Some people don’t see how they’re abusive. Will has said several times that he’s an asshole, but he doesn’t see it as being abusive.
In my mind, acting like an asshole is something one might do on a bad day or once in a blue moon. And when someone is an asshole and not an abuser, they usually apologize for it quickly, embarrassed by what they’ve done.
For example, the asshole who cuts me off in traffic and then flashes me the bird is easy to forgive. The asshole had a bad moment; no skin off my nose! Maybe, if we both ended up in the supermarket later eyeing the same head of cabbage, that guy would apologize. At least, that’s how these nerve-wracking scenes play out in my head. Gives me peace.
Some of them may take notice, and wonder why they always feel put upon, mistreated, distrustful, and pessimistic 99% of the time. They may wonder why other people seem to look at them sadly or become upset in their presence. There is a chance that these abusers will seek to discover what others find off-putting about them. They may discover that their own attitudes and beliefs are holding them back from enjoying life, love, and happiness. These people may seek change.
But some of these unhappy people stick with what they know because it is what their grandparents did (Why Do Abusers Abuse Others? What Makes Someone Abusive?). What their parents did. It’s how they were raised and what they’ve done all their lives. And gosh darn it, they love their family. To admit that their upbringing negatively affected them disrespects their forebears. Perhaps, as children, one criticism of their parent caused such an outrage that the child who made it was shamed and felt afraid. Now, as adults, the subtle memories of multiple shames and frightening moments prohibit them from considering that something that a grandparent did was, in any way, wrong.
So some people think, “If Grandma was right, then I’m right! If the world thinks I’m an asshole, then I am. It works for me. It’s who I am.” Those people will not seek change. They become abusers in part because they won’t admit there’s anything wrong with their behavior.
I’ve been an asshole before, but I’m not making it my life’s work.
Read this entire post and more. Buy My Abusive Marriage . . . and what happened when i left it by Kellie Jo Holly