My Husband is Admitting That He's Abusive | BTR.ORG

My Husband is Admitting He’s Abusive

by | Abuse Literacy

how men can become safe after betrayal trauma

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.

Consider attending a BTR.ORG Group Session today.


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  1. Megan Duncan

    I appreciated so much about this episode, and commend the guests for their openness, bravery and vulnerability. There was one thing that was said that made me feel uncomfortable and at first wasn’t sure why. After some thought, I think I’ve realized it is objectification. It was the reference to the wife potentially being the “best tool” in the husband’s “toolbox of recovery”. I realized that it was dehumanizing, reducing the wife to an object to be “used” for the abuser’s benefit. Which is what we are trying to get away from, no? I definitely do not want to be regarded as a “tool” for ANYTHING, especially in what should be an intimate, equal, partner relationship. it perpetuates the perspective that the abuser/addict is the most important person to help, and disregards HER humanity and need for help and healing from something HE perpetrated against her.

    • Anne Blythe

      I couldn’t agree more! Thank you for sharing. We didn’t want to set these men up as the model men, and that language is something to watch for:). Thank you!

    • David

      Thank you for your comment, Megan. I agree, and if I could edit the way I phrased that in the podcast, I would.

  2. wife

    How about adding intimacy anorexia to sexual abuse?

    • Anne Blythe

      We believe that the term intimacy anorexia is a term used to further justify or minimize what is just emotional & psychological abuse.

      • A fellow Shero

        BTR saved my life.
        Thank goodness for the clarity around the abuse model!!!!!! It made over a decade of abuse FINALLY make sense.
        After my body & mind all falling apart due to abuse, and sexual coercion, and therapy induced trauma from proponents of the codependency model- finding out the truth and naming it as abuse, literally saved my life!!!
        I’m a walking medical diagnosis-
        suffering a psychological and psychiatric break by developing a disassociative disorder, developing auto immune disorders of fibromyalgia and a functional neurological disorder, panic disorder, and anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, night terrors, sexual anorexia (as the therapist called it),severe major depressive disorder, and alexithmya (a ptsd emotional disorder which Inhibits you from feeling emotion, and your body perceives them as physical sensations), reoccurring sexual dysfunctions pain and infections, stomach problems, neck problems, nerve problems, etc: the list
        Is sadly extensive….
        And now to learn I am normal.
        I am normal
        For what an abuse survivor would experience.
        “Sexual anorexia” is a NORMAL response to trauma from sexual coercion and rape-an unfortunate ongoing situation I endured in my marriage.
        Calling it abuse, saved my life.
        It made it all make sense!
        And it also made the clarity in the need to gain safety imperative!!!!
        I’m no where near healed. But I am safe! Separated for the time being and being rigorous around boundaries!!!
        Lundys book helped save my life also!
        Thank you for being a resource for abused women!!!
        And it’s so encouraging to hear men being willing to take ownership of the damage their abuse has caused!

        • Anne Blythe

          I’m so glad you found us and so glad it helped you! Hugs!

  3. Sonja

    This really helped me see and understand I have been abused for nearly twenty years. I never saw his behavior as abuse, but I see now it was/is.

    I’ve been suspicious of his infidelity our entire marriage, but had no visible proof. So every time I confronted him, he gaslighted me. October 21, 2019 I finally got my proof, took the kids (and animals) and left. He came home to a very empty house. We sent emails to his secret account and he knew he lost us. Unfortunately, our sons learned of his behavior through Instagram, so keeping it from them is impossible now; and our daughter overheard me talking about his girlfriends to one of my adult sons. (I thought I was private, but discovered she snuck up behind me.) They were/are so hurt and angry at him, as well as disbelief that I have put up with it so long, but they are proud of me for (finally) leaving him.

    He left the house the same night of his “discovery” so we could come home. He has the fortunate benefit of living where he works for only $25.00 a week. Excellent price for an all bills paid room, food and laundry ability. He has been making a LOT of wonderful changes, but this article showed me he has a LOT more to make.

    Thank you, Anne, for welcoming me.

    • Anne Blythe

      I’m so glad you found this to be helpful! Hugs!

  4. pickingupthepeace

    I just wanted to share how timely this particular episode is. Just before Christmas, a friend of mine called and told me about a couple of abuse episodes with her husband. I knew she grew up with an alcoholic father. Her husband is a sex addict and is also my husband’s cousin, who grew up on the same property with very little supervision. Anyway, she called me. Family Services had taken her son. I spent most of Friday and Saturday just being “there” for her. When I listened to this podcast episode, I was in tears.

    Over the weekend, my friend and I had many text conversations about recovery and men changing abusive behaviors. Family Services has deemed her unsafe because she wouldn’t call what was happening domestic violence. She’s been struggling with calling her husband’s behaviors abuse (which I’m sure we all get) but when she told me about them being worried about her because she wouldn’t call it domestic violence, I immediately thought of Anne and her story. I’ve sent my friend BTR podcast episodes and some of the articles, over the last couple of years, but this episode might really hit home with her because she really wants her son back and she wants her husband to change but she is scared that he won’t. She asked me if the stuff that had happened really was domestic violence and I told her it was.

    Sunday, she couldn’t get herself to go to church (I know I’ve been there) and we spent the whole morning texting back and forth. She told me she appreciated my wisdom. I told her thanks and said it’s unfortunate the way I got it.

    This last part of our conversation has filled me with mixed emotions. I’m disgusted that she has to go through this and that anyone has to go through this. It sucks that I had to go through it. At the same time, I realized that this is THE REASON I went through all of this, to be a voice and help other women who find themselves in a similar situation.

    Since I found Betrayal Trauma Recovery, I’ve felt like I have a purpose. I never thought I’d be sharing about my experience or sharing BTR stuff with other women. But since finding BTR, especially meeting Anne, I found my purpose and my passion. I’m very blessed to have found BTR. Thank you!!

    • Anne Blythe

      Thank you so much for sharing this!

  5. Theresa

    This was great! Thank you for sharing. Loved hearing David’s insight.

  6. A

    I’ve seen in your older post about Lundy Bandcroft’s book to not give it to your abuser.

    At what point in the program do the guys read this?


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