Can People Change?

Mrs. - posted on 01/27/2012 ( 21 moms have responded )

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Age old question, what do you think? Can people change, in the long term, their basic make up? Can a lifelong shy person become an extrovert? Can an emotionally abusive husband/father/mother/etc become a loving, positive force? Can a cheater stop cheating?



I personally think there is a large amount grey area with this question. I know a lot of ladies think differently. What's your take?

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Jennifer - posted on 01/30/2012

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I think that many things can change about a person, but that they really have to want to change it. For abusers or addicts, they have to change the habit and the underlying causes. I think that is where so many of them go wrong. They have to understand their triggers, why they did it in the first place, and form better coping skills. I think too many just try to stop the behavior.



My little brother just went through his first year clean and sober. I have very high hopes for him. I want it for him. But he hasn't done all the steps, and still hangs with people that use.........I'm praying his daughters will be the motivation he needs. But I can't do it for him.

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Celine - posted on 01/31/2012

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I believe people can, yes.



My oldest son's father was a real idiot, cheating and doing drugs, when I told him I was pregnant he told me to just leave him alone - which I did, until I had given birth to Phillip then I called him and found out he was trying to quit the drugs.

When Phillip was 4 months his father had been clean for 2½ months, so they finally met, and now he is the most loving father I have ever met.



He has even offered to be a father for my twins.



My father was also cheating on my mother, and he stopped and they're still together



- So yes, I defiantly believe in people can change

Pam - posted on 01/31/2012

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that's why they have to "want" to quit, just like some of us have to "want" to be fit. For me, I would have to jog 45 min a day, limit carbs and fats, and find some other activities to focus on, and find the strength daily to do so.... but I'm not going to think of it that way lol

Pam - posted on 01/31/2012

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That said, maybe it is not about changing our spots but about controlling what it is that needs change in our self and finding the strength to do so. Maybe on we can change on the surface, but within we are still very much the same. Some people are naturally skinny, where others struggle their whole lives to be slim. Sure it doesn't seem fair but I feel stronger because of it.

Pam - posted on 01/31/2012

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I guess people being able to change vs they only reveal other aspects of them self is too broad. Although what AA says about once an addict always an addict does support my stance. There is a train of people on my fathers side that have addictive personalities, they tend to want that instant gratification and they want to repeat it as many times as possible to continue feeling that gratification. Where a person who has no problem with moderation may have one truffle then move on to the next activity, the one with the tendency to want to go on having truffles has difficulty leaving that sensation behind. It may have a lot to do with the mechanisms of our brains. I think there has been research on it too, about the pleasure centers of our brains not being able to turn off once it has been lit.



That could be why they say once an addict always an addict. I understand this all very well because I am affected in that way, I literally had to train myself to stop at one truffle, stop at 2 coffee's, stop after two glasses of wine, stop at one serving at dinner, and so on. I dont play video games online because I am afraid with my personality it would be tough to stop and I struggle enough with curving my temptations. It's engrained in me, and maybe in time I will be able to train my mind to not want to go on eating that chocolate.



That being said, I gained over 40 pounds with my second pregnancy and I was already overweight from the first pregnancy, thus far through training my self to limit food, I have lost 15 pound sin 2.5 weeks. :-D

Mrs. - posted on 01/30/2012

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That's terrible, Jennifer. I know what it is like to want an addict to change and hope they'll do it for the family. There's been too many deaths in my family that were directly caused by overdose or caused by drug/alcohol abuse over many years. My mother found Al-Anon really helpful with her brothers. She taught us a lot of the stuff she learned there.





That being said, it is AA that is the first to say, once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic...the rest is just making a choice to work the program one day at a time accepting that knowledge.

Pam - posted on 01/30/2012

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SO it seems everyone agrees so I will play devils advocate here ;-) for a friendly debate. I'm taking the stance that we dont change. We cannot change. We have a set of morals and values that make up our perceptual being. We are who we are yet what explains the perception of change is that there are certain events that tap into our ideas on what a certain person in a certain position acts like and then we act on it. Like a script layed out by our parents, caregivers and peers...For example.



Crazy young girl in her early 20's drinks too much, does blow from time to time, flippant in jobs, unstable in general, finds out she is pregnant. Her internal instinct and her values combined, along with her "idea" of what a parent looks like comes into play and suddenly she gets a stable job to get maternity, then takes on parenthood as natural as she were drinking water.



we are our own fabric, our value system, our ideas on what people should be, how they behave in different character roles in exact settings. Maybe people dont change, maybe they just reveal different aspects of themselves that they did not even know existed.



Maybe this is why it so imperative to be a good mom and be a good dad, because these are the roles our children will mimic later in life. So tell me this, can cotton turn into silk, can polyester turn into linen? Can people change their value systems and stick to that change? When people start to change because they know within how people should be, will they stick to it? or are we forever bound by our ideas, driven by our internal drives of information we have been fed since time began for us. What if the change we believe, is really only what we see: retrieved data people turn into when they click on it for life purposes?



We all know that their are drug addicts with good parents, thrusted onto the wrong paths, but if their parents are great would they not hunt them down and hold an intervention in hopes they could tap into that unknown place of wisdom inside?

Pam - posted on 01/30/2012

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Then again, on the flip-side ben harper says it best "People dont change they just reveal"

[deleted account]

I honestly don't think anyone is an exception to the rule. Anyone can change if they WANT to. Outsiders cannot force someone to change, it has to come from within.

[deleted account]

Of course they can, people have.You have to willing to believe that for others.So they can believe its possible for themselves to change.I hate to see people who know they need to change be put down by "you will never change"Not true.



YOU have to be willing to want to change first and then have positive people around you, who want you to succeed.



There are times were its tough and a long process, but of course i do believe its very possible to overcome or become what you have stated above.Might take time but in the end you can succeed with hard work, determination and an eager to want a better life for yourself firstly and for those who are affected by you(family).So stay strong or have people around you who can be your strenght when you are down/weak it will make all the difference in the process.

Pam - posted on 01/28/2012

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I believe in rehabilitation. That being said, it takes time, work, and desire. We as mothers change to be better parents because we love our children, children in my eyes are the greatest motivations, everyone should have a greatest motivation in the search for change.

Stifler's - posted on 01/28/2012

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I think if they have psychotherapy maybe. People cheat and abuse and are intro/extroverted for a reason.

Wendy - posted on 01/28/2012

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yes people can change but only if they desire it enough it is not impossible but it is a difficult process and it should be done not to please others but to better yourself for yourself or the change wont stick

Kelina - posted on 01/27/2012

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With those two examples I think change is always possible. Sociopaths are wired differently so to speak. It's like asking if you can change an arm into a leg. I don't agree with the abusers. While it's true that most of the time they're not going to change, change is possible. Again I've seen it happen. But making a statement like that scares me because I know that so many women would see that and stay and wait for that miracle and it would cost them so much.

Mrs. - posted on 01/27/2012

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So if people can change, but there are exceptions like sociopaths and wife beaters, are there any other exceptions? Racists? Super religious people?

Kelina - posted on 01/27/2012

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I agree with rebecca mostly. change can happen but some things can't. But and introvert become an extrovert? absolutely. My best friend in the whole world was the shiest most reserved person I'd ever met, and now she parties with new people every week and does karaoke. Before I could barely get her to sing for me, now she does it for the world.

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I think so to some degree, but I think some things are somewhat hard-wired. A sociopath is always going to be a sociopath. An addict is likely to always remain addicted to something, maybe just not something dangerous or deadly (e.g., heroin vs. alcohol vs. exercise). Abusiveness is something I would lump into the unlikely to change category. Under any circumstances, you have to want to change.

Sarah - posted on 01/27/2012

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Definitely.

I've changed loads.

I think it all depends on whether a person WANTS to change or not.

Amy - posted on 01/27/2012

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I do believe people can change but it has to be there choice it can't be someone else making that choice for them. I also think that it takes a very long time to make those changes and one can not expect it to happen without mistakes or relapses happening depending on the situation.

[deleted account]

Yes. I did. I don't rob people for drugs anymore. I wouldnt even think of it! Its not in my character...anymore..

~♥Little Miss - posted on 01/27/2012

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I think so. In fact, I have seen it happen. I also need to believe it can. Someone close to me really needs to change to save her life. I am hoping she gets the help she needs and tools in order to do so.

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