Abuse does not begin with the act that an abuser carries out on their victim. Abuse begins in the circumstances and experiences that take place in the life of the abuser. There is a ‘before’ point for every abuser. It’s a place where that person is still innocent, still pure and maybe even still normal. Many people would find it hard to believe that abusers are normal because they don’t want to picture an abuser as a real person. People want to discount abusers as solely being terrible or monsters. This is not true. The truth is that before that person engages in an act of abuse and even afterward they are someone’s child. They are human. They are people.
[quote_left] What if the abuser was your child, grandchild, relative or friend? Would the still be a monster? [/quote_left]
Having the capacity to see an abuser first as a human being opens up the door to being able to release the pain that abuse causes. It does not on your part, or the part of the abuser, change what they did or excuse them for doing it, but it releases you.
You cannot give up on people. This often is a behavioral origin for an abuser. Abusers are frequently referred to as outcasts or black sheep. When a person is ‘too quiet’ they can be misjudged as being weird and become stereotyped by a caste of characteristics that ‘weirdos’ have. Thinking that someone is weird based on their outward appearance or their idiosyncrasies is an act of pride. What you say when you call someone else weird is that “you don’t look like I do, or like I expect you to and for that reason I can’t identify with you”. Not being able to respect that everyone is different is a grave mistake. It spawns uncertainty in the soul of the person that this judgment is directed toward. When that person becomes unable to see their self as something different than what they are judged to be, it leaves a mark. The judgment may not be the direct reactor that causes them to do something unseemly like abuse, but that mark might be the first step in the chain of events that leads to abuse.
Everybody Needs Somebody
Everyone needs to know that someone cares. One of the most hurtful feelings is that no one sees, hears or cares about you. Most people have their set of friends, family and people that are a part of their life to make them feel welcomed and needed. Think about the most important person to you, the person with whom you are the closest like your spouse or your mother or your best friend. Imagine if this person was instantly removed from your life and your circle decreased by one. Now, what if the next person in line were to be taken away from you? How many people could be removed from your life until you felt lonely. What if you had no one? What if you had to wake up on a daily basis and interact with the world – at work, at the grocery store, but came home to an empty house? How would you feel if no one was around to encourage you, hug you or tell you that you were special and you mattered – ever? This is a mental breeding ground for an abuser.
Feeling as though you have no one in your corner, as though the world has left you and you’ve been neglected can lead to the type of depression that burns. It puts a person in a place of deep-set inner anger. This anger manifests and sometimes ends in the resulting expression of an act of abuse.
Monkey See Monkey Do
Some behavior is developed over time, stemming from impressions made from life experiences (often negative) that lead to outbursts and acts of abuse, but some behavior is learned. There are people who grow up viewing cyclical patterns of abusive behavior in their homes or among their families at an impressionable age, so much so, that it becomes real or normal for them. Just as a person can be affected by second hand smoke, a person can be affected by being around abusive behavior. Being subject to this in and of itself is a type of abuse.
A person’s behavior is nothing more than a series of choices based upon a subset of values, which are developed from a string of personal experiences over the period of their life. A person can only give what is within them, whether that is good or bad. People are affected by the influences in their life. All people who are directly subject to acts of abuse in their homes or among their families do not go on to abuse, but those who do not learn different and who are not given the opportunity to see somewhere that these types of actions are not normal often do go on to repeat the behavior they have seen displayed.
In order to understand an abuser you must understand their case, that is, who they are and where they came from. Anything that is foreign to you will not make sense to you initially. It takes removing yourself from your pride that says “I could never do something like that.” and visualizing how your life would be different if you had a different set of experiences, a different way of life or upbringing than you did. These can all be factors for an abuser, who, despite what may be animalistic behavior is still a human being.
RICHARD ELLIOTT is a NYC based writer who endeavors to involve himself in programming & activities which improve the quality of life for all. Follow Richard on Twitter: @mohguhl | Facebook: /TheMOHGUHL | YouTube: mohguhlvideo