How Can I Stop Being Abusive?
Ending abusive and violent behaviors can be difficult and life-changing, but you’ll be happier in the long run. Not only is domestic and dating violence illegal- with hefty fines, lengthy prison sentences, and long-lasting consequences- but you can also hurt the ones you care about, sometimes permanently.
The first thing to do is recognize that unhealthy behaviors or habits can be changed. The hardest part is admitting wrongful or hurtful behavior and then taking responsibility to end it.
It may not be possible to change our experiences that have normalized violence, but we are all capable of making positive changes in our lives. This includes choosing to treat a dating partner with respect, compassion, and equality.
Here are some ways to make positive changes:
- Stop justifying violent or abusive behaviors as normal or acceptable.
- Talk to a counselor or get professional help. Your school counselor can be a great resource!
- Join a movement towards ending violence in our communities. Work with youth to begin addressing healthy relationships. Be an advocate and ally to a friend dealing with violence.
- Abuse is much more than physical or sexual violence and can include how you talk to an intimate partner. If you’re often demeaning, overly critical, or threatening towards a dating partner, you may be acting in an abusive manner. It’s important to communicate with your partner in healthy ways. It’s never okay to be verbally, emotionally, or mentally abusive.
Things to remember:
- Getting help to change abusive behaviors is possible, even if you’ve witnessed or experienced violence in the past. You are worthy and deserving of healthy, respectful relationships.
- Violence is a choice. We must take responsibility for our behavior and not blame others or make excuses for our actions.
- Abuse is a serious crime: It can have long lasting effects on your partner, family, and friends.
- Feeling jealous, angry, or insecure is normal in dating relationships; however, it is not okay to use one’s insecurity to control a partner.
- Blaming the abuse on the victim, stress, childhood upbringing, drinking, or drug use are not excuses for abuse. It’s always better to take responsibility for our actions.
- Compromise is a necessary part of a healthy relationship. One partner cannot make all of the decisions in a relationship.
- Asking for help is a sign of personal strength, not weakness.
- Get help from a program that focuses on abuse. It is possible to have healthy relationships!