The controlling person gets to know the mind of the intended victim.

Some of the behaviours mentioned in the last blog entry are, on their own, strong signals of an abusive mentality, and if a pattern emerges, you are certainly entering the danger zone of misery, humiliation and control, and possibly of violence. The fact that abuse in longstanding relationships is one of the most prevalent issues that arise in counselling is proof that many people are not aware of these early warning signs, or chose to ignore them because they love the charmer. There are some clear signs attached to a longstanding abusive relationship. The most basic sign is feeling uncomfortable and frustrated, and wondering why you feel this way. You may wonder what is wrong with you. There is always an atmosphere of disgruntlement and anger, and you can never discover why. The abuser denies being angry or else blames you. You often feel upset, frustrated in trying to communicate, and feel misunderstood. You do not feel listened to and find yourself accused of trying to start arguments. The abuser always portrays himself as a victim and you feel guilty, and you are not sure why. Everything you say seems to be wrong, and you may feel unwilling to articulate how you feel, or to challenge the abuse. Lack of healthy boundaries can prevent a person from seeing the true picture. Of course, the type of abuse is also a factor. Emotional abuse is subtle, but domestic violence is evident. Nevertheless, some people in violent relationships do not necessarily see it as abuse. That begs the question if there are people who are easy targets for abusers.
people often ask if they are instinctively attracted to those with abusive tendencies, and tend to blame themselves for not seeing abusive behaviours. Repeatedly, they seem to pick the wrong partners. Do abusers, like bullies, see weaknesses that they can exploit in their desire to control? We will later see that women with abusive personality types are sometimes attracted to male abusers, and these form a bilateral (mutual) abusive relationship. But, what about those with non-abusive tendencies? Elaine Weiss claims that there is no typical battered woman. How uncomfortable it is to think that we are subject to chance in having a violent or a happy relationship. The abuser may sense exploitable weaknesses in another. He may sense low self-esteem, guilt, or gullibility – an easy person to manipulate and control. The controlling person gets to know the mind of the target, and the true answer is that controllers subconsciously see the target as prey. They know how to fool their intended victim. Therefore, it is essential to recognise what abusive behaviours and attitudes are, so that they can be challenged, and an appropriate decision made about the relationship.
Adapted from Jim O’Shea’s book Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying published by Cork University Press

Posted in abuse, abusive personality, controlling personality, domestic violence, narcissistic personality
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