My Life With Glitter

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The self-esteem myth [that an abuser inflicts abuse due to low self esteem] is rewarding for an abuser, because it gets his partner, his therapist, and others to cater to him emotionally. Imagine the privileges an abusive man may acquire: getting his own way most of the time, having his partner bend over backward to keep him happy so he won’t explode, getting to behave as he pleases, and then on top of it all, he gets praise for what a good person he is, and everyone is trying to help him feel better about himself!

Certainly an abuser can be remorseful or ashamed after being cruel or scary to his partner, especially if any outsider has seen what he did. But those feelings are a result of his abusive behavior, not a cause. And as a relationship progresses, the abusive man tends to get more comfortable with his own behavior and the remorse dies out, suffocated under the weight of his justifications. He may get nasty if he doesn’t receive the frequent compliments, reassurance and deference he feels he deserves, but this reaction is not rooted in feelings of inferiority; in fact, the reality is almost the opposite….

Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

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