Are people born violent?
Nobody is born violent.
Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is a learned behavior and it can be unlearned. The main causes of violent behavior include frustration, exposure to violent media and violent environments. Certain situations such as drinking and provocations can also increase the risk of violent behavior. But, this should not be an excuse as to why he cannot make better choices in life.
In some cases, counselling may be necessary for abusers while in others, it is a matter of making the decision to be a better partner.
It is possible for abusers to change their attitudes and behaviors towards any form of gender-based violence. Some men will promise to change yet their aim is to ensure that you do not leave him. He baits you.
Beware that there is no magical cure for violent behavior. He cannot just wake up and say he’s healed. Also, you can’t make him change or improve unless he wants to and a promise is not enough.
In the end, you deserve love, safety and respect and it’s unfair to spend the rest of your life waiting for someone else to change. But, how do you really know he is making a positive change?
8 signs he's really improving:
- He admits that what he has done, or been doing, is wrong and acknowledges that it has hurt those he loves and cares about
- Takes responsibility of his actions instead of blaming you, other people or circumstances
- Apologizes to you and those affected by his actions and tries repairing the relationship
- He promises to change and accepts that this maybe a long process requiring persistence. He cannot just wake up one day and say he’s cured. Change is not easy and may take a lot of time and commitment.
- Respects your wishes as to what changes you want to see and how he can be accountable
- He doesn’t make you feel that that the improvements he is making are a favor to you and those around you. He should not expect praise for improvements made.
- He starts becoming respectful, kind, humble, empathetic, patient, and supportive. This means learning to be tolerant and changing how he respond to triggers especially in emotional situations. He cannot pretend for long, you will know whether he is really trying to live by these values in his everyday life.
- Lastly, he accepts consequences of his actions – this includes not blaming you or those affected by his actions or expecting you to forgive him right away. He should allow you to heal at your own pace. In case you decide to leave him, he should respect that too.
No one deserves abuse, if your partner does not change or stay committed, seek help. It is one thing to hope that he will change and another for him to want to change. Sometimes, he doesn’t want to change and, in this case, focus on changing your own life. This may involve leaving the abuser.
Related: How To heal After Abuse
Over to you, do you think abusers can change?