You can’t change him: 6 reasons an abusive spouse won’t reform

On Behalf of | Jan 22, 2024 | Divorce

Domestic violence is an epidemic in this nation. It’s estimated that one out of every three women has been physically abused by a partner.

While most women think that they would leave at the first hint of physical violence, that’s not always how things play out in reality. Victims stay with their abusers for all kinds of reasons – not the least of which is the belief in an abuser’s promises that they’re repentant and going to change. 

Here’s why you don’t want to get hooked on an abusive spouse’s false promises:

1. They may have deep-seated emotional and behavioral problems 

Abusive behavior often stems from deep-seated patterns that may have developed over many years. These ingrained patterns can be very hard to change, making it challenging for an abusive spouse to break free from their destructive habits without intensive reflection and therapy.

2. They can be in denial about how abusive they really are

Change doesn’t happen without accountability. Some people really don’t recognize that their behavior is abusive. They may simply lack self-awareness or see justifications for their actions. If they’re still justifying any part of their behavior, they aren’t taking responsibility.

3. They may have underlying mental health issues

Abusive behavior can sometimes be linked to underlying mental health issues such as personality disorders, substance abuse problems, or unresolved trauma. Addressing these issues requires professional intervention, and change may be hindered without proper treatment.

4. They may like the power dynamics just the way they are

Abuse often involves a “power and control” dynamic where the abuser seeks to constantly assert dominance over their partner. The loss of that control may feel threatening to the abusive spouse, and they may immediately seek to reassert it again.

5. They may always have some excuse for acting out

Someone who is inclined to react to financial and personal stressors by abusing their spouse is using violence as a coping mechanism. Life stressors are always going to happen, which means they’ll always have a reason to lose their cool.

6. They may believe in cultural or societal norms that promote violence

Cultural or societal norms that perpetuate toxic masculinity, gender stereotypes or acceptance of domestic violence can create additional barriers to change. If their behavior is seen as “normal,” they will probably resist change.

The reality is that an abusive spouse – whatever causes them to be that way – isn’t ready to be anybody’s partner. If you’re ready to leave an abusive marriage, it may be time to seek more information about the divorce process. That can help you make some solid decisions about your future.

At The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC, our focus is relentless advocacy for our clients. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, reach out to schedule a consultation at 646-665-3903 or by contacting us online.

Let Me Be Your Brave

Mia Poppe, Esq.

Mia Poppe, Esq.
Managing Partner