In another enlightening article by Shahida Arabi, a bestselling author on topics of Narcissistic Abuse, she explains why the daughter of an abusive father ends up with abusive partner. According to Arabi, abuse survivors develop qualities of immense resilience and an ability to empathise with others because of years of abuse.
In an abusive household, the victim is made to feel powerless and the only option they have left is to remain safe. They become creative about how they can avoid danger; they can’t control the abuser, so they try and mitigate the effects of the abuse by walking on eggshells to not stir up any trouble or excessively trying to please the abuser to avoid any confrontation. This is how resilience is built.
They become sensitive to any emotional cues in tone of voice of behaviour of the abuser and become attentive to these, so they know how to react next to avoid confrontation. This is how a unique ability to empathise with others is developed. Victims of abuse are very attentive to people’s emotional cues and because they have gone through a traumatic time in their lives, they can place themselves in someone else’s shoes who are experiencing troubles.
Abusers require this kind of resilience and empathy in a partner so that they can continue with the abuse. Arabi says that these positive traits of victims of childhood abuse can attract abusive partners to them.
She says that “these essential skills, [resilience and empathy], of survival might have been necessary in childhood to avoid the threat of emotional and/or physical harm, but in adult relationships, they become the very factors that can make us susceptible to predators in adulthood.”
To read the full article, click here.