If someone says “I’m a victim of abuse” our current social thinking seems to be, “that means it is true,” but the truth is, that many offenders mask themselves as “victims” who are only “defending themselves.” The wife who kills her husband, who she says is abusive, or the girl who gets pregnant and screams “rape” when in fact the sex was consensual.
While “trauma bonding” (Stockholm Syndrome) is definitely a factor in some people staying in abusive relationships when they truly are abused, there are also many relationships in which both parties are abusers, and the “loser” in any particular fight poses themselves as a victim. They posit that position to elicit sympathy and “help” from others when in fact, they truly have been as much abuser as victim.
There are all kinds of “statistics” to support the “fact” that men are the main abusers, that they are the pedophiles and sexual criminals, but unfortunately, when the truth is examined, we find that at least half of the sexual abuse is done by women. Www.female-offenders.com Part of this idea that men are the abusers, the vast majority of abusers, is actually in how sexual activity between older females and younger males is viewed in our society…not as “rape,” which it really is, even if the male is “willing,” but viewed instead as “he got lucky.”
Of course many times both male and female victims of sexual and domestic abuse do not report this abuse, and as well, some who do report “abuse” are lying, and there was no abuse.
In my dealings with “victims” of “abuse” over the years I have come across several people who in the end, showed their true colors, and in fact, they were not “victims” but were actually abusers themselves who had “lost” in their last encounter when their real victim escaped, or when their co-abuser bested them.
How do you tell if someone is truly a victim, or is a pseudo-victim? Well, frankly, the answer is not easy, and certainly there is not a “fool proof” or “quick” way to know. It takes time and observation. Not only that, many will say you are “victim blaming” when you try to expose these pseudo-victims for what they truly are.
My son Patrick presents himself as a “victim” of an abusive childhood…he even used this as his excuse for why he murdered Jessica. He told Jessica’s father, even before the murder, that his mother chased his dad around the house with a butcher knife. He convinced my mother on multiple occasions that I was abusive to him and he needed her to “save him” from me because I wanted him to go to (or stay in) jail/prison. She on the other hand wants to give him unending “second chances” because she just knows that he will reform.
Pathological altruism is the theme of a new book by Dr. Barbara Oakley, entitled Cold Blooded Kindness. Dr. Oakley uses the case of Carole Alden, who killed her husband in cold blood, and then tried to smear him as an abuser and claim self defense to illustrate her case. Fortunately, Carol’s plan didn’t work to get her off, and she went to prison. That didn’t stop her however, from manipulating her children and others into believing that she is a “victim” of both her husband and of the justice system. The evidence of Carol’s life-long lying and manipulation however, belies her contention of “victim hood” for those who look at the evidence outside of her machinations.
Though Carol’s family of origin were and are all pretty typical and “normal” Carol stood out as different from her teenaged years. She married and remarried, had affairs, took in “strays” of both people and animals, manipulated others to get what she wanted, even once telling people her teenaged daughter had breast cancer and that the daughter wanted an emu chick (which at that time were very expensive) and some poor soul donated two chicks to the “daughter” when in fact, it was Carol who wanted the chicks as a money making effort.
Carol “did for others” by taking in drug addict men, alcoholic men, and having affairs with them or marrying them, as she did with her husband. Though he was an alcoholic, was not abusive by anyone’s testimony except Carol’s…and the evidence of the homicide shows that she bought the gun, planned the murder days in advance because he was going to leave her, and that he was shot in the back the first time, then in the top of the head at point blank range as he lay dead or dying, then she tried to bury the body in the back yard.
As Carol’s case shows, the person who is pathologically altruistic and pretends victim hood, when in fact they are, at best, co-abusers, it takes the “whole picture” to see what is actually going on.
However, because of the flawed “research” of various people through the years about domestic violence, there are some legislative actions in place that presume that any who claims to be a victim is “truly innocent” and that all domestic violence is one sided, which, when the evidence is looked at scientifically, is just not so.
The concepts of “co-dependence” and “battered woman syndrome” which took root in the 1990s, with Lenore Walker’s book The Battered Woman Syndrome and other such non-scientifically validated “research” have lead to the point that we must accept without question anyone’s claims to be a “totally innocent” “battered woman.” Dr. Mike McGrath’s research into the methods used to come to Walker’s conclusions show that many of these concepts are in the realm of the way it “felt right” to think that Autism and schizophrenia were caused by poor or abusive parenting when it was believed that a child was born a blank slate on which environment alone wrote.
Walker, in her “research” looked only at women who were battered, not at women who were not battered, or women before they were battered, without a control group. She claimed to have a control group would be “victim blaming.” In fact McGarth saw that Walker’s research completely violated all the scientific principles it claimed to follow. The rules of scientific investigation didn’t according to Walker apply to her research.
Having personally known several pseudo-victims, who were manipulative and pathologically focused, I realize that it takes time and objective observation in order to distinguish the real from the false. In the case of Carol Alden, her symptoms as described in Dr. Oakley’s book, seem to focus more on the symptoms of Border-line Personality Disorder or psychopathy than on a “true” victim. Yet Carol tried to present a public image of altruistic caring. Her rages against those who would contradict her were kept as secret as she could keep them.
I wish there were some “simple” way to distinguish between the person who innocently becomes involved with an abusive offender who showed no red flags of psychopathy and the person who presents as altruistic, when in fact, they are as abusive as the other party. The person who feels justified in “abusing back” for the insults that they have suffered at the hands of their partner creating a gasoline and fire relationship that is doomed to explode, and sometimes resulting in “tissue damage” or death of one of the members.
The fact is that people who have innocently married an abuser, and who try to escape from that relationship, have difficulty doing so. Financial and emotional difficulty, and the problem with co-parenting with these individuals who so willfully violate the rules of both God and man.
Those of us who have given birth to such offenders also have a difficult time emotionally disconnecting from those offenders. I can testify personally to that fact, at least in my case. Carol Alden’s family of origin also had difficulty in disconnecting from her as well, and most of her children still are bonded to her and under her thrall.
I suggest Dr. Oakley’s books, Cold Blooded Kindness, and Evil Genes as excellent texts on dealing with abuse within the family. Dr. Oakley has a sister who is a psychopath, and has also studied the genetic and social impacts that these offenders have on families and on society in general.