Society has many misconceptions of what kind of person becomes the victim of domestic violence. Seeing as October is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month I thought I would discuss the common traits of a typical victim.
I held many of the common judgements of abuse victims all through my 20’s and 30’s; I can remember saying things like:
- “A man would only ever hit me once.”
- “If a man ever hit ME, I would be out of there so fast his head would be spinning.”
- “She must provoke him.”
- “It can’t be that bad if she keeps going back.”
- “It would never happen to me, I am too independent.”
I felt sorry for a victim of domestic abuse but I also thought she was weak, co-dependent, needy, and to be honest; not too smart.
By the time I was in my 30’s, 40’s, I felt immune to domestic abuse, I was self supporting, independent, confident, a homeowner, had a good job, AND I had never been in an abusive relationship. (I took shit from no man and could live without a man in my life better than most women)
When I met my ex I couldn’t believe my good fortune to meet a true sweetheart, someone who could talk openly about his feelings, who called when he was late, who couldn’t get enough of me and loved me just the way I was. He never got angry, we had so much in common, he had a great sense of humor and although he seemed like he was a little too sensitive and loved me more than I loved him; I had always been told by men I was too independent and I made the conscience decision allow a man to take care of me.
Little did I know 10 years later I would fear for my life and leave him with nothing, not even my self respect.
Take this quick quiz to see if you have the traits of a typical abuse victim.
- Are you honest and trust worthy?
- Do you believe everyone deserves a second chance and can change?
- Are you a romantic at heart?
- Do you have high morals standards?
- Are you self sufficient and independent?
- Do you have a good job?
- Are you attractive?
- Fed up with men taking you for granted?
- Are you always there for your friends?
- If you say you are going to do something, do you follow through?
- Are you empathetic and intuitive; picking up on the emotions and moods of the people around you?
- Are you willing to admit you are wrong and try to change?
- Do you seem to instinctively know what people need and want?
- Are you generous and charitable?
- Have you been told you are too sensitive your whole life?
- Do you put the needs of others before your own?
- Do you try to resolve problems calmly and rationally?
- Do you believe relationships take work and if you love someone you don’t abandon them at the first sign of trouble?
- Do you believe everyone has a good side?
Who wouldn’t want to be described to have these traits? It doesn’t matter how many of the traits you answered yes to, because there is no typical victim, they come in all ages, races, economic backgrounds, they are lawyers, doctors, cleaning ladies and stay at home moms, they are grandmothers, and teenagers. No one is immune.
The things that led to me staying with my ex was my belief that I was immune to domestic abuse and that I was too strong and independent to ever let a man control me.
If we are to ever end domestic abuse we must dispel the erroneous stereotypes we have assigned the victims of abuse.
Narcissists generally do not want a weak needy woman, there is no challenge; the ego boost (narcissistic supply) comes from breaking a strong woman.
For years people thought women stayed because they needed the man to support them, so women fought for equal rights, equal pay, and they hold high paying power positions. Women now need a man less than ever in history and yet the stats for domestic abuse are not going down. In Canada, every 4 days a woman is killed by a family member and every 6 days a woman dies at the hands of her intimate partner. One in 4 women will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime. THAT is despicable!
Your best defense against ever becoming a victim of narcissistic abuse is knowledge, knowledge is power. Share your knowledge with others, not to expose your abuser, there is no way you can warn every woman he will end up dating and it just makes you look bitter and vengeful. If you want to end domestic abuse, educate society whenever the opportunity arises, educate our young women.