She won’t leave. Why won’t she leave? Or in some cases he. He is clearly a psychopath and an abuser, EVERYONE sees it. The signs are there.
We all ask that. We make the victim of abuse sound stupid, pitiful, like they have a very clear choice. How wrong we are.
Abuse comes in so many forms. Some never suffer the pain of a fist, but do suffer the constant verbal slams that through them into such a dark abyss that they can’t get up, they can’t breathe, they can’t see their worth. They can’t get up.
First I want to address the signs of an abuser. If anyone sees these, perhaps it’s one step closer to helping the person being abused and taking power away from the coward that is the abuser.
Of course no one begins dating an abuser. No one in their right mind would. First comes the charm, the ‘smarts’ the pouring out of compliments, and he lifts you up, he makes you feel like he is your soul mate and there is absolutely no one else in this world that would ever make you feel the way he does. He is the Cowboy Casanova as some would say. He makes you feel like he can actually protect you from the world that maybe in some ways has hurt you. And here’s the thing, an abuser knows how to pick his targets, the ones who have been broken a bit and because when you are broken you seek to depend on someone he knows he can be that crutch…and he will be that for a little bit. He will rescue you and then the manipulation starts.
You see, now he will convince you of all the things you need to be rescued from. Number one thing that needs to go is anyone that can see him as a threat. Who might that be? If you have family, that has got to go, so he will ‘rescue’ you from that. Friends? Yup, your friends are bad, they are stupid, they are too stuck up, their morals are to uptight, they ‘wouldn’t understand our love’. He sets up an ‘us against the world’ mentality. He sets up a fiction world where he is the only hero in the victim’s world. If possible he will move the victim as far from those the victim knows as possible. If a friend has plans, he has more important plans, or he is sick and needs your care. SOMETHING will happen where you will NOT be allowed to see your friends and if you do it will be with a tainted mentality that he has already planted in your mind.
Also according to About the Issue “Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior characterized by the intent to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner or other family members. The abuse can be established over time and in most cases, it begins subtly with insults, a shove or by alienating the survivor from family and friends. With time, the abusive behavior can be more frequent and severe.”
The key thing, there is always an excuse that excuses the abuser’s behavior. Often, the victim is the problem. “If you understood me better, if you did this better, you know I have this issue! Etc.” An abuser rarely if ever takes ownership. An apology will be offered but it is usually followed with “But maybe next time you shouldn’t, or should be careful not to provoke me….”
Feelings of course are central here too. They always are. Because the victim LOVES the abuser, that is the whole part of the ENTIRE manipulation, the feeling game and the abuser will play on that until the victim sees it for what it is and gets the courage to either reach out for help and walk away. But it is not that easy depending on how violent he/she is. This is why I write this. If you are seeing these signs in anyone, or if you are in the beginning of such a relationship, walk away while you still can, because believe me, an abuser only escalates. He might be only verbally abusive today, maybe for years, but soon he/she WILL escalate. It’s only a matter of when.
You may think you can change him…like in the movies. That you are the Beauty and he is the Beast that can be tamed. Please understand that you do not have such power. I firmly believe only God can change a person. Such people need deep professional help, and you are not it.
You might be convinced he is the underdog you have to save that everyone else has cast aside. While believe me, I am a firm believer in second chances, and I seek out the forgotten and lonely…understand that an abuser only plays on these sentiment for what he/she can gain.
What are they seeking to gain?
It is different in each situation. In some, it is money. In some it is power. In some it is affection at the cost of beating you and not allowing you to give that affection to ANYONE ELSE (but notice that he is allowed to give affection to anyone he pleases). There is always a double standard with an abuser.
You might leave your family and friends, and maybe for a while he might too…but he won’t leave them forever. He/she will NEVER do that because the goal was to get YOU away from your family and friends…not the other way around.
To those who see these sighs of abuse (in a neighbor, co-worker, friend), don’t let them withdraw. If you know where they live, constantly visit, make the abuser know that you are watching and that the victim is not alone. Don’t confront the abuser, but be there for the victim until the victim is willing to reach out to you. When that happens, seek out law enforcement. Do not be silent. Do not be a shadow. Learn to survive.