I think one of the most overlooked characteristic of abusers seem to be the pattern of behavior they portray. I’m not sure if that is due to the spouse’s reactions to their behavior, or if people just genuinely don’t wish to see it. It is a huge source of frustration to me.
Since every person on this earth is custom for the most part people will have certain aspects of behaviors that can’t come straight off lists you read. One of the aspects that seem to trigger the behavior is their sense of anxiety over something. I realize that anxiety isn’t a comfortable feeling, but we all have some of it to deal with in life. The reason I feel this is their reactions to small mundane things in life.
I remember one story that I was told was about how this woman’s husband loved tortilla chips, and they MUST be round ones! He didn’t want the triangle ones. Now in most cases people wouldn’t have an issue finding those round chips for him. It seems odd, but then again it isn’t worth fighting over. Their daughter one day had gone to the store for them, and was asked to pick up those chips for Dad. She returned with the items from the store, and explained that they were all out of the round chips. She went to the second store, and they didn’t have them either. She made the decision that maybe just this once triangle would have to do for the big football game that afternoon. Sounds reasonable right?
For some reason abusers seem to look at the lack of round chips, and not the effort that was placed into finding them. The family got the speech about how his feelings didn’t matter, and how he works and slaves and all he asks for is ROUND chips! The fact the game was coming on soon, and the daughter knew he would be upset if she was late did come to mind. That wasn’t enough to be excusable. The whole family got to hear that afternoon about how no one cares about him due to the lack of round chips. I’m not saying we aren’t able to have preferences, but most people can also see the reaction was unreasonable.
After the first explosion over the round chips the family followed with a moment of silence. He slams doors, and yells at the dog. More speeches about how no one respects him, and what HE likes and prefers! It was turned around to how he never gets his round chips, and how everyone forgets about what he LIKES! How it’s HIS money that pays for the chips, and how he should HAVE some say on HOW his money is SPENT!
For the most part you don’t want to get in the middle of the man and his rages. At least in their home they had learned. You were better off waiting until he had calmed down a bit, but that resolution wasn’t going to happen. You could bring up the aspects of the uproar later, but it will always be taking the risk of the fuse being relit again!
Hmm. I guess that would be the second aspect of abusers. Resolution isn’t going to happen, because actually owning what they did would also raise their anxiety levels. Some are okay with a quick “I’m sorry” with flowers and candy, but if you feel that is the time to bring it to resolution by talking about the event? You risk trouble once again. They said they are sorry, and if you are smart you don’t push your luck. People state that communication is the most important aspect of relationships, and I’m NOT going to say it’s not important. I think resolution of disagreements is part of that. That is the part they aren’t capable of due to their anxiety levels.
How about we get back to Mr. Chip man! I have to wonder if they realize they are acting like fools, and their anxiety levels tend to get out of controls at that point. If a chip commercial came on during the game you heard snarls. If anyone went NEAR the triangle chips they were given the look of death. If anyone wanted to leave the room for peace they were mocked and ridiculed. “You wouldn’t be uncomfortable if someone would have gotten my DAMN chips! Thank your sister for THIS! Its all her fault!” When sister tries to leave due to being upset, “WAHHHHH! You going to go and cry NOW?”
It doesn’t matter how gentle the rebuke is over that behavior it will land you right back in rage land again. I mean OPPS that anxiety level was lifted once again! You are in trouble if you leave, and in trouble if you stay. The family knows it time to prepare for Hurricane Round Chip! Destruction was coming, and everyone was heading for shelter! Mom steps in to try to stop things from spiraling out of control, but it’s to late. She just stepped on a time bomb, and it’s her turn for the wrath of Mr. Chip man. You think the kids got it bad? Nope. Mom will take the brunt of it now, and worse of it.
Once she leaves or gets run off he will step into his silent mode. He will watch his game HIS way, and lets all PRAY that some noise doesn’t set him off again! As you can imagine the family is reeling. The children are scared, and mother is upset. They sneak off to bed, and hope that Dad is in a better mood tomorrow. Mom may very well have to listen to the speech again softer this time before bed before he wishes to snuggle up to love making session to feel he is given forgiveness. She just wants peace, and is scared to turn him down.
I remember at the end of her story she reminded us that she was no longer married to him, and then giggled about the fact maybe it was the shape that he might CHOKE on! She was attempting to make it humorous towards the end, but her point was how insane the topics are that they choose to rage about.
I’m sure most people would think this is an unusual type of story, but you can replace that CHIP shape and replace with other things and it repeats itself all over this globe. It could be over the next day, or it could go on for weeks. That pattern of behavior can repeat itself every time something new raises an abusers anxiety levels. In my own circumstances similar things would happen if you couldn’t read his mind! I remember a number of times I was brave enough to mention, “When you buy me that crystal ball I have been asking for you wouldn’t have this issue!” My bad I suppose, but it was said out of frustration. You just can’t reason with behavior like that. When you are frightened of them boundaries can be very scary. The story will repeat itself. It’s guaranteed.
When people speak to you about arguments please don't tell them that maybe he just had a bad day. I know you realize that most people DON’T go around slamming cabinets and carrying on over ROUND chips! You think there HAS to be more to the story here! Stop. Think. Listen again. Just before you take this petty item off your list ask some questions to check for the pattern. If you don’t chances are good you won’t be hearing from them again. Most people in those circumstances are to upset or scared to tell you the whole thing. You will get more if you ask.
I'll close with some quotes from Brenda Branson at Broken people.org:
What does a fool look like?
· He is always right. “The way of a fool seems right to him . . .” Proverbs 12:15
· He trusts in his own heart. “He who trusts in himself is a fool.” Proverbs 28:26
· He doesn’t learn from past mistakes, and is chronically foolish. “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” Proverbs 26:11
· He doesn’t want to change. “Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding him like grain with a pestle, you will not remove his folly from him.” Proverbs 27:22
· He will not listen to reason. “Do not speak to a fool, for he will scorn the wisdom of your words.” Proverbs 23:9
· He is motivated by anger. “A fool gives full vent to his anger . . .” Proverbs 29:11
· He is opinionated. “A fool finds no delight in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions.” Proverbs 18:2
· He invites violence. “A fool’s lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating.” Proverbs 18:4
Do you know someone like this? If so, here are some words of wisdom for you.
· Watch who you associate with! “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man; do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.” Proverbs 22:24-25
· Don’t rescue a fool! “A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.” Proverbs 19:19
· Warning—Danger Ahead! “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:22 (The word “harm” means total destruction.)
· Stay away from a fool! “Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool in his folly.” Proverbs 17:12
This type of behavior is typical for the abuser whether they be a man or woman. The family can’t get help if someone doesn’t stop to truly hear what they are saying. They aren’t talking about chips. Ask more questions, and you might be surprised what they are talking about. Could be an anxiety level going hair wire, and going into domestic violence! You could help stop the destruction, once you stop playing those thoughts of how they are fighting over petty things to the side.
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