Why Do Abusers Relentlessly Badger Their Victims?
Recently I was reminded of a very common tactic of the abuser. What to call it? Hounding? Badgering? Let me give you a first hand description of one recent example I know about and it also illustrates another instance that I personally witnessed.
The victim was trying to get her work done – work that benefited the whole family, including her husband. But he would NOT leave her alone so she could do it. He kept at her and kept at her. Why? He kept telling her over and over again that he had changed. That he was now a good husband and doing better. Every so often, he would drop in something like “Now, honey, you really have to admit that you have been wrong too, right?” She would refuse to make that acknowledgment, tell him to go away so she could get her tasks done, but he would not. Then he would go badger the children, asking them if he is really that bad of a father. Then back to his wife again. On and on and on.
What is up with that? What motivates the abuser to badger like this? I think I came across the explanation today as I was reading the same book I mentioned in another earlier post – Trauma and Recovery, by Judith Herman [*Affiliate link]. Here it is –
- …he appears to have a psychological need to justify his crimes, and for this he needs the victim’s affirmation. Thus he relentlessly demands from his victim professions of respect, gratitude, or even love. His ultimate goal appears to be the creation of a WILLING victim. [Emphasis mine]. [END QUOTE]
Abusers are about power and control And what really winds their clock is to obtain TOTAL control, which means obtaining the victim’s very WILL. That means the perpetrator must wear down the victim until she willingly admits that he is justified in what he does, that she has been wrong, and so on.
So it is psychological warfare. It is abuse. It is wickedly deceptive because to the uninformed it looks like he is truly trying, truly repentant, and she is soooo stubborn and hard and cruelly cold.
Don’t fall for that one.
Jeremiah 2:22-24 Though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me, declares the Lord GOD. (23) How can you say, ‘I am not unclean, I have not gone after the Baals’? Look at your way in the valley; know what you have done– a restless young camel running here and there, (24) a wild donkey used to the wilderness, in her heat sniffing the wind! Who can restrain her lust? None who seek her need weary themselves; in her month they will find her.