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2 Bumps

Is it possible for an abuser in a relationship to NOT know they are being abusive?

When I finally told my boyfriend I was leaving him because he was psychologically abusive (threatening to kill himself every time we had an argument, going back and hanging out with his guns every time we have an argument, threatening to drink and drive when we have an argument, threatening to take custody of our baby from me if I ever leave him, threatening to kill himself if I ever leave him etc) he first said he wasn't being abusive, then he blamed his behavior on me and my kids and when that didn't work he said he didn't realize he was being abusive and I should have brought it up to him before now. I'm just so tired of him controlling me with fear and guilt and have totally moved on. BUT for our daughter's sake (she's due next month) I want to try to work things out with him if it's really true you can be an abuser without realizing it. Maybe he'll change now that I pointed it all out? It will be hard to learn to love him again but if he stops his negativity and abusive and alcoholic ways...I'm willing to try!


Asked by Anonymous at 3:43 PM on Jan. 2, 2011 in Relationships

This question is closed.
Answers (19)
  • I am a former domestic violence prosecutor, and your partner has classic characteristics of an abuser-- power and control. Abusers exercise these devices in a myriad of ways. Some use physical violence as a means of asserting them, some use psychological abuse. And not a single abuser that I met thought they were at fault for any of it. Some knew what they were doing was wrong, but almost all blamed their partners for their own behavior. "He/She made me do it." "If only he/she didn't push me so far, I wouldn't have ___." "It's the product of my upbringing-- I had a tough childhood."

    That last one may be more accurate, but you need to think about this question: What kind of example do you want YOUR kids to follow? The victim? The abuser? If the answer is neither-- you know you need to leave.

    Answer by Busimommi at 4:13 PM on Jan. 2, 2011

  • i think it depends on the type and level of abuse. Some are manipulative and controlling but perhaps they've always been that way, whereas someone who is severely physically abusive might know exactly what they are doing and enjoy it

    Answer by Owl_Feather at 3:48 PM on Jan. 2, 2011

  • STOP!!! This is not something you can work out. If he wants to change he has to do it on his own. You can not fix this. For your daughters sake, leave him before he actually carries out his threats!!

    Answer by isabellalecour at 3:49 PM on Jan. 2, 2011

  • It is true that he may not have realized he was being abusive, but since it was psychological abuse this may be one more way for him to control you and abuse you. You told him he was being abusive and saying he didn't know he was being abusive came only after denying it and then shifting the blame (more abuse). Changing any habit/personality trait is VERY difficult and I doubt it will get much better since you also mention alcohol too. I would run as far as I could and only be civil to him because of your child, but also keep an eye on her as she grows to watch for signs of abuse from him if he gets visitation.

    Answer by aeneva at 3:52 PM on Jan. 2, 2011

  • I'm sorry to be blunt, but this is crazy. Do yourself a favor and google "domestic violence and domestic abuse". He's an abuser, of severl types (at least verbal, emotional, and psychological) and needs help. He will NOT change, and especially not for long enough before it resurfaces. You have an obligation to not only protect yourself, but your child and the best advice I can give is to leave, sooner than later. I've been there, done that (except I wasn't expecting at the time) and yes it was hard, difficult, sad, and whatever- but leaving saved my life (literally). I wish you the best of luck, and if you have any questions- comments- or anything you can msg me, since my experience I've helped many women. The best of luck to you and your child...

    Answer by lexi8622 at 4:04 PM on Jan. 2, 2011

  • Is it possible, yes, though it is rare but do yourself a favor and don't go back. He needs help himself and from a professional. Not only to recognize his own problems but to address his emotional/psychological abuse of you. Right now it sounds as if he isn't actually admitting it but using the admittance as a tool to manipulate you into coming back. It's not going to work he isn't going to change. He needs to go to counseling and recognize his behaviors and how it affects others as well as himself before you ever think about returning.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 4:11 PM on Jan. 2, 2011

  • I agree with BeccaGee because with all the abuse he is putting you through plus the drinking it sounds like there are some psychological issues going on within himself and that is something that you cannot fix. If anything you will just put yourself in harms way being in the middle of it. It may steem from the factor of abuse done to him when he was younger but all the same let the professionals deal with it.

    Answer by kim0167 at 5:03 PM on Jan. 2, 2011

  • no they know and they will make any excuse to stop you from getting away from them. They know trust me they know.

    Answer by pinkdragon36 at 3:48 PM on Jan. 2, 2011

  • He is doing what abusers do best manipulate and he will do this as long as he thinks he is got contro or until he gets control back when he does he will go back to the old ways. He needs help and this help is more then you can give. Make yourself safe and your kids. GL Momma

    Answer by pinkdragon36 at 3:52 PM on Jan. 2, 2011

  • It is possible he doesn't know, but you should leave anyway. He needs to work this crap out on his own.

    Answer by lovinangels at 4:04 PM on Jan. 2, 2011