Advice for couples: The N/C Marriage
Community Can Make All the Difference
- You Can’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover
- Violence is Not Only Inflicted by the Main Perpetrator
- Ignoring the Problem Will Not Make it go Away
- It’s NOT a Lack of Self Respect or Stupidity that Keeps Victims from Leaving
You Can’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover
You cannot pick a Domestic Violence (DV) family by looking superficially.
The main perpetrator in this family may appear to be a model husband or wife (and perfect father or mother) to the outside world. They may even give the impression that their family members ‘don’t deserve them’. The main perpetrator may even tell lies about their husband or wife to gain sympathy from others pretending that they are the victim in their home.
Others may blame or even envy the victim in this family while the main perpetrator may win praise, respect and admiration for his or herself in public, while hiding how they treat their family in private.
If anything, instead of looking like an aggressive person, the main perpetrator may appear a bit too good to be true. This is because DV perpetrators often suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), which means they are highly skilled at charming and deceiving people.
Violence is Not Only Inflicted by the Main Perpetrator
Main perpetrators are aggressive and/or passive aggressive and their relationships tend to deteriorate into violence.
The abuse, however, generally starts out as verbal and emotional, with the main perpetrator treating their partner as inferior and spoiling anything that brings them happiness or pleasure which is not centred on the main perpetrator.
DV main perpetrators are often sarcastic, haughty and critical in private, while pretending to be model citizens in public.
Main perpetrators will usually react badly to being questioned or held accountable for their actions and when confronted may either lie, become angry and intimidating, or even fly into a rage.
As the main perpetrator will not care about the distress this behaviour causes (or listen to any kind of reason about changing their ways) it is normal for their partner to become angry about being treated this way.
Because children tend to side with whichever parent they perceive to be more powerful, the victim in this family may feel even more heartbroken and hopeless when their children appear to take sides with the main perpetrator.
Movies like Tootsie, and misinformed authorities may even advise female victims to use violence to get the abuser to stop what they are doing. suggesting things such as “Just clobber him one,” etc. as a way to put their husbands “in their place”.
This is very dangerous advice.
In reality victims often lose their temper, break and destroy things, scream and shout, etc. and sometimes attack and even kill their abusive partners. It is quite common for victims to spend years fantasising about their abusive partner dying or of even killing their mate.
If the victim does lash out, the main perpetrator will make the victim feel guilty that it was their anger that started the fight. The main perpetrator however was most likely putting a lot of energy into provoking their partner and will often hurt the victim much worse when they retaliate.
For the most part, victims rarely injure main perpetrators badly and usually end up hurt worse when they do.
The truth is that because victims are generally less aggressive (unless after years of abuse they finally snap) and when violent are simply lashing out in frustration, they are at an extreme physical disadvantage in a fight. A person up against someone who is truly ready to hurt them can only hope to win and escape danger if they render their assailant unconscious, blind or injured badly enough to stop them from retaliating. Far from this, the victim usually has no wish to truly hurt the main perpetrator – but wishes only to make a point that they want the emotional and physical aggression to end.
Ignoring the Problem Will Not Make it Go Away
Many people tell victims of verbal and emotional aggression/passive aggression not to let the abuse get to them and to just ignore it. Others may say the solution is for wives to be more submissive to their husbands. Quite simply, this is not realistic advice. If someone is putting you and your friends and family down, and lying to you in order to control more of the household resources, including money and time (as is commonly the case in these situations), just ignoring this behaviour is not a valid solution over time.
NPD is NOT Untreatable or Incurable
The man who began the claim that Narcissistic Personality Disorder is incurable, has been diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder, not NPD as he claims. Despite his misleading credentials (he is a Dr. of economics not psychology) and prolific writing on the subject, he is not attempting to get better.
Telling a person they must leave their husband or wife and have no contact with them (this ‘Doctor’s’ advice, which has now become standard advice) because they are suffering from a personality disorder is reckless and irresponsible. The latest DSM has in fact withdrawn the claim NPD is incurable and says instead that the disorder needs more research. Our work over many years has proven that there are many things victims can do to improve their physical and emotional security without cutting NPD family members off.
Cutting family members off is not the easy solution people often claim it to be.
It is Not Lack of Self Respect that Keeps a Victim from Leaving
This is a very common misconception. I will list in point form why this needs to be reassessed . . .
1. Abandonment is what the main perpetrator usually fears most and is what provokes much of their bad behaviour. Except that the victim takes themselves and their children to a shelter, leaving their home and entire life behind, the main perpetrator is not going to make it easy in any way for their partner to leave. Even if a victim does leave in this way, the main perpetrator is usually dependent on their partner and will not leave the victim and children alone. Leaving will mean that the victim loses all material security while statistically putting themselves and their children at greater risk.
2. Deep down, victims usually feel some guilt or self-blame. It is very hard to comprehend how callus perpetrators can be. The victim will think that they must be deficient in some way or have done something to warrant this derision and scorn. They will probably also feel guilty for how angry the perpetrator makes them and will likely feel deep down, that they are at least partially to blame.
3. Victims may fear leaving their children with their abusive partner (and perhaps a step parent) when sharing custody if they leave. Their partner’s childishness and irresponsibility may cause very real concerns about who they might pair up with and how capable they might be at looking after the kids even for short court ordered visits.
4. Victims may fear standing up to their partner in court. As perpetrators are often skilled at confusing the issues and charming others to ‘their side’, these fears may be very well founded.
5. Victims are often financially unable to leave. Perpetrators are notorious for complicating and controlling their families finances, often in an attempt to cover their own irresponsibility with money. Many victims have no real control over their finances.
6. Many victims still love their partner, know that they are emotionally wounded or sick and truly hope that they will get better. This position should not be scorned or underestimated. The victim is the closest person to the perpetrator and will most likely have a better idea of the real trauma, pain and lack of parental guidance this person experienced growing up.
Steve had been through two family break ups and abuse by a step father in his childhood. Despite his bad behaviour, I knew he would be completely shattered as a person if our family ‘disintegrated’ as his other families had. I could not face the image of him as a broken drunk on the street or worse. . . I still loved him and wanted help for him to get better.” From Back From the Looking Glass by Kim & Steve Cooper
7. Often, victims may have been through other abusive relationships and rightly fear leaving to end up forming the same kind of relationship again. Saving the marriage may be the only way the victim can assure themselves that they have in fact healed and ‘saved’ themselves.
8. Victims often have codependent tendencies and can be emotionally abusive and manipulative themselves.
From the Author
My name is Kim Cooper, I am a mother and wife not a PHD. Instead I am a researcher and writer who is passionate about helping people struggling to bring peace and security to their home.
While there are other ways that my husband Steve and I could earn a better living, none would provide more gratification than the letters we receive from families we have helped over the past 10 years.
Our own family is safe and intact because of the many wonderful officials in our community who put aside the ‘just leave him’ mentality and found the courage to get involved and support us (15 years ago when our family needed help), without attempting to tear our family apart.
Steve is a committed husband and father now and I am a committed mother and wife. Together we host The NC Marriage where couples can sign up for a free introductory tutorial to learn skills that will help bring peace to their home.
We rely on book sales and donations to continue this work, so if you would like to make a contribution please do so by buying our books and passing them on to families in crisis or to support workers in your local community.
Are You Ready to End the Fights? – https://www.TheNCMarriage.com
Back From The Looking Glass is Kim & Steve Cooper’s guide to help partners dealing with domestic abuse take the steps they need to get help. Written from personal experience, Back From the Looking Glass contains 13 essential steps to help protect yourself. It provides advice on how to help keep your family safe, whether you leave or stay. Back From the Looking Glass is for sale as a PDF download or hard copy delivered to your door from https://thencmarriage.com/bookshop.
You may reproduce this information only if you give full credit to Kim & Steve Cooper as the authors and include a prominent link or printed version of these website URLs –
Beyond Marriage Counselling – https://TheNCMarriage.com
Kim & Steve’s Original Website – https://narcissismcured.com/
Domestic Valor – https://domesticvalor.com/