I can’t tell you how many abuse victims I’ve spoken to where this happens. The victim’s family and friends take the side of the abuser in a separation, rather than standing by the victim.
This doesn’t make logical sense. Why would a person’s own family turn their back on a domestic violence victim, and side with the abuser? Why aren’t they holding the abuser accountable for his actions?
Abusers are masters at disguising their thoughts and actions. They might be your next-door neighbour, your brother-in-law, or your best friend and you would never know it! Probably the only people who know it are their intimate partners and children. And the abuser has made sure their intimate partners and children won’t tell anyone through many abusive actions that make them too afraid to share what life at home is really like.
While the victim is too afraid to share what is happening, the manipulative abuser will slyly denigrate the victim to others when it suits him. He will tell others that she is “really trying, but can’t quite seem to treat me well,” or “She wants to be a good mother, but really, she can’t quite manage it.” He puts a lot of energy into lying to the victim’s friends and family. Then, if and when she tries to leave him, any person who might have been the victim’s source of support will side with the abuser not the victim.
Abusers are master manipulators, they are highly capable of deception and presenting a very different public face than their private face. To those outside their homes they appear to be:
- Good spouses
- Model parents
- Upstanding citizens
These people look so good on the outside they are often able to fool those around them into thinking their victim is causing all the trouble in their home, and that she is:
- A Liar
- A submissive wife, and/or
But why are they able to fool others?
No one would believe someone could be this evil!
We all want to believe the outward appearance of a man being supportive and loving to his intimate partner and children, don’t we? There are many men who father children and never take any responsibility for them. Narcissist personalities cannot take responsibility for any of their actions, so when we see someone who appears to be doing the right thing, we want to believe this outward appearance.
They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
Why do wolves dress up like sheep? So, they can eat the sheep! These abusers have been dressing like sheep and have been eating their victims in our own homes for years, and we haven’t realized it. Why not? What do wolves dressed like sheep look like? They look like sheep! In other words,
They look just like us.
But, were you to implant a nanny cam in their home you would be shocked to see him committing:
- Verbal Abuse – He criticizes the appearance, actions and thoughts of the victim, often calling her obscene names in front of their children.
- Emotional Abuse – He robs her of sleep, waking her in the middle of night, or will keep the children up very late. When he is in a rage, he might scream at her all night long. He will monitor everything she does, her phone calls, her car mileage, her computer usage, how much money she spends, where she goes and whom she sees. He will tell her what to wear and to whom she is allowed to speak. He will keep her from her friends and family so that she has no one to help her if she should decide to leave or turn them against her so they refuse to help her. He threatens her with weapons and threatens to harm her pets or children. He may also give her the silent treatment, refusing to acknowledge she exists. He may be very neglectful and refuse to help her with anything about their home, children or life.
- Psychological Abuse – He will try to make her think she is going crazy. He will move an item that is important to her, and then help her “find” it. He will make promises to her; then deny ever having the conversation. Later, when she begins to doubt her own perceptions, he will call her crazy, or seem concerned about her mental health.
- Financial Abuse – No matter how much money they have, he will keep her in poverty. She is put on an allowance, or must beg for money to feed the children, even if she works. Meanwhile, he buys anything he wants for himself, like TVs and new cars. He may refuse to work, whether in the home, or to bring finances into the family.
- Sexual Abuse – He will demand sex, even when she is ill, even raping her. He will call her sexual names, force her to watch pornography, and refuse to use birth control. He will have affairs and give her sexually transmitted diseases.
Of course, every abuser will not do every one of these actions. But these are typical. Please notice that I did not list physical abuse here. If he can keep her in line, (make her do whatever he wants), without resorting to physical abuse, he will. If she refuses to do something, he wants her to do, he may resort to physical violence at any time, without any warning. She is aware he could do this and is fearful that he might.There are many incorrect beliefs (“myths”) about why an abuser will abuse. Friends and family often believe these myths, which leads them to feel sorry for the abuser and disbelieve the victim.