Why do abuse victims blame themselves?

Something a friend of mine said today made me think of this.

If i was out shopping and someone attacked me with a knife, i would do what i could to get treatment as soon as possible. i would do what i needed to do to heal and make a full recovery.

i would not spend hours and hours trying to figure out what i could have done to change the situation, i would not blame myself for the attack. i would just accept that the attacker is a bastard and pray that karma will deal with him.

Emotional and verbal abuse is just as, if not more so, damaging. The attack comes again and again, from the person who is supposed to protect you, in the place where you are supposed to feel safest.

The emotional abuse attacker is more ruthless and callous, because he knows his victim’s weaknesses and plays on them, using them to manipulate her and distort her version of normality.

And yet when the “attack” is finally over, for some reason we don’t write him off as a jerk and move on. We spend hours and hours wasting time, soul searching, trying to find where we went wrong, what we could have done to make things better.

The truth, there is nothing that can be done to change an abuser, unless he can open his eyes, see the pain he is causing and want to change.

This rarely happens, as the psychopathic tendancies in most abusers prevent them from feeling any sort of empathy for their victim. i remember watching Mr Mean, anytime i tried to express how i was feeling, his eyes would glaze over as if i was speaking a foreign language.

From my experience, change rarely lasts. The only thing we can control are the boundaries that we set and the choices that we make from now on.

i would strongly recommend councelling for abuse victims. As kind and supportive as our friends are, they are usually not equipped to deal with the tangled web of emotional baggage that abuse victims drag around with them.

In Australia, a GP can organise up to 12 free sessions with a psychologist, free of charge. After 3 councelling sessions, i started noticing some changes in myself, so in 12 sessions, big things can happen.