In my line of work, I get to observe (and become aware of) an increasingly large number of people who abuse others.
Now, these individuals come from diverse backgrounds. To give you an idea, I’ve come across abusive people who are:
– Community leaders
– Drug addicts
– And literally any other category/description you can think of
Some abusers are unaware of what they’re doing, others are aware and recognise the need to get help while others vehemently believe that they are the ones being abused.
Whilst the circumstances around every situation will vary, some of the common denominators that I’ve come across are worth noting.
1. Some people abuse others because they feel the need to control someone
Often, abuse is driven by the craving for control/authority/power. The abuser will have his/her target leave their job, distance themselves from family members, change their principles etc.
If the abuser feels helpless when it comes to effecting change in his/her own life, they will often insult those who do make progress and seek to destroy the happiness of others. Abusers love hurtful name-calling, snide remarks and barbed references.
It’s a classic case of, “If I can’t be happy, why should you?”.
An abuser loves knowing that his/her victims have no options. Why? Because it means they can continue controlling their victim.
2. Apologising to an abuser for something you didn’t do, feeds their belief that they are right and you deserve to be abused
Abusers seldom believe that they’re wrong. So one of their hallmarks is their ability to get the abused person to apologise for something the abuser did.
I’ve seen this happen hundreds of times and it goes something like this:
– The abuser does/says something hurtful
– The victim objects to it by crying, breaking down or wanting to discuss it
– The abuser starts an argument
– The victim doesn’t want this to ‘blow-up’ or if they’re in public/in the presence of children, doesn’t want to ’cause a scene’
– The victims convince themselves that the easiest and simplest way to solve all this is to just apologise
– The abuser and the victim then (outwardly) ignore everything that just happened and continue acting like everything’s normal until the next outburst
Side Note: If you’re being abused, the worst thing you can do for yourself is to act like everything is okay. You’re not solving anything, you’re just allowing the damage to go deeper.
3. Many people with unresolved traumatic experiences, express their pain/anger by abusing others
For some human-beings, aggression is a default response when they’re frustrated, stressed, confused or worried.
This inability to deal with the stressors of life often manifests itself in irritable, grumpy, distracted and even, violent behaviour.
Correcting the abuser’s mental conditioning is usually the first step to eradicating abuse triggered by past trauma.
Abusive people love it when:
– You ‘need’ them so badly that you can’t leave them
– You have zero options
– You convince yourself that you’re the cause of all the problems
– You make excuses for their behaviour
– You threaten to leave them but never do
Abusive people hate it when:
– You voice your feelings
– You stand up for yourself
– You walk away from them even though you don’t know what you’re going to do or where you’re going to go
– You don’t unquestioningly obey them
– You become independent of them
– You succeed
The reality of abuse is that it’s present in marriages, the workplace, society, social media platforms, homes, schools and almost anywhere else you interact with humans.
Note: There’s never any valid justification for abuse and there’s never an excuse for it.
Perhaps the most ignored form of abuse is the damage we inflict upon ourselves when we force ourselves to ignore that someone is hurting us.