Working at Pittsburgh Action Against Rape to develop the Incest Program in the early 80’s I learned a lot about ugly levels of power & control in a relationship. Abuse is a word I am careful with. There is physical, emotional & verbal abuse and also neglect.
There is a lot of certainty in the abuser and a lot of doubt & uncertainty within the victim. They question their own perceptions even while terrible things are going on. In the previous post it was clearly described that people with control issues have buckets of certainty.
Buckets of certainty insures the controller against his/her own insecurity. Sandusky is still claiming his innocence from prison. The power & certainty of feeling right, about something that is wrong is what got him in prison in the first place. Ultimately the certainty of certainty is hollow comfort & it’s entirely enough for an abuser.
Embracing uncertainty is part of being authentic. Becoming more secure within yourself is finding the courage to face painful truths within yourself instead of dumping ugliness on other people. Abuse is a detour to avoid the ugliness within.
Those who are abused are often so busy questioning their own judgement that they too, are drowning in insecurities. So seeking validation about your experience is a good way to begin the process of defining whether or not your reality is as awful as you suspect it is.
One thing that can be helpful is taking an online test as a way to both explore & confirm your own experiences. There are 25 questions on this website: marriage-family-counseling.com. There is also a place where people write their own stories which might be helpful in not feeling so alone. Another test on emotional abuse that is composed of 13 questions can be found here: beverlyengel.com. Beverly Engel has also written the book that is pictured with this post; The Emotionally Abusive Relationship.
The abused victim also has a part in what they are going through if they are too afraid to set boundaries. Boundaries require a sense of self & less insecurities. When you can say “I am mistreated (or abused )” to yourself then you are on the brink of beginning to change. It’s a boundary within yourself that begins by recognizing that the relationship is unhealthy because you are not respected.
You can see how powerful insecurities play a role in both the abusers rigid, “I know I’m right!” abuse & the victims codependent, masochistic, putting up with too much ugliness part of the equation. Insecurities can lead to desperateness which leads to a lot of horror.
The self righteous anger of the abuser is like the hurricane pelting the Northeast as I type…..there is no empathy or compassion for anything that stands in the way of what it demands.