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Old 08-13-2019, 03:00 PM   #1
theoretical
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Default "You can't change him"

Why not?

I hear this sentiment a lot in regards to certain relationships where one or both parties is, shall we say, in need of improvement. But who is arguing this? And why? In my most humble opinion - perhaps unpopular, but we'll see - I think it's perfectly possible to change someone. Even against their will.

We readily accept that an emotional abuser can change their partner by using a cocktail of manipulations in order to wear down their self-esteem and sense of identity. Naturally, no one in their right mind would allow someone else to wreck their self-esteem, so the emotional abuser is changing them against their will. Why can't the opposite be true? Why can't we change someone for the better?

Perhaps it isn't a matter of cannot, but ought not, particularly if we're trying to do so against the will of our intended targets by using underhanded tactics. But that's a different matter entirely, and I think it's a bit dishonest to say that we cannot change people.

In fact, I'd argue that change is inevitable. The trick is becoming more cognizant of how we change each other and learning to do so in mutually beneficial ways.

Disclaimer: I'm not arguing that one should stay in an emotionally abusive relationship with the intention of trying to change one's abuser. That isn't a battle worth fighting.
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Old 08-13-2019, 04:30 PM   #2
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Default Re: "You can't change him"

In my opinion and based on life experience people can change some of their own behaviors if they want to, not fundamentally who they are. Wherever you go, there you are. But yes some behaviors certainly could be changed and people could become better people to an extend. People could help each other get better, but no one can become a better person by a manipulation. Free will must be at play

As about emotional abusers changing someone’s self-esteem and identity, I dare to say that the person likely already had low self esteem and vague sense of their own identity and those are vulnerable kind of people abusers prey on. Abusers don’t turn confident people with strong sense of self into someone they aren’t.

Most people see and recognize manipulation and aren’t buying it. Regardless what kind of manipulation it is, to make good or bad changes

Not talking about children, to clarify
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: "You can't change him"

Here's a link to DocJohn's article, from PC's archives, on the subject:

You Can Only Change Yourself
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: "You can't change him"

Quote:
Originally Posted by divine1966 View Post
People could help each other get better, but no one can become a better person by a manipulation. Free will must be at play
I disagree.

Suppose you had a firm belief about something, and I sought to change that. So I told you something about myself which challenged your belief on the subject. Inspired by my personal story, you began to see the subject from a different perspective. Now suppose the story I told you was a lie, and I deceived you with the sole intention of getting you to reevaluate your beliefs. Of course, ideally, you would never find out about my deception. Nonetheless, I got you to think differently about something because of a lie.

When I was younger and more reckless, I used to play this game where I would attempt to Trojan Horse ideas into a community that would normally scoff at the mere mention of such ideas were someone to present them in good faith. For example, I would join a group of misogynists with the intention of undoing their misogyny. I would craft personas around this deception, first playing along with them, and then, little by little, challenging their beliefs.

It was a fun exercise. Learned a lot about people.
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Old 08-14-2019, 02:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: "You can't change him"

The change you mention in regards to emotional abuse shouldnt really count because that sort of change is all based on fear and intimidation. I do not think you should date someone with the hopes of changing him or her. What attracts you to them should be what they currently possess not what you think they could possess if you were to try changing them.
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:05 AM   #6
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Default Re: "You can't change him"

Well, it would take way more than your real or made up story about something to change who I am or what I believe. Perhaps I am a bad example lol

Sure people can encourage and inspire each other and like I said help each other be better in a “mutually beneficial way” but deceit and manipulation have nothing to do with it especially if people are to be “cognizant” of how they could effect each other, which excludes a possibility of manipulation (when person then isn’t aware of what’s happening) .

I am glad you were able to help misogynists to see their wrong ways. Them hopefully becoming better people was possibly inspired by you challenging their beliefs. Yet them altering their beliefs still had to be their will to do so. There are as many misogynists or other hateful people out there who can not care less about your stories and nothing will change their ways. Because they have no interest in changing.

As about relationships and dating, why would someone waste their time trying to manipulate a nasty person to get better when there are ton of ready made decent people out there. Life is too short for that kind of nonsense. But people usually live and learn. Eventually most people figure out what kind of person they want to be with and go for it rather than trying to change people. Some unfortunately never learn.
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Old 08-15-2019, 08:56 AM   #7
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Default Re: "You can't change him"

Love and acceptance does inspire positive changes. Many of the things I have accomplished in my life happened because I followed the advice or emulated people I looked up to. They were good, positive people who showed me what was possible in my youth and never said a discouraging word. This is why it is so important to spend time with positive people. For me, it was my grandmother, father, sister, the retired couple next door, a small number of friends, a few of my supervisors and my husband (though his positivity can be inconsistent and so can mine--depression/anxiety/trauma can play a number of us). When we are too isolated, it closes us off from what is possible.
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Old 08-17-2019, 08:36 AM   #8
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Default Re: "You can't change him"

Can you change someone? No, I dont believe you can without force, which would be abusive amd more like breaking them instead of changing them.

Can you influence a person to want to change themselves? Sure. You can positively impact a person and encourage them to better themselves. You can be the wind beneath their wings as they say.

If you force change, to me that is controlling and abusive. Enouraging positive changes, while still accepting who they are could be a good thing.
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