Sometimes we really want to believe that there is goodness is the person we are with. Take Emma for example (name changed). She has been verbally and emotionally abused for the last 18 years of her married life. She has been publicly shamed, broken down and humiliated. She has had all number of insinuations made about her by her spouse. She has stayed the course and done everything in her power to stay for the sake of a number of things from kids to community. The question is – will he change?
Let me put this as simply as I can, Emma. The answer is No.
Manipulation will escalate, because this is what happens when an abuser has been “found out”. Control techniques will keep on increasing and lies to cover those up and make it look as though it is all your fault are definitely not in your imagination. You see, you can never love someone enough to change them; sometimes character is what it is. There are instances where, caught early, things can change; but living with a narcissistic personality or controlling abuser isn’t something that anyone can change, not even the person themselves; it is character that has had habit ingrained into it. You can turn a blind eye, you can excuse it a million times but it does not change what the person is.
The least you should aim for is to get out alive, before the physical abuse worsens/ starts/ increases in frequency. After so many years there is simply no way that you can regain enough respect in that person’s eyes to make the abuse stop. In some very rare circumstances, roles are reversed and the abused become the abuser but then what kind of life would that be and who would want an “upper hand” at the expense of their own goodness? I’d recommend set them free and set yourself free. There is never any shame in living a life of peace on the back of a broken past. The community doesn’t live in your house, the extended family doesn’t cry their eyes out in the nights, and the neighbours won’t make your bed warm for you when you find that it is loveless. If you are financially able or there is any glimmer of financial hope that you and the kids will be okay, please know that change does not come for long term abusers/narcissists, not for any fault of yours but simply because it does not exist in the character of the abuser. So Emma, please take the children, and live before life makes it too hard to start over and age makes it impossible to begin again.
Emma — There is hope. There is time. There is a door. Please, use it.