Can a person be both an 'abuser' and an 'abusee'?

Note: Further stories and testimonials should be placed in the discussion section below.
Of course they can. Consider narcissists, for instance:
Narcissists attract abuse. Haughty, exploitative, demanding, insensitive, and quarrelsome � they tend to draw opprobrium and provoke anger and even hatred. Sorely lacking in interpersonal skills, devoid of empathy, and steeped in irksome grandiose fantasies � they invariably fail to mitigate the irritation and revolt that they induce in others.
Successful narcissists are frequently targeted by stalkers and erotomaniacs � usually mentally ill people who develop a fixation of a sexual and emotional nature on the narcissist. When inevitably rebuffed, they become vindictive and even violent.
From my perspective, HELL NO!!!
I've have been, and still live with an abusive spouse. At this point in our lives (14 years), she doesn't lose it over the trivial stuff so much anymore - but boy WHEN IT HAPPENS!!!
This is a behavioral problem on part of the abuser, which I've learned doesn't dissipate, but only changes form. The transition period between those stages is a nightmare. I never thought in a million years that I would have to worry about my 'Queen of Fullness' balling up her fist and busting my face up, or slamming a heavy bar mug against my head (and I see this scar which I NEVER mention EVERY DAY - mind you).
I've been through nearly EVERYTHING you see on over this time period in my life with her. It has caused me:
- General health problems
- Years of sleepless nights and poor eating habits
- EXCESSIVE marijuana and cigarette smoking
- And yes, shamefully, sexual relations outside of the marriage
- I'm the one who had to attend the Domestic Violence courses.
And hey... lemme tell ya... when you THINK someone is toying with your mind... THEY ARE!!! As crazy as it sounds I KNOW she uses people on my job to assist. I can't prove it, I can't give a ton of examples of when I perceived it to be true, but I KNOW she does. She has\had completely destroyed my self-esteem to the point where I'm almost dead inside. I let her.
People would think, looking at us, that we do great. A 'modest' 500K in our home and vehicles and additional real estate. And if I had to live under a ROCK to get her to treat me respectfully FULL TIME...
Ohhhhh, the cheating phase? Yes, approaching our 3rd year together, I freaked out mentally. I was soooo sure that when I left her (in pursuit of a woman who I've seen get her nose broken by her live-in boyfriend - I realize this would never have lasted) that I would never come back. But I did. And because I felt so 'worthy' and 'noble' when I was with the other woman, when that fizzled, I went looking again. And, the change in the wife's behavior was temporary. It wasn't until I realized that for many reasons, I had to make a decision as to whether to stay or leave.
I thought she would change. I was SOOOO IN LOVE before, and I wanted it back.
And she did - a little. Again, abuse doesn't dissipate, it just changes forms. Until now I thought 'well this attitude and action isn't as bad'. The clubbing me REDUCED, but clubbing in the other sense INCREASED dramatically (more later).
I stopped the cheating. I even confessed to what I had done with no requested detail coveted. I thought I could 'regain my honor'. I just could not live with myself. Funny thing, right when I made the decision to stop, she started... and with women. This was revealed the other day during a 'deep convo'. 10 years have passed since she mentions the first time, and last week Sunday the most recent. All this unraveled when I caught her with her finger between her friends wet ones at the end of a pool party at the house last summer.
Now, you might say 'Well that's what you deserve'. My response is TRY LIVING THROUGH WHAT I'VE LIVED THROUGH BEFORE YOU JUDGE!!! Really, I felt she would cheat in return, but I also felt like it was unfair for her to do it. People (or more directly 'she') would say "That's what YOU did, its what YOU wanted, none of that is my responsibility." When I look back (which she refers to as 'living in the past' although the past is just a watered down 'version of the present day') - I can't help but ask myself why I am still here? And she takes ABSOLUTELY NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR "What I did", or why I have these feelings or NOTHING - this is NOT meant to be a paraphrase. I cant really say its because we were arguing at the time, her behavior shows it to be her thoughts on the matter.
Arguments and disagreements... Sure, bring them on. But with her it can be scary. I consciously move around so I can be in 'jump back space' whenever it gets bad. I shake, I feel like I'm going to keel over and die at those times... not because of the topic at hand, but because I KNOW if I say something that pushes her over my glasses might get knocked off my face. And she likes to get IN my face on top of that.
I've let her use my deepest fear of losing my family (or what I could salvage) against me, personal guilt and all. Nowadays 'I'm crazy'... she once had me take a piss test for crack.
Then, I get "Hey you just watch, we're going to be rich".
Then I get "You're right. I DON'T respect you. You know why...?"
That will eventually be followed by why I suck at this or that and didn't finish college or nurture a successful business idea.
The whole while defending myself with "Plenty of people don't have degrees" and then "I thought this argument was about.... NOT my college degree" "I beat Bush in the tech arena" crying bull.
That's followed by the whole "How my failure to complete college relates to my inability to keep a job or 'handle responsibility'; always dwelling in the past"
Followed by how she is so 'positive' and spiritual and how I only think of the negative
Finally, if it's not a "SCREW YOU TOO" attitude floating around, I MIGHT get "Well... I DO want to go out tonight though baby" - This is the last straw for me... its been 10 years of Friday Saturday and possibly Sunday nights out until 6-7AM.
This is the closest (writing this post I mean) I've come to professional help since our failed marriage counseling sessions of which - they are right - not only was a waste, but MADE THINGS WORSE ('We've been there' type attitude).
The abusee lives in the past, because the abuser will always be abusive. The roles DON'T change. The abusee, if NOW capable for whatever reason, gathers the inner-strength to free themselves, that's what will happen. They have to be strong enough to STAY GONE. Otherwise, you WILL become dependent on the abuser, because they instill the thought that you cant make it without them. You will feel USED UP. TRAPPED. As a man, I guarantee you will hurt her badly if she doesn't get you first.
For like the Nth time, they WON'T, they CAN'T make that change. It's THEM and part of WHO THEY ARE. MAYBE when they meet the next potential mate, it will be better controlled. But if you've been in it as long as I have, I feel its unrecoverable. I hate my marriage and resent what its done to me (and her, believe it or not) over the years. I'll be 35 soon and I'm just getting TOO OLD FOR THIS CRAP.
I try to sit back and go over all the things considering abuse. Our modern world has it's good points and bad, and people are very stressed out these days ... no job security, great pay fluctuations, trying to buy a house, trying to keep your house and raising kids. It's tough! When the pressure hits some people over and over again and they never seem to get a break tempers can fly. It's tough being "all things" to your mate and none of us are perfect. Words can be said we don't mean or even a slight push during an argument. At some point in EVERY person's life and for what they consider survival instincts they will use a person to a degree by picking that person's weak points and aiming right for it. We have all been there at least once whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not. Most of us move on from this, but many do not and thus, the abuser is born.
If you live with an abuser, but they are not physically abusive (therefore there isn't much to fear, but having your feelings hurt from miserable comments directed at you or embarrassing moments around family and friends) then that survival instinct will kick in sooner or later and the abused person will fight back. This is a no win situation and by fighting back you have to stoop to the level of your abuser and thus, you become not only the victim of mental abuse, but also an abuser yourself. Abusers have a lot of self control issues going on in their heads and percieve the world differently than many of us do and so it's his/her way and no other way. You can't change an abuser yourself and unless they are willing to seek out professional help they will never change.
It's best to leave an abuser before you become one yourself.
Well being in an abusive relationship myself and not coming from any previous consistently abusive environments--it was hard for me to recognize the relationship as abusive. It started out very subtely and eventually become very blatant and physical to myself and to my child--that is when I had enough!!!!
I agree with the previous person that we all do and say things we regret later--but most of us recognize it and go forth with apologizing and making amends. It is the abuser who doesn't recognize their behavior as such and will live in denial. They are seeking to obtain control in just about every facet of their partner's life and in doing so they are destroying the relationship and their partner's self esteem. They are more concerned with their own needs and desires and cannot/do not express individuality, automony, or separateness from their partner.
So, to finally answer your question: I don't believe one can be and abuser and an abusee. Since abuse is generally all about control and power over an abuser and abusee cannot coexist. If one were and abusee they are not seeking power/control. However, one who has continually been abused may take on abusive behavior themselves, especially toward their abuser and even in other relationships. Although this is inappropriate behavior and response--Abuse perpetrates abuse---generally. Now, I am not condoning that type of response seeing as we all have choices of how we will behave/speak/think/act.
God Bless