So it seems that victims of abuse, of any type, have a distinctive personality. Having met many victims, it seems that those who are insecure, who were bullied at school, ignored, left out – these people have a need to be needed, helpful, loved. Often they mistake a codependent relationship for a loving one. Anger, guilt, feelings of low self esteem….these are always just under the surface even though the victim puts on a smile and seems to have not a care in the world.
I have found, through personal experience, that it is possible to exist on two planes of reality. There is the standard normal existence, the one where you present yourself to the world as if you are completely at ease in life, that you are lucky to be alive, and have comfort in your daily drudgery. But, unseen is the second life, the hidden fears, the waiting for the second shoe to drop. Living with someone angry, who cannot control their words, whether they later apologize or not, is perhaps the most difficult situation on earth. This existence is the underlying theme to your life. You lie in unsettled quiet, hoping to not be noticed, pretending you can’t hear or see. You shut yourself down for as long as you can, until you can’t take the pressure. Then you break. You cry, you regret your life choices, you wonder why you are immobilized in your situation, why you can’t move away or beyond the ever present threat to your sanity and self worth. It’s worse when you have to protect your children. Children who are scared to make the wrong move, because their personalities are so very different from the dominating force in the home. It’s hard for your own self, when you lack the confidence and the wherewithal to make changes. Fear is a constant.
Moving on to the theory of abused personalities. It may not be clear what type of abuse someone has suffered. Whether physical, sexual, verbal, emotional…they all take their toll. They recreate the individual to become one who hides their true self, who clings to the societal norms even if hey do not agree with them. It allows the individual to continue to accept abuse because they feel they deserve nothing better. That child at school who has no friends, who is last chosen at recess, left off the guest lists for birthday parties, left to wonder why they are being teases, is the adult who seeks solace in secure relationships that are absolutely devastating. They lack self esteem and are terribly insecure, and even the unconditional love of an overprotective parent can be smothering and stunting in the emotional growth and development of the adults sense of self worth. Being unable to make rational decisions that would save them from further assaults on their psyches, they remain in unhappy and unhealthy situations due to an uncontrollable fear of change. They lack the knowledge and comfort that they are important in the cogs of society and in the real world.
Victims of abuse are undoubtedly the nicest people you will meet, assuming they have managed to blend into society, their demons come at night and when they are alone. These lovely people are always willing to help you out, to gain your approval, however misguided, because they lack any self esteem. They feel ugly in appearance, personality and have learned to hide themselves, their REAL selves from the public eye. They only take out this side when they are alone or in the company of others like themselves, who have seen the same patterns and consistencies in their own lives. Haven’t you ever woken up and looked at someone and realized that you just have no idea who they really aren’t? Those
persons are protecting their private selves, their individuality, keeping safe within their hearts where no more harm can come to them.
Some general characteristics of all abuse victims:
- Low self esteem
- Continued faith and hope abuser will get better
- Stress disorders
- Emotional and/or economic dependency
- Socially isolated, either avoiding social interaction or never wanting to be alone
- Has poor self image
- Nervous or anxious
- Defends any criticism of abuser, making excuses for their behavior
- May have repeatedly considered leaving the relationship
The victim here, sees themselves stronger than they are, and they present this facade to the world. They are the ones who volunteer assistance, who listen and offer advice, who cry with you, while silently holding back their fears. Once abused, even if treatment is obtained, these people continue a life of simulated self flagellation and fear. They repeat the abusive pattern, always the victim and
when alone, working on all the possibilities, but too scared to put any plans into motion. They know they might be better off, even if it produces unnecessary hardship, but cannot let go of the secure feeling of knowing there is somebody there, somebody who “needs” them, even if they are told they are no longer needed. By this point, the victim has been isolated from family, friends, etc. often being shamed into believing that if the friends and family cared they would be I. Touch more often. The victim is told how everyone has their own lives, and that they are no longer integral or needed in that life. The abused, who may not see themselves as such even though they recognize the signs and can verbalize it to a therapist or trusted confidante (often someone who cannot or will not tell the, why a to do,) is in an alternate reality which if more often than not a nightmare. This poor person is left feeling vulnerable,helpless, self-doubting, worthless, obsolete, and guilty. They feel they have failed miserably in life and will never be able to amount to anything. Their dreams remain as such, and to avoid embarrassment, they continue on, in denial, presenting a false face to society. They are often affected by what is termed “hoovering,” how the victim when trying to assert themselves by taking action to protect or prevent re-occurrence, gets sucked back In by the abusers temporary exhibition of improved behavior. Relationships can only be improved by both parties working together to better understand what and why the cycle is repeated. Since that often is unreasonable or so rare to be such, what is important is for the victim to regain their self esteem and self worth. To feel validated as a person, because emotional abuse takes it toll not only on the deeper parts of your personality, but can affect the future generations if children are present. They are just another link in the chain, which end they become depends on their inner strength and self esteem and confidence.
So why not just leave?
The reasons for staying may sound like excuses to those around you, especially those who are not in your situation. Never let anyone belittle your decision to stay, because maybe at the end of that sentence is the word “now.” Some people need to stay put for now, and for others, the truth is that you will never leave, but will spend the rest of your days walking on eggshells, hiding your self. Many people stick it out, wondering why their abuser is surpassing expectations for success, life expectancy or any other idea they imagine, all the while wondering how someone thrispves on so much anger and nastiness. right now).
Remember, nobody can make the abuser happy. If they are dissatisfied with their life’s lot, you cannot control that. It goes without saying that if you can’t make someone happy, you can’t make them angry either. There is no magic in the universe to control the abusers words or actions. Almost everything the victim does or says will be wrong. Even if they are right today, tomorrow they will most likely be wrong. It’s important to keep In mind that to be free or at least live as peacefully as possible, one needs to listen to their gut, their hunches. Start making your own decisions, even if it proves difficult…no matter what you do, the emotional and verbal abuse will not stop. Learn to keep your innerr most secrets to yourself, it’s safer and the abuser will not be able to twist and hurt your deepest heart.
Do take heed, that there will be times when things go well, so we’ll you believe that it will work out for the best, there will be times of happiness and pleasure, be it physicall, a compliment, etc. learn to enjoy that moment, but also to leave it there. The free happy state will not come so often, and humans need to experience joy in their lives. I guess you need to grab the moments you can while you figure out your future. joy in their life, so grab all you can. Remember, we are all human, imperfect, delightful beings doing the very best we can in every moment. Know that it is ok to choose one thing today and another tomorrow. Remember that you can grow, learn and adapt.