Reblog: When the Abuse Victim Becomes the Abuser’s Ally

John Crippen has just posted on Unholy Charade about abuse victims who help their abuser abuse others:

When the Abuse Victim becomes the Abuser’s Ally

What he writes of is just what I went through with Richard and Tracy.  I could never be entirely sure if Richard was just as abusive of Tracy as he told me she was of him.  There were indications that he could be just as nasty with her, that he himself was a narcissist.  But I can be sure of the abuse I witnessed from Tracy to other people, not just Richard, not just the kids, but other people they knew as well–even friends!

And one of those victims of Tracy’s abuse, “Todd,” experienced the same phenomenon I did: Even though Tracy was the one abusing Todd, Richard stood beside his wife’s abuse and then began abusing Todd as well.  Same thing happened when anyone–me, Todd, some other friend–complained about being abused by Tracy: Richard would stand by Tracy and help her abuse the person.

Pastor Crippen describes this exact same phenomenon, an abuse victim helping the abuser so much that it’s no longer clear who the real abuser is.  He explains that he is NOT talking about abuse victims who keep quiet out of fear of crossing the abuser, or victims who don’t understand what’s going on, but about abuse victims who are themselves mean and nasty to other people.  He describes, for example, a case in which the husband is patriarchal and abusive, but the wife herself targets and reviles the same people her husband does.  If anyone calls out her husband for his abuse, she speaks up and defends him and then holds a grudge against that person.

It was very hurtful to Todd when Richard did this to him; Richard then acted like Todd was the abusive one and that he was overreacting when he cut off relations with Richard over it.  He then went to Todd’s web forum and screwed it up, letting Todd blame it on a resident troll.

It was also very hurtful to me when Richard kept defending his wife’s abuses of me over and over again.  It was hurtful when she burst out at me in narcissistic rage one day, and he–instead of being apologetic and privately letting me know that she was wrong and misunderstood the situation and that he didn’t agree with her–participated actively in her abuse of me.  He also raged at my husband for sticking up for me, because my husband could see that I didn’t deserve what was happening.  When this happened, I felt so betrayed by Richard–yet when we cut off relations with them over it, they acted like we were overreacting.  Just like they did with Todd.

It felt like being on the playground with bullies making fun of me and raging at me, while I’m all alone, because there were two of them and this usually happened when they had me by myself.  With Todd, they made the disagreement public, and pulled in as many people as they could to help them abuse him.  With me, I know of at least one person they pulled in to their side, telling her lies to make her think that *I* was the abuser.  So instead of recognizing that I was legitimately complaining about how I’d been abused, she participated in the abuse, and became part of society’s problem of victim-blaming.

It’s triangulation, a tactic which abusers use on their victims, whether bullying, or domestic abuse, or spousal/romantic partner abuse, or whatever type of abuse.  It’s meant to convince the victim that she deserves what she’s getting, that the abuser is acting normally, that he’s the martyr dealing with her toxicity.

And when an abuse victim helps his or her spouse bully someone else, this is active participation in triangulation.  It’s frightening and confusing for the victim, who oftentimes is not equipped to speak up in his or her own defense.

I couldn’t understand it because Richard knew Tracy was abusive–he told me about it often–and told me even with her standing right there that friends would break off relations with HIM because they couldn’t handle HER.  Yet when she started raging at someone, he would step right in there and help HER.

Pastor Crippen writes:

These kind, sadly, are beyond help. I don’t presume to know completely what makes them tick, but in some way they have made the decision that the benefits of “standing by their man” outweigh the costs of exposing his abuse and leaving him.

This is a helpful post if you’ve been exposed to such behavior.  It helps me because I see that the baffling behavior I witnessed in Richard, does happen now and then.  It’s not unique to that situation, so it may have some psychological explanation (Crippen has a few ideas).  It validates me for statements I’ve made here before, that it’s wrong to stick up for and “support” your spouse when they’re abusing someone else.

Crippen both warns against getting close to an abuse victim who helps their own abuser–they’ll be “one of the angriest and harshest people you ever get sideways of”– and warns against becoming one yourself.

 

 

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It’s Stop Cyberbullying Day #StopCyberBullying #CyberBullies #CyberBullyingStories

I post this as a victim of cyberbullies myself:

  1. the trolls as described here, who also have been relentlessly cyberbullying somebody else for a few years now, and started cyberbullying me out of mistaken identity–yet kept stalking and harassing me until I finally found and blocked them all; these are frightening trolls who try to get into your real life and contact your friends, who have even tried to find their regular target’s house
  2. my stalkers Richard and Tracy, who have been keeping an eye on me for SIX YEARS now, trying to intimidate me into silence about how they have abused me, each other, their kids, and many others as well
  3. going way back, this chick on a BBS who cyberbullied a lot of people

It’s great to see this Stop Cyberbullying Day, which I learned about from a William Shatner tweet.  Just like the #MeToo movement, let’s get #StopCyberBullying trending and share our stories.

I’ll leave the comments open for people who want to share their stories–but no trolling is allowed.

Click on the badge to go to the Cybersmile website, with resources on cyberbullying.

Reblog: When the Abuse Victim Becomes the Abuser's Ally 1

 

 

 

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Reblog on toxic troll culture online–and rise of Trump

I recommend Kali Holloway’s The Toxic, Bullying Troll Culture Has Made Much of the Internet Dangerous; Just Perfect for Donald Trump’s Political Rise.

It’s about the rise of dangerous trolling on the Net–no longer “just for lulz”–and how it’s contributed to the rise of Trump as well.  This is because of the increasing acceptance in the modern “troll culture” for misogyny, racism, neo-Naziism, and the like.

For example:

“In a sense, we’ve managed to push white nationalism into a very mainstream position,” one anonymous white nationalist and Trump supporter told Olivia Nuzzi, writing at the Daily Beast. “Trump’s online support has been crucial to his success, I believe, and the fact is that his biggest and most devoted online supporters are white nationalists. Now, we’ve pushed the Overton window. People have adopted our rhetoric, sometimes without even realizing it. We’re setting up for a massive cultural shift.”

This, by the way, is one main reason why I do not allow comments on this website.  It cuts off conversation, yes, but it also keeps out the trolls, especially on a site which discusses my own experiences of abuse and harassment.

I’ve seen plenty of this kind of behavior online, and now see the neo-Nazis all over the place on Youtube while researching WWII.  I used to hang out on gaming sites and in IRC chats with my now-ex-friend Richard; the behavior I saw there was deplorable, but constant.  It’s a main reason why I don’t hang out there anymore, or on forums like 4chan.

The following reminded me of Richard’s claim that my experience of sexual harassment from his online friends wasn’t “real” and that I was being ridiculous and just needed to “get over it”:

“The thing that’s so bizarre is this demarcation, IRL, in real life, versus some otherwise place known as the internet,” Phillips told me. “The thing about real life is that it pretty much subsumes everything. It’s not that the line is fuzzy. There is no line, and it makes no sense for there to be a line other than the fact that it’s often used as a post hoc justification for certain people’s terrible behavior.

“It becomes part of a sort of apology: ‘I didn’t actually hurt your feelings because I said it to you online.’ What the hell does that even mean? It’s just a way of perpetrators to hide behind technologies and language to justify them doing whatever it is they feel like doing that the rest of us apparently have to deal with.”

“Just because something happens in an online space doesn’t mean that it isn’t fundamentally connected to that person’s embodied identity and experience,” Phillips added. “Of course it is. You can’t go online if you don’t have a body.”

When trolls patronizingly suggest their targets become thicker skinned, avert their eyes from the torrents of abuse or simply step away from the computer, they’re attempting to diminish the very real consequences their bad—in some cases and states, criminal—behavior has on real people.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” Phillips told me. “That you can just choose not to react emotionally and maybe if you weren’t so emotional then you wouldn’t be having these problems, so stop complaining. This is ultimately about you being too emotional.

“Think about the preponderance of this abuse that’s targeted specifically toward women and queer people and people of color. It’s very easy or comparatively easy for a white dude to be like, ‘Well then, just don’t take offense to racism.’ It becomes a mechanism of controlling, trying to police those sort of emotive boundaries of groups that have very real and embodied reasons for getting pissed off when they have to deal with certain kinds of content.”

I highly recommend this post.

 

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