How does one decide who is the abuser and who is the victim as these seem to flow into one another?
When in the middle of the strife, the lines can be blurred and gray. I know after months of stress and emotional abuse, I would lash out angrily and then be accused of abusive behavior. With some hindsight, and hopefully not too much rationalizing, I can honestly say my intent was never to abuse. I think intent has a lot to do with it. My anger and rants were defensive rather than offensive. Now that the N is out of my life, most of those behaviors don't surface readily. But in the end, I think we're both victims: he with his undiagnosed and highly untreatable disorder, and me, for my codependent participation until I could endure no more.
Hmm, that's how I felt for many years!! I thought perhaps I was abusive as well. Look at the overall pattern and trend not just one incident at a time. I had the silent treatment for weeks, I was asked to leave (and I did for the night) to come back to locks being changed on my house. Everything I had learnt about how to communicate went wrong. We would set a mutual time and date and then he would find something to do instead (usually claiming to be tired). He wouldn't observe the time and date and instead lash out at me before hand and then when our time change--he'd said you're still angry over that! --that's over. He'd tell me right off the hop--he doesn't want to fight before I would express my concern and continue saying that while I was talking. He'd say don't use that tone with me ( like i was a child). He'd literally ignore me but if someone came around he was mr. wonderful again. It is a long and constant path of put-down, snide remarks, walking away, silent treatments, etc that makes you wonder who is the victim. Have no doubt, you are the victim. If you're questioning this, then you've become exactly what he wants--that's to be confused about the situation and surrunder to perhaps you had alot to do with the problem. He's turning it around so that you were at fault. Years of abuse would make you feel that way. Very confused.
I know that I was the victim of my exhusband's abuse for four years. The last year that we were together, I began to "fight back" and at this point, he began acting like the victim!! This was exactly what he wanted! He loved the attention that he got from his family and friends! Always remember that YOU are the victim and don't let him try to make you feel differently! I know that my ex still is trying to play up his "victim" role. See the information on narcissisim and you'll find that this is the way they work. I have found that researching narcissisim and abuse has been very beneficial for my own self-esteem and helping me to remember that HE is the abuser and that I was the victim. Be strong and always go with your instincts!!
What is the hidden truth behind these persons????
Stalkers and the Borderline Personality
The Borderline Personality
In recent years psychologists have learned about and done case studies on a new personality disorder which the DSM-III-R classifies as an Axis II disorder- the Borderline Personality . This classification includes such personality disorders as the Anti-social Personality, the Histrionic Personality and the Narcissistic Personality. Several psychologists (including myself) diagonosed my stalker as afflicted with the Borderline Personality. Characteristic of the Borderline (derived from research done by Kreisman & Straus, 1989) are:
a shaky sense of identity
sudden, violent outbursts
oversensitivity to real or imagined rejection
brief, turbulent love affairs
frequent periods of intense depression
eating disorders, drug abuse, and other self-destructive tendencies
an irrational fear of abandonment and an inability to be alone
Not much research has been done on the Borderline Personality, and for many years it was difficult to diagnose- and to treat. A Borderline often feels as though his/her life is marked with a distinctive emptiness; a void in which a relationship often acts to fill. Many times the Borderline is a victim of an early dysfunctional family situation and/or emotional/physical abuse by those he/she trusted early on in childhood.
The Borderline is psychotic , in the original, psychological meaning of the term: he/she is not in control and not in touch with reality. To the Borderline, a softly spoken word of advice can be construed as a threat on his/her emotional stability. An outsider's viewpoint that the Borderline is not in touch with reality often ends in a bitter and irrational dissassociation from the outsider on the part of the Borderline. Often, the Borderline ends up very much alone and victim to his/her disillusions.
The Borderline stalker is very apt to see his/her actions as perfectly justified; he/she has paranoid disillusions which support these-often with disturbing frequency. The Borderline often has brief love affairs which end abruptly, turbulently and leave the Borderline with enhanced feelings of self-hatred, self-doubt and a fear that is not often experienced by rational people. When the Borderline's relationships turn sour, the Borderline often begins to, at first, harass the estranged partner with unnecessary apologies and/or apologetic behavior (i.e. letters of apology 'from the heart', flowers delivered at one's place of employment, early morning weeping phonecalls, etc.). However, the Borderline does not construe his/her behavior as harassment- to the Borderline he/she is being 'responsible' for his/her past behaviors.
The next phase of the Borderline Personality develops relatively quickly and soon he/she feels suddenly betrayed, hurt, etc. and seeks to victimize the estranged partner in any way he/she can Strangely enough, this deleterious behavior is always coupled with a need to be near or in constant contact with the estranged partner . While sending threats to the estranged partner, it is very common for the Borderline to begin to stalk his/her estranged partner in an effort to maintain contact. This effort is motivated by the excruciating fear that the Borderline will end up alone and anger that [the estranged partner] has put him/her in this position. We are finding, in many cases, that a great deal of stalking behavior is associated with Borderline or related personality disorders. Earlier research did not incorporate the Borderline Personality in stalking profiles; research now is beginning to focus on the Borderline in such disorders as Erotomania, etc.