7 Steps How To Fix An Abusive Relationship In (2024)

In this guide, you’ll learn how to fix an abusive relationship.

As an experienced life coach, I have been able to help various people fix their abusive relationships. 

It’s not easy, but it is possible if you follow the steps listed below.  

How To Fix An Abusive Relationship
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

1. Identify The Abuse

This isn’t as easy as you may think.

Sometimes the victim will assume the abusive behavior is a normal part of a romantic relationship. This is common if you were raised by abusive parents. It may also be that this person is gaslighting you into accepting their bad behavior.

Remember, abuse isn’t just physical. Emotional abuse, through harsh words or a lack of attention, can be just as bad.

If your partner’s behavior is hurting your feelings, it needs to change. By all means, hear what your friends, family members or a therapist has to say about the situation. They’ll try to give you a clearer perspective of what’s happening.

Ultimately though, you need to identify what this person is doing to your mental health.  

2. Stand Up To Your Partner

Call out their abusive behavior, how it makes you feel and clarify that you won’t stand for it any more.

This talk can be scary. Maybe you’re worried that this conversation will end the relationship. Perhaps you’re convinced your partner is going to react with more violence or emotional abuse. So, it might seem like nothing good will come from this talk. But that’s not always true.

Sometimes, your partner will actually admit their flaws and promise that they’ll try to change. Sometimes abusive partners aren’t aware that their behavior is bad. Again, if they grew up witnessing abuse, this could be their ‘normal’.

Either way, calling out abusive behavior is a crucially important step to ending it.   

When delivering this feedback, be firm. They need to know you’re serious. As scary as it may seem, you may need to make an ultimatum. Because you deserve a healthy relationship, not an abusive one. Either the abuse stops or you leave.  

At the same time, you don’t need to be aggressive when delivering this feedback. Focus on the behaviour, rather than the individual. Let your partner know you love them, but you really can’t accept the behavior. People are more prone to hearing and accepting feedback when it’s delivered this way.

When feedback is focused on them as a person, abusers are more likely to get defensive, aggressive or emotionally shut down. 

3. The Abuser Must Admit Their Flaws 

If abusers don’t want to address their problems, there’s no way to fix the relationship. 

Yes, it’s possible that your partner will promise to change and actually do it. 

However, it’s also possible that they will make empty promises just to shut you up. 

You may see a short improvement in their behavior – perhaps long enough to ensure you don’t leave immediately – only for the pattern to restart shortly afterwards. 

If they are serious about getting better, they will agree to seek help from a therapist or another type of mental health expert. 

Recommend this to them, as the emotional barriers that cause someone to be abusive can be difficult to overcome alone. 

4. Break The Cycle Of Emotional Abuse

The abuser hurts their partner. The partner lets it happen. The abuser continues. That’s the cycle of emotional abuse.

To break this cycle, be willing to break your role in it.

Often, you’ll feel like it’s easier to keep the cycle going. Perhaps you rationalise this by making excuses for them, trying to give them endless last chances, telling yourself that the road to true romance never did run smooth.

Do that if you like. Just know that the cycle of abuse will most likely keep running until you break it.  

Yes, that means actually leaving them if their behaviour doesn’t get better.  

5. Understand What Causes Someone To Be Abusive 

To fix an abusive relationship, both parties must first know that it’s possible for an abusive person to change.

This toxic attitude to relationships was nurtured. A healthier one can be nurtured too. 

This nurturing process is so much easier when the abuser chooses to work with a therapist, who is trained to understand and use techniques to shift the unhealthy thoughts inside their mind. 

The tricky thing is: this process doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and hard work to move past this. There might be slip-ups, even after the abusive partner has started therapy. 

If you’re both determined enough to want to fix a toxic relationship, it is possible, but there could be bumps along the road. 

6. Heal From Your Abuse

If you want to try and transition from an abusive relationship into a healthy one, you need to heal as well.

It’ll be a great idea if you invest in therapy too. A therapist will help you address your feelings and let go of any lasting resentment held towards your partner. 

Perhaps more importantly, they help you work out why you were willing to let a toxic relationship grow in the first place. You can work together on increasing your self-esteem, understanding how to form a healthy relationship and learning to regain trust. Whatever you need. 

This is an important step to help you prevent the same problems from reoccuring, either in your current relationship or with future partners. 

7. If There Is No Progress, Leave Them 

This can be the toughest step of all.

If you love your partner, you’ll want to stay. You’ll never lose hope in them. You’ll want to believe their excuses. You’ll convince yourself you still need each other. You’ll refuse to accept the long-term damage they are doing to you.

This is especially true if the abusive partner is gaslighting you. Perhaps they’re manipulative enough to make you feel like you’re the one who needs help. 

Still, the most common situation is: for both partners to heal, their relationship needs to end. 

Yes, it’s noble to stay and support an abusive partner to help them work through their problems.  

But, if the situation isn’t getting better, there comes a time that the partner needs to put themelves first. 

Often, abusers won’t find the strength to change until they lose their partner. In such cases, it’s in the best interest of both parties for you to break it off.

This is especially the case when domestic violence is involved. Make sure to get out of that relationship at the right time, or you could end up in hospital and them in prison. 

It might feel impossible to leave your relationship at this time. But with the support of your loved ones and/or a therapist, you can work to get past this and live a happier life. 

Any More Questions About How To Fix An Abusive Relationship? 

I really hope this article helped you learn how to deal with abusive relationships.

If you feel like getting something off your chest or you’d like to ask a question on this topic, make sure to leave a comment below.

It takes a brave person to talk about this situation, but it’s important to do so. I’m happy to give advice regarding whatever you have to say.

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About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.