Do Abusers Feel Remorse?
It's a question that everyone who's ever been abused will ask. So, do abusers feel remorse?
I remember when I finally dumped one of my abusive exes. He bawled his eyes out, promised he would change, the works—just as he did last time. I wasn't having it. I knew, deep down in my heart, that he wouldn't change. Rather, he only really wanted the perks of dating me back.
He hit me, he verbally berated me, he cheated on me, the works. He was and still is an awful person. As bad as he was, I often just wanted to know if he felt any form of remorse for hurting someone as badly as he did.
I wasn't going to ask him, because I couldn't tell if he'd ever actually speak the truth. So, I decided to look online to find out whether or not abusers feel remorse when they hurt the ones they love. Here's what I found...
The majority of abusers do not feel remorse for what they did.
I know this is going to hurt to hear, but the vast majority of abusers do not feel remorse. This is because they lack the self-awareness and empathy to realize the pain and suffering they have caused.
This is often seen by how they make abuse seem like no big deal. By justifying their behavior to others or minimizing it, they pass the blame onto the victim. If they were remorseful, they would openly admit it was their fault.
They blame the victim because they need to see themselves as the good guy in power—even if they are abusive. This is usually the only way they can live with themselves, since abusers have terribly low self-esteem.
Sounds rough? Well, you have to understand something about abusers.
Abusers are not happy people. They are people who are miserable with themselves and deep down inside, know that they are monsters. They have inferiority complexes so bad, they have to control others in order to feel good about themselves.
Control is the full reason most people abuse. It's their way of showing they're the boss, that they have something in their lives that they are in charge of. It's a way of soothing insecurity at the expense of other's lives.
Literally, they are in denial about what shitty people they are. The denial is strong, and sadly, it's a survival mechanism for them.
In many cases, the only time abusers feel remorse is when they are directly forced to see the consequences of their behavior.
It's often said that abusers are only truly sorry when their partners leave them, when they get arrested for their behavior, or when their actions are exposed to the public. For many abusers, this is actually very true.
For psychopaths, narcissists, and sociopaths, this is the time when their toy has been taken away. They are upset and sorry that their game has been exposed, not that they hurt anyone. People with these personality disorders and mental illnesses do not care when they hurt others; in fact, they enjoy it.
For abusers who have empathy, being forced to confront what they did and seeing consequences could trigger genuine remorse—assuming that they don't double down on denial.
For some abusers, it could take years to actually realize what they've done.
Here's the really twisted thing about abusers most people don't realize: they often won't realize how awful they were until way after the fact. That's why they never seem to feel bad when a person stays with them, and why apologies often come years after abuse.
Those that are remorseful seek help.
It's not like batterers don't have a place to go to ask for help. Many counselors and therapists exist that specialize in curbing domestic violence and abuse.
If abusers really wanted to, they could try to stop hurting others any time they wanted. Seriously, it doesn't take much to pick up a phone and ask for help. The reason they don't seek help is because they don't care about their victims enough to do it.
No matter what situation you're in, the best option for you and your abuser is a breakup.
Abusers will not get better if you stay with them because you give them no reason to change. You will not prevent the abuse from happening again. In fact, you're probably going to escalate it because the abuser knows they'll get away with it.
At the end of the day, the victim of abuser cannot change an abuser—nor should they try to. If you love your abuser, you will let them go and give them space to sort things out. If you love yourself, you'll do what you can to leave, rather than hold onto a toxic relationship.
Hard as it is to do, you need to stop chasing that need for remorse.
Most of us will never hear a genuine apology from our abusers—and that's actually okay. At the end of the day, abusers have to live with themselves. They have to face their shitty personality day after day. That's not easy to do!
Considering how unhappy you'd have to be in order to behave that way with someone who's been nothing but kind to you, it's safe to say that being them is often punishment enough. Buddha said it best...
"You are not punished for your anger. You are punished by your anger." - Buddha
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