The veneer cracks.
If you’re close, you will see flashes of the depravity, hints at deep immaturity, entitlement riding to the surface.
At a family gathering or a dinner or at the kids soccer practice. What your loved one already confided about their put-together spouse will be hinted at in public.
It is possible that the crack will be explained away or laughed off or blamed on something, or justified or minimized.
But you can observe and learn.
Perhaps even reading these words brings to mind incidents from the past that just didn’t add up. Things the spouse said, a look he gave, something he did, things he defended, a coldness, hints at strange mindset – all of which left you scratching your head.
Immature, brazen, entitled, left-field, exploitative things. And perhaps you chalked it up to excess drink, stress, regular marriage tiffs or human imperfections.
But if you go back to the incident (or incidents) + what your loved one says about their marriage, the truth might start to emerge.
The veneer breaks. The camouflage slips. The fronts don’t stay in place 24/7/365. Believe your loved one.
What I am NOT saying about hidden abusive behavior: That we only believe a loved one once we have “proof.” Deceptive, manipulative, abusive people are experts at hiding their darkness.
That’s why victims and survivors are not easily believed – their harmful spouses present well in public. Here, I’m speaking to those individuals who have both proximity + time to observe.
Those whose relationships often bring them together. Those who are growing in their awareness of abuse. Those who want to speak into “but he’s such a great guy!” chatter directed at victims and survivors.
Not everyone has a vantage point or time and awareness, which is why we believe victims – do not wait for signs.
Hidden Abusive Behavior: Helpful Resources by Sarah McDugal
Is This Abuse?
Perhaps the marriage isn’t just hard. Explore the different categories of mistreatment and danger that are all part of Domestic Violence. Click here to sign up.
SHERO: Your WILD Guide to Warrior After Abuse
SHERO is a self-paced online course for those ready to move from survivor to warrior, and you feel drawn to reach back into the vortex to make a difference. It’s for those who love someone who has suffered trauma or abuse, and their pain has sparked your desire to become an advocate. It’s for those who serve in a professional role such as clergy, counselor, attorney, or law enforcement, and you want to be more trauma-informed. (Affiliate link) Click here to sign up.