What to do when you’re the abusive partner

One of the most difficult human experiences we can encounter is living through an emotionally or physically abusive relationship. Millions of people around the world experience abuse every day, and among them are the silent witnesses; watching as the men, women and children they once knew and loved are destroyed by the evil and manipulative machinations of an abusive partner, spouse or parental figure.

What happens when we are the abuser, however? What becomes of the person that once terrorized the lives of the numerous victims we hear about in self-help articles, and pieces on self-emancipation? Well, sometimes they disappear (eaten up by their own negativity). Sometimes they thrive, however, and become better versions of themselves by waking up to the horrible effects of their behavior on the people that they love and respect.

Though we don’t like to admit it, abusive relationships never work out well — and they never work out for the best interests of either party involved. Abuse occurs across both the physical and mental planes, and can be as horrible as regular beatings, or as subtly sinister as mental manipulation and emotional whiplash that makes it hard for you to find your feet.

Abusive people are as ranged and varied as any normal human being, but their actions are far from normal, and they are never, ever justified. Abusers believe they have the right to control others either because of their inferiority or superiority complexes. Either way, they enjoy the feeling that power gives them, and they find joy in exerting that power over others by any means possible.

Your typical abuser believes their own needs or feelings should take priority over their partner’s, and they use abusive, manipulative tactics in order to dismantle the equality in the relationship and destroy the other person’s self-worth. Abuse is a learned behavior, most often picked up in childhood, but it is also something that can be learned over time as negative behaviors develop in correlation to romantic or relational experiences. Outside sources like alcohol addiction can also help bring-on or exacerbate these behaviors.

We don’t just wake up one day and decide that we want to ruin the lives and emotional wellbeing of the people around us. More often than not, abusive behavior occurs as a result of a childhood that was plagued by trauma, or skewed and destructive beliefs that are in no way aligned with our higher sense of connectivity or purpose.

Injured sense of entitlement

Abusers are, by-and-far, entitled people who established (at some point in their lives) the belief that they are entitled to controlling the world around them…no matter what. For this reason, any time that sense of entitlement is injured they lash out in extreme emotional temper-tantrums and even physical violence in order to re-establish what they believe to be the social norm.

Zero accountability

When you fail to take responsibility for your life, or the good and bad things within in, it becomes the responsibility of everyone else around you. Abusers never fail to blame those they love for all their disappointments and let downs. Their families become their dumping grounds, and because they can’t take responsibility for their own shortcomings and failures, they punish everyone around them for their perceived “wrongs”.

Deep-seated trauma

Those who were abused in childhood, or those who have a long line of trauma lurking behind them, are more likely to become abusive later on in life. Subconscious or intentional, we reply the traumas of our past as a way to cope, manage and resolve them. The longer these traumas remain unaddressed, the more they seep into the core of who we we are — solidifying their negative patterns and thought loops.

No empathy

Abusers fail to cultivate true empathy, and for this reason it makes it easier for them to hurt the people they are otherwise supposed to care for. Empathy is the skill that allows us to relate to the emotional state of our friends and our family members. Without it, we tend to focus only on self — failing to see that the other people around us have the same fears, emotions, and insecurities. To the abusers, pain is just another means of control with little connection to their own suffering.

Unaddressed emotions

Emotions are a core piece of who we are, and they can protect us and guide us in the direction of those things which truly fulfill us. When we fail to address those emotions, or resolve them appropriately by expressing them, it can lead us to resentment and heartache; causing us to lash out at people we love, and punish everyone around us when we can’t address the hurt that’s eating us alive.

Mental health conditions

Although it is relatively rare, there are certain mental health conditions that can contribute to an abusive personality. Disorders like sociopathy and psychopathy can cause what seem like otherwise well-adjusted people to behave anti-socially or even sadistically. When someone suffers from one of these disorders, they can gain pleasure from the agony they inflict on others; or develop emotional complications that make them dangerous.

No respect for other people

The abusive person has no respect for other people, and that is one of the most common reasons that they find themselves taking advantage of the people around them. When we respect someone, we understand their right to independent ideas and beliefs, as well as their right to express themselves freely. When you fail to respect someone, you can find yourself trampling all over their space and their beliefs — creating an environment of tension and fear.

Abuse isn’t limited just to physical behaviors or methods of intimdation. There are a number of different ways we intimidate, control or otherwise manipulate the people we’re supposed to care for. Think you’re the abusive partner? There are a number of concrete signs that could indicate that you are…