Abuse is about entitlement. In the mind of an abuser, he is convinced that he was perfectly justified in abusing you. He did it because you made him do it.
You made him mad, so he was completely entitled to punish you accordingly. He doesn’t see himself as an abuser at all. See, it’s completely different: he’s not like those other guys who abuse women for no reason.
He had a reason, so it was okay.
Read on to know what is there in the mind of an abuser.
1. The Real Issue: Control, Control, Control
It doesn’t matter that your unforgivable infraction was simply asking him to spend some time together, or asking him to not chase after other women, or looking unhappy because he always wanted you to hang out with the girl he’s sleeping with behind your back, or simply trying to defend yourself while he screamed in your face.
You get lost in addressing the specific issues at hand – and, anyway, the only acceptable resolution is that you have to shut up about it – but what you’re missing is that it’s not about those issues at all. In the mind of an abuser, the point is that you are disobeying him. That you are expecting to be treated with some respect, like a person, instead of a doormat or his personal punching bag.
You are trying to break free from his control, and your abuser can’t allow that.
The worst of the abuse comes the first time you try to defend yourself, in tears and voice shaking, while he screams in your face for no reason. It just makes it worse. In an instant the rage escalates to a full blown explosion, and it’s got nothing to do with what he was screaming about earlier.
The point is, you talked back. You rebelled against his control, against the complete dominance he feels he is owed over you. And the punishment is swift and brutal – because that is unacceptable. The lesson he’s teaching you, scaring you to death, is simple:
Don’t you dare.
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2. His Goal: Total Submission
You have to shut up and take it. In the mind of an abuser, you brought it on yourself anyway by displeasing him in the first place.
No resistance will be tolerated. No rebellion. It is his God-given right to control you and crush you as he pleases, and you have no right to stand up for yourself, or even to be unhappy about it. You’re a disobedient child to be beaten into submission by a domineering father; you’re a fussy dog to be kicked by a cruel owner until all you do is cower whimpering with your tail between your legs; you’re a TV that doesn’t work properly and gets smashed with a baseball bat by an angry drunk.
You’re not doing what he wants, and the insane fury this brings on is terrifying.
In that moment, he seems capable of anything. You always found it impossible to imagine how a partner, a husband, could ever savagely beat his girlfriend or wife. In that moment – that one surreal, unbelievable, blood-chilling moment – you understand.
You keep telling yourself he would never, but you have seen clearly that he could. And, deep down, you know that next time, he just might. And what’s more terrifying, when you think about it later, is the chilling realization that he feels completely entitled to that reaction.
Read : What To Expect If You Decide To Stay With A Narcissist
The first time you try to defend yourself is also the last.
You’re too scared to ever try again because you saw that, in that moment, he hated you. That screaming monster, his muscles bulging, his face contorted in rage, completely, utterly hated you, and the only goal in his mind was to destroy you, to break your resistance, and put you back in your place.
3. It’s All About What He Wants
There’s a stage toddlers can hit where they feel entitled to anything they want, and to everyone doing exactly what they want the instant they want it – and, if it doesn’t happen, they throw a temper tantrum because it’s not fair. They kick and scream and they hate you, you’re evil and they hate you, and in that moment they don’t seem to remember that you’re a kind parent and that they ever had any love for you at all. It can be an annoyance or, in hindsight, even amusing.
The consensus among experts is that abusers never emotionally matured past that stage. Except that they are adults, smart and strong and violent like adults, and their temper tantrums, their revenge, are far from amusing. They’re terrifying. And can be very, very dangerous.
I saw my abuser be completely outraged any time something didn’t go the way he wanted. Be absolutely furious anytime someone refused to do what he wanted. It was an injustice, an insult which couldn’t be tolerated and had to be punished at once. It was something he was entitled to that was being denied to him, which was unacceptable.
Read : Histronic Personality Disorder : How Narcissism Works In Women
4. Disproportionate Reactions
You might have witnessed your abuser react with insane rage and temper tantrums to minor issues. My abuser, for instance, was completely unable to tolerate not getting his way in any occasion, no matter how irrelevant:
Once, he told me, his girl wanted to visit a different place than he did: he was furious, drove like a madman with her on his motorcycle to frighten her, then abandoned her alone in the place and left, never to talk to her again.
Once, his friends wanted to stay in one place and he wanted to leave: he threw a fit and stomped away to walk all the way back, forcing them all to leave and chase after him.
Once, a song he didn’t like was playing in a club and, when he wasn’t allowed to change it, he stormed off in a rage.
Once, he was given notice that he would be let go from a job he’d had for two months: he ranted for days about insane plans to destroy the business, verbally abused his staff and dumped me because, he said, ‘someone had to pay’.
Once, he wanted sex and I wanted to sleep a bit longer: he started sulking and complaining that it wasn’t fair he had to wait…
Your abuser truly believes he is entitled to get anything he wants, whenever he wants, and if he doesn’t – that’s unfair. You are taking away something he feels he is owed. And that makes him furious, and he has every right to punish you.
You have to do what he wants, or else.
And that, to him, is perfectly normal.
5. What Can You Do About It?
Such feelings of entitlement are so deeply embedded in your abuser’s psyche – not only are they fundamental convictions, but rather a core part of his personality – that they are impossible to eradicate.
As a rational person, you might think the solution might be patiently explaining to him that it is completely irrational to expect the world and everyone in it to instantly cater to his every wish without fail, and that no well-adjusted adult would react with unfettered fury any time his whims and desires aren’t met. It’s so elementary, it is baffling that it needs explaining at all, right?
However, if after a lifetime he hasn’t reached such a basic understanding of how to function in the world, it is far too late: your abuser will never change.
Trying to obey his every wish and satisfy his every request will not work. No matter how obedient you are and how much you sacrifice to become perfectly compliant and subservient, it will never be enough. He will keep raising the bar, and will invariably find something else to get mad about.
Trying to explain that his behaviour is irrational will not work. It’s a fundamental structure of his psyche, and it cannot be changed. Most importantly, he has no interest in changing, because his abusive behaviour gets him what he wants. For him, it works just fine.
Trying to have a rational discussion about finding compromises will not work. He’s not interested in compromising anything. Your needs and wants are irrelevant: remember, it’s all about what he wants.
Trying to explain that he is hurting you and appealing to his empathy and his love for you will not work. He knows that he is hurting you: he simply doesn’t care. Remember, in his mind, you fully deserve to be hurt as a punishment for having displeased him somehow.
Read : What Does the Bible Say About Narcissistic Behavior?
6. Your Path to Freedom
Having decided that you are unwilling to tolerate his tyrannical attitude anymore, the only way to escape his control is to go No Contact.
The first few months after going No Contact with my abuser, I was actually surprised to find myself living in peace. I was no longer walking on eggshells all day trying to avoid another explosion of rage. I was free to do what I wanted without having to constantly obey his every wish. No longer was I spending my days apologizing to an angry tyrant not even knowing what for. Nobody screamed at me. Nobody insulted me. I had nothing to be afraid of.
It will take some time to start emerging from the fog that his abuse and manipulation have caused. Realizing what you have been dealing with, and that no matter how much you bent over backwards to try to please him, it was never going to be enough, will be your greatest leap toward freedom.
Read : Don’t Sacrifice Your Long Term Freedom For Temporary Comfort