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Thread: Can people really change?

  1. #1

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    Default Can people really change?

    Ive been thinking about this topic a lot lately and it seems that this would be a supportive section of forum to ask this particular question...

    Can people really change?

    It seems like such a simple question but Ive been pondering about it for weeks now. Can people really change? For the long term? Can they change on their own as they grow and mature or does there need to be a catalyst for the change to occur? Can they change without the assistance of outside intervention or does one need to have an outside source to act as the catalyst for change and continue to spur a person on? If such change is possible will it continue or does a persons core values eventually overwrite any change that has been made and their 'old' ways come back into focus?

    hmm...


  2. #2

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    hmmmm XHand I had this discussion on the night we decided to split up for good.

    For us XH made me all these promises on our wedding day in his speech about how he would be this fantastic husband and wonderful father to our future children, blah blah blah. He knew that all i wanted was a family. When push came to shove, he didnt want more than 1 child and he much perferred to drink and hit the pubs than stay home and have family time. We spent 2 full years being on again off again, and getting counselling both individually and together, and XH tried really really hard to change for me, for our family. He tried to convince himself that he wanted more babies, that he wanted to do family activities, that he didnt want to drink much any more, that he would rather spend time with his wife and child than his mates. But when it all came down to it, it wasnt fair of me to ask him to change who he is. When we married we thought that he would be a great family man, but it turned out we were wrong. Whether he was just not grown up enough (he is 34) or what, it wasnt him.

    I decided I couldnt let him make all these HUGE changes for me, he could only make them for his own benefit, and he didnt want to do them for his own benefit. SO, we have gone our seperate ways. And, lo and behold he is now this perfect father and wants to have more babies one day!!!!!!!! I dont get that. Maybe we just werent right together after all, and werent meant to have that family life together. Maybe we will each find someone new in the future and have a wonderful family lives. Who knows.

    So Im saying we can only change ourselves FOR ourselves. There is no good trying to change ourselves for others, every one ends up getting hurt in the end, TRUST ME!
    Yes, people can change, but in very small ways, very slowly, with much effort, and over much time.
    People also change as they grow and experience life.
    I dont think there needs to be a catalyst for change. We had a catalyst in our marriage, but it still couldnt work as the changes needed to be too great and the changes werent for ourselves they were for each other and it couldnt work like that. I reckon a catalyst can definately cause change, but that change wont last as long as a slow growing learning change.
    I dont think there needs to be an outside source to spur change on, a person just needs to wantt o grow and learn in life, not stay in the one place flogginga dead horse
    Again, I think core values can be changed certainly with growing and ove time.

  3. #3

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    All i can go on is personal experience, but i know if i had met DP ten, even five years ago we would NOT be in a relationship, about to get married!! I have heard all the stories from him and his friends and i know what he was like...he certainly wouldnt have been settling down and having kids back then. Really its only been in the last two years that he has stopped going to the pub all the time, and has buckled down and taken life seriously, working hard etc.
    I think people can change in that respect, but i think that is just maturity and something that comes when a person has a reason to mature for, be it personal goals, responsibilities etc.

    As for weather a person can change from having negative personality traits....like cheating or being untrustworthy, i think some of that is due to personal situation...who your with/ where you are/ what you doing etc but alot is due to the values that person holds....and that is harder to change!

    People can change, but like Widdly said, it really has to be something THEY want to do, it cant be forced!!

  4. #4

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    I think people can change, if they want to and if they have the resources to be able to do it.

    I've watched my DH turn from a bit of a player/ladies man who had never been consistently faithful to a wonderful partner (now husband) for me. He is quite open about the fact that he just had to grow up, to realise there was someone else he needed to think about and that he needed to be a better person to keep me! He is a very strong, independent and determined person and I think those were his "resources" that he drew upon. People who knew him 8 or more years ago but haven't seen the change seem surprised he is now married - I wonder what they'll think when we start having babies

    On the other hand my ex was an extremely addictive personality (alcohol, pot, gambling) with what I suspect was undiagnosed bipolar disorder. From what I can see (the joys of facebook) he hasn't changed, despite having lost everything several times over. He will never change until he a) wants to and b) gets some help for the things holding him back.

  5. #5

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    Whilst I think a catalyst can help, I believe it's completely up to the individual to recognise if there is change needed. Then work to change it, if outside help is needed that's terrific but the change must come from the core of the individual.

    I do think people can change, but I know of alot of people that although want to change are still stuck in the negative behaviours and can't tear themselves away.

    It's too individual to cast any sort of blanket statement. Some people can give up smoking easily, some can't. Some have massive catalysts in the lives and all the help in the world but can't/won't change and others you think will NEVER change manage to do so all on their own.

  6. #6

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    I think it depends on the person. Some people can change sure, but i think the majority think they have changed but seem to resort back to the same measures when they have other influences. Things become habit and they just cant help themselves.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by widdly View Post
    So Im saying we can only change ourselves FOR ourselves. There is no good trying to change ourselves for others, every one ends up getting hurt in the end, TRUST ME!
    Agreed!

    I have changed & developed as a person. I am much more confident & self aware now than I was 9 years ago. I required catalysts for my major upheavals - relationship break ups. I was the dumper in both cases, but in both cases I had different reasons to do it, and each instilled a new change in me. They often related to not being a push over, and standing up for myself. I made the choice that I was not going to sacrifice myself or my needs (or my future) for a man, or anyone else. I also had to make life choices related to my personal future, and be more selfish.

    Particularly in the second break up, the man offered to change, but even in one weekend away to try to patch it up, it was evident his offer was in words only. You don't be emotionally distant with a woman for 4 years, and then start asking her how she feels about children & marraige (but then ignore everything she says anyway, inventing your own answers). It became really clear to me that my opinion was extremely valid, and I had let it be ignore for far too long.

    Having said that - You can only change the things you think need changing. Most people are not self-aware enough to see any/many faults. Which is why I think a catalyst helps you see those faults (if you're introspective enough to find them).

  8. #8

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    Great topic. I think people can definately change but there's usually some outside impetus that pushes them to do so. I've never heard of anyone waking up one day and turning over a new leaf 'just because'.

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