Dear Dr. D.
I broke up with my girlfriend last month after a year of her being emotionally abusive. Since the breakup I’ve felt absolutely lost without her. I don’t go out anymore except to places that I think she might be at and where I might run into her. I am so lonely. Can someone who is emotionally abusive ever stop if they get help?
The short answer is Yes, however, I can’t really say for sure because I have no idea what her T Factor looks like. T Factor stands for therapy factor and it refers to a person’s openness / readiness for change. T Factor makes all the difference in the therapeutic outcome. It’s the primary element that I’m assessing during the first 30 days that I work with a new client. If they don’t have a strong T Factor, Freud could come back from the dead and wave his wand of clinical brilliance and not much would change in the client.
So while it’s possible to rehabilitate an emotionally abusive partner, those particular individuals don’t tend to stroll into therapist’s offices regularly looking for help. On the rare occasion that they’ve crossed my path, they’ve typically just been drop-kicked by a partner or fired from a job for their abusive ways and they’re desperate to get their lives back on track, which means that their T Factor is nice and high. When working with perpetrators of abuse, anything short of that is an effort in futility. I sure as hell won’t work with them unless their T Factor is ideal.
Look, you’re still new in your adjustment to the breakup. It’s only been a month and while I’m sure you feel like a truck hit you, I can promise it will get easier with time. It’s as though you just had cancer removed and your body’s registering pain because it’s healing. If you were my client, I’d have you make a list of 10 Compelling Reasons Why You Drop-Kicked Her, and then I’d have you post it on your refrigerator so every day you’re reminded of how much better off you are without her.