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.

 

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lorri
    Oct 09, 2010 @ 05:48:58

    Hi Rochelle,
    Thank you for posting this. It does make sense. I guess each situation is different with all the entanglements varying from one to another.
    My ‘abuser’ is remorseful, and I believe it… I feel it in my heart. I see it in his eyes – He tells me face to face. He has sought counselling off his own back this time around, because he says he wants to change his behaviour, he wants to understand his reasons for hurting the people he loves and cares about most. He is also devastated, but at his own doing. The guilt he feels I am happy to be without!! It’s his consequences of his actions – He didn’t ‘think’ about the consequences at all, and openly admits this with a frown and very sad face. He does have ‘issues’ of low self esteem – created from many years ago, and we are not 100% sure of the reasons. I hazard a guess it’s because his father was a very controlling, angry, aggressive man – who always controlled others by evoking fear in them. I see Craig as a very frightened small boy through this. He is wanting to repair his damage, has begged my forgiveness. I love him, and have explained fully to him, that because I love him doesn’t mean I will tolerate HIS behaviour. I have told him how disrespected I feel, how ignored, how broken-hearted that he could do this again after the last 6 years of trying to rebuild our marriage and my trust for him, after his last affair! I have screamed, yelled, ranted, raved, cried and cried and sobbed – he has cried – together we have cried. He says he understands my reasons for not wanting to be with him now, and he says he just hopes and prays that I can forgive him, that I will see the changes he makes, and hopes that we can be together again sometime in a ‘better’ relationship.
    He hurt me and turned his back on me, when I needed him during my grief of losing my Mother. He felt ‘hopeless’ and ‘useless’, unable to help me with that pain, he too was grieving…. NO excuse I know – but there is reason there albeit pathetic. He began talking to the ‘jiffy slut’ as I name her, because he didn’t want to ‘burden’ me with any of ‘his’ problems!! To this I replied….. “Oh because burdening me with the after-effects of an affair, where you screwed someone for 9 months, and lied to me everyday and led me to believe we were ‘rebuilding’ was so much better than ‘burdening’ me with the knowledge that you felt weak, felt needy and wanted to feel ‘desirable to someone else’ ??????? He just nodded his head.
    I have to be strong, and I will read (am reading) I have also downloaded a free series online about infidelity – coping methods, understanding the types of affairs etc., Sometimes It’s all so confronting, so triggering – and sometimes I just want to end it all – that’s the scary part.!!
    I don’t know if being ‘friends’ with him is enough for me… I didn’t want or ask for any of this crap. He says he didn’t want it either…. how sad is that?
    I thank you for your positive advice and support. I understand you have been through a very difficult time too – and you must be very proud of yourself for all you have survived and accomplished.
    Please keep in touch my friend and feel free to email me reiki3@iinet.net.au
    Take care – big hugs
    xoxo

    Reply

  2. married2mrmean
    Oct 09, 2010 @ 05:59:01

    Do some research on Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). i think you will be surprised.

    *big hugs back hon*

    Reply

  3. dory007
    Oct 09, 2010 @ 14:33:39

    for me the blaming myself came from the insidious hints of my own guilt from the abuser. starts small and then grows to the point where i had been brain washed to thinking it was all my fault. my epiphany came when my next door neighbor just out and asked me “are you being abused?” took me about 4 months to plan my escape. but i made it out.

    i was a repeat offender though ending up in more abusive relationships. Each one took a little bit less time to get out of. now i have a loving a giving and forgiving man. Wow, what a difference.

    Reply

  4. married2mrmean
    Oct 09, 2010 @ 15:15:14

    You have an awesome man, dory!

    Reply

  5. dory007
    Oct 17, 2010 @ 00:25:49

    i think so too. he has changed my life.

    Reply

  6. Ruben
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 03:36:00

    So true. Most often, the abuser also ends up accusing the victim of abuse. It’s very difficult to move on because there’s always a hope that the abuser will realise what he/she’s doing and change. Guess hope’s one drawback of Christian upbringing.

    Reply

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