Categories Of Abusers

Abusers don't have a peculiar look or any physical traits that make anyone identify them easily as abusers. What abusers display are patterns of negative behaviours. Typically, they possess superficial charm. They warm their ways into the lives of their Target to gain their trust then gradually begin to take control of every possible area of their Target's lives -  career, relationships with family and friends, passion and interests etc. From the onset of the relationship, they appear like dream catchers, full of hope, enthusiasm and support for your interests and dreams. When they are certain they've caught your attention and commitment, they gradually display their true selves...with time, 'the mask' begin to fall off. Some begin to isolate their Targets, gradually strip their Targets of their self-esteem/ self-worth by verbal abuse, discounting, isolation, condemnation, control and manipulation.

From personal experience, counselling other people and many other people's experiences I've come across online and through research, I have found out that there are two categories of abusers -

The First Category: These abusers are victims bound by the orientation of warped societal mentality and belief system of high superiority complex mixed with an entitlement mentality. They believe and live by the principle of reacting with violence to conflicts. Many of them replicate the behaviour that has been modelled to them from upbringing, lifestyle, society, culture and peer pressure. They may make conscious effort to be better and do better when they realise their behaviour is unreasonable and make efforts to curb, control and eventually stop them and be better people.

This category of abusers may be conscious of their negative behaviour, the impact on their targets and may make extra effort to do better. They don't justify their behaviour, they don't live in denial, they take responsibilities for their actions, they show a genuine sense of remorse, they don't struggle to apologise and mean it. They're not afraid to seek help. With good medical and/or spiritual counselling coupled with accountability and good support system, they can fully recover.

The Second Category of abusers, I'll refer to them as 'Chronic Abusers' -  This category of abusers fall in the spectrum of those suffering from some form of personality disorder such as Psychopathy/ Sociopathy and Narcissism displayed by abnormal social and violent behaviours.

The biggest red flag for them is Lack of empathy. They lack compassion and the capacity to show remorse even in obvious circumstances. They could appear to be introverts or extroverts. They are a combination of pathological and compulsive liars. They possess an intense degree of superiority complex compounded by extreme entitlement mentality to behave badly. They possess acute superficial charm (the masks) but genuinely feel nothing for other people. They could be tactical and subtle in their approach because they don't like to get caught or unmasked. They live in perpetual denial of reality even when confronted with facts. They could also appear to be self-centred, possessive and would react violently when challenged. They are extremely controlling and manipulative; with them, it's their way or no way.

These abusers rarely take responsibilities for their actions and would usually blame others for them. They use phrases like ''You made me do it'', ''It's your fault''. They could appear to be absent-minded as they deflect from accountability or they could fall on the extreme of being arrogant and aggressive. They are exploitative in their relationships on all levels either social, business or personal relationships by consistently taking advantage of others for their selfish gains. It doesn't matter what the ''gain'' means to them.

In the African context, many of them pursue diabolical and fetish means to attack their targets - either current or ex-target.

How can you tell the difference between these categories?

The best approach is the principle of ''by their fruits, you shall know them''. As a target, pay attention to those patterns of abnormal behaviours - compulsive lies, control, manipulation, isolation, being monitored, threats and intimidation. Another common trait is discounting - where your voice or opinions are not heard and your feelings don't matter.

If you find yourself withdrawing from people that love you or your loved ones are expressing their genuine concerns about the relationship, please don't ignore them. 

If your gut feeling indicates 'something'' is wrong, don't ignore it, pay attention, be very observant and speak out.

Remember abuse is a pattern of negative behaviours and could be very difficult to detect especially where there's no physical violence.

Please read the post on The Cycle of Abuse for a better understanding of the patterns of abuse.

If you're in an abusive relationship or just got out of one or contemplating getting help, please know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Be encouraged to reach out to individuals and organisations that provide help, advice and support. Check out Emergency Contacts

Remember...''I Believe You''.

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to share and post your comments. I appreciate constructive feedback.

Remain Nurtured & Not Tortured

With Love

O.A Dip.Cognitive Behavioural Therapy