My husband is admitting he’s abusive. I’ve been sending him articles, podcasts, books, for years – hoping and praying he would read them and see that the sexual coercion, gaslighting, physical intimidation, and secret pornography use are actual abuse. Last week I decided to just give up and leave. I couldn’t take the fear and depression anymore. I couldn’t take the way he was one way at home and completely different around everyone else. But then the next morning I woke up and he had sent me several texts, explaining to me that he’d been up all night, unable to sleep. He’d read articles and listened to podcasts and was halfway through one of the abuse books I’d begged him to read years ago. He’s admitting that he’s abusive and he’s saying that he’s going to change. What should I do?
Admitting Abusiveness as a Hoovering Tactic
Unfortunately, many abusers use admitting their abusiveness as a hoovering tactic, to suck victims back in after the victim has left or is taking steps toward leaving.
Often, abusers will appear to make great strides, doing things like:
- Telling family and friends about the abuse.
- Attending counseling, church, 12-step meetings.
- Offering daily accountability and a glimpse into their private life, including access to phones, tablets, computers, and more.
- Becoming involved in housework.
- Taking care of the children.
- Becoming hyper-involved in new age practices like meditation and yoga.
Your Next Steps
The abuser’s apology and admittance does not mean that you must stay in the marriage. You can leave regardless of what he admits to.
However, if you would like to stay for the time being, then consider establishing a safe proximity between yourself and your husband so that you can observe his behaviors without influencing them, and without giving him the opportunity to manipulate you.
From a distance, he will be a good person – whether or not he sees you every day and checks in with you or not.
In many betrayal trauma communities, victims are encouraged to receive daily check-ins from the abuser, however, in our community we have found that this often traumatizes victims and enables abusers. Abusers use check-ins to manipulate and groom victims.
BTR.ORG Is Here For You
Determining whether or not an abuser’s change is real is a process that takes time and objectivity.