What makes an abuser abuse?

(51 Posts)
Alwayswanting1 Thu 14-Oct-21 09:05:49

I was thinking about mine and he often doesn’t fit the stereotype of what I read.

He didn’t seem to enjoy what he was doing, he was incredibly unhappy, very childlike.

OP’s posts: |
GreyCarpet Thu 14-Oct-21 10:09:57

Feelings of insecurity and inadequacy mainly.

A need to feel that they have the upper hand and are in control.

Unable to see their partner as a whole person in their own right.

GreyCarpet Thu 14-Oct-21 10:11:32

A belief that is your fault (if only you were more or less whatever).

Abusers aren't happy people. If they were, they wouldn't do it.

yellowpigeons Thu 14-Oct-21 10:11:58

This is what I'm struggling with as I try to leave an abusive relationship, that I am very empathetic and can see why he might do it, and that he could 'fix' himself by attending therapy or equivalent. I can't quite seem to accept that he's just made me feel horrible and that's enough of a reason to leave.

yellowpigeons Thu 14-Oct-21 10:12:31

That's very right, they aren't happy people. Living with someone unhappy, on top of all the other stuff, has really done me in.

TheTrinity Thu 14-Oct-21 10:22:43

I realised mine had a terrible relationship with his father who seems to be the very old fashion Victorian type and his word was the law, no one could even think of a discussion let alone challenge him. I think the frustration, powerlessness and humiliation this caused him combined with the kind of personality he has put him on track to be an angry and bitter person deep down, manipulative and abusive ultimately. His choice of career also reflected this. Not in a million years would he be able to connect his childhood experience with anything because he is so deluded and truly believes he's a great person.

PicsInRed Thu 14-Oct-21 10:24:53

They do it because it works for them and they want to. Ever notice that they don't attempt to abuse their boss or friends they value? They can stop it and put on the nice face when they want to.

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Confusedmelon Thu 14-Oct-21 10:34:14

Some of the worst atrocities were committed by people who felt justified in doing so.

I think its a combination of entitlement (to do whatever it takes to make THEM feel better), lack of empathy (they don't care how it makes you feel), their own feelings deep inadequacy (therefore destroying another human being makes them feel powerful), a need for control (makes them feel good) and lack of insight (which makes them feel justified in their actions). They are also extremely emotionally immature.

He sounds like a covert narcissist, they enjoy playing the victim because ultimately it can be used to manipulate people into doing what they want. They may appear genuinely "affected" but its still part of their ploy to gain control over another person.

Alwayswanting1 Thu 14-Oct-21 10:34:42

Mine for some reason really felt unloved by me. I did try hard but he really felt a sting by it. He always said he was alone in the relationship unsupported which was totally untrue. I couldn’t be a separate person from him have my own thoughts on things or anything. He felt a sting when I didn’t follow.

OP’s posts: |
Couldhavebeenme3 Thu 14-Oct-21 10:39:11

All of the reasons, above.

But also because they're a cunt

Lollipop444 Thu 14-Oct-21 10:41:17

TheTrinity

I realised mine had a terrible relationship with his father who seems to be the very old fashion Victorian type and his word was the law, no one could even think of a discussion let alone challenge him. I think the frustration, powerlessness and humiliation this caused him combined with the kind of personality he has put him on track to be an angry and bitter person deep down, manipulative and abusive ultimately. His choice of career also reflected this. Not in a million years would he be able to connect his childhood experience with anything because he is so deluded and truly believes he's a great person.

Interesting, makes sense when you think about it.

Out of interest what is his career or is that too outing?

UnsolicitedDickPic Thu 14-Oct-21 10:45:58

I'm attempting to leave an abusive relationship. He had an abusive childhood himself & forged friendships with much older people. Was often left in situations beyond his age and ability to cope. Drug use, using alcohol as an emotional prop. Emotionally stunted in lots of ways. Incapable of holding down a steady job, blames me for most things. Over the years I've become the antagonist in his eyes simply by attempting to hold him to the barest minimum standard as a parent/partner. History of mental illness in his family. The list goes on.

category12 Thu 14-Oct-21 10:48:29

I think some abusive people are very very damaged or disordered.

Thing is, a relationship can't cure them, loving them can't cure them, and staying actually enables them to continue self-destructive behaviours and externalise their problems rather than deal with them.

TheLastLonelyBakedBeanInTheTin Thu 14-Oct-21 10:55:29

Abusers aren't happy people. They do get some kind of pleasure from being the one in control, but often it's only that it makes them feel less Powerless or inadequate not that it makes them happy. Very few abusers get pleasure from the abuse, although some do of course (true sociopaths). Many do get pleasure from "disciplining" or punishing their partner when they feel like they are the one "in the right." So if she flirts with somebody else she deserves to be put in her place kind of thing. This happens a lot with child abuse to where they think the child deserves new and increasingly severe punishments mostly only for the crime of being kids. It's a skewed morality for many of them. So they don't believe they are abusive they are just "hot blooded" and jealous and passionate not controlling and creating made up scenarios to excuse the abuse (she was wearing makeup so she must be cheating, she was laughing at my brothers joke she must be trying to get a piece of him). These become increasingly distorted but usually stem from the belief that women are not human beings in the same way they are but instead put on the earth to cater for the needs of men. This could be the man who feels justified to rape his wife whenever he wants at one end of the spectrum, and at the other the man who thinks he is a great guy for doing half the housework and "babysitting" his kids. The systemic problem is these misogynistic beliefs. Women are for cooking, cleaning, child rearing and sex, basically. Sometimes they might appear chivalrous (let me carry your shopping bags home, let me open the door for you) and of course even the least abusive men are often a little bit misogynistic, as are most women. The ones who aren't we call "crazy feminists" because there beliefs seem so out there. So most women end up in relationships with these men with some misogynistic beliefs and usually this is fine so long as they are not extreme and don't go challenged. But often this starts to unravel when she gets pregnant or they disagree over parenting, and suddenly these issues are challenged. Abusive men cannot take the challenge because they are insecure and inadequate and believe that they are right, so they shout or sulk or whatever. And that can escalate if he believes that his need to be right (in his eyes) or whatever other Need is more important than her need not to be abused.

Abusive men often think you deserve to hurt your partner if they cheat on you. Or that a husband cannot rape his wife (or he can only is she is tied up and kicking and screaming for him not to). Or that she deserves to be pushed and shoved if she won't 'get out of his face' and these aren't fringe beliefs, they are systemic problems in our society which often muffles up "abusive" and "masculine"

TheLastLonelyBakedBeanInTheTin Thu 14-Oct-21 10:58:26

IME most female abusers have been abused themselves at some point and are trying to control their partner and environment for that reason. The same with women who abuse their children. Again there are the sociopaths who are exceptions from that and take pleasure in hurting others. But I think it usually comes for a combination of fear/inadequacy and entitlement. They are owed something from the world and other people because of their hard time.

beastlyslumber Thu 14-Oct-21 11:02:04

Alwayswanting1

Mine for some reason really felt unloved by me. I did try hard but he really felt a sting by it. He always said he was alone in the relationship unsupported which was totally untrue. I couldn’t be a separate person from him have my own thoughts on things or anything. He felt a sting when I didn’t follow.

You know what, I very much doubt that this is true. It's more likely he told you that as a way if blaming you for his abusive behaviour. It's not your love he wanted but your submission and loyalty and to have control over you.

There are loads of 'reasons' why abusers abuse, but the only real reason is because they choose to do so. They choose their own wants over everybody else all of the time, no matter what.

No one fits a label entirely but they don't need to for you to know they are bad for you. You can't change these people and it's not your fault.

TheLastLonelyBakedBeanInTheTin Thu 14-Oct-21 11:05:21

My ex used to do that go all teary eyed if I said I wanted to read a book instead of watch tv with him, or take my DC to a toddler group without him or go to work instead of making him cups of tea while he worked from home. Funny it didn't last really grin

I'm a great Mum and great partner but a really really shit skivvy

TheLastLonelyBakedBeanInTheTin Thu 14-Oct-21 11:09:33

If I wanted a girls night it was "sexist" or if I wanted to go to a breastfeeding support group. I was never supposed to see my family without him present either, so he would host these dinner parties but would always be close enough to me that he could overhear everything I said to whoever I was talking to. One of our worst rows was because I couldn't tell him exactly what I had said to a family member whilst he was in the loo. He felt entitled to read my work, my diary, and never knocked before entering a room. I swear he used to tiptoe so he could "catch me" alone. He just felt entitled to my whole world. I swear sometimes I thought he would do anything to be actually inside my Brain to stop me wrong thinking. 🤣 the level of entitlement was just nuts

yellowpigeons Thu 14-Oct-21 11:10:42

Baked Bean your comments are so clever and insightful. I wish I'd known all that when I got married.

Halfcups21 Thu 14-Oct-21 11:15:38

Read Lundy Bancroft Why does he do that? And get urself on The Freedom Programme online. £12. Stop asking why he is like that? And focus on Why do I think his happiness is more important than mine? Energy for you not for him. Don’t waste any more time on this person.

Colourmeclear Thu 14-Oct-21 11:17:30

Shame and entitlement. We all have different responses to shame, avoidance, denial, attack self or attack others.

Everything was a deflection from the shame my ex felt, he turned his shame into mine, he was attacking me and I was attacking myself as well. I think they know that we will carry their shame for them. It works so well for them because they never have to look at who they are and what they do. They feel negative feelings but they no longer direct them at themselves but those around them. When I first met my ex he would punch himself in the head when he was upset, then he started punching and kicking things around him instead, I was worried I would be next (whilst also wishing he would so I could leave because the non-physical abuse was destroying me).

I saw that he was hurting and when he would abuse me and no-one else, I mistook it for intimacy. I saw his vunerability, how upset life made him, I was wrong but it's easy to believe that no-one else knows him like you do.

I have always been very critical of myself and judgemental so when he started attacking me I didn't question it because it was just an extension of my own reaction to shame. I would punish myself so why shouldnt he punish me too? It's taken a long time to unwind that.

I really recommend that book See What You Made Me Do by Jess Hill. It describes the two type of abusers, expands on humiliated fury and how there are some really positive approaches to talking domestic abuse that involve a community approach.

MatildaIThink Thu 14-Oct-21 11:24:55

There are many different kinds of abusive behaviour so there is no one answer.

The most common type is repeating behaviour witnessed or experienced in childhood, where parents were abusive to the child or to each other that is the imprint of a normal relationship on those children, when hey grow up they perpetuate the behaviour.

There are others with low self esteem, who do it to make them feel better about themselves, to give them a sense of power etc.

There are those who have sadistic tendencies, they take pleasure from others suffering, paedophiles who do it for their own pleasure and gratification etc.

There are those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder who abuse for gratification, enjoyment, the power trip, validation, etc.

There are sociopaths who do not care for their victim at all, they do it because they can. The paranoid, the delusional etc.

There will be other types as well, people are so varied that there are unfortunately many different types of abusers, which is what makes abuse to difficult to stop.

TheLastLonelyBakedBeanInTheTin Thu 14-Oct-21 12:14:06

@yellowpigeons

Me too! My DC would have had a very different Dad!

Lollipop444 Thu 14-Oct-21 12:59:49

TheLastLonelyBakedBeanInTheTin

Abusers aren't happy people. They do get some kind of pleasure from being the one in control, but often it's only that it makes them feel less Powerless or inadequate not that it makes them happy. Very few abusers get pleasure from the abuse, although some do of course (true sociopaths). Many do get pleasure from "disciplining" or punishing their partner when they feel like they are the one "in the right." So if she flirts with somebody else she deserves to be put in her place kind of thing. This happens a lot with child abuse to where they think the child deserves new and increasingly severe punishments mostly only for the crime of being kids. It's a skewed morality for many of them. So they don't believe they are abusive they are just "hot blooded" and jealous and passionate not controlling and creating made up scenarios to excuse the abuse (she was wearing makeup so she must be cheating, she was laughing at my brothers joke she must be trying to get a piece of him). These become increasingly distorted but usually stem from the belief that women are not human beings in the same way they are but instead put on the earth to cater for the needs of men. This could be the man who feels justified to rape his wife whenever he wants at one end of the spectrum, and at the other the man who thinks he is a great guy for doing half the housework and "babysitting" his kids. The systemic problem is these misogynistic beliefs. Women are for cooking, cleaning, child rearing and sex, basically. Sometimes they might appear chivalrous (let me carry your shopping bags home, let me open the door for you) and of course even the least abusive men are often a little bit misogynistic, as are most women. The ones who aren't we call "crazy feminists" because there beliefs seem so out there. So most women end up in relationships with these men with some misogynistic beliefs and usually this is fine so long as they are not extreme and don't go challenged. But often this starts to unravel when she gets pregnant or they disagree over parenting, and suddenly these issues are challenged. Abusive men cannot take the challenge because they are insecure and inadequate and believe that they are right, so they shout or sulk or whatever. And that can escalate if he believes that his need to be right (in his eyes) or whatever other Need is more important than her need not to be abused.

Abusive men often think you deserve to hurt your partner if they cheat on you. Or that a husband cannot rape his wife (or he can only is she is tied up and kicking and screaming for him not to). Or that she deserves to be pushed and shoved if she won't 'get out of his face' and these aren't fringe beliefs, they are systemic problems in our society which often muffles up "abusive" and "masculine"

Great post and completely true

Lollipop444 Thu 14-Oct-21 13:11:13

“of course even the least abusive men are often a little bit misogynistic, as are most women”

This has become more apparent to me the older I get, especially the amount of women with misogynistic views.

I have been pretty shocked recently by comments made by two of my close female friends regarding how their teenage sons behave towards them and towards girls.

One allows her teenage son to speak to her like dirt, he is very condescending and rude to her. She minimises it and jokes about it. (It’s not funny) He doesn’t do it to his dad. His dad also minimises the behaviour towards her and says that she is over reacting or being too sensitive and tends to side with the (obnoxious) son.

The other had a son who has just started uni. She commented that she hoped there were girls in his flat who would be able to cook him some meals so he wouldn’t starve! I nearly fell off my chair!

As a parent of teenage girls, both conversations made me feel a bit sad to be honest.

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