How easy IS it to spot an abuser, when he is both Jekyll and Hyde?
A while ago, we wrote a post called How To Spot An Abuser Who Claims To Be The Victim
That post included the statement that
“It really is not that difficult to recognize an abuser. Their mentality of power, control, entitlement and justification always betrays itself in their speech and you can hear it if you know what to listen for. “
I have had some second thoughts on this. Having read so many times now (from experts like Robert Hare, Lundy Bancroft, George Simon Jnr., Martha Stoddart) that even the experts can be deceived by sociopaths and psychopaths, because these individuals without conscience can play their manipulative tune on anybody’s heart strings, I think maybe we should revise what we’ve said.
Maybe it’s more like this:
When the abuser has his Jekyll face on, he can fool even the experts. He can fool the woman he’s targeting to get to marry him. And when she realizes she’s been victimized and announces the relationship is over, or declares, “I am going public: I’m telling the pastor and the counselor what you are really like and how you’ve been treating me!” the abuser will initially go to great lengths to show his Jekyll face with just the right amount of believability to influential people, in order to discredit the victim’s disclosures.
But when spurned abusers anonymously rant and rave in emails to Jeff or me, or submit comments on our blog (which they don’t do often, but it happens occasionally and we don’t publish them) then you can see the Hyde face – and the language is pretty easy to pick, as Jeff described in that previous post.
So I think we need to make this clear. If we say “abusers are easy to pick when you know how to recognize their language” we are going to make victims feel like dummies because they didn’t pick that man as an abuser when he was wooing them. So maybe we should be saying “abusers are NOT easy to pick when they have their Jekyll face on; but when the victim breaks free from the relationship, the abuser then selectively reveals his Hyde face (his true face) more publicly – especially when he can do so using a false name in emails and nasty rants on the internet.
And maybe when the spurned abuser feels his Jekyll face is no longer giving much payoff, he lets the Hyde face show more, and then it is pretty easy to pick the language of the abuser.
I’d love to hear others thoughts on this.