Blame The Victim: When The Abused Becomes The Abuser

Sexual abuse is a term that is used for what is more accurately named -the betrayal of a minor by an adult who is in a position of authority with the child, who exploits his own and the victim’s sexuality to empower himself by dominating the physical, psychological, and spiritual experiences of the victim.

This in itself is the mindset behind the excuse to give a rationale to what the abusers would call “age of consent’. They do not view a child as a child, in the legal definition, but one of a tool to use utterly; they do not discriminate when it comes to age and feel that the child, no matter the age, has lead them on and caused the seduction. That the child is fully aware of their seductive actions and it is the victim who is to blame-not themselves.

“Victim identity is focused on damages suffered at the hands of other people. The desire to be identified as a victim creates a sense of entitlement and a motive to devalue anyone who does not offer special recognition and validation of victim status or compensation for it.” says Steven Stosny, PhD.

The psychology of why- might be told in three parts: two points are psychological, one is bio-chemical.

1: They believe they deserve it, they believe they are bad.

2: They become abusers because they have been taught that the bigger bully is who gets what he or she wants. He doesn’t learn from being abused-not to abuse-just the opposite. He learns that the abuser is the one that people give into; he gets what he wants by sheer threat. They do not know or understand how to place themselves in other people’s places or positions.

3: It is also not only a psychological effect but a physiological one, as it actually damages and stunts neuron-development.

He also goes on to say,“That research and clinical experience clearly indicates that abusers are likely to:  Under report, hide, minimize or justify their abusive behavior. Describe themselves as victims. Feel abused when their partners disagree with them or don’t do what they want. Label behavior as abusive and manipulate-deceive. Use negative labels such as; crazy, irrational, hysterical, psychotic, etc. They have difficulty in describing others perspectives. Shows little or no compassion and exhibits self-righteousness”.

New research is looking into reversing traumatic experiences in childhood  in hopes that many abused children may overcome these experiences. Studies show that a high number of troubled adults were abused in childhood. About one-third of abuse victims will become abusers.

The profile of a sex offender…the ultimate narcissist, whose needs are more important than the victim’s. The child’s needs are not placed above their own, the narcissist can only gratify himself, then justifies these feelings to himself or others. The burden of secrecy is placed upon the victim, keeping the secret, either through coercion or blackmail that is part and parcel of the sex offender’s manipulation and grooming.

Women and children are too often blamed for being provocative, seductive, suggestive, or just plain asking for it.

The sex offender is concerned about his or her own desperate needs. Sexual gratification is met at the expense of the child and the child is an object to be used for them. The child has no voice, is manipulated and controlled. Because child sexual abuse is oddly done with affection, the attention is disingenuous.

The basis of narcissism is a total lack of empathy. Narcissists do not see or realize the impact their behavior has on others. They do not step into someone else’s shoes, they only see their own needs. Their sense of entitlement is paramount. This is why you will hear mental health professionals say that sex offenders are difficult to treat and that narcissists are treatment failures. Narcissists typically blame the victim.

 Secrecy however, is the basis of sexual abuse. Most predators use secrecy by suggesting that the victim will be blamed for the abuse and then taken from his/her home and placed in child custody. They tell their victims that reporting the abuse would destroy the life of the abuser or the abuser will harm him/her or members of his/her family. Sexual abusers may also blame the victim, accusing him/her of seducing the predator, thus filling the victim with shame and self-loathing. In a more covert operation of secrecy, the abuser provides the victim with gifts and special privileges that both silence and instill long lasting guilt. Such as in the case of Jerry Sandusky.

The sexual abuse survivor may act on an elevated sense of self that is greedy, grandiose, and an overwhelming sense of entitlement, an element of self that remains for a long time. There comes a day in every survivor’s recovery when he fully understands what was taken from him. Future growth and healing requires that the survivor mourn the childhood or adolescence that never was, the doting caretakers who never existed, and perhaps most sadly, the self that could have been, had trust and hope, not been ripped out from beneath them.

If the abused child’s cognitive functioning is severely damaged by sexual abuse, his life is even more impaired. The brain can no longer regulate emotions because the neuro-chemicals have been disrupted. The child may engage in irrational behaviors like temper tantrums or withdrawal. They have been victimized twice over, both in emotional/physical damage and neurologically.

Because of the damage done by sexual abuse, a once normal brain now becomes a neurologically dysfunctional brain, adult survivors often need psychotropic medications for periods of time during recovery. For some, their impairments are severe enough to require lifelong medication.

However damaging the abuse is, there still is a conscious choice in their anger and need to have power over and dominate someone. That is a choice.

PhD. Stosny, Steven. “Anger In The Age Of Entitlement”. Psychology Today 15 May 2009

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