Signs of Abuse
The Abuser's Goal
A lot of people believe that abusers are crazy individuals, who wreak havoc on their families. They are considered ticking time bombs that can't control their tempers. This is true in many situations. However, some abusers seek to dominate others because they are insecure. They act like wild animals, marking their territory, verbally, physically, and emotionally. Their ultimate goal is to be in charge.
The Abuser's Purpose
They do this to feel better about themselves, and boost their own egos. If a victim succeeds in anything, an abuser will quickly deflate her. If she fails, the abuser will acquiesce, and use this failure as ammunition to abuse her even more. Abusers play mind games. They manipulate victims into believing that they are helpless. They will say and do so many things, all in an effort to fix their victim's flaws. Even though it seems extremely off balance, their "constructive criticism" will be delivered out of love.
Emotional Roller Coaster
Abusers don't always hate their victims. There is a side to them that really cares, however misguided, about the person they are hurting. It is not a black and white, line in the sand scenario. Abusive situations are messy and confusing. Their victims feel loved and nurtured, then betrayed and sickened, and then loved again.
Many abusers don't like what they believe they have to do. They explain the trials of having to be so brutally tough, either physically or mentally, with the person they attack. Abuse victims are considered to be inferior individuals. People who abuse them feel compelled to bring out their true potential. Instead, they enslave their victims who struggle with the constant conflict of right and wrong.
The Power of Fear
Abusers thrive on creating an environment of fear. They degrade their victims, constantly reminding them that it would be much worse to change the situation. They demand submission, under the threat of harm. As people in power, they will not tolerate disrespect. Victims must appreciate the help they receive from the person hurting them.
Revealing the Pain
This is why standing up to an abuser can be so dangerous. When victims walk out of an abusive situation, they expose their attacker. They reveal the humility and degradation that has plagued them throughout the relationship. Survivors of abuse allow insight into an environment where anything goes. Social guidelines and standards lose their value and meaning in abusive relationships.
Managing the World Outside
Abusers know how to manage society. They expose the flaws and issues of the person they dominate. They enjoy going out in public with their victim. It gives them an opportunity to point out how kind they are for putting up with someone so inferior. Many people sympathize with a person who has to deal with the obvious quirks of another. For predictable reasons, this can be very dangerous to victims of abuse.
Abuse is not a constant. Most perpetrators and victims lead seemingly normal lives. They go to school, work and raise children. They attend family gatherings, and celebrate holidays and special events. However, in the privacy of their home, (or even their work environment), one or more people live on edge, nervously waiting for another person to attack without warning.