John 3:20-21 “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (NKJV)
The question in the title of this article may sound like it should have an obvious answer, but it doesn’t. Sometimes, people don’t realize they are being abused, especially if they aren’t being physically abused. As I’ve mentioned before, covert narcissists in particular are extremely good at hiding their actions from everyone, even sometimes their victims who think this “good person” couldn’t possibly be abusive.
One of the best ways to tell if you are being abused by someone is how do they act in public verses in private. Abusive people behave entirely differently in public verses private settings. Granted, most people act a bit different in public & private, but it’s not a huge difference. With abusers, the differences are night & day.
In my late teen years, I saw this especially clearly with my mother. I remember one day in particular, she had been screaming at me for whatever awful thing she thought I did that day. She finally stopped, & a few minutes later, the phone rang. I answered. It was her friend, the former principal of my elementary school. She told me how lucky I was to have such a good, loving mother, & how I needed to stop misbehaving so much. I really didn’t feel lucky at all! But, a few minutes later when I handed my mother the phone, all evidence of the screaming maniac was completely gone. She was friendly & chatted with this person as if nothing had happened just a few minutes before.
My ex husband was the same way. Everyone, even his parents, thought he was a great guy who loved me deeply. In private, however, he was incredibly critical & cruel.
With both of them, I knew if I said anything to anyone about what was done behind closed doors, I would’ve had to pay dearly. It’s taken me many years to feel free enough to write about the things I have experienced at the hands of narcissists in my life because of how deeply in me they ingrained this sick need to hide their cruelty.
Normal people don’t behave this way! Normal, safe people don’t feel the need to hide things or behave very differently in public & private. They aren’t concerned about most things they do being known by other people. They aren’t doing bad things, so why would they feel they have something to hide?
Also, if someone is hiding their actions, then this is a sign that they know these things are wrong. I know, many people say they think abusers, mainly narcissists, must not know what they’re doing is wrong. They were raised by abusive parents- abuse is all they know. But, think about this: if they truly didn’t know these things were wrong, why would they work so hard to keep them hidden? Wouldn’t they abuse you no matter who is around instead of only when you’re alone?