How You Can Know That He's Willing to Change
The vast majority of angry and emotionally abusive men can change, says Dr. Steven Stosny, if they have the courage to give up blame and do the hard work of recovery. The following are signs that he is willing to take on the hard and sometimes painful task of saving his family. He recognizes that:
To begin the arduous process of change, an abuser must recognize that:
The Process of Healing
At CompassionPower, abusers learn a tool called, HEALS. With several weeks of practice, it builds a conditioned response to help them automatically convert anxiety, resentment, and anger into compassion. In other words, compassion will once again become their natural response to the distress of loved ones, like it was when they were young children, and, in most cases, like it was when they first got married.
Then by habit, the recovering abuser will begin to see his anxiety, resentment, and anger as a kind of "gas gauge" telling him that his core value is on empty, and he needs to fill it up by increasing his value and respect for his wife and children.
Most important, the recovering abuser must be especially compassionate to his wife's post-traumatic stress reactions. Now that she feels safer and more confident, a lot of anger and anxiety about past abuse will begin to surface at unpredictable times. If the recovering abuser becomes defensive, i.e., fails at compassion, he will once again seem to her like the abuser of the past. But if he greets each one of these episodes with compassion and understanding, she will see that he is different and that she can safely be her natural, non-defensive, powerful self.
The recovering abuser must understand that his wife will not be able to trust him completely for a long time, no matter how much she tries. Love and compassion are unconditional, but trust, once it is betrayed by abuse, has to be earned, gradually and slowly. For many months he will have to do most of the compassion work unilaterally, to help his wife heal the wounds of years of abuse. Recovery from abuse is never a 50-50 deal; the former abuser has to do at least 90 percent of the work.
Emotional abusers have to complete some sixty homework assignments in the Manual of the Core Value Workshop and report in weekly for five months to complete their treatment. If their wives agree that they have been abuse-free, they then receive a certificate of graduation and a free lifetime membership in the Core Value workshop.
How Victims Recover and What They Can Expect
Your recovery begins with the recognition that:
You must see this residual anger and anxiety, which can come out of nowhere, as: