Getting Help As An Abusive Partner

You have pondered your relationship with your partner and realized that you demonstrate the pattern of behaviors exhibited by abusive partners. Great! You have completed the first step to change and become the partner your loved one deserves, the person they love.

Acknowledging there is a problem forms the foundation for behavioral change, but how do you move forward. First, bear in mind that it is possible to change if you are ready to reflect and identify your unhealthy and abusive behaviors. Following this, you will need to create and follow an action plan. Also, know that change does not happen overnight. 

In fact, a sudden change can be a warning sign to your partner that another cycle of abuse is about to start. Instead, it would help if you focused on small manageable goals and getting the basics right. Doing this will help you overcome abusiveness and signal your good intentions to your partner.

How Does It Work?

  1. Make A List Of The Problems

The next step is to make a list of behaviors you noticed are abusive or make your partner feel unsafe. Right now – as you make this list – not the time to think about right or wrong. The goal of creating a list is to establish the pattern of behavior that comes off as abusive to your partner. If you have trouble naming abusive behaviors, use this checklist. Alternatively, you may reach out to domestic abuse advocates at the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling (800) 799-SAFE (7233).

  1. Make A List of Good Behaviors

You have good qualities, no doubt. That is why your partner chose to be with you in the first place. Now, identify and make a list of the good behaviors to replace the problematic ones. If you are stuck here, think about how you met and why they loved you in the first place or read about healthy relationships. Some good behaviors include good communication, conflict resolution, trust, respecting boundaries, and equality. You also want to show respect and think about making your partner feel physically and emotionally safe around you without being imposing. A good place to start is getting their consent without manipulation.

  1. Set and Meet Small Goals

Now that you have identifies your good qualities and abusive behaviors, the next thing to do is create target goals. These goals can be short bullet points or a checklist of how to maintain your new behaviors. You will need to write these goals down for self-evaluation and accountability later.

Every time you make progress, reward yourself – maybe even include your partner. Your reward can be anything from buying yourself something, playing a video game, or treating yourself out. Doing this helps you achieve positive reinforcement, which helps your good behavior stick. However, you want to vary the reward.

  1. Get Professional Help

You will most likely experience several setbacks on your journey to becoming a healthy and safe partner. Ideally, reviewing the sequence of events and triggers that led to the slip would help. However, this is seldom the case. If you have identified some past physical, emotional, or psychological trauma as a factor in your abusive behavior, consider reaching out to a reputable therapist near you. The same applies to persons who struggle with substance abuse, anger issues, and impulse control.  

Things To Remember As An Abusive Partner Getting Help

  • Make changes for yourself, so you can be a healthy, respectful partner to anyone you date, not just to keep your current partner.
  • The only person responsible for your behavior and change is YOU.
  • It would be best if you did not make your partner point out problems.
  • Your partner is not obligated to suggest solutions.
  • Your partner’s validation or approval should not be your primary motivation but welcome their commendation.
  • Despite your efforts and improvement, your partner will need time to feel safe again.
  • Despite your efforts, your partner does not owe it to you to remain in the relationship.
  • Despite your efforts, be ready to accept if your partner decides to end things instead.