What proportion of people are abusive? One percent? Five percent? More?
I haven’t been able to confirm this, but I recently heard of a study that concluded abusers like to think — and say — there are many many more abusers out there than there actually are. This makes the abuser feel normal. It can also serve to demoralize their victims to the point where they will not fight back.
Another thing abusers try to do is isolate their victims. It’s a classic pattern. If they are in a relationship with you, they will usually try to alienate you from your friends and family. They might be hypercritical of anyone you get close to. Or they might throw roadblocks in your way of seeing that person. My second wife, who was abusive, used to oppose the efforts I made to keep in touch with my family. She would do anything from feign illness to start a major fight the day we were to visit them. The only friends we had as a couple were her friends.
Yet, I’ve been wondering whether the internet is making it more difficult for abusers to isolate their victims. I seem to have noticed that at least several people I’m acquainted with are using the internet as a means of finding the support and affirmation that’s missing from their homes.
It may not be a perfect solution, but it seems to give at least some folks a perspective on themselves that counters the abuser’s take on them.
So, what do you think? Are people using the net to circumvent their abuser’s efforts to isolate them? And if so, how effective is it?
Suggested Reading: “Eight Signs of Partner Abuse”.