Domestic Abuse Misconception #25: An abuser who claims he has changed has really changed and you should believe him and give him a chance. Sheesh! This is just not true. At all. Claims of change are usually just another tactic to get you back and keep you where he wants you.
I know this sounds like what I have already shared in so many of my previous 24 posts but I am saying it again because it cannot be said enough. This is so so SO very important for victims to know and it is so so SO important for other people to know. Abusers will often go to any length to get the victim back because, as we all know now, it is all about power and control.
I love this post I am sharing here. It is from the LaSalle Parish Sherriff's Office in Louisiana and here they describe five common tactics abusers use to try and convince their victims that they have changed and once you know these don't be surprised when you see them over and over and over again in the abuser. They are:
1. The Honeymoon Syndrome where an abuser tries to get the victim back by wooing her and courting her all over again. Flowers. Cards. Gifts. Professions of undying love. "I'm nothing without you." That sort of thing. Guard your heart.
2. The Super Parent Syndrome where an abuser who may have never showed interest in the kids or may have even been abusive to them all the sudden becomes Super Parent. Father of the Year. This does incredible damage to the kids who have been starving for the affection of that parent and think he really cares now when, in effect, they are strictly pawns in his game to maintain power and control.
3. The Revival Syndrome where an abuser claims to have had a religious experience and is now so close to God and ready to be the man God called him to be. This one is hard for so many in church circles because of our longing for a good redemption story. This is particularly hard when other people begin to push the victim to reconcile because her abuser is suddenly "a new creature in Christ." Repentance can only be proven over time and by fruit. Forgiveness is one thing. Trust is yet another.
4. The Sobriety Syndrome where an abuser claims he has gotten sober or clean and will never abuse a substance again. This, of course, comes with the assumption that the abuse is caused by the substance use. While substance abuse and domestic abuse may very well overlap, substance abuse does not cause domestic abuse. They have to be treated as separate issues. A sober abuser can easily still abuse.
5. The Counseling Syndrome where an abuser says he is getting counseling and wants marriage counseling. As I have already addressed in Misconception #3, marriage counseling is NEVER EVER recommended with abuse. And even individual counseling, for it to be effective, has to be done by somebody who is well trained in the dynamics of abuse.
Here is the link for the article. It is so important for victims to know what to expect when they set boundaries against the abuser so that they are not caught off guard with these tactics. Is it equally important for the friends, family, and supporters of the victim to know what to expect so that they do not naively encourage reconciliation based on the apparent changes in the abuser as he works these tactics.
(Note: In all of my posts I use "he" for abuser and "she" for victim for simplicity and because, in the majority of cases, the abuser is male. But it can be the opposite with a female abuser. Dynamics of abuse can also happen in same sex relationships.)