1. Admit that you’re an abusive person
This is the hardest, yet most important part. Abuse is not just about physical violence. Emotional and verbal abuse is perhaps the most prevalent type of abuse in relationships. Emotional abuse breaks trust and connection and leads to resentment and hatred. However, when you’re trapped in the cycle of abuse, it can often be hard to realize that. This is why you need to pause and take a good look at yourself.
If you believe that your behavior or actions were wrong, then you need to accept that you are an abusive person. Admit that YOU are the problem in your relationship and not your partner. The moment you recognize, accept, and acknowledge that your behavior is the real issue, you will find the reason to change.
2. Decide to change
How desperately do you want to stop being abusive? Is this something you want to try to keep your partner from leaving or is it something you want to truly accomplish? Change is never easy. The process of changing your abusive mindset, your personality, and tendencies is going to be a difficult process, to say the least. Things will get hard as you take each step and sooner or later you will want to quit. You will realize that being your old abusive self is a lot easier, even if it comes at the cost of hurting your loved ones.
However, if you want to overcome your abusive instincts and be a new person, then you need to make a decision about it and reach the end, no matter what. You have to commit to change. You have to motivate yourself on a daily basis and put in the hard work. But most importantly, you have to do this for yourself, not for anyone else. “He must change for his own sake – not to keep his wife or girlfriend tied to him,” writes Lisa Aronson Fontes, Ph.D., author, and Senior Lecturer at University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Related: Women Abuse Men Too
3. Take responsibility for your actions
You have to realize that you have complete control over your thoughts, behaviors, and actions. You are in control of what you say and how you act with your partner and others. You have to admit that it is never their fault, but your own. No one deserves to be abused. So you need to take responsibility for your abusive behavior and refuse to be a controlling, abusive person.
Although there may be tons of reasons that may influence your behavior, only you are responsible for your actions. When you recognize that you are responsible for physical, emotional, and psychological abuse towards your partner and others, you can finally find the strength to apologize for your behavior.
4. Talk to the survivor
Speak with the person you have abused till now. Sit down with them, apologize from your heart, and simply listen to them. Truly listen to what they have to say. Understand how you’ve made them feel, how your behavior affected them and how your actions broke them. Yes, this will be a difficult process. But this will also encourage and inspire you to change. It will help you see how you have hurt the ones you love and why you need to change.
Listen to them without judgment. Without being defensive. Without blaming them or yourself. Listen to understand, not to explain. Listen to the person you have abused without feeling attacked.
This is a crucial step in breaking the cycle of abuse. This will help you gain the perspective you need to stop being an abusive person and become who you truly need to be – a loving, compassionate, caring, and supportive person.