Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Stages of Abuse: Why It's So Difficult to Leave

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If there is one word that is easily thrown around when a person narrates their experience with abuse, it is "leave". As it should be, victims of abuse are constantly encouraged to leave to avoid being killed emotionally, psychologically or physically. But for some reason, victims of abuse tend to go back to their abusers and it is difficult to understand why. How does anyone return over and over again to a source of pain and distress? I took some time to map out the stages of abuse, and here it is. PS: This is not a scientific cycle based on scientific studies. This is based on the stories of people (both male and female who have suffered abuse physically, emotionally and psychologically). 

Stage #1 The Endearing Stage: It is very common for people to say the signs of a person being abusive are common in courtship but that is not entirely true. Many abusers spend a lot of time grooming their victims depending on how much work they figure they need to do to endear that victim to themselves. They go all out and make the best shows of romantic gestures. They open doors, let you drive their cars, complement your beauty or suaveness, speak highly of your intelligence and cannot stop telling their friends about how awesome you are. You feel comfortable, secure and loved and then suddenly

Stage #2 The Subtle Fault-finding Stage: They slowly start to find subtle faults in their victim. They talk about how that dress is nice but is not a good fit for your body type, or how that speech you have written is amazing but does not really fit well with your orator style. They are very subtle at this stage, and because of all the efforts put into stage one, the victim tends to think they are trying to help in the form of constructive criticism. So the victims do all they can to please their abuser. They go the extra mile, compromise themselves and give anything to make sure the abuser is happy... except that does not work

Stage #3 The Clipping of the Wings: This is the stage where the abuser starts to find major faults with the victim and does not bother to be subtle about them. The abuser would tell the victim straight to his/her face that they are ugly, that they lack intelligence (in spite of them speaking fondly of their intelligence in stage 1). Everything the victim does becomes an issue, and the more exasperated the victim becomes, the more powerful the abuser is. It is at this point that the abuser begins to lash out, and really take advantage of the victim's emotional, psychological and physical state. once this stage is allowed to reach maturity, the abuser to able to undo the victim at will and really zone in on enslaving them.

Why can't the victim just leave? Because in stage 1, the victim becomes greatly endeared to the abuser in a way that they actually believe the abuser changed because of something they did; hence they feel the need to make things right. They believe that the person in stage one is still inside somewhere and they need to work on bringing that person back. So they stay and walk on eggshells, hoping one day the abuser will revert to what they believe is his/her true self. 

Know anyone who's going through abuse? Share this with them. I will share tips on how to beat emotional abusers at their game in a future post.  XOXO

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