Sunday, August 2, 2015

If you are good and show altruism and magnanimity, will that keep you from being abused?

name of cartoon: "The Question"
image is © Lise Winne
2015
(for questions regarding use of images or to contract an image for your next article
contact: LilacGroveGraphics (att) yahoo.com)

The answer should be obvious.

If you base your worth on whether other people think you are good or bad, then when you are told you are bad (even if there is evidence to the contrary), then you suffer by their yard stick.

According to this Help Guide post:

If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive.

Any relationship where you have to walk on eggshells, usually escalates. This means over time, ever more thin eggshells, ever more rage, ever more controlling behavior over what you do and say. You can be perfectly good, and as sweet as an angel, but the abuse will escalate (unless your abuser has an extremely rare epiphany, which is doubtful). Ask any domestic abuse counselor or survivor.

Most abusers design their actions to reward "goodness" and punish "badness" (usually), so it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if you always please them, they'll keep rewarding you. However, there will be some point where you will have to assert your autonomy (not take orders). There will be a huge blow-up about it and probably a pretty severe punishment too, to try to get you back in line again, bending under pressure. The punishment may be so severe and long lasting that you don't think it is worth it to assert yourself (at least on the issue you chose), so you go back to the relationship compromising away your soul bit by bit. What matters most to victims is keeping the abuser placid. What matters most to perpetrators is keeping the victim compliant. The victim wants a rage-free relationship, and thinks it is better to sacrifice herself (or himself) to that end. The perpetrator wants to rage, reject and punish at any point, especially if he (or she) is not pleased, and wants to be unconditionally loved for it, and thinks it is better to sacrifice his partner for short stints over and over, as long as he can effectively guilt trip her and then woo her back.

Abusers with personality disorders get smug over all of the details and signals that they are winning a dominance game. They love to see their magic at controlling you working. They love your docility and compliance and willingness to please. The problem is that they want you to be "better" rather than just "good"; in fact they want to be able to completely control every part of you, and roll over you like a steamroller when you are not doing as they want or at a weak point in your life, so punishing you more severely will be the only way to accomplish that. That is why abusers escalate the abuse. They get into a cycle and rhythm: you are wooed and charmed, then they start getting edgy and snippy, then they terrorize you, then they blow-up at you, round and round. When you capitulate more and more and more and more, you eventually become their slave. At the point where you are dependent on them for something, they no longer feel the need to win you over, so disregarding any and all of your feelings, thoughts and perspectives, your health and well being, and being downright dangerous begins to feel pretty normal to them. 

This is the point when many victims see the problem with their dependency and how abuse is locking them in to a worsening nightmare, and they want to leave their perpetrators. Perpetrators graduating from verbal and emotional abuses, to physical abuse is largely why 75 percent of those trying to leave, or who have just left, an abusive violent relationship will be killed. That statistic is scary high.

Abusers with Narcissistic Personality Disorder discard their "loved ones" when they get bored, when they feel criticized, or when people aren't doing exactly as they want. A lot of times the rejection (discard) comes over a flimsy argument, or because they have found a new supply (someone who they think will make a better sycophant and give them everything they want and demand). NPDs are always bailing on relationships to pursue the next "dream person". They also blame their victims for everything that has gone wrong.

Many abusers discard their loved ones with reckless abandon. When the loved ones recover and move on, the narcissist can't stand their recovery and considers it as a blow to his fragile ego. He either tries to destroy his victims further or to get them back.

According to this article by relationship coach, writer and radio host, Kim Saeed:

Every single action employed by the Narcissist stems from a pathological need to control others. In order to prove your love to a Narcissist, you must surrender all power and control to them and become a real-life Marionette, whose only purpose is to enhance the Narcissist’s false image, take care of their every need, and accept their self-serving abuse.

The Narcissist has no real identity, only an illusion of themselves built on their ability to control other people. When they lose said control, this illusion is shattered. This explains why they shift into turbo gear when you implement No Contact. No Contact makes the Narcissist feel small, worthless, and powerless. They whip themselves into a frenzy because they need your supply to maintain their false image. When you go into No Contact mode, you are shifting the power to yourself, and the Narcissist loses their sanity because they’ve lost not only their God-like power, but also their emotional punching bag.

As this article states, as relationships get deeper with abusers, trauma bonds sometimes form, often in the form of Stockholm Syndrome:

A victim of Stockholm Syndrome irrationally clings to the notion that if only she tries hard enough and loves him unconditionally, the abuser will eventually see the light. He, in turn, encourages her false hope for as long as he desires to string her along. Seeing that he can sometimes behave well, the victim blames herself for the times when he mistreats her. Because her life has been reduced to one goal and one dimension which subsumes everything else–she dresses, works, cooks and makes love in ways that please the psychopath–her self-esteem becomes exclusively dependent upon his approval and hypersensitive to his disapproval.

As we know, however, psychopaths and narcissists can’t be pleased. Relationships with them are always about control, never about mutual love. Consequently, the more psychopaths get from their partners, the more they demand from them. Any woman who makes it her life objective to satisfy a psychopathic partner is therefore bound to eventually suffer ...


I have gotten to know hundreds of abuse survivors. It is very, very obvious that victims are, by and large, the ones who are constantly being groomed to be dominated, to please, to accept things from their perpetrators that their perpetrators would never be willing to accept themselves. The victims are expected to "give, and give, and give, or else". From all I have seen, there has never been a single act by the victim to justify the abuse they received. There was nothing where the victim "brought it on themselves" (a favorite quote of abusers), other than co-dependency and Stockholm Syndrome. While the ignorant part of the population still looks upon abused victims with disdain, and at fault, for most of the population, attitudes have changed rapidly. The subject is being spotlighted in so many more articles, T.V. programs and on social media than ever before. Victims have many outlets now, and they are joining with other victims to bring awareness and education to the problem in record numbers.

I personally look at Amazon regularly, to see if the number of books being published about abuse is increasing. No, they are skyrocketing! Public facebook pages about abuse also seem to be going up in record numbers. This is someone I started following on facebook when she had 3,000 followers. She now has 60,000 followers (and counting) as of this writing.

Anyway, I have found that most victims are the altruistic, giving, magnanimous members of society. As research has born out (see this post), the greatest majority of victims are in the helping professions (nurses, special education teachers, therapists, yoga instructors, etc) and over-give and over-compensate. They get easily used by others. They are sometimes even known to excuse abusive behavior ("They have a personality disorder -- or a drinking problem -- or had a terrible childhood -- no wonder they act like that"). These are people who can get easily brainwashed into thinking they are to blame if their abusers rage and reject. The victims are groomed into thinking of themselves as defective by their abusers. The defect the abuser fixates on with an empath is that his victim is never giving enough, a defective, deficient, selfish giver. This plays on the self esteem of the victim, particularly since their identities and professions require them to give and give and give, and take care of people, and excuse temper tantrums (just think of the difficult patient in the emergency room, say someone who is having a tantrum over a minor injury, and how an empathetic nurse will relate to that unreasonable patient). Eventually victims are drilled with subtle messages that they have to take abuse and hypocrisy from their perpetrators in order to survive, or to be safe, or to be liked and loved. Until they see the hypocrisy in everything their abusers say...
     
In my own life?

In every situation I was in where I was altruistic and trying to be polite, give the benefit of the doubt, and to be pleasing to people who had previously hurt me over a period of time, the abuse got much, much worse.

I did an absurd amount of free babysitting for years for someone who initially treated me badly. During the time I was babysitting, I was treated much better, but as soon as the babysitting was no longer needed, this person got much, much worse. Never repaid in kind, never thanked me. Instead? Insulted me endlessly, bellowed commands with swear words, almost always talked over me rendering me voiceless, indulged in splitting, was always scheming a divide and conquer strategy on a daily basis and made up stories about me to build a coalition of prejudiced minds, always acting ultra entitled. If that wasn't enough, this person stole from me! Goodbye. 

In a studio situation with a fellow artist who was trying to sabotage my career in every way she knew how, I thought I could turn the situation around initially by firing her pots for her. So I loaded and fired her pots over the course of a few years, doing chores for her, helping her carry things, and so on. I never expected anything in return except the dignity of being treated as a fellow human being, with politeness. She was incapable of giving me even that. She slandered me relentlessly, stole from me, surreptitiously meddled in my work and display spaces, goaded me, gave me the silent treatment, and got so much worse no matter how polite and dignified I was, and became a terror in my life for 25 years!

In another relationship, the problems were his addiction. I thought that by offering support, and giving myself completely, sacrificing just about every one of my own needs, that the situation would improve. It got worse. Never thanked me for trying; cheated, lied, got angry with me for not trying even more (?!?), just went on to the next enabler.  

Another person who had hurt me egregiously in the past decided they wanted to be in my life after all, especially when I was at the height of my performing career. They told me that they had "misinterpreted me" for so many years and now regretted it. This is someone who had previously given me the heebie-jeebies, someone I didn't trust at all. It took awhile to allow this person to get close to me because memories don't fade! I'll call this person "D". D wanted to make it up to me, to make up for lost time. So D's way of making it up to me was in the guise of protecting me from stalkers and abusive people in the music world. In order to do that D needed to enlist my trust, and like an idiot I gave it. Eventually, over the years D put tremendous pressure on me to disclose everything going on in my life, also in the guise of altruistic care and concern. Disclosing a lot of private information is a privilege, a kind of altruism in that you are giving them preferential treatment with your thoughts, personal information, trust, to be in your inner-most circle (the purpose is intimacy, to take care of each other, to "have each other's back"). I believe D solicited so much information so that they could use it as a weapon against me later (which is blackmail and the lowest form of betrayal there is). Anyway, at the most traumatic time of my life (illnesses, surgeries, deaths), D double-crossed me in the worst possible way, discarded and abandoned me with revelry, tried to turn those close to me against me, and enlisted a bully to write abusive threats. There was no question it was a "power and control" move (predator-to-prey abuse is always a play for dominance, with the motive of getting weakened victims to grovel, or to hurt them intentionally in order to provide the abuser with narcissistic supply, i.e. thrills). Obvious message to me? "No one else should abuse you, but I have the right to do it, especially at the worst possible time of your life." The other message: "I am showing you I don't care about you a shred."  

Lesson? If you show you are good to people who have previously hurt you, you might only win them over for a moment. Or it might bring temporary relief or safety from being abused. In the long run no amount of being nice to people who have purposely set out to hurt you in the past will get them to treat you well or to see you as a good person, or even as a fellow human being (with feelings, needs and perspectives that are as significant as theirs), and it will probably make it so much worse.

Why? People who enjoy hurting other people get a high from doing so. It makes them feel powerful that they can effect people negatively. That is their primary agenda. They are not interested in your integrity, altruism or goodness for its own sake. They are only interested in it for their sake.

When a pickpocket meets a saint, he sees only his pockets -- Ram Dass

Instead of trying to prove to others that you are lovable and don't deserve abuse, the person who needs convincing of that is yourself, not necessarily the abusers. This is exactly what this pregnant woman found, who upon finding that she was due to have a second child, her abusive husband divorced her during her most vulnerable time. She somehow knew deep inside herself that she didn't deserve the abuse, and through that realization, could move on with her life, giving her altruistic gestures to her child and waiting with excitement to nurture and love the child that had yet to be born.

Because the great majority of abusers have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (or an addiction which can mimic Narcissistic Personality Disorder), I am putting up this quote for you to think about:
   

And here is another quote that is relevant from another poster:



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