The stage is nearly set for the entrance of our family abuser into my life story. Here are a few remaining, yet vital pieces to ensure the brightest light of truth will illuminate and dispel the darkest deception. Knowledge illuminates the truth; at the same time it also dispels the myths, stereotypes and misconceptions about the abused and the abuser.
My personal observations and insights are culled from the childhood abuser in our home, and other abuse victims and abusers I have known. The process of writing this blog prompted me to commit to paper what I have stored in my heart for many years. The prompting is the easy stuff. Submitting to the process – not so much. Honestly, I labored over the creation of The Three Stages and Top Five lists for nearly a month.
Unknown reader, there’s immeasurable hope woven between each line I write. Hope for you. Hope for someone you love. Hope you will recognize and bravely react to the markers of abuse. Hope you will live an abuse free life.
But first a poignant word picture…
The abuse victim literally becomes a marionette who lives to perform the will of the puppeteer. With each attached silken strand, the marionette forfeits a portion of control and transfers it to the hand of the master puppeteer.
Progressive Stages of Abuse – #1 the challenge
Gaining control in a new relationship creates a challenge rush for the abuser. Once a potential abuse victim is identified, the abuser quickly initiates The Con. To convince the target and their support system of friends and family that they are nearly perfect is the goal. The false persona and uncanny amount of professed similarities between the abused and the abuser is meant to gain unwarranted favor and premature trust.
This is a brief phase marked by commitment urgency. The urgency whirlwind inhibits the ability to adequately process what is actually occurring. If this phase is prolonged, the true motives of the abuser will be revealed. Always remember – time is your friend. Hit the pause button to give yourself time to gain a clear perspective.
A few thought-provoking questions that may help. Be honest, because your life may depend on it.
How do they treat others?
Are they respectful or rude the majority of the time?
After a seemingly (nice) interaction, do they mock the individual?
How do they react to accurate constructive criticism?
Are they more often than not critical of you and others?
Do they lie, cheat, or steal?
Summary: The Con. Urgency. Practically Perfect.
Progressive Stages of Abuse – #2 covert control and manipulation
A subtle element of control and manipulation is initially introduced in such a way to appear nearly benign and harmless. Is it caring? Is it attentiveness? Is it concern? Doubt and uncertainty begin to cloud the mind of the victim, undermining their belief that they’re capable of perceiving correctly. With each step the abuser pauses to ascertain the level of resistance or compliance of the victim and their support system of established relationships.
Every individual has a support system (aka) a personal cheer squad. The group of beaming faces you search for in the stands that encourage, support, believe and love you. Rain or shine, lose or win, agree or disagree, they’re for you. This group of individuals is a dangerous threat to the success of the abuser, because they hold the potential for intervention. In order for control and manipulation to flourish unhindered, these powerful relationship bonds must be severed as completely as an amputation.
The process of silencing your cheer squad doesn’t begin with an edict from the abuser, because that would be far too obvious. Instead it subtly unfolds as one seed of doubt after another is planted in the heart of the victim to nullify the voice of the cheer squad. Eliminating the support group voices will result in only one voice of influence to remain – the voice of the abuser.
Summary: Subtly. Doubt. Separation.
Progressive Stages of Abuse – #3 overt control and manipulation
The abuser ceases to conceal his true identity or intent, believing the abuse victim is trapped. Constant belittling and unrelenting criticism erodes the victim’s self-esteem and creates a doubt-paralyzed mind. Doubt cripples the mental and emotional strength to believe there is a way of escape. The goal is achieved – the abused is totally dependent on the abuser.
The military assault waged in the brain of the victim succeeds in the stripping away of all things unique to you as a person. The stripping must occur in order for the abuser to recreate the abused. Any trace of the former person, must be eradicated and replaced with what the abuser dictates. Total compliance to the will and whim of the abuser is mandatory. Constant reassurance of love, and single-minded devotion is demanded at the personal expense of the abused.
Physical and mental isolation, chaos, fear, pain, and self-recrimination for believing a consummate liar permeate their daily life. Hopelessness becomes the skin that envelops the victim, who now believes they are condemned to a life long sentence of abuse. Hopelessness for one creates freedom for the other. The freedom to abuse leads to an escalation of frequency and ferocity of abuse.
Summary: Criticism. Brainwashing. Hopelessness.
Top Five Abuser Characteristics – #1 abusers are Machiavellian at heart
Initially they appear to be charismatic, perceptive, and engaging.
Their charm is disarming, allowing them to subtly weave their web of lies undetected, and in full view of others. Remember first and foremost that psychological and physical abusers have a doctorate in Con Artistry. The definition of con artist: a fake, hustler, shark, deceiver, or fraud who is adept at lying, cajolery, glib, self-serving talk, and swindling by means of confidence games.
Summary: They are better at deception than we are at detection. Ignore the charisma, listen to their words and observe their character as they interact with others.
Top Five Abuser Characteristics – #2 abusers are attentive listeners and information gatherers
The Listening Gathering Search Engine for abusers identifies the passions and insecurities of an individual.
Their motive for discovery: manipulation. Abusers feign a nearly instantaneous affinity with their potential victim through a fabricated commonality of desires, interests, experiences, and life goals. So many similarities between two individual would move any heart.
While engaged in (get acquainted) conversation they enthusiastically sprinkle you with flattery. This falsely forged connection often produces a dangerous lapse in judgment. Common Sense is bullied by Premature Trust to entice you into ignoring cautious vetting and let your guard down. This is fertile soil for control and manipulation to take root and thrive.
Summary: They briefly appear to be Prince Charming or Cinderella, but they only exist in fairy tales.
Top Five Abuser Characteristics – #3 abusers are extreme narcissists
A narcissist wants to be the bride at every wedding, and the corpse at every funeral. e. lutzer
In their twisted thinking there can only be one who is superior – them. All other humanoids are inferior competitors vying to steal their deserved glorious accolades. In a room overflowing with fascinating, brilliant people, they’re the sole card-carrying member of the Est Club. Smartest. Prettiest. Funniest. Strongest. A narcissist becomes highly agitated and sullen if the conversation doesn’t often focus on them. After all, hearing the opinions of another is torturous waste of time, since there is only one opinion that truly matters.
Nothing is more egregious to a narcissist than the success of another, especially those in relationship with them. Any accomplishments of supposed loved ones is critiqued, minimized and belittled. It is impossible for the narcissistic abuser to encourage, facilitate, and celebrate the success of another when they’re viewed as competitors. How do you react when you believe someone is stealing your thunder? You attack.
Rarely will the abuser display an interest in the childhood memories or family traditions of the abused. Any life lived prior to the narcissist was insignificant and inconsequential, because life didn’t truly begin until their arrival.
Summary: They could capture the gold medal, win the beauty contest, and single-handedly discover the cure to all diseases, because of their genius.
Top Five Abuser Characteristics – #4 abusers are infallible
They never do anything wrong. They never say anything wrong. They never are wrong.
In their twisted thinking they are practically perfect. In actuality, they’re astute blame shifters. Like a broken record repeating a single song, the abuser repeats the blame rhetoric with each abuse occurrence.
This absolves the abuser of all culpability for their actions, and the blame for the abuse cascades over the mind and heart of the already fragile, wounded one.
“If you would simply obey my requests, instructions, and demands, then there would be no need for me to punish you.” Translation: If you wouldn’t do (X) – I wouldn’t do (Y). This insane thought process isn’t just espoused propaganda to their victim – it’s actually what they believe. Reasoning with an abuser is futile. A rational mind can’t reason with an irrational mind.
Infallibility Belief can’t be restrained; it will flourish in both the private and public life of an abuser. In their public life, espoused infallibility quickly collides with resistance among friends and coworkers. Character discovery leads to resistance, and constant change in jobs and friend groups. However the core reasons for the change – change not. I was misunderstood, mistreated, and my talents were marginalized.
Summary: They believe in their personal perfection and seldom admit wrong doing for their actions, reactions and words.
Top Five Abuser Characteristics – #5 abusers are addicted to power
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Abusers regard life as a continuous game. Human beings are objects, game pieces, to be controlled and manipulated to feed their sense of power. Winning in everything is everything. Each day every innocuous, routine interaction with family, friends, acquaintances, or strangers must culminate in a demoralizing display of power over others.
Demeaning and dominating others feed the feeling of superiority, which must be reaffirmed daily. The character traits of honesty, kindness, compassion, and generosity are signs of weakness, and disgusting to the abuser. As with all addictions the abuse appetite increases, because the feelings of strength and superiority are increasingly fleeting. The abuser is unfulfilled until the scales of power tip completely to their side.
The abuser treats the abused as an indentured servant who exists solely to fulfill the perverted will of the abuser. Remember these words: Who. What. When. Where.
They decide – Who you see. What you do. Where you go. When you go.
Summary: Inflicting pain feeds the feeling of power at the expense of the mind and heart of others.
One last thing – Abuse crosses the boundaries of gender, age, education, and socio-economic status. The current statistics concerning abuse perpetrated on either gender is startling. We need to be aware that more than 40% of abuse cases consist of a female partner abusing the male partner.
Now I want to end our time together with something lovely – The hushed sound of peace that settles over the earth after a fresh blanket of snow gently kisses the tree limbs and covers the ground with a frosting of delicate untouched softness.