Summary: This article gives 3 ways you can know if your abusive or addicted or cheating or lying spouse has really changed.  Or watch the 20-min. video version on YouTube.

About Me: I’ve been a Christian divorce recovery leader in conservative churches since 1998. For more than 20 years I’ve spent hours listening to horrible stories of abuse and betrayal. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. God meant marriage to be loving, undefiled, and lifelong. But what happens when it’s the opposite? What if it’s not just unloving, it’s destructive, even dangerous? If this is you, you may also want my book, The Life-Saving Divorce.

 

About My Guest: Bob Hamp, MFT, is a licensed Christian therapist in the Greater Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. He also runs Think Differently Academy. 

 

HOW DO YOU KNOW YOUR ABUSIVE OR ADDICTED PARTNER HAS TRULY CHANGED?

It's so confusing. They want you to trust them again, but you're not sure...

  • —They claim they've changed.
  • —They may be angry that you don't see them trying.
  • —They may be pressuring you to move back in.
  • —They say they'd die for you.

But those are actually signs they have NOT changed.

Today we talk with Bob Hamp, MFT, about how to know if they've really changed:

—3 steps the abuser or addict must do to restore trust,

—3 steps the victim must do to see if the change is real.

Bob's key principle: Abuse and codependency are all about the mis-assignment of responsibility.

Bob Hamp, MFT, talks about how the abuser or addict or cheater puts the responsibility for their behavior on the other spouse. They do not take responsibility for their own behavior. For Bob's video that explains this dynamic, see his Dynamics of Abuse. 

The abuser or addict or cheater puts the responsibility for their behavior on the other spouse. They do not take responsibility for their own behavior.

In comparison to the bad times in the relationship, the times that are "better" may appear to be permanent change, but they usually aren't.

In comparison to the bad times in the relationship, the times that are "better" may appear to be permanent change, but they usually aren't.

Bob Hamp recommends the destructive spouse do these three things:

  • 1. They must take responsibility for their own choices. They must go into detail to identify all aspects of their destructive choices. They need to tell you what their choices cost you (and your children, if any).
  • 2. They must show empathy to the pain, humiliation, financial peril, or other injury their choices caused.
  • 3. They must repeat #1 and #2 publicly over time, because it's likely they have convinced onlookers that you are responsible and that they are the victim.

The VICTIM must do these three things:

  • 1. (13:56) Stop taking responsibility for the spouse's choices, and hand the responsibility back to them. Step back and stop carrying the emotional burden.
  • 2. Continue holding your boundaries. "Forgiving and forgetting" is the wrong medicine for this chronic situation. Forgiving is good for what is past, but not for an ongoing behavior.
  • 3. Define what you want in a committed relationship, and tell them what is required.

 

Remember who you were before the abuse / betrayal started. At one point, you were a person who had greater emotional strength. You could stand for yourself and your passions. Find that person again.

This video interview also included 3 Responses to Give to People Who Pressure You to Reconcile.

Bob Hamp suggests you be clear about what a good relationship looks like.

Define what you want in your relationship

For example, a good relationship has support, responsibility taking, mutuality, empathic connection, and open communication.  You can invite your spouse to have this kind of relationship — and not settle for anything less.

Define what you want in your relationship

Also, watch Bob's video on THE DYNAMICS OF ABUSE.

Are you going through a life-saving divorce? I’d like to invite you to my private Facebook group, "Life-Saving Divorce for Separated or Divorced Christians." Just click the link and ANSWER the 3 QUESTIONS. This is a group for women and men of faith who have walked this path, or are considering it.  Also, sign up for my email list below.


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GET THE BOOK! The Life-Saving Divorce is about divorces for very serious reasons: a pattern of sexual immorality, physical abuse, chronic emotional abuse, life-altering addictions, abandonment, or severe neglect. This book will give you hope for your future, and optimism about your children. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

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