Part of my trouble dealing with this issue is wondering how my best friend could turn on me like Richard did.
Stockholm Syndrome can explain it. From a blog by Jennifer Kesler about the Hillary Adams video:
If you’re wondering how a woman could get to the point of helping her husband beat their child, you need to understand this: when you’re living with someone who gets that violent anytime anyone stands up to him, you don’t stand up to him.
You either become very passive, or you become his collaborator in hopes of mitigating the damage. That’s what we’re seeing here – a mitigating collaborator.
The mother calmly agrees with every argument the judge makes, because arguing with him would only escalate his temper. She takes over the beating not because she enjoys it – that’s clear from her demeanor – but because she’s hoping it will lessen his anger and protect Hilary from his more painful lashes.
Several times she says “That’s en…” and stops herself because that constitutes standing up to him. As hard as it is to stomach, this is clearly a woman doing the best she can under circumstances that are as FUBAR as any war situation. —Hillary Adams: child abuse on film
There’s also the FOG (Fear, Obligation and Guilt) in which spouses of abusers are often kept. Richard’s betrayal of me, even his intimidation of my husband for sticking up for me, could be seen as all part of trying to pacify his raging wife.
So I do hope that one day, he’ll come out of that FOG and realize just what he did, and come to us to make amends. But there would still be the separate issues of threatening my husband several days earlier, which had nothing to do with Tracy, and nearly killing his daughter.
Hubby and I don’t know what we’ll do if he does come to us trying to make amends. We decided we would just play it by ear.
There has been no church for a couple of weeks as my priest has been on vacation, so there have been no more surprises, no anxieties. But this weekend, church starts up again, and as I do every time I go to church, I’ll be checking the parking lot for Richard and Tracy’s vehicle.
The initial shock, dismay and sadness stirred by seeing Richard again, has dissipated, and once again I feel anger at him for his abusive behaviors. I want him far from me; I feel calmer.
I want to fight for the end of abuse of all kinds, of child abuse, of domestic violence; I read articles on people who did far less to their kids, but still ended up with jail time, or five years probation, and wonder, Why isn’t Richard in jail???!!!
I don’t want him to show up again like he did a couple of weeks ago and put me back in that dark place of depression and missing him. I don’t want to miss him.
I want to remember him as a narcissist, Svengali and child abuser who duped me into believing all sorts of things that weren’t true, not as my BFF and spiritual mentor.
Seeing him brings it all back again and rips open the wound. And if he had any sensitivity at all, he’d realize this.
The simple fact of the matter is, vaguely saying he blames himself for everything does not count as an apology for his violence or his betrayal, especially since right after he said this, he blamed me for Tracy’s verbal abuse, and lied to me, twice.
There are many who say that forgiveness is for when the offender asks for it. When has he ever asked for it? When has Tracy ever asked for it? If they do not seek forgiveness from me, then I want them out of my life completely, leaving me in peace.
It is often easier for outsiders to see what’s going on because they’re not caught in the disorienting and invalidating mists of an emotional FOG.
To a mom, dad, sister, brother or best friend, it can be as clear as day, but when you have your mouth wrapped around the exhaust pipe of the Crazy Fogger 3000 night and day, it’s no wonder you can’t see the forest for the trees.
For anyone who’s ever walked or driven in atmospheric fogs, you know that being in a fog can play perceptual tricks on you. –Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, More Thoughts on FOG, Hoovers and No Contact When Ending a Relationship with a Narcissist, Borderline, Histrionic and/or Sociopath
The combination of “Stockholm Syndrome” and “cognitive dissonance” produces a victim who firmly believes the relationship is not only acceptable, but also desperately needed for their survival. The victim feels they would mentally collapse if the relationship ended.
In long-term relationships, the victims have invested everything and placed “all their eggs in one basket”. The relationship now decides their level of self-esteem, self-worth, and emotional health.
For reasons described above, the victim feels family and friends are a threat to the relationship and eventually to their personal health and existence.
The more family/friends protest the controlling and abusive nature of the relationship, the more the victim develops cognitive dissonance and becomes defensive.
At this point, family and friends become victims of the abusive and controlling individual. —From “Love and Stockholm Syndrome” by Dr. Joseph M. Carver, PhD