Domestic Violence: The Abuser

They don’t wear signs around their necks or on their foreheads. They don’t belong to any group or club or organization called Abusers, Inc.  They are not all low-life, drunken, ignorant bums.  In fact, many of them are executives, police officers, doctors, lawyers,  pastors and deacons. They look like normal people.  They are often quite charming and fun to be around.  They are often intelligent.

The one thing they have in common that very few people outside their homes know about is an absolute need to have total dominance, power, and control.  They are careful to mask this unpleasant need from people they really can’t control; but if you live with one of these people, you know how absolutely terrifying he can be behind closed doors.

I believe many abusers are actually sociopaths.  Here is a website you can look at to find out what a sociopath is like:

Often, a sociopath was his mother’s fair-haired child who could do no wrong and was never denied anything, so he grows up with a strong sense of entitlement. He simply expects the people in his life to bow to his will.  If they won’t, then they’ll learn the hard way that they’re much better off if they give in.

Not all abusers use their fists, as we have already discussed.  Some are uniquely gifted at destroying a spouse’s confidence with a steady drip of mental, verbal, and emotional abuse.

Another thing they have in common is their inability to love unselfishly.  They see love as possession, not as relationship.  I’ll never forget the man who, sitting in my office as if he owned it, told me that his wife’s body belonged to him and he would “use” it any time and any way he pleased; he then went on to try to convince me that his behavior was God’s will.  As you can imagine, that didn’t go too well—for him 🙂 (Oh, by the way, he never came back.  Told his wife I was against him. I’m still trying to help her find the wherewithal to stand up to her bully.)

Never make the mistake of believing that an abuser can be reasoned with, or that he thinks the same way as  all of us who do NOT abuse the people we say we love.  They are unreasonable; they do not think normally.  Even the most self-centered “normal” person can often be convinced that if he’s going to have friends, he’d better start learning to care about someone besides himself.  The abuser really doesn’t care about having friends.  His best friend is control, however that best works for him.

Abusers are outstandingly good at shifting blame.  Anything you say to try to make the man face his sin is immediately returned, like a speeding tennis ball slammed back over the net, with, “Well, but SHE said/did such and so and that really offended me, so yes, I may have hit her, but she just made me lose control.”

Women who live with these guys already know it’s always all their fault.  They know that if he hits, it’s because she messed up somewhere, somehow, in some infinitesimal way. Or, even worse, he comes home in a rage because of something that happened at work.  He can’t display his temper there, so he saves it all for his wife and kids.  It’s pretty ugly.

It is true that abusers were often abused themselves in their childhood.  However, that is an issue that needs to be addressed separately from the marital abuse.  Having been a victim does NOT make it ok to victimize others.  It is a behavior that is chosen, not forced on the abuser.  I’ve known plenty of people who grew up watching marital abuse or being abused themselves who decided before they ever left home that their lives were going to be different.

Abuse requires the abuser to be very skilled at manipulation and deception.  He has to be able to convince his victim(s) that it is their fault, not his; that if they would just behave correctly at all times, the abuse would stop.

It doesn’t.  The abuser is also very adept at finding new  faults in his victims.

Next Friday, I’m going to suggest some ways of dealing with, or escaping, the abuse.

5 thoughts on “Domestic Violence: The Abuser

  1. Wow, Linda, this describes a man I know whose wife finally sought intervention, and he simply denied any wrong doing and is asking for a divorce now. His wife had hoped he’d get counseling. In the meantime, she is getting healthier the longer they have been apart. Charming describes this man so well; he is also a tyrant!

    Thank you for educating your readers. It helps us to be supportive to others and ourselves.

    Blessings ~ Wendy


    1. Thanks, Wendy. I’m hoping there will be someone out there who will benefit from what I’m writing. Your friend was wise to seek intervention. Complete denial is so typical of abusers. I’m a little surprised, though, that he asked for divorce, unless he was hoping it would scare her into coming back to him. It’s a last-ditch effort at control, and I hope she won’t give in.


      1. Linda, it is interesting that you would mention that; he is indeed dragging it out. I think it’s a way to continue the abuse. It has been so sad and disappointing to watch such a lovely friend go through all this. Life can be so hard for some people. My friend is growing stronger in her faith and in her self esteem. I am so glad that she sees the truth in it all. I find it healing for my own grief of her pain to come and read articles like yours. Thankfully, I am in a good-willed relationship. I wish this for everyone…


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