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If You Are An Abuser...

Kathryn Patricelli, MA

Dealing with Current Abuse

Knowing that abuse is taking place is an important first step in dealing with abuse, because it focuses attention on the problem. It is not enough to simply know that abuse is taking place, however. It is important to act to stop further abuse from occurring. It is also important to help support abuse victims' recovery from abuse, so as to aid their transition to an abuse-free life, and to minimize the impact of the abuse they have sustained on their lives. In this following section, we describe some of the steps people can take to help stop abuse, and to support abuse survivors.

If You Are an Abuser

Abusers either don't realize that what they are doing is wrong, cannot stop themselves (because of impulse control, substance abuse problems, or brain damage), or simply don't care about the damage they do. If you are an abuser and you simply don't care, there isn't much we can say to you to get you to stop. However, if you do care, and want help stopping the cycle of abuse, there are a few things you can do:

  • Get clear on what abuse is and isn't (read the definition of abuse given above).
  • Stop rationalizing that abusive treatment of others is acceptable. Abuse is NEVER healthy or acceptable regardless of the messages you may have been taught or witnessed in the past.
  • Get sober through the help of rehabilitation programs, twelve step programs, counseling or similar resources.
  • Get professional help immediately to deal with your anger issues, substance abuse issues, poor parenting skills or poor boundaries and personal relationship strategies. Seek out the professional assistance of a psychologist or other mental health professional.

You can learn to have healthy, happier and non-abusive relationships, but you must first seek out and stick with professional help, and you must get sober before you have a realistic chance of changing.