Sometimes, even if a relationship can seem perfect on paper, it can be very abusive and toxic. It’s hard to be aware of when you’re abusive to your partner, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change your abusive spouse’s characteristics.
If you’re wondering how to stop being abusive, we have a few ways listed below that can make a big difference in your relationship
Are you an abusive partner?
When you’re in an abusive relationship, it can be hard to figure out who’s the abuser-you or your partner. If you think you’re the abusive spouse in the relationship, then admitting your behavior is important in finding ways to stop abusive behavior.
If you’re not sure if you’re abusive or not, then it’s time for some reflection: does your partner seem scared of you?
Does your partner do whatever you want, even if they don’t like doing it? Does your partner seem closed off? Do you think your partner hides things from you?
Suppose you answered yes to most of these questions. There’s a good chance you’re the abusive one in the relationship.
Once you’ve realized that you’re the abuser in your relationship, it’s time to change. If you’re wondering, “can an abuser stop abusing?” The answer is yes, but only if you make a determined effort to be a better partner.
So, how to stop being an abuser? It’s not easy to change behavior overnight, and even if you did, fixing your relationship can be more complicated than you might think.
However, it’s not impossible to have a happy relationship. Listed below are fifteen ways you can work on yourself to stop being an abusive partner.
How to stop being an abusive person: 15 ways
If you are looking for a positive change in your behavior, here are some ways to begin with. These tips can help you get control of your abusive behavior.
1. Admit your abusive behavior
The first step in how to stop being abusive is to admit your dangerous behavior. Recognize that you’re an abusive spouse or partner and that your actions have consequences if you want to change abusive behavior.
2. Look out for jealousy
If you’ve ever accused your partner of loving someone else more than you, or if you have emotionally manipulated them into feeling bad about not spending time with you, then it’s a sign that you’re a jealous, abusive spouse.
Getting jealous about your partner always leads to an abusive personality. So, to stop being abusive, respect your partner’s boundaries and give them some space to spend time with friends and family.
Most abusive partners tend to steamroll over their girlfriend or boyfriend and ignore what they’re saying. By not listening to your partner, you are not giving them the time of day, and you’re being incredibly disrespectful.
To stop being emotionally abusive, catch yourself whenever you talk over your partner.
Ask them more questions and pay attention to what they’re saying. Listening and being respectful in your relationship can go a long way in helping abusers stop abusing.
Anger management is key in how to stop abusing your partner. If you find yourself getting unnecessarily angry, you might also find that more often than not, you’re taking it out on your partner.
On your quest on how to stop being abusive, learning techniques to control your anger is important.
Poor anger management is a very common problem. Most people who have an abusive personality tend to have anger issues. Having poor anger control can also drastically affect your physical health, including your immune system.
So fixing these issues helps not only your partner but also you. This short video explains the effects of anger and also gives a few techniques on how to handle it-
5. Try to open up
To stop being emotionally abusive, it’s essential to open up emotionally. There are many causes for abusive spouse characteristics, and one of them is a lack of emotional connection with your partner.
If you don’t have an emotional rapport with your partner, you could find it hard to empathize and understand them, which leads to abusive behavior.
But if you’re an emotionally closed-off person, it can be hard to open up suddenly. You might feel vulnerable and stressed out, making you more abusive.
To find the right way to open up, tell yourself that being emotionally vulnerable is healthy for your relationship. The main goal of talking exercises is to overcome your abuser’s personality and not feed into it.
Opening up and proper communication can also help your partner get over abuse. But don’t take over communication.
Psychologists say that abusers tend to take control over communication and don’t let their partner have a say in anything. So when you open up, be vulnerable. And when you communicate, hand over the mic to your partner and listen.
A typical pattern in abusive relationships is the partner being constricted or not allowed to do what they want. Abusers tend to order their partner around and tell them what they should and shouldn’t do.
If you find yourself stopping your partner from doing something they like or getting angry when they don’t do what you want, it’s time to learn how to stop being abusive.
Researchers say that controlling a partner’s behavior is one of the key characteristics of domestic violence.
Since control helps you feel more powerful, you might consciously or unconsciously wield this power over your partner, making them feel scared and helpless.
If you’re unsure how to change your behavior, start by giving your partner some freedom and space. If they say they’re interested in doing something, instead of stopping them, be supportive.
Even if you think you know what’s best for your partner, remember that just because you’re in a relationship with them doesn’t give you control over their life.
Playing the blame game is common in most toxic relationships. Blaming your partner when things go wrong for you is emotionally abusive and can make your partner feel hurt and misunderstood.
If you’re trying to find ways how not to be abusive, then start by taking responsibility for your actions instead of dumping your guilt over your partner.
When something goes wrong, first think about whether it was your fault, your partner’s fault, or just fate. Even if you think that it’s your partner’s fault, instead of blaming them, try talking to them about it calmly.
Psychologists define gaslighting as “a form of emotional abuse that makes you question your beliefs and perception of reality.” This abuse form can make your partner feel inadequate and insufficient about themselves.
If you’re trying to change your abusive behavior, it’s crucial to change how you talk about sensitive topics with your partner. If you’re not respecting your partner’s beliefs or thoughts, that can be problematic for your relationship, and it can quickly turn toxic.
The best way to stop being abusive is to get some professional help. If you think this is an unnecessary step, try attending at least one or two therapy sessions.
Going to counseling alone or with your partner can help you understand how you’re being abusive and how to change abusive behavior.
Therapists can help you develop anger management, personal development, and healing techniques. By helping you understand where your toxic behaviors come from, they can guide you through various techniques that can change your abusive behavior.
Abusive behavior doesn’t develop overnight. It’s something that develops as your relationship progresses and could also be present before your relationship even begins.
When you’re trying to change your abusive behavior, figuring out where your problems lie and what you’re doing wrong can help you work on them.
Ask yourself questions like, “when have I reacted aggressively towards my partner?”, “what situations make me uncontrollably angry?”. Understanding your problems can help you work on them better and change your abusive behavior.
11. Stop the Chain Of Abuse
Abusive characteristics are both experienced and inflicted by the same people. You might be acting out because someone else was abusive to you. This is a psychological phenomenon called displacement.
If you’ve experienced abuse from someone who makes you feel powerless, you remove these emotions by making someone else feel powerless.
For example, maybe your boss shouted at you at work and made you feel inadequate. You come back home and take it out on your spouse.
This chain of abuse is a very common cause of toxicity in relationships. Being aware that you might be abusing your partner by taking out your frustration on them can help you change your abusive behavior.
12. Pay attention to your partner
Passive abuse exists. Even if you’re not actively abusing your partner physically or emotionally, the relationship gets abusive if you ignore your partner.
If you find yourself pushing your spouse aside and not paying attention, that’s a red flag.
It’s a common characteristic of abusive spouses to treat their partners beneath them and not give them the respect they deserve.
If you’re trying to find ways on how to stop being abusive, then paying attention and treating your partner respectfully should be high on your list.
Some people think tough love is essential in a relationship, which is not valid. If you think you’re showing love by gaslighting, “challenging,” or “teaching” your partner, then you’re an abusive spouse.
If you find yourself expressing your love through physically or emotionally daunting ways for your partner, then it’s time to change your abusive behavior. Find a new love language.
It can be hard to make the change at first since it will completely change the dynamics of your relationship. However, keep reminding yourself that it’s a good change, and make an effort to be respectful and kind.
Maybe you’ve come to realize over time that you’re only abusive to your partner in certain instances. It could be when your favorite football team lost a game or when one of your kids throws a tantrum.
During moments of stress like these, you find yourself physically abusing your partner or shouting at them.
These specific instances are triggers. These triggers override your reasoning and turn you into an abusive spouse. Being aware of your triggers and finding a better way to manage them can significantly improve your relationship.
Counseling or therapy sessions can be beneficial as psychologists can help you change your abusive behavior.
Changing your abusive behavior is a long process, and it’s easy to revert to your old self when things get tough. Because it can be hard to keep the momentum of change going, setting milestones and committing to changing your behavior is healthy.
You can set up goals and milestones with your partner and ask them to hold you accountable. Your milestones could be something like having at least 2 date nights per week or doing one activity your partner wants every weekend.
If you have a therapist, they can also help you set up goals and commitments.
The first step in how to stop being abusive is to admit your behavior and take action to change it. The steps listed above can help you change your abusive behavior and improve the health of your relationship for both you and your partner.
It is not impossible for an abuser to stop abusing- taking responsibility and committing change can go a long way in helping you stop abusive behavior.
Therapy and counseling are resources that can induce a significant change in your behavior, so don’t hesitate to ask for help.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.