Thursday Thought — Is the Abuser Jekyll or Hyde
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Matthew 7:15-18
Sometimes victims liken their abusers to the character, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, of Robert Stevenson’s book titled Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And understandably so. One moment abusers can be nice and even enjoyable to be around — a regular Dr. Jekyll. The next moment…Bam…Mr. Hyde returns.
The confusion that the flip flopping between nice guy and bad guy creates is emotionally exhausting and psychologically damaging to victims. We are constantly having to wonder who will he be today? And maybe we even ask ourselves, “What can I do to make the good side last longer? Pray more? Submit more? After all he has a good side, right?”
Wrong! An abuser isn’t simply a good side or a bad side. The good that an abuser exhibits, like the bad, is a carefully calculated attempt to manipulate and control.
We need to dis-attach from the idea that “making the good side last longer” is the goal. If we believe that the “good side” is a tactic of control, then cultivating the fruit of Mr. Good guy, without uprooting the self-centeredness, entitlement, and desire for control will only produce a polite abuser, a new Hyde as it were.
The good that an abuser exhibits is a facade, a mask, a carefully calculated attempt to manipulate and control.
So, who is the abuser, really?
(We would like to thank the Rev Chris Moles for help with the wording of this post.)