Can a Verbally Abusive Person Change?

March 16, 2023 Cheryl Wozny

When facing repetitive verbal abuse, you may wonder if abusers can change and become loving and supportive people. Can a verbally abusive person change and stop using hurtful words and intimidation on others? Of course, the answer will depend on the individual and their dedication to embracing change. 

Is a Change in Abusive Behavior Realistic?

Of course, there would be no abuse or hurt to worry about in a perfect world. However, our lives are full of imperfect relationships and situations that aren't ideal.

Often, when I was dealing with abuse in my home life, people on the outside looking in had no clue of my circumstances. Because I suffered verbal abuse for years in private while my abuser managed a friendly outside persona, I always believed that my abuser would never change. 

I also had a family member who was known to be verbally and physically abusive in the past. But, this individual was able to maintain positive, healthy relationships with many others in their older years. This person examined their behavior and permanently changed how they acted toward others. I didn't know this individual as an abuser and had a terrific relationship with them. However, I am not naive in that I don't believe they were capable of verbal abuse. 

With these two people in my life that I know used verbally abusive tactics, one was able to change, and one wasn't. 

How Can Verbally Abusive People Change? 

Unfortunately, not everyone will have the capacity to change their behavior. But there are some individuals who understand the harmful effects of their actions and want to change. For those who recognize their negative habits and want to change, these points can help. 

  • Admit and accept your wrong behavior.
  • Pause and reflect before responding. 
  • Seek help from therapists or support groups.
  • Visit our resources page for tools and local supports.

If you know your words and actions hurt those close to you, there is help. It is possible to turn your life around and have healthy, meaningful relationships without using verbal abuse. 

APA Reference
Wozny, C. (2023, March 16). Can a Verbally Abusive Person Change? , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 14 from

Author: Cheryl Wozny

Cheryl Wozny is a freelance writer and published author of several books, including mental health resources for children titled, Why Is My Mommy So Sad? and Why is My Daddy So Sick? Writing has become her way of healing and helping others. Find Cheryl on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and her blog

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