The first action needed to create change is to decide that the current situation is unsatisfactory and unacceptable. There must be recognition of unwanted behavior and a desire for it to come to an end in order for true change to occur. A decision to change has no value unless action is taken and approaches are adjusted over time, remedying the unacceptable current situation.
Almost all misconduct is a result of immature, selfish, unjust, or disrespectful behavior. All abusers share these attributes. It is difficult to create permanent change in another person, and especially with someone who is immature, selfish, unjust, or disrespectful. Therefore, it is the victim of abuse that must do something or the change is unlikely to manifest. It is also very important to be diligent about finding the right combination of actions and tools that help maintain transformation. The many possible reasons why someone would be attracted to these situations can often create difficulties and resistance from breaking free.
Transformation is not easy and a good deal of mental focus and determination are required to move past abusive relationships. Abusers are happy with the current situation and will resist all measures of change. Despite the formidable resistance an abuser will attempt to offer in order to keep power and to maintain domination and control, the victim and their allies must remain diligent and conscious of the situation. It is possible, but rare, that unwanted behavior in an abuser can be banished forever. When a victim insists that an abuser prove themselves before believing their promises, promises “to be good” are more likely to be kept, if even for only a few weeks or months. However, usually an abuser makes promises that are not kept because they are pretending “to be good” to regain trust, only to abuse again, as in time, a person’s true nature always emerges. When someone is committed to change and starts to take actions, finding the right method (or combination of methods) is only a matter of willpower, resources, and flexibility.
There are four options, or processes, one can use regarding how to address unwanted behavior:
The Agency Option
This option entails using external public, private, formal, and informal resources to provide assistance in amending unwanted behavior. Agencies include law enforcement, clubs and social groups, non-profit organizations, and government representatives.
The Agency Option generally is comprised of:
- Law enforcement agencies and the police
- The judiciary and the court system
- Private investigators and government investigators
- Domestic violence agencies and shelters, victim advocacy agencies
- child support and safety agencies
- Government sponsored and private counselors, therapists, and psychologists
- Legislators, executive branches, government officials
- Hospitals, emergency services, and physical rehabilitation centers
- Peer groups, meditation meetings, victim support sessions
- The news, media, social networks, and family and friends
Utilizing the Agency Option is typically required after abuse has already occurred and it is too late to implement the Internal or External Options. Agencies are specifically established for immediate and long-term relief and are valuable tools that can help create the safety net and space needed for a victim to more fully explore alternative solutions to abuse.
The Ally Option
This option entails using other human resources such as friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors as a means to build defenses against being abused, bullied, stalked, harassed, or manipulated. Having a cell phone picture of the abuser to share with others is extremely helpful when asking help from allies who do not know the abuser. Almost everyone you ask for support will be happy to stand by your side.
When in the midst of an abusive situation, it may be difficult to think clearly and come up with a solution to remedy the abuse, while trying to implement it may feel almost impossible. However, given the right tools and the will power to create change, it most certainly is possible, even more so-- it is probable. Many may feel overwhelmed and may not know where to start, but it is important to start somewhere.
Please continue to check in with us each week for a new post about abusive behavior and how it can affect your life and the lives of those around you.