When a person has been abused chronically in their childhood, naturally they grow up different than the average person. One difference is they grow up with a very different perception of abuse over the average person.
When parents abuse a child, that child assumes abuse equals love. Children seem to be unable to comprehend that their parent doesn’t love them, so instead they naturally equate abuse with love. They excuse & white wash abusive acts or even subconsciously repress the memories of these acts. Unfortunately these behaviors that help these children survive at the time also cause major problems later in life.
As this child grows up, they often end up in abusive relationships with friends & romantic partners. This happens because they assume when someone is abusive, it means that person loves them. The red flags at the beginning of the relationship that would cause most people to walk away from the relationship go unnoticed or are excused away by the adult abused child. They try harder to please the unpleasable abuser. This makes the abuser more & more demanding, because abusers enjoy watching their victims jump through hoops trying everything to please them. The victim keeps trying, & the miserable cycle continues.
As if this isn’t enough, abusers also encourage victims to white wash or even forget that they have abused their victim. If an abuser can get a victim to excuse the abuser or even forget it ever happened, they can continue to abuse their victim. If a victim can believe that this is the first time something has happened, they will tolerate more of it than if they realize this is the umpteenth time that has happened. They simply continue the relationship as if no abuse happened.
This warped perception of abuse also raises the victim’s tolerance for abuse, because they become desensitized to it. Their abusers have convinced them that the abuse is no big deal, they are just being too sensitive or everyone acts this way, or the victim is stupid for not realizing that this is normal behavior. Victims assume what their abusers told them is true, so they tolerate the abuse.
Abusers use some other tactics to warp their victim’s views of abuse. Love bombing is a very common tactic abusers use, in particular among romantic partners. They shower their victims with romance, gifts, complements & other loving gestures. Love bombing also can happen with friends or family, though. They show their victims love, respect, gentleness & even kind words. The idea is that these gestures will make the victim focus on them & less on the horrific acts the abuser perpetrated on them. Often though the encouragement takes the form of gaslighting. Abusers shame their victims for bringing up abusive episodes by saying things like, “You need to let that go,” “You’re living in the past,” “You’re too sensitive!” or, “I don’t see what the big deal is.” They also may attack your religious beliefs by saying things like, “You say you’re a Christian. You need to forgive & forget,” or, “You aren’t honoring me as your parent by acting that way. The Bible says you should honor me.”
If you have experienced such things, you’re not alone! Almost every victim of abuse has experienced them to some degree.
To cope, as always I recommend praying as the best place to start. Ask God to help you have clarity & discernment, & to identify the truth over the lies.
I found a very difficult but incredibly effective way to help me in this area. I wrote my autobiography. I’m not saying you need to write yours & publish it as I did of course, but at least consider writing it. There is something about seeing your story in writing that is incredibly validating! It helps you see your story from a different angle, & it makes it more real somehow. Like I said, it’s difficult, but it’s very well worth doing considering how much healing it can bring.
5 responses to “Abusers Warp Victims’ Perceptions Of Abuse”
Cynthia, abusers tend to be adroit at masking what they do, especially to co-workers , friends and family. So, doing the same with the victim is not unexpected. My guess it is primarily to make the victim believe it is his or her fault. “I would not abuse you, if you would only listen” eg. Thanks for sharing these important words. Keith
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You can say that again. I couldn’t agree more!
You’re welcome.. & thank you for your kind words!
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My world, and welcome to it.
Once again, you have touched on something I am dealing with right now! This post feels very supportive.
Thank You! ❤
Big hugs to you!! It’s a very difficult thing to go through. 💜
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