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Can Abusers Change?

I get asked this question a lot from clients when they first start working with me to heal from the abuse. Will the abuser change? My answer is it is possible, but the abuser has to take full responsibility for their actions and want to change. I have not met an abuser that has changed, yet.





It’s a hotly debated topic with no easy answer. Can people change? Sure, we all change as we mature and grow older. And, we even change our unhealthy addictions, like drinking too much or doing drugs. But when it comes to abusers, the question seems to be more weighted. Even if he says he can change, will change, wants to change—can you trust him again?

According to author Kathryn Robinson on The National Domestic Violence Hotline blog, “While people do have the capacity to change, they need to deeply want to and be committed to all aspects of change in order to begin to do so.” Even then, she says, it’s easier said than done. Abusers often abuse because of learned attitudes and feelings of entitlement and privilege, which can be difficult to reverse. To start the recovery process, an abuser should locate a certified batterer intervention program immediately.



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