Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Do abusers recognize they are abusers? I have a friend in New Jersey who is divorcing her husband because of "extreme cruelty," which is evidently a popular reason for divorcing there.

He is evidently abusive in ways that are unseen to most people, except on the rare occasion... a super nice guy on the outside, but behind closed doors he can be tyrannical, domineering, a dictator, demanding, has a temper, rides her constantly, nitpicking and nagging about the same things over and over, is mean, demeaning, calls her names, compares her with people he thinks are 'idiots' or whatever, and the list goes on and on.

Yet she says that he thinks this is not only 'natural' behavior, but that she is 'expected' to take it, and if she doesn't he considers her 'weak.' But if she fights back, or denies anything, there is hell to pay because he has to be right and he finds ways of making her seem wrong. It's the 'ultimate ego trip' says she.

What gets me (and her) is that he doesn't GET IT... he has no idea he's an abuser. His form of abuse is harder to prove in a court of law for divorce proceedings because it is often (but not always) unseen, and leaves no marks on the body, but can leave scars on the soul. It is the drama of the abuse that affects the mental state, emotional security, and very spirit of the person that is affected by such mental cruelty.

Here is a website I looked up from that state with a list of reasons why someone can divorce someone else for 'extreme cruelty' in the state of NJ. If you want to see the whole list, just copy and paste the link here, since I am only including the relevant parts here:

Embarrassing, humiliating experiences (public and private)
Personality hang-ups and conflicts
cold shoulder treatment
domineering spouse
Arguments caused by husband
Bad temper
Mental illness, neurotic behavior, emotional stability
Provocation and retaliation
Lack of affection

So why is he this way? Personality, perhaps, but often these things are learned behavior. He was a peacemaker growing up and admits his parents fought a lot, and so even though he tried to keep the peace (make peace) between them, his image of what was 'normal' for parents/a couple to act like together involved plenty of loud fights, so he naturally assumed the position.

His own marriage, over time, became like his parents' was, and his one personality flaw was that his issues were learned mostly from his mother. She appeared one way in public, and yet kept him walking on eggshells most of his life, to the point that he became avoidant. His timidity was overridden by a deep well of anger that seethed under a calm surface. More like a pit of bubbling magma ready to explode out of the earth like a volcano, erupting fast and hard and rough, and lasting a while as it bled onto the earth.

He acted like he didn't know, but my friend said that his real anger did not come out the same until after they were married... almost like he hid it well until he knew it was 'safe' to let it out. Once they were married it was too late.

She wondered if she had made a mistake... if she had married the wrong person, or just not the right person. She spent years questioning her own motives, and trying to make the relationship work, but money was usually the cause of his outbursts, and he was a control freak about every penny. She felt like she was being kept in a cage, unable to move or breathe.

Does this sound familiar to you? If it does then know that she did file for divorce and separated from her cruel husband. "It was just not worth being miserable all the time," she told me.

"He still doesn't even realize he's mentally and emotionally unstable. He's been abusing for so long and doesn't realize that it was because he was abused for even longer, to the point that he thought it was 'normal'" she said.

It is too late for her, since even separating did not make him change or wise up. It is likely that he'll either find another victim to abuse later if he remarries, or he'll stay alone the rest of his life because most women these days are wisening up to the fact that a bad relationship growing up as a kid can screw up your own relationships once you grow up.

Cruelty is no laughing matter. It is still abuse and there is no excuse for it.

1 comment:

  1. Very well put. I see this behavior everywhere and equally in men and women. Except in rare occasions, there is no “Cure” for being programmed as a child to believe love equals abuse. This correlated to Emotional Draculas. Google that.