Most stories about abusive relationships are told from the point of view of the quiet victim. The quiet victim is someone who takes the abuse of their spouses or other family members, because they fear further attacks, or a feeling that they can help the other person change. Another big reason a person stays with someone so aggressive is the attacker succeeds in making him or her feel guilty for the abuse.
The reasons why there are very few stories from an abuser’s point of view are, one, there is no reason, past or present, which excuses their behavior; two, very few people can identify with them. Part of the reason they do what they do is that they feel like victims themselves. They live their lives in fear and denial. They feel powerless, and out of control. Rather than face the humiliation that admitting it would bring, they lash out at anyone or anything, especially someone weaker because it gives them a false sense of power.
When developing an abusive character, whether it’s the main character, or not, you should know some of the signs of an abuser, to keep it accurate.
An abuser will get angry at inanimate objects. If, for instance, the bathroom mirror won’t stay closed, they will slam it several times just because it refuses to stay closed. Or if they are on the computer and the curser starts moving on its own, the person gets angry and throws the computer. Usually, these fits make the problem worse, and the person gets more upset.
They try to make others feel guilty for the pain they caused themselves. This usually results in stupid sayings like, “Now look what you made me do.” or “Apologize for making me hurt myself.” They are always looking for ways to blame other people for their problems. They are never responsible for their own actions.
Another behavior they exhibit is they always shoot down other peoples’ ideas by saying “That’s stupid.”, or “That will never work.”, and my personal favorite, “Your dreams are such a waste of time.” By shooting down your ideas, and dreams, they justify their own laziness, and lack of accomplishment.
They never ask you to do anything, they tell you, usually followed by “Now!” even though they are doing nothing themselves at the time.
Of course, their pet names are always insults, and when you tell them about it, they say, “I was only joking.” The problem with this is they are the only ones laughing.
Any failure on your part to do as they wish will end in some form of injury, whether it’s just a bruise or you end up in the hospital.
These are some of the basic traits of an abuser. There are more specific traits, but they seem to fall under one or more of these categories. Whatever excuses they come up with, it all boils down to cowardice, and panic, just like a cornered animal.
This is the second blog of negative characters to create conflict. I hope this helps.
Challenge: continue observing people and writing down characteristics. Don’t forget to make a file for good characteristics, and one for the bad. They will always come in handy.