Signs That He or She Has Changed and Will Stop Abuse

Couple not talking angry stop abuse Dollar photoDo you truly want to stop abuse in your life? If so, you have a lot to learn so you can discern truth and false promises.

You want to believe with every fiber of your being that your spouse will never hurt you again. You’re hearing so many promises that he or she won’t be abusive to you in the future. He or she may truly be sorry and may promise you everything you would ever want to hear. But it’s important to know that this doesn’t mean that he or she will be able to keep those promises. Some abusers won’t and some abusers can’t. They may not have the strength within them (at least not yet, or ever) to stop themselves from giving into their impulses to hurt you when they become enraged.

How do you know?

So how do you know if they really will stop the abuse in the future and if they indeed have changed? The truth is that you can never be completely certain. There are some signs, however, that you can look for, which may help you.

Before we lead you to the articles to help you with this issue, we preface all of this by saying that the information we’ve found is addressed to wives who are in abusive situations. But please know that in many homes it is the wife who is the abuser. We truly get that.

We keep searching for articles to help those who are being abused. But the majority of articles written address women as being the victims. If you are a man who is being abused, please accept our apology. We haven’t been able to find many articles to help you. It is not for lack of trying to find them (and we will continue to keep trying). If this is true for you, please reverse the “he’s” and “she’s” in the linked articles below. Pray, read, and glean through them, and apply what you can use for your situation.

Helpful Linked Articles to Stop Abuse

With that said, below is a link to an article written by Brenda Branson. She put together a “Pastors Guide to Domestic Violence.” But actually, this list can be used by anyone. (Again, you can change the pronouns, if it applies to your situation.) Here are two things Brenda points out:

He Has Not Changed If . . .

• He blames her or others for his behavior.

• He uses guilt to manipulate her into dropping charges or keeping silent.

There are several more “signs” that will point out the seriousness of the “change” that is claimed. We highly recommend that you read the list linked below to learn:


And then Barbara Roberts came up with a great list that points to whether or not a person is truly sorry. Here are two of them:

“If they are genuinely repentant, abusers will:

• Stop all blame shifting. Stop blaming their spouse, and stop making excuses.
• Commit to going to a professionally run Behavior Change Group for spouse-abusers.”

But there are more. You can learn more by reading:


ALSO… to Stop Abuse:

In another article, written by Brenda Branson, posted on the Focus Ministries web site, she discusses whether the abuser is truly repentant or is temporarily regretful. In this article, she gives you biblical insight to help you discern the difference and truly stop abuse:

The Difference Between True Repentance and Temporary Regret

The following blog is written by Leslie Vernick. She makes a few additional comments on subjects, other than this issue. But when you read the “Question” posed in her blog, and then the “Answer” she gives, we believe you will find some very good information. Please pray, read, glean and apply what you can use:

•  He Said He’s a New Man. Now What?

And finally, below is a link to an article (author unknown) that gives additional points to consider. It is posted on the web site. The author gives quite an extensive list. Here are a few of the points given:

“Beware of the temptation to gauge change by means of the perpetrator’s church-going or therapy-acquiring behavior. Going to church or seeing a therapist is not good enough . . . does not prove that (s)he is no longer going to hurt his/her partner any longer.”

(S)He Has Not Changed If…

• (S)He pressures the partner to let her/him move back in before partner is ready.

• (S)He continues to use sarcasm or verbal abuse, talk over his/her partner, and shows disrespect or superiority.

You’ll want to read this list in its entirety. It’s a good one! To help you to stop abuse read the following:


If you have additional tips you can share, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.

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144 responses to “Signs That He or She Has Changed and Will Stop Abuse

  1. I’ve been in an abusive relationship for over 35 years. I’m finally living by myself but he’s wanting me to come back. I feel afraid as I’m not sure that he’s changed or ever will. He always finds a way to turn it around and make it seem like I’m the one who’s bad. I’m finally going to see a Christian counselor but I just don’t know what to say or do. My parents were also abusive to me. Mainly my mother and still is. It’s been a hard and lonely life!

    I also grew up believing in God or I would’ve given up! I’ve got so much love in my heart and I don’t mean this in a way like “Oh, I’m so great!” I’d love to be loved and give love!! I’ve been blessed with wonderful kids! I’m just sad and lonely. I beg God everyday to help me and bless me as well as all of the others that are going through what I’m going through!

    I was in a serious car wreck, had to be life flighted, and he was still abusive towards me, and my mother, even though the doctors said that I’m may not make it through the night, she didn’t even want to see me!! My siblings were treated with love and they had nice clothes to wear, while I wore clothes from a second hand place that was so outdated that I was made fun of at school and church! I never even owned a pair of jeans or pants!

    I don’t know what is wrong with me? I try to love everyone and be kind. I believe in being a Christian all of the time. I had been getting along with my minister and then he seemed to get upset at me and has before. I can’t work because of my injuries, so I basically just stay home by myself all day, almost everyday. I use to volunteer but I don’t think that there’s many people who like me there. It’s just so hard to find love and happiness, which is all I’ve ever wanted other than of course to be close to God!! I love God and Christ, I just wish I could understand why my whole life has been basically sad and lonely. I strive to obey God’s laws. Maybe it’s just not going to work out for me in this lifetime? All I can do is pray and ask others to pray as well!

    We should have a place where people like us can go and talk just like they have for drug addicts and alcoholics, which is not me as I said before, I strive to obey God! Please pray for me and ask God to please bless me and to workout my situation! I’ll be praying for all of you!

  2. I’ve emotionally and verbally abused my wife for 19 years now. For the past couple years, after telling her to “Shut the F Up” in front of family and friends, I’ve acknowledged and have been in the pursuit on becoming a better person, father, and HUSBAND. After floods of apologies she decided to stay and “work it out”. Unfortunately, she’d been lying to herself for far too long and decided she wants “OUT” requesting a divorce. She’s “Broken”, I “Broke” her. Now I’m in a position where no apology can help me. I LOVE MY WIFE. I know I have to let her go and it kills me inside. I haven’t slept in days now. My heart feels like it skips a beat at times. Yet all I’ve been praying for is that God heals her heart and character.

    She’s so giving and selfless and used to be the nicest and most BEAUTIFUL WOMAN. She hates the person she’s become and I hate myself for it. Shame, shame is all I feel. She didn’t deserve any of it and I don’t deserve her, but really hope and wish to possibly earn those rights one day, no matter how long it takes. She means the world to me. She says never again but still agrees to be my best friend. Please… I know I’m on the right path already and will do anything. The thought of asking God for mercy makes me feel like such a hypocrite, so I haven’t. I so lost and never felt so alone. I need help. ??

  3. I have been abused for many years. Please break the cycle. Dont blame yourself or your children. Love your babies & never hit them. YOU are never at fault, you are a beautiful gift to this world, remember that FOREVER.

  4. Hi everyone. I left an abusive marriage with my infant son. I got full custody and my husband gets no visitation. From his symptoms I know for a fact he has a mental disorder called, Paranoid Personality Disorder. For a long time I’ve begged him to get evaluated. Now that I have a restraining order against him he knows I mean business. He has agreed to see a psychologist. If he does follow through I’m hoping they’ll find what’s wrong. My lawyer and I both think that he needs medication.

    I would be a liar if I said I’m not getting my hopes up. I am wondering though if he does get evaluated and treatment would it be worth returning to him? I’m well past my breaking point since I have just filed for divorce. I feel like I don’t ever want to date again. Yet I still love my husband dearly. Maybe in the distant future we can get back together, but only if he continues treatment for the rest of his life. And there needs to be a total 180. I do realize it can take years for a better outcome. Has anyone gone through treatment and had a positive outcome? Has anyone gotten their family back?

  5. (AUSTRALIA) I have been abusive to my wife. I have also been mentally ill and not getting appropriate treatment. It is NOT an excuse – it is what it is. She has finally left (I have been yelling at her to do so for many months). I have been finally diagnosed with a disorder that I am getting treatment for. I tried to kill myself and she got angry at me – saying she could not trust me. This is all too late to save my marriage. She has an Interim Intervention Order out against me and I can not see her or my 9 year old daughter until it gets reviewed in eight weeks. I know this is MY problem, I have DONE this. It just breaks my heart that it has happened and I feel so alone and isolated. How can I be loved ever again. I feel like I am dirt.

  6. OMG, this article helped me in ways I cannot describe! I was on the verge of divorcing my wife, but now I have new found reasoning to try and forgive her for her abuse. For many years I believed my wife was this amazing and loving mother and spouse. After having my mother point out several possible abusive marks on my kids I began to keep a close eye on things. One night I came home a bit early from work. My daughter came up to me with a cut and a bruise on her cheek. I asked her what happened and she told me mommy got mad at me and hit me with the back of her hand. I was so upset and dumbfounded I called the cops right away! This sent us into CPS’s “caring” arms.

    After finding out all the massive amount of abuse she admitted to in court I told her she needed to move out. (I don’t want people to think that I couldn’t have been oblivious to all the bruises, so I must have ignored them. That is not the case, she is very manipulative.) Once we got into court, our attorneys suggested she move back in with me so that we look like a family. We had to go to individual counseling, as well as couples counseling. While that work we put in did get our children back, I believe that my wife got away with just a slap on the wrist. In any case, she promised me that she would never abuse the children again. I honestly believed that she loved our kids and wanted to be a family.

    About a month later I see something strange on my wife’s facebook page. Some random guy I’ve never seen buys my wife a pizza because she is feeling down. I thought this was legitimate until I did a bit more prying. Come to find out, she’s been having an emotional relationship with this man for some time. This guy completely freaks out and is blaming me for emotionally abusing my wife by bringing up her abuse. My wife eventually saw that he was crazy and stopped communication with him. It took her a full month for her to finally admit she was emotionally cheating on me.

    About 8 months later I was talking to my daughter Abby and she says that mommy told her that if she ever told anyone about mommy hurting her again that her brother and her would go to foster care with strangers. After prying, I found out that mommy “popped” Abby with a brush on her head a month ago also. By this time I’m just so freaking upset with her again that I am in tears about losing my children to CPS again. She’s then tells me that if CPS gets called we will both lose the kids, because it’s just as much my fault as it is hers. I’m freaking out and fall into her manipulation again. She says it was a slip up and will never happen again.

    I love her very much and want to be a “normal” family again, so I buy into the B.S. and forgive her. Another 6 months go by and I’m talking to my son if mommy has been hurting them. He says yesterday mommy “popped” his mouth for talking back. Here the emotions go again with her. She says she didn’t really hit him, that it was just a slight pop for back talking. I get so upset with her that I tell her I’m leaving with the kids. She says that she will call the cops and report me for kidnapping them. I threaten to divorce her and she begins to realize that I’m serious. She says I’m not doing anything to help the family get better. GOD, why am I so gullible?

    Here we are a year later, she has stopped her physical abuse of our children. Last week I’m talking to my daughter and she says that mommy has been threatening to “beat her bottom if she doesn’t behave.” By now all the emotions I have towards my wife are resentment. I wait till the children are asleep and confront her. She admits to it, but says I’m just upset with them when I say it. I try to explain to her that it causes emotional damage on the children. My daughter believes it’s only a matter of time before mommy hits her again.

    My wife always gets upset if I ever bring up the past abuse, saying that she has changed and doesn’t do that anymore. If I tell her I want to divorce her she insists that I’m just quitting on trying to fix our marriage. Obviously she is trying to guilt trip me. I finally get so upset with my wife that I tell her I want her to move out because she doesn’t seem to care. She says she won’t move out of the state without the children. For the past week, there hasn’t been much communication between me and my wife. I put on a show for our children, because they have already gone through so much.

    But after all this, I feel like I can finally get some kind of closure. I read the article here and it gave me hope. I printed off these articles in hope that I can convince her that she hasn’t changed and still needs help. I told her that I will only continue to be with her if she gets the help she still needs.

    So far, my hardest obstacle to overcome is just forgiving her for lying and hurting the children. I can somewhat forgive her for the emotional cheating, because I don’t regard it as physical cheating. But it is still a process. I will be in contact with a personal counselor in the coming week. I really need some help figuring this stuff out with myself. I need to be there for my children, and I feel like I cannot do that without first figuring out my things.

    I hope my story can somehow help another find peace with their significant other. Stay strong!

    1. Good day. Your story is very insightful. However from the point of view of a mother, I think you are a little harsh on your wife. Do you work and is your wife a stay at home mum? It’s not easy having to raise a family, keep a clean house and then also find your husband finding faults in everything you do.

      Please don’t get me wrong, I’m totally against abuse of children, but have you taken any responsibility for your lack of support towards her? It seems that you’re looking for reasons to criticize your wife and using the children in the process. A satisfied wife will not go to another man for emotional support!

      If you loved your wife the way you claim you do then show it. She needs to feel wanted and cared for. She will reciprocate this not just too but to your children. Hope this helps God bless. Cheryl

      1. Yeah, he drove her away. Can’t broil freak and an emotional abuser who cries “victim” when it’s really him who is the perpetrator. Men like that are called narcissist – very damaging, poor children, handsome is affecting them too.

        1. What is wrong with both of you? Seriously? Her cheating and abuse are all on her. She probably did it to manipulate and guilt trip him, obvious tactics are obvious. Congrats are in order for falling for her tricks!

    2. I pray that she gets help and I mean God help. He’s a healer and he love you all. Thanks for sharing your story. God bless you and your family

  7. I am a recent victim of domestic violence and I’m still very confused. My husband has never had any history of violence in his life. He has always been so kind, loving and sweet to me. We have only been married for 8 months when in a jealous rage, he threw an Ipad on me which landed in my face and gave me a black eye. He also slapped my face. I called the police and he was in jail. I left him and am now staying with my daughter. He has been begging me to come back, to forgive him, that he’ll never do it again; that he loves me very much, that he prays everyday for God to forgive him and bring me back to him. My family is against me going back to him but they will support me if I decide to go back to him. It’s been a month and I am so confused. Should I give him another chance? I want to save my marriage but I don’t trust him. What should I do?

    1. Sweetheart you cannot save your marriage, only God can because only God can change your husband and trust me, this is not his first offense. The fact that you made excuses for his violence shows that he’s slowly manipulating you. It’s good that you rang the cops as this states no tolerance for violence. You actually need some professional Christian counselling to help you in your decision whether to go back or not. Whatever you decide giving it a lot of time and prayer will only be helpful to you and the future of your marriage.

    2. No, he will never change. I gave 3 chances to my abuser husband and he just repeat and repeats the circle of domestic violence. It’s nothing you can do about it until he decides to move on and ask for help. I’ve been in your shoes before. My abuser was disrespecful, he controlled every thing, he decided where we had to go, how much we had to spend… He lied to me, a few times when he was drunk he pushed me and put me in danger while I was driving. He used drugs and he put me around many extreme situations.

      He invented many histories about me to make me look bad around others when I left him. Finally I decided to leave him even when I still loved him, but I deserve somebody who really appreciates my ideas, my heart and my dreams. It’s hard to stay away from your “love” but always remember when he used you as a punching bag or when he ignored your feelings. Don’t go back to your abuser.

      1. I know I may be just the exception to the rule but I disagree. I know my boyfriend has changed. There have been 100s of situations he would have ‘reacted’ to before but he seems to channel his anger differently. I left him for 3 months after being fed up of not only all the ‘punishments’ but his trust issues, and that break seemed to be his wake up call. He had his ups and downs but I knew until he broke down and really realised the effects of what an animal he had become, I knew he deep down he would hate himself for it. I don’t think any person does deep down (if they’re human!)

        He still has some of his paranoia issues but no one’s perfect and I know he’s trying. I am not saying everyone needs to keep trying because sometimes people are toxic but I am saying, don’t let that one man, I mean animal, make up your mind on all people. Sometimes people can change.

  8. I believe emotional abuse is just as devastating as physical abuse. Why is it so hard for us women to believe in ourselves and not the validation of our existence to come from a man? I’ve been dating a man that was raised by an abusive alcoholic mother who says he has worked through all this and is fine. I don’t believe this because he’s nice to everyone else in his life except me. He is controlling, tries to tell me what to do, and he is always right.

    I don’t live with him but is this how someone treats you if they say they love you? He also has time for everyone but me. Very self centered. Domineering. No one controls me except the Father in heaven. After 4 months of this crap, I can’t take it anymore. I’m seeing a counselor to help me stop repeating these situations with abusive men. Yes, this man blames every woman he has been involved with. He has not healed from his mom situation. I know that hurt people hurt people, but I cannot do this anymore. Need to go forward with my life now in a new, refreshing way. One more thing with this guy, actions speak louder than just words.

  9. I need help, I love him but I am afraid that he will repeat the same actions against me. Over and over again as he has already. What should I do? :'( Sincerely, Kyah.

  10. Am a victim of abuse and the most painful aspect is that he was abusive even when I was pregnant. I thought he would change but he hasn’t. His family says I caused the abuse and that I should keep his abusive behavior to myself but I am scared of the impact of violence in my child’s life. He always hits me whenever I try to prove a point! I try to leave him but I keep changing my mind!

    1. It won’t get any better. My husband was the same and ended up neglecting our 2 month old nearly killing him and he has no idea of his actions. If he treats you that way he WILL treat your child the same.

  11. Hi, I have just lost someone who I love because I was mentally abusive. I want to change but I need help. My friends and family are not helping by telling me that it’s not all my fault, but I know it is. I really don’t want to be this way. I have been cheated on in the past and I put my complete trust in that person, but it changed me and now I have trust issues and insecurities.

    I don’t blame her one bit for leaving. I know I don’t want to be like Judas and have temporary regret. This is why my family and friends are not helping because I know what I did wrong and it hurts to know what I put her through. I hope God gives me the strength to change. She will never truly understand how deeply sorry I am, and how bad I want to change it. I have a counseling session later this week and I hope it will help. I’m just asking for prayer.

    1. Charles, Bless you, Brother! I am so sorry you had to hit rock bottom in your relationship for you to come to the realization of what you need to do. But I’m proud of you for the very intentional steps you are taking to make the changes that have needed to be done for many years. I firmly believe God can redeem your past and heal you for your future. It’s not often that we hear from people who say they “know” their friends and family are a bad influence on them. That’s a huge thing in and of itself. Because you have already cleared your mind by dismissing “false messages” you are setting yourself up for better results with your counselor.

      Please keep in mind when you meet with this counselor that they “may” be the best one for you. However, if you feel a check in your spirit after this session, don’t be afraid to look for another counselor. Counselors are not “created equal.” Be very transparent with them from your first meeting. It won’t do you any good to hedge your story. The more open you are, the quicker they can help get to the root of your anger issues and get them out in the open and find a solution that will get your life on track and the tools to deal with it the rest of your life. I also caution you not to pursue this counseling with the goal to win this woman back. Not that it won’t happen, but if your goal is anything other than finding healing and transformation and to be more Christ-like, then you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

      I believe you are already aware that this is not going to be “fun” or easy. The last thing the enemy of our faith wants is for you to be healed of this and he will throw everything he can at you to discourage you and keep you down and convince you that you will never change and that God can never forgive you. All lies from the pit of Hell!

      Stay in God’s word as that’s the true source of comfort. Surround yourself with other Believers who can pray for you and encourage you when you feel the lowest; and as you go through this process come back to this web site often and read articles that can also help and strengthen you for the future. Find a few Bible verses that give you hope, write them down on index cards and post them in obvious places (bathroom mirror, refrigerator, etc.) so you are reminded of God’s promises every day. And every morning pray through the verses in Ephesians 6 that talk about putting on the full armor of God, because you are going into battle.

      One last thing, go back to our web site and on the Prayer Wall post your prayer request for this. Thousands of people come to our home page every day and into the prayer wall to pray for the requests that are posted there. Know that we here at Marriage Missions International are standing with you too, Charles. Blessings! ~Steve Wright, Marriage Missions International

  12. Thanks for the article. I needed to see the lists for both sides. I myself truly miss the good companionship we did have. I tend to forget all the other things that happened when he’s not here. I don’t want to be divorced, if anything he treats me worse than when he was here. Although I’ve been told that it’s not true, my greatest fear is that I made him into who he is.

  13. I was abusive with my wife, verbal and a few times physical. I dropped into depression really bad, when the last episode I threw my lunch bag and water bottle and yelled at her in an argument. My water bottle hit my 7 year old on the arm. I felt so bad I left for the night and slept in my truck at Walmart .
    She left with our 4 girls (blended family) and a week later I was arrested me for pushing her last year and have been on ‘no contact’ conditions for over a month. I found that she doesn’t want anything to do with me, and is happy to be happy. Which I’m glad she is and is safe, I care about her so much. I’ve asked if we can do joint counseling for the sake of this charge and for some rebuilding of our friendship. I know I don’t deserve anything, I know that. She says she is not prepared to do joint counseling at this time, which I understand. It takes time to heal. I care about her heart even if she hates me.
    I miss my family as I’m sure that this is normal. I want change, I don’t want to ever go back to who I was.
    I didn’t like to be like that then ether, but I felt that no one count help me.
    Now I’ve lost all that I hold dear to me. I may never see my wife by my side again and I’m destroyed.
    I keep praying for wisdom and the restoration of our marriage but I feel so hopeless. Some people are telling me to get ready to defend my self because I may loose my kids and everything. I take owner ship for everything and if I have to live in my truck so my wife doesn’t have to go on welfare I’ll do it till I die. I won’t do anything to harm them. Eph 5:25.

  14. My husband was very abusive up until 2012 (we married in 1998). Then he did something so terrible to me but, got caught. He moved out. After 3 months I took him back. He has truly changed. We have 2 children, that is the reason I took him back mostly, plus I was to weak at the time to leave him. I am stronger now, as the abuse stopped 4 years ago. He is nothing but kind and loving. The husband I always wanted and thought I was marrying. The problem is me now. Now that I am back to being strong I can’t stand the sight of him and really want nothing to do with him in any more. I would like to get over my disgust and still have some trust issues with him. How can I truly move past the walls I’ve built around me and now be the kind if wife to him I would really like to be? So we aren’t just room mates but have an intimate living relationship?