08 August 2007

The Abuse is The Point

Patricia Evans, Tim Field, and others have clearly observed that most targets of physical, emotional, or psychological abuse - whether at home, at work, or at worship - share a common and very simple desire.

They just want the abuse to stop.

They just want the relationship - whether professional, civic, faith-based, or romantic - "to be the way it was" before the abuse began.

The heartbreaking truth of the matter is that for the abuser, the abuse is the point of the relationship. It was, is, and will always be the only context in which the abuser prefers to relate to his or her 'chosen one'.

The abuse will never stop, because it is why the relationship exists.

Abusers are predators. This is true whether the abuse is physical, emotional, or psychological. It is true whether the abuser is a seven-year-old playground bully, a fifteen-year-old 'mean girl', a thirty-year-old office manager, or a fifty-year-old 'church lady'. It is completely unrealistic to expect a predator to feel warmth, affection, or any other nurturant emotion towards their prey. A predator does not care that its prey is injured in the process of being preyed upon. That is what prey is for.

Human beings, being predators in the sense that we developed as both hunters and gatherers, have an advantage over other prey. Because we are all potential predators, we can learn to see and think enough like those who prey on us to make it possible for us to recognize and escape the traps they set.

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