If any of this sounds like your partner, and he wants to change, Common Purpose may be able to help, but there is no guarantee a man will change, no matter how good a program is.
Men are responsible for their abusive behavior. Even when a man says he was “provoked,” no one forces him to hit or terrify anybody. Relationships should be free from fear, and men can choose to change. However, not all men do change. The best indicator of change is whether you still feel scared, as if you have to tiptoe around.
Should you stay with him? Even if he stops being abusive, you are not obliged to stay. Men often try to bargain. He might say, “If I’m not hitting you, you should stay.” A man does not need to be rewarded in order to stop being violent. Stopping violence is a matter of fairness, respect, and the law.
Common Purpose does not take a position about whether relationships should continue. We are most concerned about your safety, in and out of the relationship, and about your partner learning to be non-abusive with you and your children.
Many women say “He doesn’t hit me, but he criticizes me a lot and makes me feel bad. He puts me down and makes fun of me. Does he have a problem?”
Many men are not physically assaultive, but are psychologically and emotionally abusive. There are many examples of such behaviors: frequent yelling, criticism, name calling and ridiculing; withholding warmth, praise and recognition; other examples include manipulating, lying and guilt-tripping someone. Men may also be controlling by giving orders, demanding services, or making one-sided decisions.
These behaviors can destroy a woman’s self-esteem and cause depression or anger. If this is your experience—and remember, it can take years for all of this to build up—your partner has a problem.
Call Common Purpose at 617-522-6500 for information about abuse prevention and intervention groups. Referrals and resources for you and your children are also available.
We’re here to help.
Who can join the group?
Common Purpose groups are open to volunteers, Department of Social Service referred clients, and court-mandated clients.