Blog: Floating the Abyss
by SoulfulSurvivor

Fear and Exploitation

How and why an abuser exploits their victim targets' fears and personal issues

Date:   4/14/2011 8:52:02 AM   ( 10 y ) ... viewed 1782 times

So, how did the former abuser manage to determine my deepest fears and exploit them to his own use? My own trust was the vehicle that opened my mouth and gave him the information that he filed away and used at his leisure. As a juvenile, I was gang-raped, which I never reported. I had also experienced "date rape" prior to becoming involved with the abuser. I also had acceptance issues, and unreasonable fears of heights, death, and dentists.  My point is that I gave him this information, willingly, because I trusted his assurances that he would "help" me if he "understood" my issues. Translated from abuserspeak, "help" means "use."

As an example of how he could reach back into his mental file cabinet and terrorize me goes like this (actual example, now):

Me:  I love the Blue Ridge Parkway, but I get so frightened when there's no guard rail.

Abuser:  Yep, there are a lot of places on this road where a car can go right off the edge.  (abuser swerves the vehicle and causes me to shriek, then laughs)  What're you so scared of?  I'm not going to drive us off the road!  (abuser swerves, again, and comes even closer to the edge)

Me:  Please, don't do that!  You know how I am about heights!  (tears begin welling up and the anxiety level is increasing)

Abuser:  You're going to have to just get over this.  (abuser falls silent while I attempt to regain control of myself - children are in the back of the vehicle watching this exchange)

Me:  I'm not going to look, now.  We're so high up, I'm not going to look.  (Parkway has climbed to about 2500 feet without any guard rails on either side, anxiety level is almost paralyzing)

Abuser:  That's right, we're AT THE TOP!  We can't get ANY higher than this, and it's a straight plunge down to the valley!  (abuser swerves violently causing me to shriek and burst into tears, the children to exclaim with the youngest falling into hysteria)  You're such a f*cking BABY!  GET OVER IT, RIGHT NOW, or you'll wish you had!

Needless to say, I did not "get over it," and I'm just now beginning to manage this phobia.  The level of anxiety that the abuser caused was finally paralyzing, and this was, without fail, always his most opportune moment to bring up any unpleasant demand so that I would submit in order to avoid further terrorization to myself, and our children.  Meanwhile, both children were watching this exchange and learning from the abuser about control, power, and fear.  The eldest son learned better and more devious ways to terrorize and control, while the younger son learned that going with the program meant an absence of abuse.  For an abuser, inciting fear in their victims is intoxicating on an almost sexua| level.  They have the power and control to cause another human being to fear for their safety, and it becomes one of the many addictions of an abuser.  To see their victim wallowing in uncontrollable fear is almost orgasmic for them, literally.

This also extended to our physical interactions, especially with regard to sex.  Sex ceased being enjoyable and, instead, became a humiliating, degrading, and dehumanizing task.  He would often refer back to how I had "allowed" myself to "have sex with" multiple people at the same time, and demanded that I allow a third party to become involved in our "intimate" activities.  This, I never allowed, though the pressure to submit to this demand was constant.  "Well, you let those guys do it at the same time, why won't you do this for me?"  

Once again, my boundaries were not set or maintained, and the abuser (all abusers) filed the information away to use to his advantage.  Had I known then what I do now, I might have stopped myself with the simple mantra of, "It's none of his business, it's none of his business."  My past issues are mine, alone, and my beloved current spouse has never asked me for detailed descriptions and/or explanations of my personal issues.  "If you think it's important for me to know, I'm willing to listen," has been his policy with regard to my personal issues.  

Abusers give their target victims the impression that they can be trusted.  Abusers often refer to previous relationships where their "trust" was violated, and what a sin it was - to remain "The Only One," the target victim must demonstrate their faith in the abuser by disclosing very sensitive, personal information.  Typically, the abuser will give "details" of their own experiences, which are either rooted in a tiny grain of truth and blown far out of context to their benefit, OR they manufacture and fabricate personal issues as a form of quid pro quo - show me yours, and I'll show you mine.  The victim means to help the abuser to address the issues, while the abuser fully intends to exploit the victim's issue, with deliberate malice.  And, I mean just that:  deliberate malice.

Are all abusers sociopaths because of this behavior?  Of all of the cases that I've been involved with, only one abuser took responsibility (at least, verbally) for his own actions in Criminal Court by saying (and, I quote), "Yes, Your Honor, I did beat her, and I did it because I could."  From my personal experiences, and from those of others', my personal opinion is that perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse do, indeed, fit the profile of a sociopath.  They intentionally inflict damage, excuse their own actions on phantom "reasons," and they continue to inflict more damage.  They deliberately seek out potential victims who possess what they do not:  affluence, kindness, social status, empathy, trust, courage, recognition, strength, intellect, etc.  Then, they deliberately dismantle and viscerate their victims of those desired qualities with the intention of complete destruction.  And, they do it all with malice aforethought.  In my  most humble opinion, they fit the profile.

For more on how abusers exploit victims' fears, visit these websites:

http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?dbName=DocumentViewer&DocumentID=32347#3

http://www.caring-unlimited.org/what-is-domestic-violence/dynamics-of-intimat...

http://www.agape-aid.org/abusiverelationships/in-the-abusers-controlling-mind...

http://www.ndvh.org

The more we learn about this epidemic, the better the chances that we, as a Society, have of taking steps to put an end to it.  Will domestic abuse and violence EVER end?  Not likely, simply because human beings are flawed and power/control corrupts even the most unlikeliest of people.  But, what we can do is to advocate for victims and Survivors for harsher legal consequences for perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse.  

Brightest blessings!

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Comments (18 of 18):
Re: I stayed becau… msavo… 8 y
Re: Non-romantic N… Soulf… 10 y
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