During my sessions, people often ask, “Do abusers realize they’re in the wrong?” It’s comforting for some to dig deeper into the mind of an abuser, but even seasoned experts can’t always agree on this.
Here’s the deal: regardless of what an abuser thinks or knows, abuse is never okay. Everyone’s accountable for their actions, and no excuse justifies mistreatment. That’s crucial for everyone, especially survivors, to understand.
Many abusers act out because they crave control, perhaps due to feeling powerless in their own lives. Maybe they had tough childhoods, and sadly, there’s a strong link between being abused young and becoming an abuser later on.
That’s why some people tell me they “pity” their abusers, saying, “it’s not their fault they are like this” Now, feeling for someone is fine, but always remember: no backstory makes abuse okay.
Also, some abusers, especially those with big egos or certain personality issues, love stirring the pot. They get a kick from creating messes for others. And though not every abuser fits the narcissist label, many do show signs of personality issues (Collison & Lynam 2021).
People who hurt others mentally might have a personality issue, but not all get checked. They might not even see they’re doing anything wrong. They might even twist things around.
Like, if they’re following someone, they’ll say they’re the ones being followed. If they cheated, they’ll say their partner did. This is super common with people who show signs of thinking too highly of themselves or who don’t care about others. They just can’t see things straight.
Now, just because they act like this doesn’t mean they don’t feel bad inside. Sometimes their own hurt makes them want others to feel the same pain. It’s like when someone says, “Hurt people hurt people.” Even if these people are confused, in their own world, or just don’t get how wrong they are.
People who physically hurt might know they’re wrong, but those who hurt with words or actions might believe they’re right. They may even think they’re the victim. Because some of these people can be smooth talkers, it’s hard to figure out the real story. Outsiders can easily get mixed up and might think both sides are fibbing.
Friends, judges, or even jury members might get fooled. Our court people often don’t know much about mental health, so they might get tricked by someone who believes their own tales. And when others back up these stories, it just feeds the lies.
But always remember, hurting someone is never okay, no matter the reason. The issue is the action, not