Who’s the real victim?

Notes from here:

“In my own writings about the abuse I’ve experienced… I go into a lot of detail, get angry, and do a lot of research into such things as abuse and personality disorders… I pour everything in, all the details I can think of, along with trying to figure out what drives a person to act like that, quotes from my research which describe common abusive behaviors… what is abuse and what is normal.

“I have a strong will and don’t just figure I deserved what I got; I get very angry… I hope that these comments/blogs are not saying that if you’re angry, if you’ve done a lot of research into personality disorders and do know family history and have good reason to think disorders are at play, that it automatically labels you as the abuser playing the victim. In my case, the anger is part of the detachment/healing process and a natural response to being abused, and learning about personality disorders has reassured me that I did not deserve what I got.

When a person says “I’ve been abused, and I’m angry about having been abused!” that is not necessarily a sign that they are falsely playing the victim… anger is part of the detachment/healing process… It shows the victim is making an excellent recovery, in my opinion.

A genuine victim initially expresses lots of confusion and self-doubt:  “Am I the one at fault?”“What is going on here?” – “I’ve tried everything I can to improve my [family relationships], but I must be missing something because nothing I’ve tried seems to work.” – etc.

This bewilderment gradually shifts into “I think that maybe I am being abused.”… At this stage, many victims do an intensive search to learn more about abuse, trying to understand WHY the abuser behaves the way she does… As this research quest leads to material that labels the abuse as the problem (rather than blaming the victim), the victim begins to express more anger and outrage. This is a good sign of progress in recovery. Recovery isn’t simply about becoming angry, but when self-blame and shame are dispelled, healthy anger can come to the surface because anger is an appropriate response to injustice.

That’s what I’ve observed in the typical language of genuine victims as they move from the fog into recovery and healing.

Now I’ll outline what I see as the typical language of perpetrators who claim to be victims.

They don’t express the initial bewilderment and fog stage while the relationship is intact. They only start to talk about problems in the relationship when their victim institutes separation.

I submit that the complainant’s supposed shock at the relationship suddenly ending is a mark that the complainant was an abuser. In abusive relationships the victim will have tried over and over to explain her unhappiness in an attempt to improve the relationship. But abusers brush off all these attempts and/or twist them back so as to blame the victim and exonerate themselves.

So if I’m right, distinguishing mark #1 of a false claim is the suddenness of the complaint that is made when the victim takes drastic action to try to put a wall up against the abuse.

And conversely, distinguishing mark #1 of a true claim is that the genuine victim takes some drastic action of boundary-setting after having expressed fog-like bewilderment over a period of time, and given hints and waved “help” flags signalling that the relationship was in strife.

Along with this, the true victim may read things to try to understand why their abuser acts the way she acts.

So what is distinguishing mark #2 ?

  • It isn’t the sheer fact that the complainant expresses anger. True victims express anger when they are well on the road to recovery.  Both real victims and pretend victims can express anger.
  • Nor is it the fact that the complainant talks about their partner having a mental health problem. Some victims and counselors talk about abusers having personality disorders like narcissism or sociopathy. And readers here know that many abusers claim their spouse is ‘crazy’ or has a personality disorder.

The one common denominator of all destructive relationships:
The other person doesn’t take responsibility for their behavior.  Ever.

(The above was not written by me but is, quite literally, the story of my life.)

Abusers don’t willingly give up their victims.  Abusers aren’t the ones who leave the relationship.  Why would they?
The person complaining about someone leaving them is not the victim.

Typical Abuser Excuses:

  • “I was just joking.”
  • “I was having a bad day.”
  • “You got me upset.”
  • “It won’t happen again.”
  • “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
  • “You deserved it.”
  • “You know what sets me off.”
  • “You’re just as bad as me.”
  • “You know I have an anger problem.”
  • “It didn’t happen like that.”

    Ten behaviors characteristic of emotionally abusive women:

  • Bullying
  • Unreasonable expectations
  • Verbal attacks
  • Gaslighting (lying and then claiming he is crazy)
  • Unpredictable responses
  • Constant chaos
  • Emotional blackmail (guilt trips)
  • Rejection
  • Withholding affection and sex
  • Isolating

The result?  You’re constantly on edge, walking on eggshells, and waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is a trauma response. You’re being traumatized by her behavior. Because you can’t predict her responses, you become hyper vigilant to any change in her mood or potential outburst, which leaves you in a perpetual state of anxiety and possibly fear. It’s a healthy sign to be afraid of this behavior. It’s scary. Don’t feel ashamed to admit it.

“a non-abusive, loving spousal victim will not willingly give the minor children over to the predator”

The Typical Abuser

You may not realize that abusers feel powerless… They often have the following personality profile:

  • Insecure.
  • Needy with unrealistic expectations of a relationship.
  • Distrustful.
  • Often jealous.
  • Verbally abusive.
  • Needs to be right and in control.
  • Possessive; may try to isolate their partner from friends and family.
  • Hypersensitive and reacts aggressively.
  • Has a history of aggression.
  • Is cruel to animals or children.
  • Blames their behavior on others.
  • Suffers from untreated mental health problems including depression or suicidal behavior.

Abusers can have a Jekyll-and-Hyde personality. Dr. Jekyll is often charming and romantic, perhaps successful, and makes pronouncements of love. You love Dr. Jekyll and make excuses for Mr. Hyde.

Recently I was reminded of a very common tactic of the abuser.  What to call it?  Hounding?  Badgering?

…she appears to have a psychological need to justify his crimes, and for this she needs the victim’s affirmation.  Thus she relentlessly demands from her victim professions of respect, gratitude, or even love.  Her ultimate goal appears to be the creation of a WILLING victim.

…That means the perpetrator must wear down the victim until he willingly admits that she is justified in what she does, that he has been wrong, and so on.

So it is psychological warfare.  It is abuse.

“Does this person seem to feel unjustifiably entitled?” is the basic question I’m asking myself when I’m listening to a person who is complaining about their spouse or their marriage. The word “unjustifiably”  is important in that question, because survivors of abuse may so yearn for justice that they can come across as if they feel ‘entitled’ to justice. But victims of abuse are justified in yearning for justice – it’s not wrong for them to feel that way.