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You Can't Love Him Enough to Change Him

Posted Jul 15 2008 12:00am
No matter how hard you try or how good you can be, you can't love an abuser enough to change them. Its not about your love or goodness, it never was. An abuser abuses because of who they are, not what you do.

When I was married to my abusive husband, I thought that if I was a better wife he would love me enough not to hurt me. If I showed him more love, more respect, or how well I took care of the house, he would value me more and not want to hurt me. I didn't understand at that time that he did what he did because of who he was, not because of who I was.

Another thing many women do is pray for their abuser. If they just pray hard enough, long enough, he'll stop hurting them. Maybe their not praying the right way or they haven't prayed long enough. Maybe that's why he still does it. What they need to pray for is the strength and courage to leave.

People act according to who they are, what they believe, and past conditioning. In my case, my husband watched his parents fight violently. It was common for them to throw things at each other, hit each other, and call each other terrible names.They were also alcoholic, and so was he. The alcohol served to numb their sense of right and wrong as well as fuel their anger. There is no reasoning with an active alcoholic because their sense of reason is buried in the bottom of a bottle.

We cannot change other people no matter how much we love them or pray for them. Personal change is an inside job. We can change ourselves. We can choose to love ourselves enough to stop allowing abuse. We can love ourselves enough to get out of an abusive situation and prevent it from happening again. Many women don't leave their abuser because they love him so much. That may be true, but they are not loving themselves at all. Its OK to love someone who is abusive, but that doesn't mean we have to allow the abuse to continue. When we learn to love ourselves, we won't allow anyone to treat us badly.

The other issue about loving an abuser is co-dependency, but we'll talk about that in another post. For right now, let's just be very clear that we cannot change an abuser, no matter how much we love them or pray for them. We can change ourselves.
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