12 Traits of an Abusive Relationship


Once he calms down, an abuser will swear on the Bible that he will never behave the same way again. It’s rarely true; he didn’t learn this way of coping with life overnight. 

“I promise I’ll never hit you again,” “I don’t know what came over me, I just saw red. I can’t control it,” “You know I love you. I know I promised last time, but this time I really mean it,” “I’ll go to that support group you always mention. This time, I really will,” “I’m just a horrible person. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. You should leave me,” “You deserve so much better, I wouldn’t blame you if you left.” 

The wounds and instability that caused him to behave in an abusive manner are deeply imbedded. Unfortunately, the root issues don’t disappear just because he says he is sorry, even if he is sincere. 

Admission of the problem and serious steps must be taken to eradicate abusive behavior. A willingness to get therapy, attend support groups, and discover the why beneath the abusive traits is critical for overcoming and healing. Unless an abuser receives professional help, it’s unlikely the abuse will disappear.   

A person becomes an abuser for many reasons, the most likely being that they were raised in abuse themselves. 

I have deep sorrow for abusers and what they may have endured in the past. But as an adult, they must seek help to reverse the pattern. 

They are now accountable to God for those they abuse. 


Laura Petherbridge is an international author and speaker who serves couples and single adults with topics on relationships, divorce prevention, divorce recovery, and stepfamilies. She is the author of, When ‘I Do’ Becomes ‘I Don’t’, The Smart Stepmom, co-authored with Ron Deal, 101 Tips for The Smart Stepmom, and Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul. Laura’s website is www.TheSmartStepmom.com.

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