The term “Abuse” can be used to describe any treatment by a person, that seeks to gain through unfair or improper means. Abuse stems from aggression and the need to subjugate. It can come in many forms, some more visible than the rest. For eg: unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse or verbal abuse are types of abuse where the abused is seldom seen by society to be visibly traumatized.
In such cases, the after effects of the abuse can be seen through the emergence of psychological mental health illnesses like depression or nervous break down. That is of course unless the abused takes the matter in their hands to overcome the situation they are in.
What could possibly motivate a human to physically, emotionally or verbally abuse another living being?
Patricia Cornwell, the American Crime Writer once said,
“I believe the root of all evil is abuse of power”
She may have a point. Talking of power, some of the characteristics of those who seek or hunger for power are self importance, self absorption and the total focus on themselves. Their belief in their omnipotence is supreme.
Along with these traits, the effect of “Narcissism” enhances the belief of the abuser. Coined by Sigmund Freud, the term “Narcissism” was inspired by a Greek mythical hero who fell in love with his own reflection. A narcissist is one who adores oneself and is completely smitten by ones needs and desires. It is the ego that plays predominance in the life of the narcissist.
An abusive self absorbed person who revels in power may reflect an enjoyment of several types of aggression and maltreatment of fellow humans.
Not all forms of aggression need to be of the overt kind. For eg: In the case of an emotionally abusive person, there would little that would identify the person as an abuser. In social situations, their interactions would seldom give away any signs of the aggressive tendencies they harbor.
In many cases, the abuser who inflicts any abuse on another is seen to have lived in a debilitated family environment. A family environment that promoted violence and pain.
Adolf Hitler, is a fine example of how the traumatic effects of domestic violence can lead to the emergence of a dysfunctional and violent character. His deeply traumatic childhood eventually destroyed his life.
This fascist leader’s policies led to the destructive second World War, but how many are aware of the terror stricken existence that Hitler led as a child ?
As a child, his Father would fly into uncontrollable rages that would result in severe and violent abuse of his son. This went on for years and by the time he had entered his teens, Hitler had became reclusive, temperamental, emotionally unstable and psychotic.
In certain cases however, the abused may not perpetuate the life of an abuser. The abuse survivor may lead a traumatized life where the past memories haunt them enough to destroy their peace of mind.
A poignant example of the effects of an abusive violent family environment is the tragic story of the Alaskan explorer, Christopher McCandless’s life. “The Wild Truth” written by his sister, Carine McCandless, is his devastating story of how an agonizing abusive childhood haunted him till he passed away at the early age of 24. A promising student, Christopher graduated from Emory University with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and History. Disconnecting from his family, he then began a nomadic existence that concluded with his untimely death. Christopher’s vagabond lifestyle was embarked to desperately find the peace and tranquility that had eluded him as a child.
The appalling abuse he had suffered for years as a child had tormented him through out his brief life.
Like the ripple caused by a pebble in a still pool of water, the destructive effects of abuse lingers long after the culmination of the abuse. The horrors perpetuated by the abuser eventually replacing the innocence of the abused with emotional trauma, physical agony and emotional instability.
And in worse scenario, create offenders who would not only set forth and repeat history but wreak human atrocities that mankind will never forget.