Sanctuary for the Abused

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Abusers Deny or Minimize the Abuse

Not all abusers are dysfunctional. Many of them are pillars of society. Abusers come in all shapes and sizes: successful professionals, or peripatetic con-artists, affluent or poor, young or old, well-educated or dropouts. There is no profile of the "typical abuser".

Yet, abusive behavior often indicates serious underlying psychopathologies, such as personality disorders (Narcissistic, Borderline, Paranoid, or Antisocial are the most common among abusers). Abuse is often associated with alcoholism, drug-use, and other reckless, addictive, or compulsive behaviors.

Denying the Abuse
Abusers deny the abuse or rationalize it. They tend to shift blame or avoid the topic altogether.

Types of Denial

1.Total outright denial

"It never happened, or it was not abuse, you are just imagining it, or you want to hurt my (the abuser's) feelings"

2. Alloplastic defense

"It was your fault, you, or your behavior, or the circumstances, provoked me into such behavior"

3. Altruistic defense

"I did it for you, in your best interests"

4. Transformative defense

"What I did to you was not abuse - it was common and accepted behavior (at the time, or in the context of the prevailing culture or in accordance with social norms), it was not meant as abuse"

Abusers are concerned with their reputation and image in the community - neighbors, colleagues, co-workers, bosses, friends, extended family.

Forms of denial in public

5. Family honor stricture

"We don't do dirty laundry publicly, the family's honor and repute must be preserved, what will the neighbors say?"

"My spouse/ partner is a wonderful person."
(supposedly the victimized person who exposes them should be an AWFUL person in comparison. NOTE: Usually this is after the abuser has told the victim for MONTHS how horrible, cold, nasty, etc. their spouse/ partner is!)

6. Family functioning stricture

"If you snitch and inform the authorities, they will take me (the abusive parent) away and the whole family will disintegrate"

"You are hurting my/ our -- family/ spouse/ friends by telling"

How to Identify an Abuser
Abusers have alloplastic defenses. They tend to blame every mistake, failure, or mishap on others, or on the world at large. They do not assume personal responsibility, do not admit to having faults and miscalculations, keep blaming others for their predicament. "Look what you made me do!" is an abuser's ubiquitous catchphrase.

The abuser is hypersensitive, picks up fights, feels constantly slighted, injured, and insulted. He rants incessantly, treat animals and children impatiently or cruelly and expresses negative and aggressive emotions towards the weak, the poor, the needy, the sentimental, and the disabled.

Abusers often have a history of battering or violent offenses. They use vile language and infused with expletives, threats, and hostility.

Abusers appear at first to be too eager. They push others to marry him, to conclude a partnership with him having dated or met only once or twice. They immediately embark on detailed and grandiose plans of having children, or making millions, or becoming famous. In a romantic encounter, the abuser casts his date in the role of the love of his life and presses her for exclusivity, instant intimacy, and sex. He acts jealous when she as much as casts a glance at another male and informs her that she should abandon her studies or resign her job and, thus, forgo her autonomy.

Abusers do not respect boundaries and privacy. They ignore other people's wishes, choices, and preferences and are the sole decision makers, not bothering to consult anyone beforehand. They treat their nearest and dearest as objects or instruments of gratification.

Many abusers are compulsive control freaks.

Abusers are patronizing and condescending, overly critical and devaluing. But this behavior alternates with idealization - exaggerating others' talents, traits, power, intellect, wealth, and skills. Abusers, in other words, are unrealistic in their expectations and emotionally labile.

Some abusers are sadists-masochists. They find sadistic sex exciting and have fantasies of rape or pedophilia. They forceful during the sexual act and like inflicting pain or find it amusing. Others "merely" abuse (usually their closest) verbally - curse, demean, call ugly or inappropriately diminutive names, or persistently criticize. Typically, they then switch to being saccharine and "loving", apologizing profusely and trying to appease their victims by buying them gifts.

Many abusers have a specific body language.

"Haughtiness – Physical posture which implies and exudes an air of superiority, seniority, hidden powers, mysteriousness, amused indifference, etc. Some abusers maintain sustained and piercing eye contact but refrain from physical proximity (observe personal territory). The abuser takes part in social interactions – even mere banter – condescendingly, from a position of supremacy and faux "magnanimity and largesse". But even when he feigns gregariousness, he rarely mingles socially and prefers to remain the "observer", or the "lone wolf".

Entitlement markers
– The abuser immediately asks for "special treatment". This way, he shifts responsibility to others, or to the world at large, for his needs, failures, behavior, choices, and mishaps ("look what you made me do!"). The abuser reacts with rage and indignantly when denied his wishes and if treated the same as others whom he deems inferior. Abusers frequently and embarrassingly "dress down" service providers such as waiters or cab drivers.

Idealization or devaluation – The abuser instantly idealizes or devalues his interlocutor. He flatters, adores, admires and applauds the "target" in an embarrassingly exaggerated and profuse manner – or sulks, abuses, and humiliates her.

Abusers are polite only in the presence of a potential would-be victim - a "mate", or a "collaborator". But they are unable to sustain even perfunctory civility and fast deteriorate to barbs and thinly-veiled hostility, to verbal or other violent displays of abuse, rage attacks, or cold detachment.

The "membership" posture – The abuser always tries to "belong" while also maintaining his stance as an outsider.

Most abusers always prefers show-off to substance. They are shallow, though claim to have talents and skills bordering on genius. They never admit to ignorance or to failure in any field – yet, typically, they are ignorant and losers. The abuser's self-proclaimed omniscience, success, wealth, and omnipotence as well as his name dropping and false autobiography are easily debunked. His actual condition is evidently and demonstrably incompatible with his claims.

Emotion-free language – The abuser likes to talk about himself and only about himself. He is very impatient, easily bored, with strong attention deficits – unless and until he is the topic of discussion. He is not interested in others or what they have to say. He is never reciprocal. He acts disdainful, even angry, if he feels an intrusion on his precious time.

Abusers are divorced from their emotions. The abuser intellectualizes, rationalizes, or speaks about himself in the third person. Most abusers get enraged when required to delve deeper into their motives, fears, hopes, wishes, and needs. They use violence to cover up their perceived "weakness" and "sentimentality". They distance themselves from their own emotions and from their loved ones by alienating and hurting them.

Seriousness and sense of intrusion and coercion – No matter how good his sense of humor, the abuser is never self-deprecating. This is the outcome of the abuser's sense of grandiosity, his fantasies and delusions, and his confabulation.

The abuser is easily hurt and insulted (narcissistic injury). Even the most innocuous remarks or acts are interpreted by him as belittling, intruding, or coercive slights and demands. His time is more valuable than others' – therefore, it cannot be wasted on unimportant matters such as social intercourse, family obligations, or household chores. Inevitably, he feels constantly misunderstood.

Any suggested help, advice, or concerned inquiry are immediately perceived by the abuser as intentional humiliation, implying that the abuser is in need of help and counsel and, thus, imperfect. The abuser is both schizoid and paranoid and often entertains ideas of reference.

Finally, abusers are sometimes sadistic and have inappropriate affect. In other words, they find the obnoxious, the heinous, and the shocking - funny or even gratifying. They are sexually sado-masochistic or deviant. They like to taunt, to torment, and to hurt people's feelings ("humorously" or with bruising "honesty").

While some abusers are "stable" and "conventional" - others are antisocial and their impulse control is flawed. These are very reckless (self-destructive and self-defeating) and just plain destructive: workaholism, alcoholism, drug abuse, pathological gambling, compulsory shopping, or reckless driving.

Yet, these – the lack of empathy, the aloofness, the disdain, the sense of entitlement, the restricted application of humor, the unequal treatment, the sadism, and the paranoia – do not render the abuser a social misfit. This is because the abuser mistreats only his closest - spouse, children, or (much more rarely) colleagues, friends, neighbours. To the rest of the world, he appears to be a composed, rational, and functioning person. Abusers are very adept at casting a veil of secrecy - often with the active aid of their victims - over their dysfunction and misbehavior.

Psychological Testing of Offenders
In the court-mandated evaluation phase, first it is established whether the offender suffers from mental health disorders at the root of the abusive conduct. A qualified mental health diagnostician administers lengthy tests and personal interviews.

The predictive power of these tests - often based on literature and scales of traits constructed by scholars - is hotly disputed. Still, they are far preferable to subjective impressions of the diagnostician which are often amenable to manipulation.

The Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III (MCMI-III) tests for personality disorders and attendant anxiety and depression. The third edition was formulated in 1996 by Theodore Millon and Roger Davis and includes 175 items. The Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) is used to spot narcissistic traits in abusers.

The Borderline Personality Organization Scale (BPO) was designed in 1985. It sorts the responses of respondents into 30 relevant scales. It indicates the existence of identity diffusion, primitive defenses, and deficient reality testing.

To these one may add the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-IV, the Coolidge Axis II Inventory, the Personality Assessment Inventory (1992), the excellent, literature-based, Dimensional assessment of Personality Pathology, and the comprehensive Schedule of Nonadaptive and Adaptive Personality and Wisconsin Personality Disorders Inventory.

The next diagnostic aim is to understand the way the abuser functions in relationships, copes with intimacy, and responds with abuse to triggers.

The Relationship Styles Questionnaire (RSQ) (1994) contains 30 self-reported items and identifies distinct attachment styles (secure, fearful, preoccupied, and dismissing). The Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS) (1979) is a standardized scale of the frequency and intensity of conflict resolution tactics - especially abusive stratagems - used by members of a dyad (couple).

The Multidimensional Anger Inventory (MAI) (1986) assesses the frequency of angry responses, their duration, magnitude, mode of expression, hostile outlook, and anger-provoking triggers.

Yet, even a complete battery of tests, administered by experienced professionals sometimes fails to identify abusers and their personality disorders. Offenders are uncanny in their ability to deceive their evaluators.

The Open Site

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shared by Barbara at 12:43 AM



Hi, I love your post on perpetrators. So many people don't know about the tactics and strategies that are part of what survivors have to deal with. I am going to submit your post to the blog carnival for sexual abuse recovery. I hope that's ok with you. Cheers

9:28 AM  

For years people can deny, minimize, call the victim "crazy" and totally deny their actions.

These are the ones that run and are the most frightened and insecure. To control others makes them feel powerful. They put on a mask of Godliness, when deep down the truth shows AND will sometimes use God as a reason to verbally abuse.
Victims, after awhile, pick up the same traits and their self worth plummets. This can be passed onto others, including the family and children. It has a beginning and hopefully with more awareness, the cycle ends. Until that happens, healing does not take place.

God bless you for what you do!

12:21 AM  

hello, lovely webpage
so how to make blog posts which smash in your visitors:

4:30 AM  

I am married to an abuser. Well I've always thought the title for my H was abuser but the older he has gotten, I see now that he is Narcissistic. We have been together 18 years and married for 13. We have separated a few years ago and I trusted him and came back. My husband is physically, mentally and verbally abusive. Anytime he threatens abuse towards me he will later say things like "you bring out the worst in me." He will also give me the silent treatment if I do something he thinks is wrong. It can be something trivial but he will not speak to me for days. He will only start to talk to me again if I apologies and beg for forgiveness. I have no control over the money. I don't work and care for our three children. Our oldest son has severe Autism and he refuses to help me do things like change his diaper (he is 11 and not potty trained due to the disability). He will not help dress him, go to doctor appointments and acts put out if I ask him to come to meetings regarding his school. It's a huge roller coaster ride.
It's hard talking to my friends because I'm so embarrassed by the way he acts and because I know I look stupid for staying with someone who behaves this way.
So glad for this site. Thank you to everyone who shares.

10:53 PM  

I am martied to an abusive husband also although I have been equally verbally abusive back to him in retaliation.

If your child is Autistic you shouldn't stay in the household with your husband. It could harm our even worsen his condition. There is therapies that really help autistic children; I know because my friend had ann autistic son. Call a women's abuse hotline and take your kids to a shelter. Good luck to you and stay safe.

1:00 AM  

Thank you for the many unspoken truths included in your website...sad thing is that only the abused, and not abusers, will actually seek this site out; abusers would not even recognize their own guilt, or if they did, would drown it with the most immediate substance available.

I was adopted into an abusive family, openly allowing abuse and many abusers into my life, my whole life, never being allowed to stand up for myself through the learned helpessness that was perpetuated for control...control of my trusts and accounts, control of my social life, my reputation, anything they could control, they did, including the corrupt District Attorney who hid corporate felonies under the table, and used me as a scapegoat after the corporate jet pilot was TOTALLY PROTECTED after attacking me at my own ranch, and continued stalking me, as a MARRIED MAN! Restraining orders were NEVER UPHELD by local sheriffs, also complicit in criminal actvities, because they KNEW THEY COULD GET AWAY WITH IT and be protected from the family millions and their convenient kickbacks!

I now live in Hawaii as the "other 1%" that doesn't matter in this world, just another victim to ride the criminal tide of the vulnerable; the irony of being just as vulnerable in both places for different reasons is sometimes unbearable, and if it weren't for humor, I would probably have already layed down to die...the converse situation of being "no one" over here with absolutely no legal protections is just as devastating as familial corruption...another kind of social abuse...

I am tired of the cruelty of humanity; the lack of insight, preferring instead, the illusion of "wealth" and "popularity" that gave me a "social standing" that is absolutely surreal...

Until people start looking BEYONG THE ILLUSION of either what they WANT to see, or want to make out of what they see, then the world will continue to live its own perpetual demise.

Until people STOP BREEDING UNWANTED CHILDREN that they CANNOT nor NEVER WANTED TO CARE FOR, or solely to perpetuate their OWN GREEDY AGENDA, the human race will continue to lose, all on its own.

Only those CERTAIN FEW in life who are truly good people have made this life bearable and worth living...the rest just become faint images of indifference and cruelty.

The one thing I KNOW for sure, is that I have CHOSEN to REFUSE to live with an abuser, even if it means spending the rest of my life, and dying, alone.

3:43 PM  

The above comment from the person who'd been adopted and then abused and goes on to describe a life of abuse by others. Sadly, I don't think this is rare. And how they'd decided to be alone rather than play the games or be abused, is really a sad but understandable thing to do.

While reading yet another fantastic article on this website I just keep thinking wow, yet ANOTHER term to describe one who has the brain functioning of a psychopath.

"Yet, even a complete battery of tests, administered by experienced professionals sometimes fails to identify abusers and their personality disorders. Offenders are uncanny in their ability to deceive their evaluators."

This is the last paragraph in the article. Over and over I say if we just give MRI's checking for psychopathy to all these people, and then HELP those who we know WERE abused by them (which would be ANY person in the vicinity of a psychopath who is a non-psychopath) AND THEN started educating EVERYONE. OR we can continue on the way we are, pretending that it is only a few who are this way and that it must somehow be the victims fault and that if they hadn't done something to encourage this, they wouldn't be in this position. COME ON PEOPLE! Article after article on this website shows over and over that the innocent are not only completely naive and innocent, but that once they are brave enough and come forward to ask for help or try to get out of the situation, they are thrown back in to be emotionally re-raped and then counseled to "try and work things out."

JUST MAKE MRI TESTING FOR PSYCHOPATHY MANDATORY FOR PRE-MARRIAGE EDUCATION, JOB INTERVIEWS, APPYING FOR COLLEGE on and on. If we had checkpoints along the way and education about psychopathy for the masses, we MAY give the next generation of humans a chance!

Christie Brinkley and Peter Cook battleing. What if they both had MRI's checking for psychopathy, and made the results public? Peter Cook ADMITS to being a narcissist. It's been proven that narcissists are psychopaths (I, Psychopath). Who cares what I think, I am nothing, just start doing MRI'S checking for psychopathy. Dude, I want to be first in line!

11:21 AM  

"Not all abusers are dysfunctional. Many of them are pillars of society. Abusers come in all shapes and sizes: successful professionals, or peripatetic con-artists, affluent or poor, young or old, well-educated or dropouts. There is no profile of the "typical abuser"."

This is the first paragraph from this article. Now read the following quote from an interview done by an FBI profiler named John Douglas, with serial killer Dennis Rader: "Our landmark ten-year study on serial killers revealed as much. We learned that if these guys could choose a profession, it would be MINISTER, POLICE OFFICER or COUNSELOR." (From "Conversation With a Serial Killer by John Douglas")

There's also a video series on Youtube titled "The Iceman - Richard Kuklinski" and the interviewer in this one too plainly states that psychopaths often choose professions such as police officer. They are STILL psychopaths but just choose to work on the right side of the law.

Our entire society "frames" things up. The truth is that pretending psychopaths, even though they may have a good job or "look" normal, are anything but evil, is only taking away hope for future generations. Psychopaths don't care about anything, not in the real sense where they can plan and care and sacrifice for future generations. So those fewer and fewer of us that are not psychopaths and DO care about the future of society, we really need to start HELPING each other. And one more thing; if there IS any hope to help psychopaths, TRULY help them, it will only come from us. Psychopaths do not really care about anything except themselves.

Mri's checking for psychopathy before hiring police officers, teachers, ministers, counselors and politians. This is a great place to start.

7:42 PM  

Question. If I were going to a sperm bank to see about having a baby, would one of the questions be whether I wanted a child with a conscience? Or am I simply looking for brains, looks, ethnicity etc? AND, are they screening me, the potenial parent, for my genetics?

I am absolutely curious about this. I have no idea how it works but I am just thinking that these past few decades and all these sperm donations, if we are only screening for aesthetics or brains etc, how likely is it that we've been giving birth to millions of children who are genetic psychopaths?

And adoption agencies also need to screen for this too. I realize that they do the best that they can and the screening process is intense but if we STARTED with mri's checking for psychopathy, we'd have a clearer picture if one is capable of loving a child.

But this is just a glimpse of things that have contributed to how we get to 2 Timothy 3:1-5 "1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them."

When we only desire worldly displays of success, we end up with people who only need to act right in certain situations, and we throw away real value. If we are only valued for our intelligence, looks, etc., then what hope is there for the masses?

9:58 PM  

Wonderful article and website. I realized after reading your article how much affect this game that abusers play has on their victims.

I, myself have been abused psychologically, emotionally and verbally. I realized this after distancing myself from certain members of the family and then once I tried to reintegrate the patterns reemerged.

As I was away from such a toxic environment, having faced the same drama again, i realized how I was abused. The memories, the intimidation, the low self esteem etc.

The unfortunate part of all this is that the yelling, screaming, demeaning is done infront or was done infront of a 2 year old. I have since decided complete distance as now I have children of my own and dont want them to experience such behavior. Healthy boundaries=healthy relationships.

Now I have not let this family member near my children, luckily this family member lives in a different city but what should I do if they want to see my children, knowing well they havent nor they will take accountability for their own behavior?

Thank you.

4:01 PM  

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