Sanctuary for the Abused

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wife Abuse & Child Custody and Visitation by the Abuser

child joint custody graphic Pictures, Images and Photos

by Kendall Segel-Evans

originally published: ENDING MEN'S VIOLENCE NEWSLETTER, Fall, 1989

I recently read the National Organization for Changing Men's statement on child custody, and the position taken that, in general, sole custody by the previously most involved parent is preferable to joint custody. I would like to elaborate on this position for families where there has been violence between parents (i.e. woman-abuse). The following includes the main points of a deposition I was asked to provide to a lawyer for the mother in a child custody case. I do not believe this is the last or best word on the subject, but I hope that it will simulate useful dialogue about the effects on children of wife-abuse and the treatment of wife-abusers. I also wish to further discussion on the issue of how we are going to truly end men's violence. Clearly, I believe that the treatment of wife-abusers should not only be held accountable to the partner victim/survivors, but also to the children, and to the next generation.

I would like to mention that I will speak of husbands and fathers abusing wives and mothers, because that is the most common situation by far, not because the reverse never happens. It also seems to be true that when there is wife to husband violence it is usually in self-defense and usually does not have the same dynamics or effects as wife abuse. I will use the words violence and abuse somewhat interchangeably, because, in my opinion, domestic violence is not just about physical violence. Domestic violence is a pattern of physical, sexual, economic, social and emotional violence, coercion, manipulation and mistreatment or abuse. Physical violence and the threat of such violence is only the part of the pattern that is most visible and makes the other parts of the pattern difficult to defend against. Once violence is used, its threat is never forgotten. Even when the violence is stopped by threat of legal action or by physical separation, the coercion, manipulation and abusiveness continue (Walker and Edwall, 1987).

Accompanying this pattern of behaviors are common styles of coping or personality characteristics - such as the tendency to blame others for ones problems and impulsiveness - that most batterers share. Almost every man I have worked with has a tendency to see his partner (or his children) as responsible for his pain when he is upset. This leads to seeing his partner (or his children) as an enemy who must be defeated before he can feel better. This is destructive to emotional health even when it does not lead to overt violence.

In my opinion, it would be better, in most cases, for the children of homes where there has been domestic violence not to be in the custody of the abusive parent at all. In many cases it is even advisable that visitation be limited to controlled situations, such as under a therapist's supervision during a therapy session, unless the batterer has been in batterer's treatment and demonstrated that he has changed significantly in specific ways. "Merely" observing ones father abuse ones mother is in itself damaging to children. My clinical experience is consistent with the research literature which shows that children who witness their father beat their mother exhibit significantly greater psychological and psychosomatic problems than children from homes without violence (Roy, 1988). Witnessing abuse is more damaging in many ways than actually being abused, and having both happen is very damaging (Goodman and Rosenberg, 1987). Studies show that a high percentage (as high as 55%) of fathers who abuse their wives also abuse their children (Walker and Edwall, 1987). In my experience, if one includes emotional abuses such as being hypercritical, yelling and being cruelly sarcastic, the percentage is much higher. The damage that children suffer is highly variable, with symptoms ranging from aggressive acting out to extreme shyness and withdrawal, or from total school failure to compulsive school performance. The best way to summarize all the symptoms despite their variety is to say that they resemble what children who suffer other trauma exhibit, and could be seen as a version of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Walker and Edwall, 1987).

Equally serious is the long term effect of domestic violence - intergenerational transmission. Children who observe their mothers being beaten are much more likely to be violent to a partner themselves as adults. In one study, men who observed violence towards their mother were three times more likely to be abusive than men who had not observed such violence (Strauss et al., 1980). The more serious the abuse observed, the more likely the men were to repeat it. Being abused also makes children likely to grow up to be violent, and having both happen increases the probability even more.

How children learn to repeat the abuse they observe and experience includes many factors. One of the more important is modeling. When they grow up, children act like their parents did, consciously or not, willingly or not. Several of the boys I have worked with have been terribly conflicted about being like their father, of whom they were afraid and ashamed. But they clearly carried parts of their father's behavior patterns and attitudes with them. Other boys from violent homes idealized their father, and they were more likely than the others to beat their wives when they grew up (Caesar, 1988). Several of the men I have worked with in group have lamented that they told themselves that they would not beat their wives the way their mother was beaten when they were children. But when they became adults, they found themselves doing the same things their father did. One reason for this is that even if the physical abuse stops, if the children still have contact with the batterer, they are influenced by his coping styles and personality problems. As Lenore Walker observes (Walker and Edwall, 1987, p. 138), "There is also reason for concern about children's cognitive and emotional development when raised by a batterer who has a paranoid-like pattern of projecting his own inadequacy and lack of impulse-control onto others." Dr. Pagelow agrees, "It may become desirable to avoid prolonged contact between violent fathers and their sons until the men assume control over their own behavior and the examples of 'manhood' they are showing to the boys who love them, (Pagelow, 1984, p. 256). If the abusive man has not sought out domestic violence specific treatment for his problem, there is no reason to believe that the underlying pattern of personality and attitudes that supported the abuse in the past have changed. There is every reason to believe it will impact his children.

Additionally, in a society where the majority of wife-beatings do not lead to police reports, much less to filings or convictions, it is easy for children to perceive that abusiveness has no negative consequences. (One study, by Dobash and Dobash, found that 98% of violent incidents between spouses were not reported to the police [reported in Pagelow, 1984, p. 437]). Some children, seeing who has the power and guessing what could happen to them if they opposed the power, will side with the abuser in custody situations. Often, children will deny that the abuse ever happened. Unfortunately, the children who side with the abuser, or deny the abuse, are the most likely to be abusive themselves as adults. It is very important that family court not support this by treating a wife-beating father as if he were just as likely to be a good parent as the woman he beat. As Gelles and Strauss point out in their book Intimate Violence (1988), people are violent in part because they believe they can get away with it. Public consequences are important for preventing the intergenerational transmission of violence. Boys, particularly, need to to see that their father's abusiveness leads to negative, not positive results.

Lastly, I would like to point out that joint legal custody is likely to be damaging to children when there has been spousal violence. My experience with my clients is definitely consistent with the research results reported by Judith Wallerstein to the American Orthopsychiatric Association Convention in 1988. The data clearly show that joint custody is significantly inferior to sole custody with one parent when there is parental conflict after the divorce, in terms of the children's emotional adjustment as well as the mother's safety. Most batterers continue their abusiveness after the marriage, into the divorced parent relationship, in the form of control, manipulation and harassment over support payments, visitation times, and parenting styles. The children are always aware of these tensions and battles, and sometimes blame the mother for not just giving in and keeping the peace - or for being too submissive. The batterer often puts the children right in the middle, taking advantage of his belief that she will give in to avoid hurting the children. The damage to the children in this kind of situation is worse because it is ongoing, and never is allowed to be resolved or have time to heal.

Because I work with batterers, I am sympathetic to the distress they feel at being separated from their children for long periods of time. However, the men who truly cared about their children for the children's sake, and not for what the children do for their father's ego, have been willing to do the therapeutic work necessary to change. They have been willing to accept full responsibility for their violent behavior, and however reluctantly, have accepted whatever restrictions on child visitation existed for safety reasons. They have been willing to be in therapy to deal with "their problem." They have also recognized that they were abused as children themselves, or witnessed their mother being abused, or both, and are willing to support interrupting the intergenerational transmission of violence.

Kendall Segel-Evans, M.A. Marriage, Family and Child Counselor


Caesar, P. Lynn., "Exposure to Violence in the Families of Origin Among Wife Abusers and Maritally Violent Men." Violence and Victims , Vol. 3, No. 1, Spring, 1988.

Davis, Liane V., and Carlson, Bonnie E., "Observation of Spouse Abuse - What Happens to the Children?" Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Vol. 2, No. 3, September 1987, pp. 278-291, Sage Publications, 1987.

Dutton, Donald., The Domestic Assault of Women, Allyn and Bacon, 1988.

Gelles, Richard J. and Strauss, Murray A., Intimate Violence, Simon and Schuster, 1988.

Goodman, Gail S., and Rosenberg, Mindy, S., "The Child Witness to Family Violence: Clinical and Legal Considerations. Ch. 7, pp. 47ff. in: Sonkin, Daniel. Ph.d., Domestic Violence on Trial, Springer, 1987.

Pagelow, Mildred Daley, Family Violence, Praeger Publications, 1984.

Roy, Maria., Children in the Crossfire, Health Communications, Inc. 1988.

Roy, Maria., The Abusive Partner, Van Nostrand, 1982.

Sonkin, Daniel. Phd., Domestic Violence on Trial, Springer, 1987.

Strauss, Murray A., et. al., Behind Closed Doors, Anchor Books, 1980.

Walker, Lenore E.A., and Edwall, Glenace E. "Domestic Violence and Determination of Visitation and Custody in Divorce." Ch. 8, pp. 127ff. Sonkin, Daniel. Phd. Domestic Violence on Trial, Springer, 1987.

Wallerstein, Judith., Report to the American Orthopsychiatric Association Convention, 1988.

Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse


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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Avoiding The Emotional Blackmailer

A Girl's Guide to Avoiding the Emotional Blackmailer

by Suzanne Watts

The Emotional Blackmailer is easy to recognize, but women seldom do until they are well and truly sucked into his web. It is best to avoid getting close to him because it is quite difficult to get away from him. Stalkers start out as emotional blackmailers. Just the word "blackmailer" should give you a clue of what depth of self-centered behaviour is lying in wait to be sprung on you the minute you are hooked. Here are the roots and the signs, the way he progresses to hook his victim, and how to get away from him.

What Creates an Emotional Blackmailer?
A combination of neglect, overprotectiveness, coldness, spoiling and lack of nurturing in infancy and childhood. This can be ascertained by comments he makes about his parents - both of them. He will hate them and resent them, while still taking his laundry home to mommy even when she lives in the next STATE. His mom is blamed for him not knowing how to do anything - she never even taught him to make his bed or hang up his wet towel, and she didn't feed him; his dad is blamed for him choosing a profession that he is ill-suited for - any profession that wasn't his dad's. He will say they are both critical of him, and never gave him any support for anything he wanted to do to better himself. This may be the sad truth, but he uses it as an excuse to get everyone he meets for the rest of his life to serve his needs. He does not have empathy - in this way he is like the sociopath to whom people are objects.

The "Modus Operandi" of the Emotional Blackmailer
He is too good to be true - He is soft-spoken and polite, he smells good, he looks good, he is kind and loves women, he is respectful, he doesn't come on too strong FOR THE FIRST FEW MEETINGS ONLY. He's always on the lookout for a patsy, but he's in no hurry as there's always another one around the corner so he'll take his time in coming on to you. In fact you'll wonder why he's not attracted to you; you might think he is gay, and be all the more attracted to him because he just wants to chat and be friends.

He'll be there more and more frequently - gazing at you with puppy dog eyes; wanting to know everything about you, asking your advice, making it look like you are getting to know each other and forming a bond.

He will put himself in the best possible light - including lying through his teeth about his ambitions, activities, hopes and dreams.

His seduction techniques are often subtle and well-practiced - It will seem he did nothing to seduce you until you look back and analyze it. He sat and stood close to you, he brushed against you, but it didn't seem to be on purpose.

He suddenly "Turns on the Charm" and turns up the heat - Once you're hypnotized by his sweetness and modesty and respectfulness, he will pounce on you one night and turn into a Mr. Hyde. It "just happened." This is the critical moment to run away, don't let him touch you. He'll leave you breathless wondering what exactly happened. He'll turn on all the charm full force and you'll be wanting him from then on, yet wanting some breathing room. You won't get any. Ever. It won't bother you at first - you'll think he's attentive and ardent.

He starts using the wine/ dine/ lines technique - Once you're "seeing" each other, he'll be a real swain, wining and dining you, going for romantic walks, discussing how amazing this new relationship is, how different you are from any woman he ever met; he'll insist on elegant dinners and pay for them, and he'll talk about your remarkable beauty and how "alike" you are. He will talk about your "resonance" and describe all the awful women he knew before who didn't want a good man - who wanted someone to abuse them. All of this is meaningless talk. He uses the same lines on every woman.

He becomes clingy and controlling - He will start seeing you nearly every day and each time insist on knowing exactly when the next date will be. It won't matter if you spent 8 hours with him on Sunday, unless you agree to another date Monday or Tuesday it will all be for nothing; he will be unhappy and hound you for a commitment because he is insatiable for attention and security - he needs to know when he will get his next fix.

He will whine and even shed tears - if you say you have other things to do, other people to see, or want to be alone after seeing him 8 days in a row. He enjoys being abused, so if you scream at him it only makes him feel more secure. He got used to fighting all around him as a child and he equates fighting with love.

He'll start demanding that you "prove your love" - In time you will be expected to pay for your own lunch and dinner when you go out, and sometimes for his too. The only way to avoid it is to order nothing and just watch him eat. That is the only way to avoid being asked to "help out" because he is short this week. At this point you will be asking yourself, "What am I doing this for?" You have become nothing but his prop. You will be asked to buy him books, dishes, household goods and help him with his bills to "prove your love" because he's shown how much he loves you; he will expect you to cancel family engagements to spend time with you, see him even if you're ill. He has become your jailer. The key is: he demands CONSTANT proof of your love.

He will "seem" to accept your decision to break up - As the months roll along and you are tired of his constant presence, begging, whining, using up all your spare money and having unreasonable control of your life, you will decide to break up with him. He will then agree to back off, give you some space, and try to do better. These are all lies.

He'll tell you he has "changed" - No matter how many times you break up with him, he will call you to tell you that he needs you, that he has changed, and he will say it all in a calm voice as if he respects your decision to come back or not. His game is to stay away just long enough that you forget his annoying traits and miss the good parts. But if you agree to even one meeting it will be back to daily visits and demands for constant pampering again.

Getting Rid of the Bastard
The only way to get rid of the emotional blackmailer is when he has found another willing victim to be his patsy. He will already be courting her while seeing you and you will know this when he starts being late for every date (he is juggling two or more women per day). Once he has the new person in his thrall and has nothing to lose by losing you, he will drop you like a hot potato - over the phone.

Beware of his "surprise" return - This is not the end of it if the new woman disappoints him in any way - if she has less money than he expected, if she demands good behaviour, if she doesn't give him enough attention. Then he will be at your door again - in a few months or even years later!

He preys on sympathy, and lives to control - He will then say he is leaving her, but his purpose is to have both women in his control - perhaps one for money and one to scream at him, and both for companionship. He gets a high from controlling people, because as a child he had no control over anything and frequently felt abandoned. This is why the more women who feel sorry for him, give him food, listen to him, go out with him, the better he feels and behaves. However, he is telling each of them the same thing: they are the best, the most beautiful, the most like him, he wants to spend the rest of his life with ONLY THEM.

The character of the Emotional Blackmailer
Everything he says or does is for gain. He does nothing for the sheer joy of it, or because he likes people or wants to build a relationship: he is looking ahead to what he can get out of the person: sex, housekeeping, cooking, emotional support, someone pretty to be seen with, money, someone to listen to him spin his tales of woe, what have you. Loyalty or faithfulness are not in his nature.

He will become vicious and even violent if he is crossed, contradicted or denied what he wants. His rage is something to behold. It looks exactly like the tantrum of a five year old. That is still his emotional age, although he has the smooth moves of a Casanova down pat.

How to extricate yourself from the Emotional Blackmailer

Cutting off Contact
One way out is to cut off all contact. Even one phone call or meeting will put you back in his control if you get back into the same pattern of doing what he wants when he wants it. He is a master manipulator who will prey on your sympathy for him as a human being.

Any time spent reasoning with him is wasted - he doesn't hear a word you say. All arguments are circular.

Talking about wanting to see other friends only enrages him; makes him want you more. You should seem to be dateless, uninteresting, and undesired by other men, as well as uninterested in any man, period.

After you have cut off contact, he will stalk you for a while if he doesn't have a replacement lined up yet, but this will cease because it isn't fulfilling enough for him. He NEEDS feedback, anger, someone to scream at him. Any kind of attention pleases him - he is a true masochist who would enjoy being slapped.

You must ignore him completely and utterly.

Turning the Tables
Another way to ditch the Emotional Blackmailer is to turn the tables on him. A man who is so good at manipulating is also easily manipulated to do whatever you want IF you do it the right way. It can be fun to turn the tables on him if you want revenge for all the time he wasted and the misery he gave you. You can be rid of him within a few weeks without avoiding him by doing the following:

Exhibit jealousy and make it clear that you won't share him with anyone else, and you expect to spend the rest of your life with him and have exclusive rights over him. This will make him feel suffocated for a change and he will be eagerly stepping out on you while claiming he wants only you.

Lose interest in doing anything you used to do for him or with him; stop taking him seriously; don't listen to his rants about his job; ridicule his ideas, act bored and make it clear you see him only as a useful decoration. Tell him to grow up, tell him you are well aware of his manipulative games but you like him anyway and demand he be faithful to you. This will scare him and make him step up his efforts with the other women, and he will soon be out of your life. When he comes crawling back, you tell him you require faithfulness and he's ruined it for you: he will have no answer for that and he will have lost.

A Final Note:

Healthy, non-manipulative men:

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Couples' Counseling & Marriage Counseling Does NOT Work in Abusive Relationships!

If you are struggling with a relationship, some people may advise you to get marriage counseling, or couples' counseling. While this can be good advice in some relationships, it is NOT good for couples where there is emotional, verbal, psychological or physical violence.

In fact, in many cases, couples' counseling has increased the violence/abuse in the home.

Couples' counseling does not work because:

Couples' counseling places the responsibility for change on both partners. Domestic violence is the sole responsibility of the abuser.

Couples' counseling works best when both people are truthful. Individuals who are abusive to their partners minimize, deny and blame, and therefore are not truthful in counseling.

Couples resolve problems in counseling by talking about problems. His abuse is not a couple problem, it is his problem. He needs to work on it in a specialized program for abusers.

A victim who is being abused in a relationship is in a dangerous position in couple's counseling. If she tells the counselor about the abuse, she is likely to suffer more abuse when she gets home. If she does not tell, nothing can be accomplished.

If you think you will benefit from joint counseling, go AFTER he successfully completes a batterer's intervention program and is no longer violent for one full year.

Would marriage counseling be better? He won't go for help unless I go with him.

No. Domestic violence advocates strongly advise battered women not to participate in couples counseling, family counseling, and mediation programs. It may not be safe to talk about your feelings in front of someone who could hurt you later and blame his behavior on what you say.

Many battered women say that these kinds of counseling do not stop the violence and often increase their danger. Also, going to counseling together suggests that you share responsibility for his violence.

You are never responsible for his violence. Even if your partner is not willing to change, support and assistance in figuring out what you want to do are available at your local domestic violence program. They can help you plan for your safety.

Couples counseling is NEVER an appropriate way to deal with domestic violence. Therapists who offer couples counseling when domestic violence has occurred or is occurring do not understand the dynamics of domestic violence, and are practicing unethical and unsafe services. Men who abuse need to be in group intervention programs with other abusers.

Be wary of anyone who advises couples or marriage counseling. This isn't appropriate for abusive relationships. Most communities have agencies that provide individual counseling and support groups to women in abusive relationships.

Perpetrator Intervention Programs For Abusers

Abusers can enter voluntarily or be court ordered to Perpetrator Intervention Programs. It is important to note that there are no guarantees that he will change his violent behavior. He is the only one that can make the decision -- and commitment -- to change.

An intervention program should include these factors:

Victim's safety is the priority.
Meets minimum standards for weekly sessions (16 weeks).
Holds him accountable.
Curriculum addresses the root of his problem.
Makes no demand on the victim to participate.
Is open to input from the victim.

What programs teach:

Education about domestic violence.
Changing attitudes and beliefs about using violence in a relationship.
Achieving equality in relationships.
Community participation.

In the program, an abuser should become aware of his pattern of violence and learn techniques for maintaining nonviolent behavior, such as "time outs" "buddy" phone cals, support groups, relaxation techniques, and exercise.

How do you know if he is really changing?

Positive signs include:

He has stopped being violent or threatening to you or others
He acknowledges that his abusive behavior is wrong
He understands that he does not have the right to control and dominate you
You don't feel afraid when you are with him.
He does not coerce or force you to have sex.
You can express anger toward him without feeling intimidated.
He does not make you feel responsible for his anger or frustration.
He respects your opinion even if he doesn't agree with it.
He respects your right to say "no."

Am I safe while he is in the program?

For your own safety and your children's safety, watch for these signs that indicate problems while he is in the program:

Tries to find you if you've left.
Tries to get you to come back to him.
Tries to take away the children.
Stalks you.
If you feel you are in danger, contact the National Domestic Violence crisis line.

Six Big Lies

If you hear your partner making these statements while he is in a treatment program for abusers, you should understand that he is lying to himself, and to you.
"I'm not the only one who needs counseling."
"I'm not as bad as a lot of other guys in there."
"As soon as I'm done with this program, I'll be cured."
"We need to stay together to work this out."
"If I weren't under so much stress, I wouldn't have such a short fuse."
"Now that I'm in this program, you have to be more understanding."

Questions Women Often Have About Batterers and Batterer Programs

He says that I do things to make him angry. Am I to blame for his violence?

No. Abusive men often blame other people or situations for their violence. Many say their partners provoke them. The truth is that no one can cause another person to be violent. His violence is never justified. How he behaves is his choice and his responsibility. In fact, you can probably think of times where other people made him angry and he chose not to respond to them with violence or abuse.

What is a batterer program?

Not all batterer programs are the same, but some of them include education about domestic violence, and what communities are doing to hold abusers accountable. Depending on the program, the education can include informing your partner that he alone is responsible for what he does, that abuse destroys families and that he can change if he chooses to.

How would my partner get into a batterer program?
Most batterers participate because the court ordered them to do so. Many men say that they would not have gone or stayed in the program if they had not been court ordered. Some men attend without a court order, and others go as a way to convince their partners not to leave or to take them back. Unless a batterer is truly committed to being accountable for his behavior and to stop being controlling, he is unlikely to change his behavior, with or without a batterer program.

Will he stop abusing me if he attends a batterer program?

Any man can stop being violent and abusive if he really wants to stop. Some batterer programs provide good information to participants. However, going to a batterers program does not guarantee that he will stop battering and does not guarantee that you will be safe. In fact, many men who are attending or have attended a batterer program continue to be violent and/or controlling.

To best protect yourself and your children, it is recommended that you keep in contact with your local battered women's services/program, especially while he is attending the batterer program. To find out what options and support services are available to you in your community and to learn more about batterer programs, you can contact your local domestic violence program or shelter.

My partner says he'll get help for his drinking. If he stops drinking, will he stop being violent?

Don't count on it. Alcohol and other drug abuse do not cause domestic abuse, even though batterers often use substance abuse as an excuse for their violence.

Batterers who drink or use drugs have two separate problems that need to be handled independently. Even if your partner stops using alcohol or other drugs, he is likely to continue to be abusive.

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Verbal Manipulation

#1 "I'm wondering why you're reading this page."

Are you looking at these words trying to figure out how to respond? If so, you just took the bait. Have a look at the words again "I'm wondering why you're reading this page." Notice anything odd?? -- It's not a question!! It's a statement!! Don't answer statements.

Here's another: Your abuser is in the kitchen and says:"I can't find the sugar." Did you jump up to get it for him? If so, then his manipulative tactic worked. He didn't even have to ask you to get it. He only had to state his dilemma. You are being conditioned to respond. He has you pegged as a 'people pleaser' the perfect target.

Abusers hate asking questions because it means they may loose control. So they use the 'disguised question'. Watch for them. They often have a "rING" to them (I'm wondering, hoping, thinking) or "Perhaps you'd ..." "I wish you'd..." "I suppose you're going to..." "I noticed there wasn't..."

Another trick is 'attributed' statements. "We were wondering" "They said..." "She said...." They "attribute their statements to somebody else or a 'group.' This tactic, of course, places blame elsewhere, and is intimidating as it appears to involve others.

Strategy #1. Answer Questions only, never answer statements -- Train your ears to recognize and distinguish which are comments and which are questions. Learn to ask Yes/No question. Repeat their last 3 or 4 words back to them, in a questioning manner. Be fully aware of any potential for violence, and if so, leave NOW!! Abusive questions like "Are you still beating your wife?" are a common insult. Watch out for these insult and accusation-disguised questions. An abuser's well-worn tactic. It's one of the oldest tricks in the book. Don't dignify it with a response.

#2 "WE were hoping you'd..."
WHOA, HOLD THE PHONE .... "WE" ??? - that's the oldest trick in the book -- that ''WE' they throw out means YOU are being targeted. If all goes well, he takes the credit and, if not you'll be playing receiver in his blame game. Examples "If we could..." "We were hoping..." "We should..."
Strategy #2. Make a fast exit when you hear the 'WE' word.

#3 F O G = Fear, Obligation and Guilt 

Dr. Susan Forward does a fantastic job of describing FOG in her important book Emotional Blackmail. It rolls in slowly and blinds our ordinarily good judgement. Be on the watch for it!!

Examples: "Don't you care if...." "If you loved me..." "Everyone knows that..." "Every decent person..." Don't you think you (we) should..." "Why don't you..." "Wouldn't it be better if..." "Can't you take a joke?" "You could never do..." "I thought that's what you wanted" "Do we all agree..." "It's reasonable to expect..." "We've already...." "I needed to..." "You don't think I you?" "We were counting on you to..." "Aren't you going to..."
Strategy #3. Know your vulnerabilities to 'FOG'. Minimize your exposure to them, and say "No". Ignore their words and be aware of our susceptibility of wanting to reply to their questions/statements. Don't take their bait. Expect them to howl - let them.

#4 Picking a Fight - The Confrontational Choice of Words

"Why do you always..." "Do you expect me to..." "I can't believe you would..." "I thought we were going to..." "Why should I have to..." "I've been told that..." "How could you..." "Why don't you..." "Did you hear me?" "Well, does that mean that I have to...." "I thought you..." "Don't you think you(we) should..." Are you telling me..." "I thought we agreed..." "Only an idiot would..." are examples of verbal attack moves. These are phrases used to put you on the defensive. So, like a good chess player, set up a strategic counter move. Just say "That's my decision", "I know you're unhappy, but that's the way it is" "I'll have to think about that" "You seem upset" "We don't always have to agree." "I prefer it that way" Learn the art and science of not taking the bait. Let some things slide. Don't respond to bad behaviour. It's their confrontational chip-on-the-shoulder that you're seeing now. These confrontational questions are pure bait and he's looking for a fight. Don't take the bait!!

Strategy #4. Be aware of verbal tactics that make you feel you want to defend yourself. Know you do not have to defend yourself. To minimize their ability to 'bait' you it may be best to just agree and say "You're right" and drop the subject. One difficult part of this is to realize it's hard for us to not say "I'm sorry but..." Expect the inevitable hissy-fit rage when they're manipulation is ended, IGNORE THEIR WORDS, simply say something like "We'll talk later when you aren't so upset." Try to avoid saying "I'm sorry but..."

#5 The 'silent treatment' is another form of abuse.

This amounts to a 'Mexican standoff' of whose going to talk first. He wants to find out how long before you'll crack and what issues you'll bring up - That's His Payoff. Simply say "Let me know when you feel like talking". Say nothing else. Act like 'no big deal' and put a smile on your face. If you react now it will become his tactic in future.

Strategy #5. Know this is a control technique. Learn what their 'payoff' is.

#6 PRESUPPOSITIONS - (ASSUMED COMPLIANCE - and other tricks of the conman 'snake-oil' salesman) - "Do you want the red one or the blue one?" "Which do you think...?": (Offer a choice tactic!)

"I was sure you'd want to" "You'll be pleased that ...." "Aren't you happy that...", "What do you think...?" "I know you'll like..." "You'll want to..." "I (we) thought you wanted to..." "I thought you'd like..." "Since I'm the one..." "Perhaps you'd like to..." "You must know that...." "Many people agree that..." "I'm sure it's occurred to you..." "You and I..." "I think you know..." "I've heard that..."

Aren't you just thrilled he's including you? He's controlling you for your own happiness, right? Take a step back Buster!! I'm not falling for that old line. Be prepared with your "I'll let you know", "I'll have to think about that", "No, I don't want to" "I disagree"

Strategy ##6. Watch out for people who make plans for you. It usually benefits them. By appearing to be only a confirmation this amounts to "nothing succeeds like success tactic" and we're expected to be happy to be included!! A common trick of the sleazy salesman.

Pregnant Pause. Abusers are most effective at getting us to help solve their problems. They state their problems (usually very easy to solve) and wait. This waiting is very manipulative. We take up the verbal gap and fill it in with our offer to help.

Strategy: Watch for the pregnant pause in the conversation, it's bait. Watch them use the tempo of conversation. We're programmed to respond at a conversational pause and to offer suggestions or help.

7. The Raging Bull

Now he verbally 'acts out'. Let it die down like a nasty summer storm. Leave the room, or tell him to leave. Don't waste your time getting in this conversation. You may get a chuckle out of their obvious provoking and baiting phrases.
Strategy #7. Ignore his words. We don't have to respond to their comments at all. "I'm sorry you feel that way."often catches them off guard. Raging is part of their disorder. He needs and will work hard to get a reaction from you, so don't take his bait. This is the equivalent of an adult 'tantrum'. Suggested response: "We'll talk about this later when you've calmed down."

8. The 'Sidewinder'

Asking a question of a pathological liar is inviting lies. Fearing loss of control, they'll ricochet around like mad to avoid answering, or asking questions. He'll likely say "Oh well that all depends..."Well, I'm not sure..." or change the subject completely.

Strategy #8. Document and verify any responses. Avoid asking questions and avoid him! Avoid any agreements, including legal ones - even these aren't honoured. Make them be the ones to ask. Don't ask them for anything and don't do anything for them either. Be self-reliant and financially and emotionally free of them. The personality disordered do honour even legal written agreements.

And, the onus of collection and all that goes with that will be your problem.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

9. Manipulation 101

Question = "What are you doing Friday night?" Answer = "Not much, I haven't made any plans yet" (you just got zinged - that's what he was hoping you'd say)

Now try...
Question = "What are you doing Friday night?" Answer = "What did you have in mind?"
(you successfully blocked by questioning the question and punted the ball right back in his court). We learn these tactics after we've taken the bait a few times.

Strategy #9. The manipulator is wanting something here so don't hesitate to just say "No" -- with absolutely no explanations. If pressed for an explanation, simply say: "That's my decision." or, "I'll have to think about that." or, "If you're not happy with my decision you know where the door is." Remember, you have the right to change your mind and say No, even if you've already taken the bait and said yes -- we may not see some manipulative until we've been trapped. Change your mind -- they'll be less likely to target you in future.

10. The Conman's High-Pressure

Tactic deliberately creates a 'right now' "We need to.." "If we don't act now we'll lose out" "I know a guy..." urgency, immediate gratification, last-minute panic they need us for. Fast talking, gesticulating, panicky masters of presuppositions.

Using "we" and stating some 'snooze you lose' is their game. One of the oldest tricks in the book. The masters of "I smell gas and I can take care of this for us, but I'll need you need to give me $$$ so I can get this fixed for you."

Strategy #10 Run a self diagnostic on your naive meter. Giving money to these guys is like asking a dog to guard your dinner. Say "No", call their bluff and let them fix their own problems. Simply say: "My money is tied up so I'm giving this a miss." We need to be aware of their tactic of getting us to say yes and agree to 3 or 4 things, preconditioning us, all the while circling towards their hidden-agenda objective.

11. The Freudian "Schlep"
The personality-disordered abuser is incredibly gifted at psychologically knowing his target. He will assess your most basic personality - often this is not even known to us and he will know you better than you know yourself, and use it to his advantage.

For example, if the abuser asks you "How's the weather today," you will answer in one of three ways. If you're a visual person, you will probably say "Looks like it's going to rain." If you're an aural person, you might say "I heard that's it going to be a scorcher." But if you're a kinesthetic person, then "It feels pretty cold" will probably be your answer. Now, the verbal abuser will assess your personality. Such as for the visual target "I see," "I get the picture," "show me," "focus on," "beautiful," "brilliant," "seeing is believing," or "keep your eyes peeled." With aurals, words include "I hear you," "fine tune," "sounds good," "tell me," "listen," "hear me out," or "keep your ears open." With kinesthetic individuals, use "I feel," "I sense that," "grasp," "vibrant," "my point is," "makes sense," "out of touch," "hold on," or "get a handle." His uncanny ability to do this creates the 'our soulmate' aspect to hook and manipulate their target.
Strategy #11: Learn the nature of these predators. This technique works equally well on them - know your abuser!! Ask him "How's the weather today?" Be fully aware of your vulnerabilities and how they are being targeted.

12. Lights, Camera, ACTION
Systematically your abuser has conditioned you to accepting his 'action' commands. He hammers you with rapidfire questions, options, statements, observations. They fly like bullets and you're in the trenches. He wants a response and your compliance and he wants it NOW. To confuse you is his objective. He wants you to agree with him, provide his wants, appease him, become his ally, take up his cause. It begins with small easy normal requests and we develop a conditioned acceptance reflex. Soon you're in the middle of Conversational Chaos. Example: "Hey Babe! Is the coffee ready? Can you gimme $20 I didn't get to the bank, and by the way sugarlips, I'll need the oil changed in the car while you're getting my shirts drycleaned. mmmm you look sexy, did you get my pants pressed? By the way, your dog just messed on the floor, you'll need to clean that up, I don't want you to slip in that ha ha ha!!" Your head's spinning with trying to respond and we end up agreeing to it all. Attempts to disagree or challenge bring out the anger, so things get done at his command. This not-so-subtle insidious manipulation is meant to confuse, obscure, gain control and compliance. Failure to comply and his wrath is imminent. When we do notice and recognized this abusive manipulation and 'start to stop it', you can expect some retaliation. This tactic is a favourite technique with abusers.
Strategy #12 Say "No", "No, It's your turn" "You can do that yourself" or, exchange a favour and get something you want. "If you do.... then I'll...." Make sure his part is to be done first. Have your wish-list up to date. Don't get trapped by the multiple command/confusion he's created. Say: "Sorry precious, I didn't hear you. What did you say sweetie?" The verbal finger-poking tactic of repeatedly using our name is often used by these abusers.

Workplace Bully These bullies make a beeline for the vulnerable or the strong. You could be next on his 'hit' list!! The majority of bullies will retract when a group of people blow the whistle on them.

Stage Setting With an audience, the abuser is always in top form. They love to trap us in a social setting where questioning them is inappropriate, or alone in a car and use the 'captive audience'. Abusers are notorious for involving others in their schemes. These 'others' don't know they're being used in the manipulation. It gives the perfect appearance of support they need. Tip:It works for us too!

Gaslighting: "You're just imagining things.", "I/you didn't say that." "You're confused." Strategy: Trust your own perceptions and gut instinct. He's hiding something and deliberately misleading you.

13. The Backpeddler

When challenged, the verbal abuser will "advance to the rear" and try another approach. You may hear..."That's not what I meant" or "You misunderstood" or "I thought that's what you wanted". This will be followed by their endless excuses, blaming, rage or manipulating. Any apology will have you rolling your eyes.
Strategy #13. Say "No". Trying to have a conversation with these jerks is like trying to herd cats and a total waste of our time. This is a good opportunity to keep our mouths shut and watch them try to verbally dig their way out of the hole. Listen carefully - they may tip their hand about their real intentions.

14. Wearing Us Down.
Hooray! You said No. But does it stop? Manipulators are very good at finding new ways to skin a cat. He has anticipated your answer and is ready with more tactics.
Strategy #14. Be prepared for them to come at you with a different angle, a lesser request, altered circumstances, a sad or pitiful situation they tell you they are in. Watch as he takes careful note of what things you react to.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

15. "Here's what I'm gonna do for you." The hook.
They appear to be a 'good 'ol boy." Freely dispensing their assistance, talents and labour, money, gifts, souvenirs, samples, freebies, edible treats, free tickets or other miscellaneous offerings. Beware!! One of the oldest tricks of the wolf in sheep's clothing. By appearing to be helpful and kind, generous and considerate, the way you accept their offerings is how they sniff around to detect your resistance, your likes and dislikes. It's how they detect your attraction to forbidden fruit, gather data on your needs and wants, judge your finances, your morals and where you relax those morals and involve you in their misdeeds.

Strategy #15 - "Thanks, but no thanks." Just knowing this tactic you can smell out an abuser in the early stages when they are on the hunt.

16. The Opening Pitch - Their Secret Weapon

"What do you think of..." "I'm wondering if you know..." "Maybe you could tell me..." "I wanted to ask you..." "You might know..." "Would you like..." "I'd like your opinion..." Be watchful for this type of verbal baiting used by the prowling predator. They appear friendly, deferential, non-threatening. They seem to appreciate our willingly-offered help, and we are drawn in by them. He has planned this all along. An abuser will assess and grade any responses. If he finds you targetable, expect to be idealized and cultivated like never before.

Strategy #16. Let others find their own answers and solve their own problems. Be self protective, cautious and suspicious of people's motives. Dire consequences await the naive and trusting who help and please too readily. Watch for someone who matches your voice candence, pitch, elocution and diction styles, your interests, philosophies, goals, or is angered by the same things you are. These are tactics/strategies used by predators. Never offer money. Develop a healthy suspicion of people's motives.

17. Break out the Violins..

Isn't it amazing how abusers are able to con and hoodwink? They can pour out the tales of woe, claim to be the victim, and others rush in offering our money, labour, talents, to help without even being asked! Or, the NP will paint vague pictures of vast booty of future wealth and flocks of people can't wait to dish out their hard-earned money throwing all normal investing caution and common sense to the wind.

Strategy #17: Don't offer to do things when you haven't been asked and make sure saying 'No' is easy for you to do. Protect yourself financially. Seek credible professional financial advice.

18. Planting the Seeds of Failure and Blame.
If I were to tell you that we need a plant and, if you plant a seed for us and water it we will have that plant. So, you select a seed. You plant and water it, but still the plant doesn't grow. What is the logical conclusion?

1. You didn't select/water/plant it correctly.
2. You failed to follow instructions. You didn't meet our needs.
3. The failure is yours. The blame is placed on you.

The truth, however is that your abuser has done nothing but prepare a scenario for him to get the praise of success. He has heard you talk about how you love to garden. You're good at it. All blame, cost, work and responsibility is yours. Look at the bolded words above. This is how the NP places the initial request (need), responsibility and blame for events that happen. Things like "we will never be able to/ should never be together" or "this relationship was doomed from the start" are common phrases. He has programmed you to take the responsibility for success or failure. The success praise all go to him. The responsibility for success was put solely on you. The probability of success was 50/50 but the blame 100% yours.
Strategy #18: Pay close attention to the words of the manipulator. If he feels he 'needs' a plant - let him get it himself. Take note of 'us, I, you, they, we" word choice. Take note of innuendo like - if perhaps, should, might, likely, probably, could, may. Give yourself a chance to think about them. Record them, analyze them from different aspects. And, pay close attention to how you react to those words.

19. "Fetch me the Ruby Slippers"

"I wish I knew how to..." "If only..." "I want..." We feel sorry for him as he shows his inept manner and puzzled words. So we offer our help willingly. But, he's been setting this up deliberately.
You're the one who can fix his problem. He sits back, enjoys his lies and protect himself. He has cultivated you to provide what he will not or cannot do himself. We pity him and willingly offer our talents to help.
Strategy #19. Be alert to feeling sorry for manipulators. Let him fulfill his own needs and solve his own problems. Like the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz who orders her winged monkeys to 'fetch me the Ruby Slippers', this manipulator protects himself while letting others do what he cannot or will not do himself.

The power of your Narcissist/Psychopath is little more than the skilful use of cheap word tricks of con artists. How many of these 19 manipulation tactics does your manipulator use? (The male gender was used. Your abuser could be female)

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shared by Barbara at 12:22 AM 8 comments


Saturday, August 27, 2016

How Abusers Stage Their Returns

How Abusers Stage Their Returns
While the smooth talk that it takes to get an abused spouse to take them back varies from person to person, there are five major "strategies" that seem to cover most of the wide range of tactics used by abusive partners:

The Honeymoon Syndrome
Also known as "Hearts and Flowers", this can include any bribe that will get you to return - and the sooner the better. Common bribes include promises to get therapy, promises not to be violent again (even after a long history), and even calculated doses of praise for you; saying things like "I know I don't deserve you, but if you'll take me back..."

Super Parent Syndrome
This is a very common ploy, especially if your partner has neglected the children in the past. An abuser might promise to start being a good parent, or might remind you how good they already are with the children. Many victims stay in abusive relationships because they believe that it's better for the children, but children are more aware than we give them credit for - and they know that abuse is occurring. In healthy parenting, children get to see both parents working together toward positive interactions for the whole family. When you stay with an abuser for the sake of the children, you are really slowly destroying one half of their parenting system - yourself - thus robbing your children of the true and healthy "you" that SHOULD be in their futures and replacing it with the you that continues to be abused over time.

Additionally, children depend on you to be able to do your job where they are concerned. This means they expect you to nourish them, protect them, and properly socialize them. Part of protecting them not only means DIRECTLY protecting them, but also protecting their protector - YOU. Finally, a parent will always be a parent - even in the event of seperation or divorce. A truely loving parent will continue to be a truely loving parent regardless of the shape and structure of the family. So before you cling to the promises of super parent abusers, consider carefully what is really in the long term best interests of your children.

Revival Syndrome
"I have been going to church every Sunday since you left. I have accepted religion into my life." That's great, but so what? The real question is: has the violence stopped? Don't believe that just because someone spent an hour with their butt in a pew on a Sunday morning that violence and other abuse can't still be right around the corner. If you look at the massive amounts of literature directed at faith groups teaching them how to identify and respond to abusive relationships in their congregations, you'd quickly realize exactly how many "god-fearing" persons abuse, rape, beat and murder their partners. Even pastors! (Oprah recently did a great show on domestic violence featuring a pastor who murdered his wife of 22 years because they argued over money and his unwillingness to get treatment for depression.)

Sobriety Syndrome
Whether it's drugs, sex or alcohol, abusers have a higher incidence of substance use than the general population. Most substance-using abusers know that they have a substance abuse problem, or, they are aware that YOU believe they have a problem, even if they are in denial themselves. In the panic of facing losing their relationships, many will suddenly "see the light" and swear to you that they'll never touch it again. You'll want to hear it. You'll want to believe it. You'll want to support this effort. And you should! BUT...don't just hear the words and breathe a sigh of relief. Actions speak louder than words and substance abuse and addiction is one of the hardest things to overcome by oneself. Withdraw from chronic alcohol use, heroin, cigarettes, and even caffiene can cause vomiting, nausia, paranoia and other unpleasant symptoms. Porn or sex withdrawal can cause depression and angry outbursts.

When an abusive partner opens the door to getting sober, stick your foot in that door and help them to get MORE help - encourage them to talk to their doctor, to join a support group, to get substance abuse therapy, etc. Counseling, support and therapy for substance abuse problems will address underlying problems and issues and help abusers to substitute healthier behaviors for their destructive coping mechanisms. Unless and until you see a substance using abuser actively participating in sobriety with OUTSIDE HELP, don't fall for just the promise!

Counseling Syndrome
This is both a tactic to get you to stay and a tactic to maintain control and intimidation. On this web site and others, you'll hear over and over again that abusers don't just stop their behavior without assistance to overcome issues and replace destructive behavior with healthy ones. Therapy is no exception. Friends, family, pastors and even abusers might suggest couples counseling to you.

Although they may have the best of intentions, couples counseling is NOT the solution to combat the behaviors of an abuser! Many abusers actually like the idea of couples counseling because it means that THEY don't have to take responsibility for their actions- instead, they get to drag you in as part of the problem. With your abuser sitting next to you in a counseling session, you are not emotionally free to say what you think without fear of repercussion, without the abuser twisting your words, and without them trying to coach you along as what to say or not to say. Safe, effective and appropriate counseling for batterers and abusers must be done WITHOUT the victim present. Batterers must take responsibility for their actions, must understand and admit that THEY have a problem and be dedicated to the self-examination process to make positive long term changes possible. Couples counseling to combat domestic violence SOUNDS like a great idea, but it's false advertising and can prolong and expand the emotional abuses that already exist.

Buy Outs
The problem with all of these things is that in no case, no way, no how, does ANYTHING excuse or "make up" for the fact that a partner batters you! If you donate a million dollars to charity, it doesn't give you the right to go out and shoot someone. Similarly, don't fall into the trap of letting a partner BUY their way out of violence in the relationship. Unless and until a battering partner owns up to their responsibility and gets some outside help to change their behavior, your relationship, your children, and your family are neither healthy nor SAFE.

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shared by Barbara at 12:03 AM 3 comments


Friday, August 26, 2016

Inside the Mind of an Abuser

What you Need to Know
by Mary M. Alward

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. 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:

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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 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.

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 (narcissistic) 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.

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.

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.

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.

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?”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.


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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