Why do Abusers Abuse? What Makes Someone Abusive?

When abusers abuse, it’s a shock to our system. Everything leading up to the first abusive incident couldn’t prepare you for the emotional pain. Remember in the beginning when your partner seemed to love every ounce of you? Remember how you could share everything? Your abuser, male or female, wanted you – really. Your partner wanted to eat you up, every ounce of you, because you had something she wanted for herself. So what changed? Why do abusers abuse?

Abusers Abuse Because They Don’t Feel, They Mimic

Unlike feeling people, unlike you, your abuser is only an observer of human behavior. Unlike you, an authentic human being, your abuser must pretend to be authentic by mimicking the behaviors of others.

Why do Abusers Abuse? They're cunning, masters at planning & persuasion. Their intelligence minus the ability to feel makes them dangerous. Read this.When your abuser ‘loved’ you, she loved you because you taught her something new, showed them something unfamiliar, broadened her horizon. You enriched her dictionary on what it means to be human.

You have felt this infatuation before – kind of how you may absolutely adore a wonderful auntie or motivational guru. You know that you can never “be” that person although she has a gift you admire. You may even choose to mimic the person you adore to an extent because they have a special something that you want to emulate. You may check in with them often or feel a need to let them know you appreciate their style, their gifts, and their effect on you. That person touched your heart and made you want to be a better person.

Your abuser felt a similar infatuation when he found you. He saw a light in you that he wanted for himself. But your abuser, not knowing how to feel appreciation for another person, saw only a “thing” they wanted. A zest for life, creativity, warmth and kindness…the abuser wanted what you had. From the beginning, your abuser looked at you as an object from which they could extract life.

Confusion From Merely Observing Makes Abusers Abuse

After studying you for some time and not finding a difference in himself confused him. You didn’t do what he wanted you to do for him. You did not fill his empty world, his empty heart. You did not give him what he expected. He saw other people “in love” and thought that those two people must give one another some thing because, only able to look at people in a Petri dish, this is the logical conclusion.

Unable to feel, she did not understand what it means to be angry with herself. She observes people get angry at one another and act in mean and vicious ways. She acts out those behaviors on you because she knows some people use anger to get what they want. Anger works well – it makes the target want to make the angry outburst stop.

Abusers cannot know that sometimes the source of vicious anger comes from being angry at ourselves (because the abuser doesn’t feel like other people do). Chances are, they’ve seen inappropriate anger a thousand times. Just as they cannot know what it’s like to be angry at themselves, they cannot comprehend loving themselves either. Abusers are empty inside, and they do not have a moment of peace from the emptiness within.

We Want to Help Abusers Stop Abusing

Yes, being empty inside is very sad. Yes, we wish we could be the one to turn on the feelings for our abusers. We want to see them happy! We think they can feel happy because, in the beginning, looking at them from our vantage point, they certainly acted happy. Don’t make the same mistake your abuser makes. Understand that behavior does not always reflect the truth. Acting and being are two different things.

An abuser’s mind is weak because it cannot attach itself to their heart. Abusers are cunning and smart, masters at planning, persuasion, and execution. An abuser’s intelligence minus the ability to feel makes him or her dangerous.

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  1. Change Coach Pam says:

    Excellent post, very thoughtful and absolutely true!

  2. wow this explains so much!! It’s like a lightbulb over my head moment!

  3. You mean is he really heartless? he is not capable of true love? It has nothing to do with me?

    • He absolutely cannot love you because he does not see you as a human but rather an object he owns. It’s not his childhood, it’s not mental illness, it’s entitlement and in his mind his right and privilege.

      • Lindsay R says:

        Thank you for summing it up so clearly. That’s what I felt at the end, I was an object.

  4. No, sweet woman. It has nothing to do with you. He is what he is and that’s all he can be.

  5. Deneen Bias says:

    This is a very enlightening post. It is so many actions that spring from the heart. I always wondered. What happened to all the love we had at first.

  6. Thank you very much for this article. It is really helping me. You hit the nail exactly on the head. I now realize that he is messed up in the head and it had nothing to do with me. However, it still hurts so much because I treated him better than what he deserved and I am the one in an awful state. He treated people who treated him poorly better than he did me. It hurts that he choose them over me.

  7. Daan van den Bergh says:

    This is great.

    It is true that abusers are incredibly selfish and at a certain point grow tired of you, because you don’t fill the emptiness inside of them. They don’t realize that it’s them causing the emptiness, because of their continuous struggle to neglect themselves.

    Great post, I am happy someone agrees with my theories 🙂

  8. Laura sumner says:

    I am touched by the power of this article. I discovered what “this” is seven months ago. Even just half way through Patricia Evans’ book (The Verbally Abusive Relationship) my life was changed by its truth. My husband is following Patricia’s plan, and is beginning to undergo the EMDR therapy. I am not certain that change is impossible, IF he truly allows this therapy to heal the trauma of being raised by an “icky” narcissistic mom and a silent, alcoholic dad. I am clinging to hope that there IS a real person inside him, not just this chameleon monster that he has become (who is nauseatingly nice to people on the “outside”.)

  9. I have been bullied by people on the internet and had threatening death texts messages my husband is poorly in remission from cancer I have looked after him on my own throughout it

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