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Inside an Abuser's Mind

The Hereby Accused - Profile of an Abuser

By Tigress Luv

NOTE: The expressions, opinions, views, and impressions set forth in the following article simply represent my own estimate and attitude towards the subject of abuse. They are not known to be absolutely true, nor proven to be inaccurate either. As with anything in this world, the accuracy as to authenticity can only be logically placed solely on the credibility of implied experiences - and not on actuality of fact. Fact cannot possibly exist in psychological reasoning. ~The Author

"Most abusive men are likely to be extremely outgoing, charming, and likable. This is just a mask for his extreme insecurity. Abusive men have an obsessive need to control their mates, to keep them hostage, to own them. Abusers often blame the woman for causing him to be abusive, or accuses her of being unfaithful or inadequate."

Profile of an Abuser:

  • control at which anxiety, fear, and anger are at the root
  • extreme fear of abandonment
  • delusional thoughts of infidelity, extreme jealousy, overly jealous, possessive and insecure of wife's/girlfriend's fidelity
  • exaggerated dependence on their partners, inability to tolerate being alone, distorted views of himself, of his partner, of relationships
  • experienced either admitted or hidden childhood shame (shame brought on by being subjected to not being allowed to express his feelings without recourse [severe beating / punishment / ridicule], a lost sense of power or have their mastery stolen from them, or stripped of their dignity or control of their own fate)
  • atypical childhood attachment to their mother
  • childhood rejection, parental coldness/indifference, direct childhood abuses; parental REJECTION being the number one influence and indication as to adult abusiveness; shame as in attacks on their selfhood, humiliation, embarrassment, being shamed by one's father, punishing at random. Any kind of rejection or shame of them that may lead to the feelings of 'wrongness' for the child's whole self. Feelings of being punished for nothing, or being punished for who they are as opposed to what they did. Random, unprovoked 'sneak attack' punishments - is an attempt to punish a child for who they are - not what they have done! Public embarrassment such as in a restaurant, in front of friends, or in front of siblings who were not subjected to the same shaming techniques...leaving the child to feel wrong, unacceptable and unlovable to their main source of male identity - their father! A father figure who induces feelings of shame and wrongness in a child, usually can rest assured that their child will grow up to be controlling, insecure, and overly attachedto their mates
  • overly worried about being abandoned
  • emotionally/verbally/physically abusive
  • their wives are Madonna's one day, whores the next, believes that there are only two types of women - the 'good' girls and the 'bad' girls
  • intense fear of abandonment projecting emotional, jealous outbursts of perceived infidelity
  • the abuser tends to have life 'cycles', where he switches from the nice man, to the hard to please, fault-finding man, to the raging man, then down to the apologetic, scared, and needy man
  • projects self-blame outwards

Possible Causes:

  • being made to feel shamed by one's father, feeling rejected by one's father. Emotionally distanced from one's father
  • being physically and/or verbally abused by one's father
  • feeling rejected by one's mother, or receiving mixed signals, such as a protective clinging mother one minute, and rejecting emotionally-detached mother the next
  • a cold, absent, and intermittently abusive and/or shaming father who relays to the child the message that they are unworthy. i.e., "you're no good" "you'll never amount to anything" "you're a loser and will always be a loser" A father who doesn't give the impression, "I don't care for what you did - but I love you anyway"
  • a false view of women and relationships

Noticeable Traits of the Abuser:

The abuser has the intense need for constant reaffirmation, feedback, praise, and flattery - in order to know who he is, and that who he is is okay. This results in a man who needs extreme shows of a woman's affection and proof of her love. He sees every action on her part as either proof of her love, or proof of lack of her love. His insecurities can twist even the most loving act of hers around to be a pure act of hatred and contempt for him on her part. Even though this man needs constant, positive feedback - he cannot ask for it, and he may even feel vulnerable and out of control, yet can't admit his weakness and need for her acceptance, for her love, for her.

Since this need for her is so overwhelming, he feels threatened by the thought of losing her. He becomes hypervigilent to every little thing she does and he gets hurt easy. (When one cannot make the distinction between ordinary human mistakes and something directly misconstrued to wrongly judge the 'perceived wrongness' in themselves, in general, they overreact. He may get over emotional, and react with extreme hostility and anger.) When he reaches this insecure, needy stage he has the tendency to blame others for the negative events in his life. He uses anger as a 'mask' to hide shame and feelings of being 'wrong' and 'unacceptable'. Abusers are experts at projecting their imagined shortcomings onto their wives, or girlfriends. Due to an exaggerated need to protect himself, and his inflated sense of pride, his wife becomes directly responsible for the wrongness he feels in himself. He may accuse her of betraying him, of sexually hungering after others, of being embarrassing, incapable, wrong, no-good, bad, unacceptable, without class, brainless, helpless, faulty, etc.

Thus, by externalizing his shame, i.e. transforming it into blame (directed at others) the abuser takes away his own hidden and unaddressed feelings of inadequacy and unwholeness, and conveniently places the blame onto others. If he were to not externalize the blame onto someone else, he would have to feel even more bad about himself, i.e., he is shameful - wrong - unacceptable as a person, and again he would feel that intense, lonely feeling of humiliation, embarrassment, and ridicule that he was made to feel as a child. He would feel all that extreme internal pain that he has so successfully learned how to mask and project onto others for years...he again would become that horrible person that has something terribly, dreadfully, wrong with them.

Despite these feelings, as the psychologically abused child grows into a young adult he seeks a relationship with a woman that will somehow make him feel he is okay. But, as feeling okay is only to be found within him, this doesn't happen - and as more and more relationships fail - he begins to externalize his inner rage, mistakenly believing that all women are disloyal, untrustworthy, and controlling. However, when this same man does form an intimate relationship with a woman this closeness threatens to bare his sorry soul for all the world to see (or, at worst, her to see), he mistakenly feels that the intimacy threatens his 'shell', threatens to destroy his 'mask' and expose him for the imagined failure he is. He is scared that this closeness will invade him, penetrate him, leaving him ashamedly exposed to the discovery of his real self - the bad, shamed self he believes himself to really be - the one he successfully keeps hidden under his 'mask' to the outside world: non-intimate partners, casual acquaintances, co-workers, and strangers.  

Mothers of abusers play a huge role, too - although she is usually unaware of the confusing damage she may be causing her child. Most children who have lived in a house with an overpowering, controlling father figure had mothers who were trying to cope with both the father's fury and being abused themselves, whilst still being available and in tune to their childrens' needs. Thus, abused women may deal with personal issues on a 'cycle-like' level themselves. This results in a mother who is one day very attentive, somewhat over-protective, and extremely loving to their children - and emotionally cold and distant to them the next. This unpredictable alter in a mother's love gives off mixed signals to the child - a kind of 'come here/go away' type of message that confuses him.

The emotionally distant, controlling, or manipulative mother, or 'here one minute/gone the next' mother  - whether she was consciously aware of it or not - may instill feelings of frustration, fear of abandonment, and intense yearnings for love and acceptance in the child. After being continuously confused as to his mother's love and acceptance of him, mixed with the shaming of him by his father, the child eventually starts to combine his love and vulnerability to her/him with fear of rejection and anger at not getting his needs met. He now believes that - if one loves another he is vulnerable to rejection, abandonment, and shame. Consequently, the common felt (and perfectly normal ) emotion of love now becomes a misguided emotion of fear, and frustrated feelings with not being able to stop the rejection, resulted in intense anger aimed at the one they need/long for. His anger is a last minute attempt to control his parents in order for him to get what he needs. He has been set up. He is emotionally 'out of sync' and out of control, and reacts with anger to those he loves. This is how he can love while still protecting himself from being hurt, abandoned, betrayed, or rejected. This is how he thinks he gets love, too. His anger is merely a safe mask hiding his vulnerability. In other words, his anger is masked fear. Fear of being abandoned, rejected, and shamed.

Additionally, if the young boy has been made to feel shamed by his father he naturally may become 'more' dependent on his mother (female figure) for acceptance, nurturing, caretaking, and survival - adding to an even greater loss of his sense of self. His fear of her rejection escalates and he soon feels the intense need to separate from her, but - at the same time - he fears the separation. So he separates his mother into two woman. There is the good mother who is loving and nurturing, and this woman is safe to love and safe to be around. Then there is the bad mother - the one who is cold, rejecting, abandoning, and distant. This is the woman that creates fear in him, the mother that makes him angry at her in order to avoid his fear of being abandoned by her. So, now the child has learned at a very early age to separate the female figure in his life into two woman. The Good Woman, and the Bad Woman. (And in doing so, he must separate himself in two, too.) This impression carries forth and remains the same throughout much of his adulthood. He realizes how important his wife or girlfriend is to him, and he feels an inner struggle for separation to avoid the pain of rejection or abandonment.

By separating his wife/girlfriend into two categories he can control his feelings of being vulnerable and in need of her, by stopping those feelings once they appear and by blaming her for it. She is no longer the Good Woman, she has now become the Bad Woman. He has, essentially, successfully made his wife into two separate women. The Good wife is loving and grateful and appreciative and accepting and nurturing and faithful...but the Bad wife - ew! She is uncaring, withholding, unloving, unaccepting, unfaithful, unattractive, brainless, helpless, worthless, a lousy housewife who additionally is lacking in manners and class, and - to top this all off - she can't cook and is a whore and a liar! (Phew, the poor woman might as well crawl in a hole and die for loving him!) This belief also makes him separate himself - Jekyll/Hyde, as most abused women describe their abusers.Whereas the Good side of him (the side that's not afraid to admit his need for his wife) clings to and loves the Good Wife - the Bad side, however, does two things. One, he attempts to control her, thus ensuring himself his power over her so she can't leave him. When this doesn't work, or even when it does, he continues on. Two, when his Bad side realizes the control/power his woman has over him instead of the power he has over her, simply by his need for her, he fights these submissive behaviors by directing the fear of losing her into anger at her...she now becomes the Bad Wife and he doesn't care if he loses her, or not. In fact, he has himself become so thoroughly convinced of this that he may just say to himself, "GET RID OF HER - SHE'S JUST A WHORE AND YOU DON'T NEED A WHORE!!!"

Note: At this stage, he has absolutely convinced himself of her unfaithfulness - or her attempt at unfaithfulness. This is his exaggerated fear of her abandoning him surfacing. I remember my bf saying that he feared the power women had... that men fear women because they need them. I thought that odd at the time, but now in retrospect I fully understand his fear. He was scared to death of loving and being abandoned, because he identified who he was by who he was with. He 'found himself' only through the "love" and "acceptance" of his significant others! (Such the reason why the abuser may be in intense fear of being abandoned or left alone.)

The abuser experiences many uncomfortable feelings in the course of his days. Anguish, depression, anxiety, and sense of having a disconnected, or out-of-body experience, are common feelings for the abuser. These feelings - combined with an intense fear of abandonment - are the driving force behind the abuse. Unfortunately, these feeling can easily be masked by the use of drugs and alcohol, as a way to escape these unwanted emotions. However, by 'lowering' the emotional tolerance in the user, drugs and alcohol soon play a role in an abusers 'release' of his built up rage (unacknowledged fears). In his Hyde personality, his Bad side, he starts seeing his woman as the Bad Wife/GF. She can't clean, cook, she's a whore, a bitch - etc. Remember, the abuser is either overly needy and appreciative of his wife's love and specialness (the Good Wife), or frustrated and intimidated by his perceived conception of her unfaithfulness and desire to abandon him, reject him (the Bad Wife). The Good Wife he can become extremely needy of, attached to, or dependent on. This threatens his emotional security because if she were to leave him he would be abandoned - he thus would lose his sense of 'self'. This explains the somewhat panicky feeling abusers get at the thought of being left or abandoned by their wives - they fear being abandoned by their woman almost as much as they fear being 'attached' and in need of their woman. The loss of attachment and any perceived threat to this attachment creates extreme emotions to the abuser in the form of exaggerated terror, grief, and, yes, RAGE!

Thus, the abuser has two distinct impressions of women - with no other possibilities. There are 'Good' girls, and there are 'Bad' girls. Period. His wife is one day a Madonna, or the next day a whore. And, the whore image is more likely if the abuser's father set the example by controlling or belittling their mother, by cheating on her, or by insinuating that all women are whores, tramps, sluts, etc . These views of women are reinforced in the abuser by society, movies, music, and their school years and peer influence. To a confused teenager he may feel embarrassment associated with dating someone who has had sex previously - although he, himself, may have slept around too...this just reinforces the notion that there are only two types of women. The Good Girls, and the Bad Girls. So, when the abuser falls in love with a Good Girl, and yet has the desire for sex with her he makes her the Bad Girl, to protect himself ... he rationalizes his beliefs, projects his yearnings outward onto her, then sleeps with her - she's the whore, not him!

Stages and Cycles of Abuse:

Stage One: The abuser becomes overly attached to his wife or girlfriend. This is because he only feels 'whole' within an intimate relationship, because he has no sense of 'self'. When he feels this extreme attachment he begins to fear his need for her. So, to not feel the fear of being abandoned and to try and regain any kind of sense of self, he starts on his personal vendetta to make her the Bad Girl (in his mind). I have heard this likened to 'playing the bitch tape'. This is when his thoughts and reasoning start to convince himself that she is 'bad' - she is a whore, not to be trusted, she doesn't care about him, the kids, or the house, she doesn't take care of him, etc.

Stage Two: After awhile he breaks out in a rage: insulting her, verbally attacking her, throwing things, or threatening her, hitting her, etc - this is the rage release, where he releases his need of her, his fear of abandonment, his feelings of unworthiness, shame, and of being shameful and no good. He has vented his rage. He now feels strangely calm and at peace.

There are four influences to his rage:

One: he needs to vent his inner raging turmoil in order to feel good once again.

Two: he fears losing his wife more than anything in the world and this fear makes him intensely angry. The more he fears it the more angry he gets - he fears his own vulnerability to her, and his helpless need of her. Anger is just masked fear. Anger is just frustration at not being able to control a certain outcome - anger is, in itself, the fear of being out of control.

Three: the more he feels needy of his wife, the more he depends on her, and the more likely he feels the need to end this dependence on her. His anger can actually push her away from him, and him away from her. This separation abolishes him from having to worry about her leaving anymore. It doesn't matter to him anymore

Four: he has been consistently proven and repeatedly shown from his childhood experiences that an overpowing, authoritative, controlling abusive attitude gets you what you want. His father proved to him at a very early impressionable age that anger and rage puts one in 'control'.

Stage Three: Once he vents and rages, he 'lands' back on Earth. He now realizes how very important she really is to him. Then he realizes he has done wrong and may 'lose her'. So, now comes the apologetic stage where he is docile, servile, ashamed, and sorry. Now his wife again enters the Madonna phase - the Good wife phase, he is on his knees to her.

Stage Four: His loving wife returns, feeling safe for a while. She forgives him. Things are, again, wonderful. The relationship is great. Everything is running smoothly. Life has never been better. But...THEY ARE LIVING IN A HOUSE OF CARDS!

and so begins...

Stage One: He gets just so close to her and then he starts the 'fear' of needing her too much, the fear of being abandoned by her. The fear of being exposed as the shameful person he believes he is by the intimacy of being 'known' by her. He feels vulnerable to this 'power' she holds over him. So, he starts again with the 'projecting' his perceived 'badness' onto her. He doesn't want to feel vulnerable to her love. He starts to place his own faults onto her - this way he takes the blame away from himself and avoids taking direct responsibility for his pain, upset, imposed feelings of being threatened, or helpless - and he starts on his personal vendetta to make her the Bad Girl (he runs the 'bitch tape'). He may deny his own sexual longings and desires - and projects these sexual needs and impulses onto his wife - making her out to be a wanton whore. When the abuser can't acknowledge that anything is his fault he redirects the blame to his wife. She can now do nothing right - she is the Bad Wife. And he again builds up in anger and contempt at this woman - until ...he reaches again the 'rage' stage where he releases, where he vents. And the tension is gone, and then...back to Stage Two. And so forth, and so on...Over and over and over, again.

For more information about getting over the pain of breakup, please read How to Get Over a Breakup

Article published by Tigress Luv & Glass Slipper Publishing, the Breakup Gurus. For more breakup advice and forums please join us at the Lifted Hearts Breakup Support Forums & Community at http://liftedhearts.com.

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