How did the abuser work it so well?
My personal experiences with regard to the crazy-making of an abuser.
Date: 3/24/2011 9:10:33 AM ( 11 y ) ... viewed 13839 times
"Why didn't you just leave, then?" was a question that many, many people have asked during my healing processes. If there were a single, simple answer to that, I'd be on the talk-show circuit to save thousands from their situations and to prevent tens of thousands of new victims from making the same mistakes that I did. I didn't leave because I lived in denial. The denial was carefully constructed and nurtured by the abuser through actions, choices, and behaviors that are commonly termed, "crazy-making."
When people generally think of "domestic violence," or, "domestic abuse," they mistakenly assume that someone has been beaten - "Sleeping With The Enemy," and "The Burning Bed," are two prime examples of the misconceptions of domestic violence and abuse. For me, it began with step-by-step isolation from friends and family members, from my religious practices/beliefs, and individual financial stability. The abuser/sociopath/narcissist (whatever ails the abuser) hones in on their target's vulnerabilities in an almost clinical fashion. The "deep, loving looks" were nothing more than the documented "predatory stare." The abuser sized me up and discovered my weaknesses out of my own mouth. I used to say to anyone, "Someone has to give me A Reason not to trust them," and so on. I was an open book, and I allowed myself to be one. I did not have a strict understanding of boundaries, nor did I have a strict understanding that sex did not equal love. "Love" was something that I did not truly comprehend in all of its subtleties and nuances. I'm not talking about romantic love, but agape love - love that has no conditions or expectations, such as a pet has for its owner. The abuser saw this and put it to practical use.
"IF you really love me, you will (fill in the blank)," is the first, and foremost verbal weapon that an abuser uses. It's intended to force their targets to "prove" their love by handing over their checking accounts, submitting to religious conversion, engaging in sexua| activities that the target finds distasteful or painful, and a host of other concessions that the target gives in to in order to demonstrate their loyalty and depth of love.
"You're the only person that understands me," is another weapon intended to place the onus of the abuser's well-being strictly upon the shoulders of the target. If the victim "understands" the abuser, then I'm to excuse his/her behavior because of my understanding of his/her past and present. I am expected to constantly forgive because I have been deemed "...the only one..." who can understand the abuser. By accepting this general and toxic statement, I am accepting the responsibility for making someone else happy. Often, the abuser will "disclose" family or personal "secrets" to further enhance the illusion of trust. A rotten childhood, an alcoholic/substance abusing parent/guardian, molestation, etc., etc., etc., are the buzzwords to illicit SYMPATHY and PITY, thus, further strengthening that illusional bond of trust. We, in turn, play quid pro quo and disclose events/feelings that are our personal secrets. This is the most dangerous game for the victims - the giving of personal information is like striking a gold vein for the abuser. They have that information, and it is valuable.
Inappropriate flattery is also a tool. Excessive flattery may seem endearing, but it's meant to "give" something when it's not really appropriate. "You're much smarter than anyone else I know," or, "You're the most sensual person I've ever been with," or, "I can't live without you," all may seem to be simple compliments, but they are excessive and inappropriate. These remarks are random and will be used at a later date to punish and degrade. "I thought you were smart, but look at you!" Or, "You used to be insatiable! What's the matter with you?" Or, "Nobody else would ever put up with you."
The crazy-making begins long before the physical violence begins. It's a direct, deliberate, and malicious endeavor to break down self-esteem, self-assurance, independence, and personal safety. It's so very insidious because victim targets don't even realize that it's happening. Sure, the recognize that they're agreeing or accepting to statements and behaviors that they might find inappropriate or hurtful, but they have been deemed as "...the only one..." who understands the abuser, so they are made to believe that they are "...the only one..." whom the abuser needs. The targets rationalize the behaviors and choices by reinforcing the words that the abuser has used, "He/she really doesn't mean it. But, he/she had such an abusive childhood that they are bound to have issues. I am The Only One who can help this person!" The targets hesitate to leave the abuser because they have invested so much emotion into the relationship that, surely, there must be better times in the future! Besides, what will he/she do if I leave him/her? After all, I am The Only One that they can trust and who understands them! Therefore, I am expected to forgive the abuser. Now, if I do or say something that the abuser finds objectionable, I am ridiculed and humiliated for either making a mistake, or not consulting the abuser about what is/isn't acceptable.
So, if I fail to support the abuser's belief that (just an example) Globalists intend to take over the entire planet within the next 2 years, there's something wrong with me - I'm not as smart as the abuser thought, and the abuser will pontificate, endlessly, upon how foolish I am for not seeing the signs of impending doom. To avoid the ridicule, the target ends up agreeing - it's easier to agree than to withstand ridicule. By conceding that single thing, I open the door for the abuser to dash in with guns blazing. It is an open invitation to the abuser to expect the target to go along with anything, and everything, because the target has clearly demonstrated their tolerance of the abuser's behaviors and choices.
Boundaries. The single word that could effectively end the cycles of abuse is an imperative, especially for our young adults and juveniles. Boundaries. However, in our current climate of instant gratification and technological interaction, "boundaries" is just an archaic word that is only used by therapists and counselors. Demonstrate "boundaries" by setting them. No, nobody needs to know what I earn. Nobody needs to know about my childhood. Nobody needs to know about my fears, hopes, dreams, or anything else that's personal unless, and until, they earn my trust. I will never, again, tell another human being that I generally trust people until they've given me a reason not to trust them - it's an emotional billboard to users and abusers that I will trust them until they screw the pooch and give me a reason not to! Today, my creedo is, "I trust nobody until they've earned it." Is it a high bar? Nope, not in my humble book. It's far better for me to set that boundary of open trust, straight away. To some, this might seem that I might place too high a value upon my trust. For them, I can only say that trust is fragile - once it's been shattered, it's nearly impossible to repair. "Boundaries," is the word of the day.
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