Why Does the Abuser Abuse?

Here is a poignant question that rests awkwardly on many a victim’s hearts.

“What is it about the victim that makes powerful people abuse it without seeming to know that they’re abusing it?”

We know that there are perpetrators of abuse that seem to revel in it. But much abuse occurs because the abuser thinks they’ve got a right to do what they do. It’s a deception. They’re deceived. And they will argue black and blue that they did it for good reasons. They don’t seem to have any understanding or even want to understand, the impact of their behavior.

Perhaps we can surmise that there is a reasonable explanation for the total ignorance in those who would abuse power, like hubris syndrome. The power that is held for a long time, that finds ongoing success, and has relative liberty; well, that power – hubris syndrome suggests – is dangerous. And the key danger is a deficit develops: empathy tends to leak away from the successful person who earns power.

The more successful a person, the more their empathy can leak.


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