partner understands that they do not have the right to control and dominate you.
  • You don’t feel afraid when you are with your partner.
  • Your partner does not try to coerce you into having sex when you don’t want to.
  • You can express anger toward your partner without feeling intimidated.
  • Your partner does not make you feel responsible for their anger or frustration.
  • Your partner respects your opinion even if they don’t agree with it.
  • Your partner respects your right to say “no”.
  • You can negotiate without being humiliated and belittled by your partner.
  • You don’t have to ask permission to go out, go to school, or take other independent actions.
  • Your partner listens to you and respects what you have to say.
  • Your partner communicates honestly and does not try to manipulate you.
  • Your partner recognizes that they are not “cured” and that changing their behavior, attitudes, and beliefs is a life-long process.
  • Your partner no longer does _______________________ (fill in the blank with any behavior that preceded their violence, manipulation, or emotional abuse).

Warning Signs and Manipulation

Old habits die hard. Your partner’s abusive behavior is rooted in a desire to control the relationship, and that pattern isn’t going to change overnight. Your partner may no longer be violent, but they may still try to exert control by manipulating you into doing what they want.

Here are some manipulative behaviors

  • Tries to invoke sympathy from you or family and friends.
  • Is overly charming; reminds you of all the good times you’ve had together.
  • Tries to buy you back with romantic gifts, dinners, flowers, etc.
  • Tries to seduce you when you’re vulnerable.
  • Uses veiled threats — to take the kids away, cut off financial support, etc.
  • Promises to change don’t match their behavior. You may be so hopeful for change, yet don’t feel any different when you are with them. Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel safe, then chances are, you’re not.

You may not be safe if

  • Your partner tries to find you if you’ve left.You may leave at a time of crisis to feel safer. Your partner may try to get information from your family and friends regarding your whereabouts, either by threatening them or trying to gain their sympathy.
  • Your partner tries to take away the children.They may try to kidnap the children as a way of forcing you to stay with them.
  • Your partner stalks you.If you always seem to run into your partner when you are on your way to work, running errands or out with friends, or if you receive lots of mysterious phone calls, your partner could be stalking you.

Reprinted and adapted from materials developed by the Texas Council on Family Violence for the Battering Intervention and Prevention Project of the Community Justice Assistance Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

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