Lundy Bancroft’s checklist for change

I read a post by a blogger who was preparing a list for the husband she’d just gone no contact with.  I’ve read this list by Lundy Bancroft before, and it’s invaluable for discerning evidence of real change.  Here’s the list and the link:

  • Admitting fully to what he has done
  • Stopping excuses
  • Stopping all blaming of her
  • Making amends
  • Accepting responsibility (recognizing that abuse is a choice)
  • Identifying patterns of controlling behavior, admitting their wrongness
  • Identifying the attitudes that drive his abuse
  • Accepting that overcoming abusiveness will be a decades-long process, not declaring himself cured
  • Not starting to say, “so now it’s your turn to do your work”, not using change as a bargaining chip
  • Not demanding credit for improvements he has made
  • Not treating improvements as chips or vouchers to be spent on occasional acts of abuse (e.g. “I haven’t done anything like this in a long time, so why are you making such a big deal about it?”)
  • Developing respectful, kind, supportive behaviors
  • Carrying his weight
  • Sharing power
  • Changing how he is in highly heated conflicts
  • Changing how he responds to his partner’s (or former partner’s) anger and grievances
  • Changing his parenting
  • Changing his treatment of her as a parent
  • Changing his attitudes towards females in general
  • Accepting the consequences of his actions (including not feeling sorry for himself about those consequences, and not blaming her or the children for them)

My passive aggressive husband does at times admit much (not all), but so far he admits things past tense.  He still tells lies. Excuses are a constant.  He still blames me for ___ (fill in the blank).  He’s inconsistent with amends, and too often it feels like he’s trying to make up lost ground for himself, and not so much as doing it for my well-being.  That’s more a gut feeling on my part.  He’s also hit and miss with the recognizing abuse as a choice, since he has a thick book of excuses.  He only seems to identify his own abusive patterns that are removed from him by some time, and doesn’t see it or acknowledge it when it’s in the moment happening.  Not impressing me with identifying his attitudes that drive it yet.  He gets very angry and resentful when I say that he hasn’t changed much, and then usually shifts the topic to how much he’s had to put up with.  He will make efforts towards kind behaviors, but it does seem to be an effort, it’s inconsistent, and it’s still often used as something to throw up to me in arguments.  (All his efforts, how unappreciative I am, what does he get out of it, what am I doing for him etc.) Accepting consequences?  Not in a way that doesn’t seem to include self-pity for his consequences.  If his bad behaviors impact me and leave me tired, depressed, snappy, uninterested etc., it’s something he resents and somehow he feels like I’m depriving or denying him of the respectful, affectionate, energetically helpful wife he deserves. 

Late yesterday he started to switch back into the nice man, the friendly man, the kindly behaving man.  He seems like an entirely different man, and it really can feel like a switch was flipped.  This list was a timely reminder for me today.

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6 Responses to Lundy Bancroft’s checklist for change

  1. Exodus says:

    PJ’s everything you wrote about your husband describes a man with defective character. You’re right that they don’t change much if at all for that very reason. Norman always talks about how he has improved. Really? I showed him that list I made back in ’99 ( that includes his signature) and nothing on it has improved or been eliminated from the list! It’s the same sh**, different day, different month, different year. When I show him the list, I don’t know who should feel more for tolerating him for so long or he for continuing to be so destructive. He gets angry that I can prove that nothing has changed and he accuses me of living in the past. The past? “As I recall, you just did that same thing AGAIN this week! I’m not living in the past at all!” The only change Norman expects is my reaction to his bad character. Sorry, that ain’t gonna happen.

    Lundy’s list describes good character traits in anyone ( given how any of us make mistakes) who has an objective and subjective sense of self relative to the world. I don’t believe that therapy once a week, going to Church, getting married, having kids, getting a promotion, being wealthy or even losing a wife or loved one will instill good character in anyone if they didn’t already possess a sense of self and a desire to develop good character. If a person lacks a willingness to accept responsibility for their own life, then they won’t respect anyone else’s – hence, no reason to change!

    When I I make a mistake, I always apologize by acknowledging how what I did impacted a situation and the people around me. ” I’m sorry that I left the iron on all day oh my gosh, I feel like a serious dumbass, I can’t believe I was careless and compromised our safety this way and I know you must have been terrified at the thought of what could have happened once you discovered it. I’m so grateful that you found it and were able to prevent a more serious catastrophe” and I’ll probably never do that again because once is usually enough reason for me to immediately devise and implement some quality control measure that prevents it from happening again in the future.

    Norman would say, ‘ SORRY!, I was tired, I was thinking about something else, I worked all day today, quit talking about it, I know what I did, I’ll do better next time, just drop it” without ever specifically addressing what he did. So, what is it exactly that Norman is going to improve? I never know and of course, Norman doesn’t know either and doesn’t care to know. He’s banking on me forgetting about whatever it was. But, I don’t and it’s hard to forget because Norman, the repeat, likes to remind me on a regular basis that he is still TRYING to improve. As Dr. Phil always says, ‘ If you won’t own it, you won’t change it’. Norman’s defensive, ” sorry!” also tells me that he was trained like a Pavlovian dog to respond that way without ever being taught to examine his behavior and the consequences relative to others. He’s perfectly capable of recognizing when others betray him in some way but has no sense of how he affects others. I can hear his mother and father screaming at him , ‘ Say you’re sorry!!” They trained him well.


  2. lonelywife07 says:

    That was my day yesterday. So kind, thoughtful, nice dinner out…then today…TODAY! OMGosh….I was ready to kick him to the curb…and it’s because yesterday was so good…I hate this roller coaster life!


  3. Newshoes says:

    Great list. I can tell you that the biggest problem for these men is admitting full responsibility and not blaming their wives. Mine will say that he knows what he does wrong but turns around and points the finger in my direction completely deflecting anything he just said and turning the tables. Roller coaster begins and you just can’t get off, it becomes the mindf&$?c that we all know so well. Has anyone here ever really had the last word or a rational conversation with these pah? I sure as heck haven’t.

    Liked by 1 person

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