How to Deal With and Recognize an Abusive Person
This morning I woke up to screaming and shouting. Someone who lives below me in my six floor apartment building was shouting to her sister, “I’m taking a shower, shut the F*** up!”, “Go ahead call mom”, “You’re a homeless dirty slob and everyone knows it”, “You haven’t taken a shower in two days”… It bothered me so much I shouted, “I am going to call the cops!”, just to stop the yelling.
Abuse is by far the most negative, addicting, contagious and impulsive behavior to have been accustomed to. We all have been introduced to abuse one way or another and some of us become abusive as a result of it. Most of the time, abusers don’t know they are abusive because they have persuasive reasons they “believe” putting someone down, neglecting, hitting, or yelling negatively, is called for.
There are different forms of abuse, different definitions and different types. In my opinion, abuse is the opposite of positive reinforcement, the opposite of support and is not the best way to convey love.
Here are some definitions of Abuse
To get inside of an abusers mind we must understand “why” this person is abusive, there are many reasons but mainly it is because someone has been abusive to them. Some people distance themselves, and other just copy and repeat. Let’s delve into it…
An abuser unaware of their abusive behavior usually tries to relive their past with present relationships so they will put other people in your shoes and try to do and learn how to deal with abuse by creating it or reliving it. However, now, they will want full control and will dominate the other person. They subconsciously believe this is helpful and they loose awareness in the pain they cause others.
Here are some characteristics of an abusive person:
Success Fantasies: The abuser believes in fantasies of being rich, famous, or extremely successful in other terms if only other people weren’t holding her back. They’re blocking the way makes the abuser feel justified in getting back at them, including through abuse. The abuser also puts other people down as a way of building their self up.
Blaming: The abuser shifts responsibility for certain actions to others, which allows the abuser to be angry at the other person for “causing” the behavior. For example: “If you would stay out of it while I am disciplining the kids, I could do it without hitting them.”
Excuse Making: Instead of accepting responsibility for certain actions, the abuser tries to justify their behavior with excuses. For example, “My parents never loved me,” or “My parents beat me,” or “I had a bad day, and when I walked in and saw this mess I lost my temper,” or “I couldn’t let him talk to me that way, there was nothing else I could do.”
Redefining: The abuser redefines the situation so that the problem lies not with the abuser but with others or the outside world. For example: The abuser doesn’t come home at 6 p.m. for dinner as prearranged; he or she comes home at 4 a.m. The abuser says, “You’re an awful cook anyway. Why should I come home to eat this stuff? I bet the kids wouldn’t even eat it.”
Making Fools of Others: The abuser combines tactics to manipulate others. The tactics include lying, upsetting the other person just to watch his reactions, and provoking a fight between or among others. She may try to charm the person she wants to manipulate, pretending a great deal of interest in and concern for that person in order to get on his good side.
Assuming: Abusive people often assume they know what others are thinking or feeling. Their assumption allows them to justify their behavior because they “know” what the other person would think or do in a given situation. For example: “I knew you’d be mad because I went out for a drink after work, so I figured I might as well stay out and enjoy myself.”
Emotional Dependence: Abusive individuals are usually very emotionally dependent on their spouse. The result of their inner rage at being dependent means that the abuser acts in controlling ways to exert power and to deny their own weakness.One major symptom is strong jealousy and possessive actions, normally sexual in nature. The abuser will spend a great deal of time monitoring their spouses activities. The abuser lacks supportive relationships. Another sign of dependence is the effect of what happens when the abused person leaves the home because of the abuse. It is common for the abuser to make extraordinary attempts to persuade them to return.
Lying: The abuser manipulates by lying to control information. The abuser may also use lying to keep other people, including the victim, off-balance psychologically. For example: The abuser tries to appear truthful when actually lying, or tries to look deceitful when actually telling the truth.
Rigid Application of Traditional Sex Attitudes: Abusive spouses tend to have more inflexible beliefs about roles and functions of their spouses in the marriage. The wife may expect the husband to over fulfill all the financial needs and household/parenting chores.
Drama and Excitement: Abusive people have trouble experiencing close, satisfying relationships. They substitute drama and excitement for closeness. Abusive people find it exciting to watch others become angry, get into fights, or fall into a general uproar. Often, they’ll use a combination of tactics to set up an exciting situation.
Closed Channel: The abusive person does not tell much about personal details and real feelings. The abuser is not open to new information about herself either, such as someone else’s thoughts about them personally. The abuser is secretive, close-minded and self-righteous. Abusers believe they are right in all situations.
Ownership: The abuser typically is very possessive. Moreover, the abuser believes that anything that is wanted should be owned, and that the abuser can do as wanted with anything that is hers. The same attitude applies to people. It justifies controlling others’ behavior, physically hurting them and taking things that belong to them.
Poor Anger Management: Individuals who have experienced a violent and abusive childhood are more likely to grow up and become spouse abusers. A person who sees violence as the primary method for settling differences as a child is not going to have very many alternate ways available to channel anger. A person without an everyday outlet for anger risks exploding toward the people closest to them.
Minimizing: The abuser ducks responsibility for abusive actions by trying to make them seem less important than they are. For example: “I didn’t hit you that hard”, or “I only hit one of the kids. I could have done them all.”
Fragmentation: The abuser usually keeps the abusive behavior separate from the rest of her life. The separation is physical; for example, the abuser will beat up family members but not people outside the home. The separation is also psychological; for example, it is not uncommon for an abuser to attend church Sunday morning and beat the victim Sunday night. The abuser sees no inconsistency in this behavior and feels justified in it.
Above the Rules: As mentioned earlier, abusers generally believe they are better than other people and so don’t have to follow the rules that ordinary people do. That attitude is typical of convicted criminals, too. Each inmate usually believes that while all the other inmates are criminals, she is not. An abuser shows above-the-rules thinking in saying, “I don’t need counseling. Nobody knows as much about my life as I do. I can handle my life without help from anybody.
Self-glorification: The abuser usually thinks of herself as strong, superior, independent and self-sufficient. When anyone says or does anything that doesn’t fit this glorified self-image, the abuser takes it as an insult.
Inability to express feelings with words: This type of person is rarely capable of true intimacy and may feel very threatened by the prospect of being open and vulnerable. Particularly when frustrated, the abusive person expects instant gratification from their spouse who is expected to “read” their mind and “know” what their mate wants. When the mate doesn’t know what is expected the wife may interpret this as meaning they do not really love them. Therefore with an abusive individual, rejection = violence.
Vagueness: Thinking and speaking vaguely lets the abuser avoid responsibility. Example: “I’m late because I had to do something on the way home.”
My advice on dealing with abuse is by practicing patience, staying away from the abuser if possible , think logically (understand this is a sickness and that what the person says is a lie they make up to make themselves feel powerful), respond in silence or brief answers, “Okay”, “I see”, “Think about that”, or simply IGNORE THEM, they do not like this because it doesn’t feed them. They want to hurt you to make themselves feel better. If you want to make an effort for resolution, once the fire burns down, let them know they have a problem and let them know how it negatively affects them and yourself. If they agree by acknowledging and wanting to change, then offer them support, but if they continue, you will have to separate yourself from them. Please remember that an abuser is typically dishonest and displays the characteristics above. In certain cases, it can take a year or so for an abusive person to show you this side of his or herself. If this person is physically abusive, you must get help and find a way to get out of that situation.
If you are a victim of abuse and have no one to talk to, please, go to Abuse Victim Hotline