Climate of Fear & Suspicion
Generating suspicion and fear is the abuser's constant game.
Date: 4/8/2011 9:34:10 AM ( 11 y ) ... viewed 5298 times
When I recollect who/what I had become when I was still living in an environment of abuse, it's almost astonishing that I had sunken so low. Fourteen years after my exit seems like a whole lifetime away, and still I will carry the scars of my experiences to the end of my days. On the positive end of my Survival, every day that carries me further from those dark, desperate days is another day of gratitude and learning for me.
The darkest times were a smothering blanket of fear and suspicion that were deliberate machinations of the former abuser. Sometimes, threats of violence and retribution were veiled, and other times they were outright. Of course, this climate also extended to my children. Secrecy and dishonesty were so pervasive that Truth and personal accountability were nonexistant, on ANY level. The abuser made it very clear, from the beginning, that he expected honesty from me - when I say, "expected," that translates in abuserspeak to say, "demand." Honesty on the part of an abuser does not exist, ever. Out of all of the cases that I've been involved with in one way or another, I've only seen 2 (TWO) abusers actually take, and accept, ownership of their actions - and, they were 100% triumphs of accountability and became the most active and vociferous advocates for victims. Alas, that probably represents a .02% success rate of abuse perpetrator rehabilitation and recovery.
For me, the suspicion of friends and associates began (as I've mentioned) with a basis of wrongdoing on a sexua| level. The abuser accused female friends of propositioning him, and male friends were accused of jealousy and ulterior motives where I was concerned. "Your friend (or, family member) doesn't like/approve of me. They're going to try to break us up," is probably the most frequently uttered remark of abusers - this simple sentence is almost IDENTICAL in cases of domestic violence and abuse, in BOTH romantic and platonic relationships. This statement is deliberately intended to force the victim to assure the abuser of their support in every way possible. Suspicion. It's intentionally generated with 2 predictable results: a) the victim target recongnizes the game for what it is and walks away, or b) the victim target reassures the abuser of their importance and value and aligns their loyalty with the abuser. If the target walks away, another target will come along. If the target responds with reassurance and support, they have taken the bait (or, continue to), and are set on the barb and will inevitably be sundered from any friendships and support that they once had. Then, there's the REVERSE of this statement and intended result, "You know, my friend (or, family member) doesn't like you. They think you're not 'The One' for me." This statement is intended to humiliate, degrade, and (most importantly) DEVALUE the victim so that the victim alters their appearance, skills, language, and habits to MEET THE APPROVAL of the abuser and abuser's associates.
There was also the veiled threat of violence. "Veiled threats" are mere SUGGESTIONS of unspoken ramifications - this was something that I learned about while engaging in Court Ordered "family" counseling after my eldest son began shoplifting and was found guilty of breaking and entering at the age of 11. The abuser doesn't always define or name the consequences that the victim risks if they dare to defy the abuser. The risk of "non-existence" via the Silent Treatment or objectification via sexua| assault or the dehumanization of violence is understood, as a rule. And, for the victim, NOT knowing the consequences simply exacerbates the fear of the unknown, further keeping the victim off-balance, and aligned with the abuser.
Looking back, the fear of rejection, dismissal, and violence permeated every waking moment. I remained off-balance on a constant basis, never knowing what type of day it was going to be or even how to predict when "good days" would end. By "good days," I mean those days with an ABSENCE of abuse. They weren't "good" by ANY standard - they were days withonly the absence of abuse, but every waking second was spent treading carefully and cautiously in a hopeless effort to prolong the absence of abuse and successfully demonstrate my unwavering loyalty and "respect" for the abuser.
"Respect" is typically demanded by an abuser from their victim(s). However, it is an unreasonable demand because there is very little that an abuser does that deserves respect. "But, he/she loves me (or, the children) so much! Just look at everything he/ she does for me/the children/the school/etc." Make NO mistake: nothing that an abuser does is altruistic - there is ALWAYS an agenda to either appear normal or divide and conquer. In abuserspeak, "respect" actually means "fear," and are duly interchangeable at the whim of the abuser. Respect DOES NOT equal fear - they are NOT to be confused as they are a galaxy apart.
More on fear and suspicion down the road.
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