Clear Signs an Abuser Has Changed

  • Admits abuse toward current/past partners was wrong, unconditionally
  • Acknowledges his behavior was a choice, not a loss of control
  • Recognizes the effects his abuse had on her, the children and shows empathy
  • Identifies in detail his pattern of controlling behaviors and entitled attitudes
  • Develops respectful behaviors/attitudes to replace abusive ones
  • Replaces his distorted image of her with a positive, empathetic view
  • Accepts the consequences of his abusiveness, commits to not repeating it
  • Makes amends
  • Accepts overcoming abusiveness is likely a lifelong process
  • Remains accountable for past and future actions


Clear Signs an Abuser Has Not Changed

  • Says he can change only if she changes and “helps” him change
  • Criticizes her for not realizing how much he’s changed
  • Criticizes her for considering him capable of behaving abusively even though he’s done so in the past
  • Reminds her of the bad things he would have done, but isn’t anymore, amounting to a subtle threat
  • Tells her she’s taking too long to make up her mind, pressuring her not to take the time she needs to assess his change
  • Says he’s changing, but she doesn’t feel it


The above material was adapted from Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men (Pages 339 -342, 350-351 ©2002 Berkley Books, New York, NY).