Most of the studies conducted on making sense of why people become abusive, show that 30% - 70% of abusers have actually been victims of domestic, physical or sexual abuse themselves as well. Why victims of abuse turn into perpetrators can only be explained by the fact that the victim considers violence or abuse as a means of communication, one which they can relate to. The reason why a lot of victims grow up to become self destructive and abusive with others around them is because they saw their parents, their primary role models, doing the same.
The Hows and Whys
Experts believe that abusive behavior like domestic abuse, is handed down from generation to generation like a genetic disease. Victims of domestic violence don't always speak up. Abusers indulge in it automatically, and sometimes consciously, due to the fact that it is familiar and thus feels safe. Most of the times the abuser is not even able to distinguish between love and abuse, since in their minds the lines between these two are completely blurred.
However, a lot of abusers are well aware of the fact that their behavior is not considered normal or acceptable by society and that is why they are devious enough to hide all signs of their abusive behavior. They are also make sure that their victim is guilt bound and feels responsible for the abuse that they are subjected to. Culprits of domestic violence or any other kind of abuse are extremely good at emotional manipulation.
What Makes Them Tick
Children or individuals in general who survive domestic violence or abuse of any kind suffer from low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy and the belief that they deserved what happened to them. Due to this mentality they again end up in relationships which turn abusive either due to their own doing or that of their partners. The belief that they deserve the abuse they are up against is so deeply ingrained, that deep down they believe that they just do not deserve a healthy, loving relationship. Child abuse prevention is important.
However, this does not mean that they do not harbor extreme anger towards their abuser and how they were abused. This is why a lot of time their inborn defense system goes into overdrive and they retaliate or strike-out even before they have been attacked, which is another reason why past victims end-up as future abusers.
The Vicious Cycle
Very disturbing, but true, is the fact that if the victim was abused in the name of love, if the domestic violence was later covered up as an act of possessiveness, if the victim was forced to put up with domestic violence or other forms of abuse with the hoodwink of love, they will they will eventually get hooked on to it. In fact there will come a point when they will start enjoying violent and abusive behavior. A lot of such people even become physically aroused by abusive behavior.
Although not all victims become abusers, but those who do can make the lives of those around them quite unbearable. Children of parents who frequently indulge in domestic violence grow up to be angry, depressed and confused about their general values. The find it extremely hard to define what is acceptable and when is not in their own relationships as adults, since their own boundaries are blurred. Bouts of chronic depression and anxiety are also quite common in such children.
The only way of helping someone like them is to understand where their aggressiveness is coming from. Victims who have become abusers honestly believe that they themselves are the real victims. Therefore it is best never to engage them on a deeper level. Simply point out their hurtful behavior and walk away. If the truth is pinpointed long enough, the abuser just might try to understand how and where he is going wrong.