I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE -
they’re so hard to pin down!
PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Abusers (Part 2)
REMINDER: See ACRONYM Page for abbrev.
SHORT FORM - Abusers are typically:
Charming, controlling, critical, emotionally disconnected, hypersensitive, jealous, inconsistent, insincerely ‘repentant’, manipulative, narcissistic, acting the victim, vicious & cruel.
NOTE: Everyone who has been damaged as a child is capable of being a Perpetrator sometimes. However, here we’re focused on people who are abusive as a ‘life style’, consistently, long-term & with everyone – whether you’re aware of their behavior with others or not. So, unless you fall into one of these categories, and have not put any effort into Recovery of some kind, do not automatically assume you are the P.
Re. THEM (Perpetrators)
a. All abusers were wounded in various severe ways as children & are repeating what they know, what has been burned into their cortical pathways. Their mis-treatment of others is a mirror image of their earliest Abandonment experiences.
b. All abuse is an expression of the P’s Self-Hate & their Pig Parent (introject). S-H is a defense against getting in touch with the original Abandonment terror, and is expressed in the form of Character Defects (selfishness, lack of boundaries, dishonesty, gossiping, impatience, being judgmental, raging, immaturity….).
✶ Understanding this does NOT exonerate anyone, since each adult is responsible for their own actions. It does not excuse bad or cruel behavior, but keeping these facts (a. & b.) in mind can remind us that when someone acts out ‘at’ us, it tell us about them – not about us. What is about us is whether or not we stick around for it, and for how long.
Re. US (abuse Victims)
✶ In observing or being subjected to bad behavior, we must NOT let the WIC’s co-dependence use our natural empathy & understanding for it’s dysfunctional purposes. ACoAs feeling sorry for others may seem like a show of kindness & empathy on our part, but all it does is allow Ps to get away with being inappropriate & harmful. Not stopping the abuse is ‘taking care of’ someone else’s feelings, & abdicating our responsibility to ourselves. We always need to balance understanding the source of the abuse (their background) with our right to refuse being it’s victim (our self-esteem). Their rights, nor their suffering, are NOT greater than ours!
Some PERSONALITY TYPES
• Usually comes from a family with addictions & may have a history of multiple addictions themselves (food, work, money, rage, drugs/alcohol, sports, sex, gambling, internet ….). SO – it can either be a chemical, an activity, or both.
• Use their ‘drug of choice’ either daily, in binges or in cycles, devoting most of their time, money & focus to it – even when not using. They’re very protective of the agent, don’t want to discuss it, lie about using it, how much & where they are. Don’t want to talk about the effect on themselves or others, nor getting any kind of help to stop. Sometimes will try some sort of program or rehab, but they keep slipping back OR switch to another addiction.
• People are secondary to their favorite agent – they’ve lost relationships, jobs & other important things due to active addiction. They can suffer mood swings or changes in attitude if they have too much or too little of the agent, & have had or will have a host of physical & mental health problems.
They addiction, & all the consequences, cause you & others discomfort, worry, shame & fear.
SECRETIVE /Has a Double Life
• Criminal: Won’t tell you where they were raised, who they’re related to, where they went to school. Use aliases, hide info or details about where or how they make money. They get mysterious phone calls, pages, or mail, and have mysterious meetings, appointments or ‘jobs’. Won’t answer direct questions about where they go, what they do, or who they’re with. May be unreachable directly, only has PO box or voice mail. Currently are or in the past have been on probation or parole. Eventually you may find out some of these things, & you suspected but didn’t want to know.
• Cheater (unknown): Hide important information about themselves, like about previous or current wives / girlfriends, how much money they have, where they live, work…. which you may or may not find out about later.
They’re unwilling to make plans or say when they’re available. And if they do make plans, they forget and leave you hanging – & then lie about it when confronted. They engage in secretive behavior & tell you ‘stories’ that don’t line up with their actions or what you know about them. Go periods of time without contacting you, often unreachable directly – you never know when you’ll see or hear from them.
• Cheater (known): Have a history of affairs or indiscretions, which you may know about. Are still married, engaged, dating, or involved with someone else, aren’t ‘quite broken up yet / separated’ but are ‘unhappy’ in the relationship and don’t take time between the ending of one relationship and the beginning of the next. “Men replace, women mourn” is not always true, but applies here.
Tell you they need someone who “understands” them (you), implying an immediate connection with you as someone who gets them the way “she/he doesn’t”. They often promise to end the other relationship, but keep coming up with reasons why they can’t do it – yet! And you put up with the crumbs while hoping for the whole cake.
• Usually have had several failed relationships, all with a history of being rescued, kept, or protected in various ways – ie. infantilized. Expect special treatment because they’re ‘needy’, wounded, damaged, suffering…, & expect a mentor/caretaker/parent figure to for all areas of their life. Want constant reassurance they’re OK, & neither has nor want outside friends, relationships, or interests.
• Want you to make big & small decisions for them, be told what to do, act incompetent (they’re really not) & need direction to get anything done. But they’re also passive aggressive, blaming you for being controlling & complain/whine when they don’t like your choices for them.
Want to be waited on and refuses to do even basic things for themselves or help with adult chores. Claim they want/need you to do things for them because it makes them feel good. Pout or guilt-trips if you don’t wait on them hand & foot. Underachieve as a way of avoiding responsibility or the possibility of failure.
(Modified from : “Stop Abusive Relationships“)
NEXT: Abuser Types (Part 2)