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You Are the Abuser — Learn How to Heal Your Partner in 8 Steps

Professional help for people in a committed relationship who inflict emotional abuse on their partner 

If you want a healthy, happy, and long-lasting relationship, and you have been mean, cruel and insensitive to your partner, then you need to take responsibility for your bad behavior, for the emotional abuse you have inflicted on them. You need to initiate a process of relationship healing. Only then will you have the happy relationship you desire.

Hi, this Couple Therapist Abe Kass. I want to teach you how to stop being an emotional abuser because emotional abusers can change.

If you acknowledge that you have behaved badly with your partner in the past, that there has been emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and psychological abuse, I encourage you to use these 8 Relationship Guidelines for Past Abusers listed below to change yourself and contribute to your partner's healing.

You can contribute to the repair the relationship damage you have caused and do your best to make things right with your partner.

How are you feeling now?

At this point in time, you may be feeling ashamed of yourself, fearful about your future, not sure how to undo the mess you have created, and how to get over emotional abuse trauma caused by your past behavior.

I want you to know you to know with a small amount of participation from your partner (your partner needs to accept your positive changes), you can turn your relationship around and make it loving, respectful, and healthy. I am here to help.


Video: How to heal from emotional abuse — a guide for past abusers

Know that emotional abuse recovery is a process. Just like any type of healing, it takes time and effort. Don't rush it!

Your first step is to make sure there is no more emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and psychological abuse at all in your marriage or committed relationship.

Perhaps your partner is threatening to leave you or has already left, and you want to get him or her back. The only way you can achieve this is if you acknowledge your previous bad behavior, your abusive behavior, and work through it with your partner so he or she can begin to trust you and feel safe around you once again.

Typically, individuals who abuse others have low self-esteem, as children they grew up in homes where emotional abuse was present, or if you are a man you may have been taught that men have the right to control women.

If any of this is true for you, you certainly CAN change for the better. There are ways you can learn to improve your self-esteem, to educate yourself so you know how to treat your partner with respect, and to accept the fact that men and women are equal in value.

As we discuss this matter, I am going to assume three things:

1. You have abused your partner in the past.

2. You are a 'good' person, but you never learned the 'how and why' to treat your partner with respect.

3. You want to change for the better in order to have a successful committed relationship.

If these three points apply to you, then you are ready for the 8 healing steps on how to stop inflicting emotional abuse in your relationship and reduce the likelihood that your abusive behavior will return in the future.

You Are The Abuser — Learn How to Help Heal Your Partner In 8 Steps

8 Relationship Guidelines for Past Abusers

1. Education Unless you know what emotional abuse is, it will be impossible to stop this bad behavior. Thus, your first task is to learn just what is emotional abuse. When you know what emotional abuse is, only then can you learn to stop it!

For example, sustained anger, ignoring, name-calling, threats, curses and more are all examples of emotional abuse.

Not all relationship fighting is abuse. You need to learn what is the difference between emotional abuse, verbal abuse, psychological abuse and what is, although regrettable, common place marital conflict.

2. Responsibility An essential component of emotional abuse recovery is taking responsibility for the abuse you have perpetrated upon your partner.

In other words, you have no one to blame for your bad behavior except yourself. You need to accept this fact, or you will never stop your abusive ways.

If you blame someone else for your 'bad behavior,' what you are saying is that another person is controlling you — that they determine your behavior.

If this is what you believe, this means you can’t control yourself — that YOUR behavior — good or bad — is dependent upon someone else. If so, how then can you ever stop future abuse? Obviously, this is an unacceptable position, and this position will cause you to fail in your efforts to stop abuse in the future and you will be unable to heal yourself and your partner from the past abuse.

Verbalize to your partner — the victim of your abuse — that what you did was hurtful and wrong, that you are at fault and no one else, and that you will make every effort to make sure it does not happen again. This is what it means to take responsibility for your past bad behavior.

3. Humility Stopping to inflict emotional abuse requires humility. You need to listen to your partner and understand how your abuse devastated them.

When humble you can be empathetic, understand your partner’s pain, and have the possibility to reconnect as a couple.

Let your partner describe in detail his or her feelings without becoming defensive.

Don't explain yourself, justify what you have done or point out inconsistencies and hypocrisies regarding your partner’s point of view and feelings.

In fact, unless you are asked, don't give your opinion at all. Just listen, listen, listen…

4. Patience Be patient, healing from injuries, whether they are physical or emotional, takes time.

You need to let your partner decide when and how the work on recovering from emotional abuse is going to happen. He or she may get over his or her injuries quickly, or it may take a long time. You should be prepared for either case. Give your partner the time they need to heal without pressuring them. 

Willingly hang in there for as long as it takes. Let your partner decide when to 'close the book' on the abuse.

5. Self-examination Examine yourself to learn the sources of your abusive behavior. Knowing why you have behaved abusively in the past will help you understand your feelings and will help you take appropriate steps to make sure your bad behavior does not return in the future.

If you do not know where in your life 'your abusive self' has come from, stopping your bad behavior will be more difficult. Like leaking water, if you don’t know the source of the leak, how then can you stop it?

Ask yourself the question: Why have I abused my partner? Make sure you answer this question honestly. This is an essential part of the healing process.

6. Feedback Ask your partner to help you monitor your behavior and to let you know 'if and when' your behavior feels controlling, intimidating, or unreasonable.

Be calm and appreciative when your partner gives you feedback letting you know that he or she is feeling uncomfortable with your behavior. This feedback must be used to refine your behavior, making it more loving, kind, and respectful.

Your partner's perception is what matters. It does not matter whether or not you agree with their perception of you as 'controlling, mean or, threatening.' It’s how your partner EXPERIENCES YOU that matters. Perception is everything!

If your partner says that your behavior is bad, 'accept' his or her words and improve yourself. 

7. Forgiveness After you have spent some time working on taking responsibility for having abused your partner, and you have shown remorse and are committed to not let abusing occur in the future, you can then ask your partner to forgive you.

Should your partner be gracious and forgive you, be grateful. If you are not forgiven, humbly accept your fate without protest.

You can always ask again for forgiveness at another time.

Forgiveness cannot be forced. Genuine forgiveness requires that your partner feels in his or her heart that you have made amends and that the abusive behavior will not happen again in the future.

Because forgiveness is a feeling, it cannot be forced. The feeling of forgiveness must come naturally. However, how you behave during the recovery period will greatly influence whether or not, in the end, you will be genuinely forgiven.

8. Gratitude Be grateful the victim of your emotional abuse is giving you a second chance. He or she is not obligated to do so.

And when he or she does give you a 'second chance,' be grateful and know that a terrible fate for you and your family has been avoided.

Verbalize your gratitude. Your partner needs to hear with his or her ears your sincere feelings of regret for the hurt you have caused and your appreciation that you have been given an opportunity to correct the bad behavior you had in the past.

emotional abuse, how to heal from emotional abuse, marriage builder

Emotional abuse is a deadly relationship disease. Many families are torn apart because of emotional abuse.

Follow carefully The 8 Relationship Guidelines for Past Abusers, and you increase the likelihood that your partner will eventually forgive you.

Unlike many serious medical conditions, emotional abuse can be cured. However, it is up to you, YOU are the doctor!

Not everyone has a 'perfect relationship.' However, when there is a problem,  you can seek solutions and apply them until you have a 'perfect relationship' and the problem no longer exists.

Use these 8 Relationship Guidelines for Past Abusers as a guide to heal yourself and everyone injured by your past abuse.

Make sure there is no more emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and psychological abuse in your marriage or committed relationship, now and in the future.

Fix past mistakes and create a healthy relationship for your loved ones and yourself before emotional abuse ruins your life.


The Relationship Listening audiobook teaches how you to listen and validate your partner so you can build closeness and trust as you are rebuilding your relationship with your partner. Learn more and listen to a sample of the audiobook.

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There are several best self-help books in our bookstore dealing with emotional abuse. Learn more about the books that can free you from abuse.

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Additional emotional abuse resources:

Learn More about Emotional Abuse

Take the Emotional Abuse Test

Topics: Can an abusive relationship be saved, Can emotional abusers change, How to stop being emotionally abusive