Meet the Malevolent Brothers, ‘Abuse’ and ‘Manipulation’
Suddenly it dawned on me, there is a possible dynamic on the slippery slope, either side of making peace.
The attack phase involves abuse.
The escape phase involves manipulation.
The thesis is this: those who are given to abuse are also given to manipulation, and oh how subtle both can be.
There may be those reading this who may think this is rubbish. Talk to a victim I say. And it’s a possibility that those who think this is rubbish may have the propensity to this condition, or certainly be lenient to those who harbour both brothers in themselves.
The Attack Phase
Those who have been abused know full well that there is an armoury at the disposal of the perpetrator. They have learned to weaponize potentially every opportunity that doesn’t run their way, and those who are the biggest worry are those who calculate exactly when to strike – usually in the strictest privacy for their safety. What renders victims most helpless is the strength of alibi in their perpetrator, and it’s despairing when injustice makes way for applause. So many who are given to abuse are suave beyond catching. Their winsome way often puts them beyond reach of doubt.
The Escape Phase
It’s common for the person who will resort to abuse to seek an escape, especially if their abuse is called for what it is, or it’s resisted. They only have two avenues: more abuse (if they can get away with it) or escape through withdrawal, to put on a pity-party that they’re the ones feeling hurt. To escape to safety is one thing, and that is expected of the one who is abused, but there is an escape predicated from the insidiousness of passive aggressiveness, in that the withdrawal is of itself an act of aggression. The perpetrator of abuse has withdrawal as part of their armoury.
There is a vexing question about those who take and use and even distort their power:
“What is it about power that makes powerful people abuse it without seeming to know that they’re abusing it?”
The question assumes that it’s only ‘powerful’ people who abuse power. But we all have the capacity what power we do have. It’s just such a pity, not to mention how costly it is to our mental and emotional health, that some make sport of abusing the power they have. It happens in workplaces, in marriages, in families, in church, anywhere in life where there’s relationships.
And, as the question says, those who abuse what power they have – meaning they exploit, and bear little empathy within, and have an entitled approach toward, their relationships – don’t seem to connect the dots as to the magnitude of their impact.