At The Band we understand that sometimes, we need answers to questions that we can’t ask our friends and loved ones. Sometimes, we need to crowdsource an idea.
This is his question, and I’d love you guys to try to help him understand.
I am a man in my forties and I just saw a couple of my house guests who were probably in their twenties: a man and a woman.
The woman seemed stressed and uncomfortable (maybe it was the party?) and I observed her picking on her boyfriend for over an hour. I don’t mean beating or hitting him, I just mean she was emotionally abusive. She escalated her insults, mocked him, and made sure to push all of his buttons.
Until he backhanded her across the face.
After she was slapped, she was relaxed and visibly more calm, and more pleasant.
I cannot understand this kind of behavior; why would someone want to be abused?
Can someone want to be abused?
Can anybody enlighten me?
My answer reflects my opinion. Short answer is no. Long answer is, if you look into the cycle of abuse there is a period of buildup before abuse occurs. The victim often knows abuse is coming and may intentionally escalate to bring on the abusive episode when they are “ready”. This may give the victim a sense of control or it may allow them to bring on less severe abuse than would occur in a different situation. Abuse is a pattern of power and control over someone. While it is common for both people to act violently, or have abusive behaviors, usually one person is in control. This is an important question and I’m glad you asked it. So often people just blame the victim (she/he was asking for it etc). Abuse is a complicated issue and it is great that you are making an effort to learn more.