you must understand the controlling mind to counteract abuse

As well as being aware of the signs of an abusive relationship, it is helpful to understand the abusive personality and mindset. There are many theories about this, and much controversy about these theories, but those that I find convincing are brain formation and thinking patterns of abusive people. Over the past decade, a large body of research shows that the attachment style of the infant to its mother or primary caregiver wires or programmes the brain. An insecure (fearful or dismissive) attachment, as already discussed in the last chapter, inflicts a neural wound, and is imprinted on the brain, laying the pathways for the abusive tendencies in some people. Thankfully, it seems that only a small minority of people who experienced childhood insecure attachment, which is a trauma, become abusers. This tendency can be alleviated if there is someone in the infant’s life who meets his emotional needs. Allan Schore, who works in the centre for Culture, Brain and Development at the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioural Sciences UCLA, explains very well the connection between the biological and psychological interaction in the brain that creates the abusive person. I think that the complexity of this goes a long way to explain how complicated abuse is as a topic for discussion and understanding.
Donald Dutton’s book, The Abusive personality. Violence and control in intimate relationships, is also worth reading on the biological basis for abuse. He explains that the personality type that emerges from an insecure attachment becomes anxious and easily provoked to violence in intimacy. Men who batter see intimate conflict differently from other men, and may feel more threatened, more humiliated, more anxious and angrier. There is a relationship between an insecure attachment and borderline personality disorder (referred to by some psychologists as Emotionally Unstable Personality disorder), so a greater percentage of abusers than non- abusers are also borderline personality. Donald and Deanda Roberts categorise it as an attachment disorder. Borderline Personality disorder reflects itself in mood swings, black and white thinking, inability to form warm relationships, and intense rage. There is a strong feeling of abandonment and a consequent urge to control.
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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