acting out the "abuser" side of the relationship dynamic they have learned. Why Do People Abuse? The character of Tony Soprano from HBO's television series, "The Sopranos" is also a good example of this type. Some abusers learned to abuse from their parents. What makes Tony's character so interesting to watch is that he is aware of his tendency towards narcissistic sociopathy and struggles against it at times with varying rates of success. For example, someone with anger management issues, a diagnosis of intermittent explosive disorder, or a drinking or drug problem may easily get out of control during arguments (e.g., because there is something wrong with their ability to inhibit themselves at the brain level) and verbally. They may have an antisocial (sociopathic, psychopathic) or narcissistic personality disorder, and they may have anger or impulse control issues and substance abuse issues on top of that!
Abusers who treat people in this manner are very likely psychologically ill, and possibly medically ill as well. Abusive behavior can also result from mental health issues or disorders. However, we can try to do our best to understand. Think of any dictator that springs to mind and you will have the personification of this type of individual (Saddam Hussain seems to fit well and comes to mind easily). They treat people as though they were there solely for their convenience and do not otherwise have an independent, important life. The first question, "Why do people abuse other people?" has multiple answers. Their early history consisted of receiving abuse themselves and/or seeing others abused (one parent abusing the other or their sibling, etc.). Such people internalized a particular relationship dynamic, namely the complementary roles of "abuser" and "victim". Given the choice between being the out-of-control victim, or the in-control abuser, some of these people grow up to prefer the role of the abuser. As a consequence, abuse is the normal condition of life for these people. That they hurt others in the process may go unregistered or only occur as a dim part of their awareness.
They are familiar with and fully understand the terror of being the helpless victim from their own childhood experience. Why (adult) people who are being abused choose to stay in abusive relationships is another. Neither of these questions have easy answers and even the strongest attempt to educate yourself as to why people might make these seemingly irrational choices will not lead to complete understanding. Such people may abuse because of the benefits they receive from doing so, for instance, sexual or financial gratification, or the simple allure of power over other people's lives.
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