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Inside the Mind of an Abuser: What you Need to Know 
 
by Mary M. Alward September 06, 2005

Abusers use warped logic to brainwash their victims. They use methods very similar to those of prison guards, who know that to control prisoners they have to have full co-operation. Subversive manipulation of the mind and destruction of the victim are perfect tools to enable abusers to succeed.

The Logic of Brainwashing

Abusers use warped  logic to brainwash their victims. They use methods very similar to those of prison guards, who know that to control prisoners they have to have full co-operation. Subversive manipulation of the mind and destruction  of the victim are the perfect tools to enable abusers to succeed.

The Process of Brainwashing

The abuser uses several methods of coercion to brainwash his victim. They are as follows:

Isolation

Abusers deprive their victims of social interaction with family members and friends. This is necessary to gain control over the victim.

Resistance

The abuser manipulates his victim to become mentally and physically dependent upon him, which reduces the ability of the victim to resist his abuse.

Threats

Abusers use threats to cultivate anxiety, despair and the ability to resist. Most often they threaten children, family members or friends with harm if the victim doesn’t comply with his demands.

Indulgences

Occasionally the abuser will comply with the wishes of the victim in order to provide motivation to comply with his every demand.

Omnipotence

The abuser suggests to the victim that it is futile to resist his demands.

Trivial Demands

Abusers strictly enforce trivial demands in order to create a habit of compliance in his victim.

Degradation

Abusers degrade their victims in order to damage their self esteem and make them think they are unable to face life on their own. Self esteem can be damaged beyond repair and the victim is often reduced to animal level concerns.

About the Abuser

The methods that abusers, both male and female, use to manipulate their victims are a natural part of their personalities. Abusers all share behaviors and thinking patterns. This labels them as dysfunctional, insecure and unable to have a relationship unless they are in complete control.

Abusers keep their victims in the dark about events that are taking place. They are most always in control of the finances, talk about the victim behind their back in order to cause them to become isolated and make plans that include the victim without consulting them. The abuser’s goal is to monopolize the victim’s time and physical environment and suppress their behavior. An abusive partner tells you what social events you can attend and who you can go with. He may insist you quit work and remain at home where he can keep an eye on you, or he may tell you that you can no longer participate in hobbies. Abusers often insist you move to a location away from family members, friends and other contacts that will give you support.

Abusers do their best to instill feelings of fear, powerlessness and dependency in their victim. Both verbal and emotional abuse heightens these feelings and they grow more pronounced as time passes.

The abuser’s system of logic is closed. She doesn’t allow her partner to voice opinions or criticize her in any way. She lets you know, without a doubt, that her word is law.

Abuser’s Tactics

There’s a wide range of tactics that the abuser uses to debilitate the victim. If you recognize any of these tactics, a red flag has been raised.

Domination

Abusers are extremely dominating to the point that they want to control everything that the victim does. If they don’t get their way, they act like spoiled children. On top of that, they use threats to get what they want. If you allow your abuser to dominate you, you will lose your self respect.

Verbal Assault

The abuser tends to verbally assault their victim by calling names, degrading, screaming, threatening, criticizing, berating and humiliating. They will center their victim out in front of family and friends by taking small personality flaws and embellishing them to the extreme. They make snide remarks and use sarcasm to erode the victim’s sense of self-worth and self confidence. Making the victim look bad in front of others is an attempt to isolate the victim and keep them at their mercy. Then, the abuse worsens.

Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a slang term from the 1950’s but is the perfect word to describe one tactic of the abuser. The dictionary definition of gaslighting is to drive someone crazy. This is used to keep the abuser’s victim under control. The abuser will swear that events never occurred and that certain things were never said. The victim knows better, but over time will begin to question their sanity. Be alert to gaslighting tactics that can beat you down and make you think you are going insane.

Blackmail

The abuser uses emotional blackmail to get what they want by pushing your buttons. He plays on his victim’s sense of compassion, fears, sense of guilt and values in order to get his own way. He may refuse to talk to his victim or threaten to end the relationship or withdraw financial support if the victim is dependent on him for basic living necessities. Emotional blackmail is the act of working on the victim’s emotions so the abuser can get what he wants.

Constant Chaos

An abuser will keep the household and his victim’s emotions in total chaos by starting arguments and constantly being in conflict with other family members.

Abusive Expectations

This happens when the abuser makes unreasonable demands on their victim. They may expect their partner to reject everything in their life to tend to the abuser’s needs. Included can be frequent sex, forcing the victim to perform sexual acts that are against their will, demanding all of the victim’s attention or demanding that the victim spend all free time with the abuser. No matter how hard the victim tries to please the abuser, she will always demand more. The victim, whether male or female, will be constantly criticized and berated because they are unable to fulfill the abuser’s demands.

Unpredictable Responses

This includes emotional outbursts and extreme mood swings on the part of the abuser. If you partner likes something you do today and hates it tomorrow, or reacts to the extreme at an identical behavior by the victim, this is an unpredictable response. This behavior damages the victim’s self esteem, self confidence and mental well-being because they are constantly on edge, wondering how their partner is going to respond to their every move.

Living with a person who has unpredictable response is difficult, stressful, nerve wracking and it causes a great deal of anxiety that can lead to health problems. The victim lives with fear and security and has no sense of balance in their life. Abusers who drink excessively are alcoholics or drug abusers often have unpredictable responses to trivial events.

Inside the Abuser’s Mind

Abusers have a tendency to feel they are unique individuals and shouldn’t have to live under the same rules as everyone else. However, the opposite is true. Abusers share many of the same thinking patterns and behaviors and use the same tactics to keep their victims under their control.

Blaming

Abusers tend to shift responsibility for their actions to their victims and become angry because the person caused them to behave inappropriately. The abuser might say, “If you hadn’t talked back to me, I wouldn't have had to hit you.” Don’t fall for it. The abuser did the hitting and no matter what you did, you are not to blame. He is blaming you for his shortcomings and do not believe that you are the one to blame for even one second.

Making Excuses

Abusers seldom take responsibility for their actions, but try to justify their behavior by making excuses. They may blame the abuse on a difficult childhood or a hard day at the office. Their mind-set tells them that they are never to blame for any negative behavior.

Fantasies of Success

Abusers believe that they would be famous and rich if the victim and other people weren’t holding them back. Because he believes his failure in life is due to others, he feels he is justified in retaliating in any way he can, including physical and emotional abuse. He belittles, berates and puts others down, including the victim, to make himself feel more powerful.

Manipulation

Abusers combine manipulative tactics, such as upsetting people to watch their reaction, lying and provoking arguments and fights among family members and his peers. He charms his victims and other people who he wishes to manipulate by professing that he cares and is interested in their well-being, when all he is doing is opening the door for a deeper level of abuse.

Redefining

The abuser will often redefine situations to blame others for his troubles. Abusers will seldom admit that they are wrong, or for that matter, less than perfect. It’s always someone else’s fault when they act inappropriately.

Assuming

An abuser’s thought patterns lead them to believe that they know what others, including their victim, is feeling and thinking. They use this warped logic to blame these people for their behavior. For instance, an abuser might say, “I knew you’d be angry about that, so I went for a few drinks after work to enjoy myself. Why should I come home to listen to you nag?”

Dependence

Believe it or not, abusers are emotionally dependent on their victim. This causes an inner rage that encourages the abuser to lash out. Because he is so dependent, he takes control of his victim’s life. This is the way they deny their weaknesses and make themselves feel powerful.

Symptoms of Emotional Dependency

Symptoms of emotional dependency include, but are not limited to, excessive jealousy, jealous rages and possessive actions that are usually sexual in nature. Abusers spend an excessive amount of time monitoring the action and movements of their victims. Often, abusers have no support network and lack those supportive roles that others depend upon. Another sign of emotional dependency is the extreme affect the abuser suffers if his victim leaves. He will go to any lengths to get the victim to return.

Rigid Gender Attitudes

Abusers in a domestic atmosphere tend to have extremely rigid attitudes about the role that their spouse should play in a marriage or common law situation. Wives may expect their husbands to fulfill all of the family’s chores, such as repairs and hold up his role as a father. Husbands may expect their wives to hold down a full time job, keep the house spotless, the laundry caught up, meals made on time and also tend to the kids’ every need. All of these examples are things that should be shared in a normal relationship.

Lying

Most abusers are liars. They lie to manipulate their victim by controlling information. They also lie to keep their victim, and others, off balance psychologically. This enables the abuser to gain control of every situation.

Withdrawal

Abusers have a tendency to put up emotional walls and never give out personal information freely. He keeps his real feelings to himself and is not interested in what others think of him. Abusers like secrets and are righteous and close-minded. An abuser always feels she is right in every situation.

Drama

Abusers, either male or female, can’t seem to develop close, satisfying relationships, or even bad relationships that last. They replace closeness with drama in order to make their life more exciting. They love watching others argue and fight and often do things to keep those around them in a state of constant chaos and upheaval.

Minimizing Actions

Abusers always minimize their actions and refuse to accept their mistakes. An abuser might tell his spouse who has a black eye, “I didn’t hit you hard enough to give you a black eye.”

Ownership and Possession

Abusers are extremely possessive and believe that they should get everything they want. They also feel they can do whatever they wish with their possession and abusers see their partner or spouse as something they own. They feel they are justified in hurting their victim by taking their possessions, attacking them mentally and physically and controlling all aspects of their life.

Anger Management

Most abusers have had a violent and abusive childhood in a dysfunctional family setting. These children are very likely to grow up into spousal abusers. They are taught from the time they are babies that violence is a way to settle disputes and get their own way. It’s a way to settle differences of opinion and they see abuse as normal. As adults, they won’t be able to find alternate ways of showing or channeling their anger. People who do not have a method of outlet for anger on a daily basis allow it to build to a point where it explodes. When this happens, the people closest to them become their sounding board emotionally, mentally and physically.

Rules

Abusers feel they are superior to others and don’t have to follow the rules of society. This is also the attitude of hundreds of criminals in prisons world wide. Inmates often believe that while other inmates are guilty of their crimes that they aren’t. Abusers feel it is always their partners who need counseling and that they can take care of their life without help or support from others.

Fragmentation

The abuser, whether male or female, does their best to keep their abusive behavior separate from the rest of their life. For example: abusers will beat their spouse and kids on a regular basis, but seldom physically attack anyone outside of their home. They also separate their lives psychologically. They may attend church on Sunday morning and play the role of a loving spouse and parent and then go home and beat their spouse and kids on Sunday afternoon. Abusers see this as acceptable and normal behavior and feel it is justified. Yet if they hear a report that someone else has abused their loved ones, they are the first to condemn them.

Verbal Communication

Abusers are seldom capable of a relationship that includes real intimacy. It is believed that they feel vulnerable when they are open and truthful with others. Abusers feel that it is up to their partners to turn feelings of anger and frustration into gratification and to fulfill their every need. Partners of abusers are essentially expected to be mind readers and know in advance the needs of the abusive spouse. When this doesn’t happen, the abuser feels insecure, unloved and rejected and rejection is grounds for emotional, mental and physical abuse.

Glorification

Abusers, both men and women, think of themselves as independent, self-sufficient, superior and strong. If someone criticizes them or says something that causes them to feel insulted, the feeling will cause them to react violently toward their victim. This is the only outlet that they know to use to quell feelings of inadequacy.

Being Vague

Abusers think and speak vaguely to avoid their responsibilities. When asked why they are late or where they’ve been, answers will be vague. If their partners pursue the reason, the abuser becomes defensive and strikes out in order to remain in control of the situation.

Abusers: Things You Need to Know

  • Both men and women abuse their partners, emotionally, mentally, physically and verbally.

  • Female abusers tend to have a macho attitude toward womanhood. They look at female qualities as weaknesses and fear closeness and intimacy will make them vulnerable.

  • A batterer’s level of hostility is extremely higher than that of non-batterers. Emotions easily turn to anger, which in turn is acted out in violent behavior. Abusers suppress anxiety, tension and stress until they eventually explode in a fit of violent behavior.

  • Abusers suffer from low self esteem. They become dependent on their partners emotionally and feel threatened if they thing that they are going to be left on their own.

  • Abusers often show emotions of excessive jealousy and are extremely possessive.

  • Many abusers are alcoholics or use drugs frequently. If they discontinue alcohol and drug abuse, they tend to be violent through the process of withdrawal.

  • Many people who are abusers have experienced or witnessed violence during their childhood. This leaves them with a feeling of worthlessness and low self esteem, which in turn traumatizes them and leaves life-long emotional scars.

Red Flag Signals

Many people of both genders interpret early warning signs of abuse as attentive, caring and romantic. Here is a list of early warning signs of future domestic abuse.

  • Your partner insists you spend all of your free time with them in order to isolate you from family and friends.

  • You always have to tell your partner where you are going, who you are going with, what your plans are and when you will be home.

  • Your partner is extremely agitated or angry when they don’t get their own way.

  • Your partner tells you what you can and can’t wear and insists on going shopping with you when you shop for clothes.

  • You are accused time and time again of cheating, flirting or having an affair.

  • Your partner refers to women in derogatory slang, or is secretive about previous relationships.

  • The person was abused mentally, physically, emotionally or verbally as a child.

  • Your partner grew up in an environment where one parent abused the other emotionally, mentally, physically or verbally.

  • He is a charmer or a smooth talker.

  • He is abusive to his mother or sister and refers to them in derogatory slang.

  • The person has expectations that are not realistic.

  • The person has a tendency to be cruel to animals or pets.

  • The person has hurt a child in some way.

  • Your partner has hit spouses in a previous relationship. If so, it will happen to you too.

  • The person displays a tendency to have extreme mood swings for little or no reason.

  • Male abusers often feel women are inferior and were born to indulge their every whim.

  • Female abusers feel men are inferior and expect their partner to give them their full attention at all times.

  • Abusers like to intimidate and use threatening body language. They may throw things, punch walls or destroy their victim’s possessions.

  • Abusers stop their victims from leaving the room during an argument or dispute.

Warning!

If you see any of these warning signs in your partner, be ever vigilant. For your own safety, it’s best to end the relationship immediately. It’s better to be alone than to be in a relationship where you are constantly abused in any way. Get help now!


 




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