10th November 2018 at 11:24 am #66836BubblegumParticipant
Hi.Is abuse a learnt behaviour ? My Ex husband was definitely abusive he ticked all boxes .In early years as he had been in the military he put his behaviour down to that and that is what carried him with me his excuses for his behaviour.His parents I got on well with them at time .Although my Ex husband did not have the best relationship with his mother he treated quite badly .Over later years I started to pick up on things his mum What I’ve learnt now was a typical (removed by moderator).We fell out few years back due to her Then unbearable behaviour but typical of her she turned her behaviour all in me playing victim.His dad was more whiter but on couple occasions over years you could see he had a temper very old school .Recently my Ex sister the woman who go do no wrong wonderful in my Ex mothers in law eyes .Lost her job due to her bullying behaviour (removed by moderator) traits and this was made very public .So for my Ex husband and his sister to have these traits did they pick it up from there parents as there mother was definitely another (removed by moderator). From anyone’s experience when people treat you badly for what ever reason .Can they always get away with it or not ?
10th November 2018 at 5:32 pm #66844FlowerchildParticipant
I think an awful lot of it is learned by example, Bubblegum. When we are small, our family is our world and absorb scripts for relationships. You could almost look at it as choreography.
But what is learned can be unlearned, of people want to change. The change WE need most, I think, is to stop looking at how abusers got that way and focus instead on ourselves and how it impacts on us. Even if you knew for sure why your ex behaved as he did, it woukdn’t make it any easier to endure and it certainly wouldn’t make it OK.
It’s useful to understand how to help our own children not to go that way, perhaps, but if it leads to us minimising or tolerating treatment we don’t deserve, it can trap us into staying. Abusers count on that. Mine had a father and a brother both cut from the same cloth, but my son has broken the pattern!
1st May 2019 at 8:56 pm #77144Anonymous
Personally, I think people put too much faith in learnt behaviors. I think if someone has seen abuse and they have it in them to abuse, then it will make it more likely for someone to abuse. A child may be sexually abused by their father, and see abuse day to day, and become… normalised, but it doesn’t mean that child will grow up into an abuser, people have power enough not to yield to such characteristics and saying people do x because they saw it/lived it, often okays behaviours because “they were forced to live that when they were younger.. or could go the other way and think a mother neglects their kids because they were neglected, and overlook other reasons they may have turned out that way… maybe a abusive person is just that.
I also think that men that say their mums are the problem, yet can’t cut those apron strings…don’t really want to cut them. Maybe people just enjoy dramas, and how each person plays a role in that.
What I have learnt is you must not try justifying other people’s behaviour… just accept it and how that behaviour affects you. If it affects you badly, then take that as a lesson, I guess.
1st May 2019 at 9:39 pm #77154IwantmebackParticipant
Absolutely, but with all things learned, they can be unlearned. In my opinion, A child’s emotional needs haven’t been met, so without that growth the adult still acts like the child they were. As children are nurtured and grow emotionally they learn what behaviours are acceptable and not. That bad behaviour has consequences. An emotionally deprived child hasn’t been given this information, this validation. They repeat what they saw and heard and it becomes normal to them as it was normal in their childhood. It’s probably more in depth than this, but it’s only my opinion really.
1st May 2019 at 10:02 pm #77160
This whole nurture vs nature really fascinates me. As I’m learning about myself, my ex and in particular his mother, I certainly have found traits that are directly related to nurture such as never experiencing any consequence, mother takes care of everything (paperwork, laundry, food, shopping etc.), and the fact that there wasn’t really any space for my ex, never any “this is where we talk about you” moments because everything was always about her. So in that way, he has certainly inherited that trait from his mother. But on the other hand, I thoroughly believe there’s a choice. We cannot blame everything on everyone else, abusers do that enough themselves, so no there is choice because not everyone who had a less than ideal childhood become abusers.
I was stunned when I saw first hand how little consequence my ex got from his mother. He was bullying his sister, calling her names and making fun of her, it was awful and awkward to listen to but he must have called her the same name 20 times. Then his mother told him in a gentle voice that alright I think you’ve said it enough now – rather caringly said actually. To which my ex decided to say that he wasn’t saying anything that wasn’t true. His mother’s reaction was something along the lines of “alright then”. So the bullying carried on. I made the mistake of calling him a bully. That was a bad night, but now thinking back on it so very enlightening as well. Perhaps if consequence was something he had been taught, he might have chosen to act differently.
1st May 2019 at 11:41 pm #77173TiffanyParticipant
I think there is an element of learned behaviour. My ex was abused by his father, who was abused by his father in turn. But to my mind, that just gave them ready access to the “toolkit” as it were. I definitely think that helped my ex in gaslighting me for example. He did it with a level of skill that he must have learned it from a young age
But having access to that toolkit doesn’t necessarily make you an abuser. I have another ex, an all round lovely bloke who just wasn’t a good match for me who also had an abusive father. He took this example and was absolutely determined to choose another path. Just like all the women on this site – we all know how abuse works, how you can convince people who trust you that they are going mad, that their behaviour is unacceptable and that yours is without reproach. But we couldn’t contemplate doing such a dreadful thing to someone else. It is ultimately a choice, where the abuser decides that they are entitled to hurt you because they are more important than their victim. I don’t know how someone gets to that position in life. But it isn’t just having a hard life, or we would be the most horrible group of women imaginable. And we are not.
2nd May 2019 at 9:18 am #77185KOTBParticipant
I too often really wonder about this. My personal view based on my experience is that the males relationship with their mothers is crucial. My first abusive ex hated his mother, blamed her for everything that had gone wrong in his life and showed absolutely no sign of emotion when she passed away. ( Her death was a mere inconvenience to him.)
Then my last abusive ex although was verbally and emotionally abusive to his mum, was at the same time almost sexually jealous of a new relationship she started.
They were both narcissistic misogynists with very toxic views on women.
I don’t know if any DV courses aimed at abusers explore this.
2nd May 2019 at 9:46 am #77190maddogParticipant
My ex holds a very dim view of women. I don’t think anyone really knows exactly what trips people into abuse. It’s a defence mechanism and if abusers were able to look at themselves they would find a very traumatised sad person, unable to cope with the world, unable to have a proper relationship, unable to connect fully with the world. It is what they are. It is who they are.
I think it goes beyond learned behaviour otherwise change would be possible and abusers would leave therapy in a different mind, not with more tools to abuse further. Of course everyone is different and some people can change their behaviour for the better. Most abusers don’t change.
2nd May 2019 at 10:03 am #77194
i was reading about families not that long ago about siblings and their place in the family is who they become. so say there are four siblings – i think this mainly happens in dysfunctional families like mine – you have the golden child – the nurturer the one who is reponsible for every one, the scape goat, the empath. it depends which parent they gravitate too – so boys /girls who identify with the agressor become an abuser. i think we are given a role in child hood and sometimes fall into that role too.i see this through the generations in my own family xx i am definitely the scape goat xx hope this make sense lol x
2nd May 2019 at 10:09 am #77196
i think too and have realised it depend on if that person feels the world ‘owes’ them there sense of entitlement for what ever reason – being spoiled, denied is a driving force a means to an end at all costs – to win in life xx deep lol
2nd May 2019 at 10:11 am #77197
i know this because my ex stupidlt admitted he had to ‘win’ and be top dog how rediculously insecure these men are – and women are less hmm i dont think so! ,much love diymum
2nd May 2019 at 1:36 pm #77210
Oh my days DM you are spot on there. Everything and I mean everything was a competition with my ex. He had to win eeeeeverything. Who planned the best holiday (even if we never went on it) = him = win. Who made the best dinner (to be honest I didn’t mind this one, at least that meant he actually cooked for once) = him = win. Of course then came the dishes, so then even he had just won for making a good meal, now there was a load of mess in the kitchen… Playing games if I started winning more than him = we can never play that game again. Playing on one of his consoles if he stopped winning = throws controller into the wall or at me. Winning on one of his games on one of his consoles = why didn’t you look? I was winning???
Somehow, if we had gone on a walking tour or a tour of a castle or something else on a holiday, it would be his victory because he would have chosen the tour company! Nevermind the guide doing all the work…
2nd May 2019 at 3:55 pm #77217
they have to be bigger and better because inside they are nothing – i remember being told let people by theyre more important than you! this was in the street – i replied why would i do that i dont have an inferiority complex like you. he exploded when we got home – now i know why because i named him INFERIOR thats how they feel deep down and theyre miserable too unless theyre pulling someone else down further than them so they can rise up xx you know it all makes sense xx
2nd May 2019 at 4:30 pm #77221
Yep, makes complete sense. The traits between our exes are so familiar. Mine would yank me out of people’s way (I would have moved or provided space perfectly fine by myself) or constantly tell me to watch where I was going or tell me to “say thanks” when crossing the road on a zebra crossing where cars would be waiting. I once told him “yes I know how to say thank you and am perfectly capable of doing that without you telling me”. I always regretted saying that because of what happened once we got home to our own place, but now I see it was just the real me fighting her way back by popping out now and again with a comment like that.
The thing is, it wasn’t just me he had to put down. He would so often put his colleagues and friends down when telling me about his day. He would very often pick on those that were passing things at work quicker or surpassing him quicker and he would try really hard to mimic the behaviour of the one in charge but often fail and then really complain about him. He would say awful things about them really (and of course he would somehow himself emerge as the hero/victim of his own story!), but if I would then agree with him and say “you know, that behaviour of this or that colleague of yours was really out of order, I can see that” – I’d be talking badly about his friends. How dare I! If I didn’t agree and would say “maybe if you look at it from this angle, you can see it has nothing to do with you/this is why person might have acted like that”, then I wouldn’t be supporting him. How dare I! So just as much as he liked to win, he certainly also went out of his way to make sure I never could.
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