TRAITS of VICTIMS (Part 4)


 

PREVIOUS:
Victims #3

 

 

VICTIM (V) CHARACTERISTICS (cont.)

4. MENTAL (Toxic beliefs, CDs)
Re. Self – They :
• believe they don’t deserve to be respected as human beings
• blame themself for other people’s problems, or blame problems on the world, life, luck or a given situation
• actively defend against hearing any criticism about the abuser
• believe in stereotypical sex role requirements
They :
• think they need to be controlled (or “protected”) by others
• deceive themself into thinking that -one day- magically, the abuser will change, that “it will change if I just try harder”
• accept total blame & guilt for violence, believe social myths about battering
They :accept blame
• always apologize for something – blaming themself for never doing things right or well enough
• have unrealistic expectations of the relationship & themself
• aren’t able or willing to speak up on their own behalf (their rights)
• not aware that they allow abuse to occur (not the same as causing it!)

Re. Abusers – Victims :
• believe they need the P. because they don’t think they’re capable of succeeding by themselves
• have a hard time setting boundaries/ limits, and saying “No”
• make up stories to others about how good their relationship is (not!)
They :
• repeatedly make excuses for & forgive their partner’s unacceptable behavior, allowing it to continue
• don’t give their opinions, make comments, admit desires bad boss
• can’t ask directly, so expect others to just “know what I want/ need.” Being disappointed so often as kids, they stopped trying
• always seem confused & surprised by other people’s  insensitivity… even knowing someone for a long time

COPYING the Abuser
All long-term abuse Victims in emotionally volatile relationships create defenses which sometimes turn them into the abuser – the way children mimic their parents. It’s also used as a preemptive strike for protection:
a. To Others: before someone can do you in, you do them first (treat others the way you expect to be treated)- criticize, stonewall, demean, abandon….
b. To Self: tell everyone how terrible, bad, weak you are – before they find out for themselves AND leave – which S-H says is inevitable!

NOT HELPFUL – In spite of the reality that Vs consistently under-estimate & under-report harmful behavior, many ‘helpful’ people give exactly the wrong advice when listening to a V.
They may insist the V. :
• be self-righteous, without taking any responsibility in the relationship
• minimize or justify their own aggressive behavior
• completely dismiss the other person’s perspective (the P), & have no empathy for them
• never acknowledge the good things the other person does, or assumes it’s always for a negative reason
• define the other person’s essence using negative labels (pig, bitch…), rather than correctly identifying their actions as abusive

HELPFUL – suggest the V : 
• builds up their strengths, expanding the good things about their basic nature, which will ensure their safety & growth
• have compassion for the abuser, WITHOUT white-washing their actioleaving themns. This helps the V. to see the damage the abuser does to themselves – feeling ashamed but powerless to resist being abusive
• can leave the P as a compassionate act – for the abuser’s own good by removing the opportunity to act out their pain on someone else

RESULT of helping: 

• it provides stress relief, lessening the V’s highs & lows of abandonment pain
• V. can feel this reason for leaving is authentic, preserving their dignity, minimizing rage & bitterness
• with this attitude, it may prevent the abuser wanting revenge, by not being humiliated with cruel words & loss of the relationship
• when leaving, it can lessen or eliminate personal attacks & aggressive behavior from the Perp, which makes many Vs go back to the abuser – out of guilt & shame.

NEXT: Victims as children

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