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Is it normal then?

(10 Posts)
Dorsetmama Tue 15-Dec-15 20:18:17

Is it normal for the perpetrators of abuse, be It physical, emotional, psychological, to live out normal lives? Maybe its a silly question, but I always imagined them to have some sort of obvious problem.
My stepdad was one of my first abusers. And he clearly had problems to the outside world, namely alcoholism. It wasnt long before his whole life went down the drain, job gone, he had no friends, rarely went out. When he did he was unpleasant. He was unpleasant to visitors. Point is, people could tell he was awful. They perhaps didn't know how far he went.

My current partner... To everyone who doesn't know what i have told them, he will appear a charming man. Polite, friendly, helpful. Outgoing even. Supportive. He takes the kids to school. He attends major events. Sometimes does a school trip. Point is, to anyone, they would think he was a lovely, normal man. A man who has taken on 4 kids that aren't even his!! A man who plays with the kids. A man who doesn't go to the pub every weekend. A great man. A good catch.

Is this usual? Do they always seem so normal?

Pandora97 Tue 15-Dec-15 22:41:04

A lot of them do seem very normal, IME. That's how so many people get away with child abuse amongst other things, because they're highly skilled at manipulating others and convincing everyone how wonderful they are so that they trust them. I've unfortunately known 3 people prosecuted for sexual offences - one always seemed a bit dodgy so I wasn't surprised with him, didn't even try to hide his creepiness but the other was very normal. Had girlfriends, long term job where he was respected, lots of friends, went out socialising all the time, didn't drink lots, didn't sleep around (allegedly), very polite and caring etc. So that one was a big shock. The other was also normal, been married for years, employed for years, big happy family, lots of friends. That's the scary thing. Having known these people a part of me always wonders now when I meet others whether they're hiding an awful secret as well. It's not a constant thing by any means but it crosses my mind sometimes. I think it's good to be aware that abusers don't all act or look a certain way but it's a rather cynical view of humans to have.

I think alcoholism can be slightly different because if it's severe it normally gets to a point where it becomes very noticeable. Some become aggressive and violent when drunk, whereas other abusers can hide that side of themselves in a more calculated way. Having said that, I knew a woman who ended up in a coma with multiple organ failure from years of alcohol abuse and her parents said they had no idea she was an alcoholic. The difference with her though was that she wasn't an abuser or an aggressive drunk so she was able to hide it better.

Pandora97 Tue 15-Dec-15 22:42:32

I should have said convicted rather than prosecuted, as they all plead guilty and were sentenced for the crimes they were charged with.

Marchate Tue 15-Dec-15 22:48:44

If they were always angry & nasty they couldn't easily abuse partners or children. Because no-one would speak to them, never mind form a relationship with them. A physical abuser doesn't hit his partner on their first date

Pandora97 Tue 15-Dec-15 22:50:29

As for emotional abuse, my ex was good at pulling the wool over people's eyes. When I split up with him for being too possessive and controlling (amongst other reasons), my sister said "oh but he's so NICE to you". He had all his friends feeling sorry for him because he's so lovely and kind to his girlfriends and does so much for them <ha ha ha>. He was another one who would go out of his way for people - he did have many good qualities, very chivalrous, always opened doors for people, very outgoing and able to make people feel comfortable and laugh, supportive of me having depression. But they didn't see his nasty side so I don't think many people thought he could be capable of it. Even I didn't think he was capable of it at first and made excuses for him.

I went to the Freedom Programme group last year and several of the women there who had experienced violence by their partners said a lot of people didn't believe them or found it hard to believe because they seemed so nice and caring.

SingingSamosa Wed 16-Dec-15 00:25:09

I'm not sure what your OP is saying...you say this man is your CURRENT partner and I'm assuming that you are saying that he is carrying out some sort of abuse? Is that on you or your children? In either case, why is he still your current partner??

trackrBird Wed 16-Dec-15 03:22:14

Yes, as far as I know it's typical for abusers to appear normal.

However, they tend to be too good to be true, because it is mostly just an act. They are deeply selfish people. But they know how to look like a really great guy /a pillar of the community /everyone's friend /the best partner you could have, etc.

All their 'great guy' behaviour is often reserved for a public audience though. They will be doing the big charity run and the volunteer work: not staying home to care for a loved one in need. It's all about how things look, for them.

That's not always true, since I've known an abuser who was just a standard ok guy, sense of humour, and no particular public face: the only clue I could see in retrospect was his wish to be in control, which seemed benign at the time.

Dorsetmama Wed 16-Dec-15 08:22:28

singing yes, he is my current partner, i am in the midst of sorting things out for myself and my children. He is still current because i need time to prepare and i am lucky enough to not need to make an emergency escape.

RiceCrispieTreats Wed 16-Dec-15 09:27:56

Yes, it's absolutely normal.

Having been through a divorce from an abusive man, I now pick up on people exhibiting controlling behaviour or lack of empathy, in ways that I never would have before. Because it all seems so low-level and "normal", and comes from people who have families, jobs, a place in the community, etc.

Unsurprisingly, if I dig a litte, I find that these people usually have an unhappy spouse, or disturbed children, etc.

We are fooled by our culture to think that "bad" people are obvious (they're not), and our social conditioning also makes us not want to rock the boat, so we gloss over and ignore any iffy behaviour - especially if it doesn't concern us directly.

Dorsetmama Wed 16-Dec-15 13:40:06

Yes we definitely do that ricecrispie I found myself often not wanting to say anything or brushing things off as normal.

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