abusive distorted reality

abusive distorted reality

vocab voice created term

  1. a belief system created and held by abusers that helps them to justify abuse or feel entitled to be abusive. An abusive distorted reality may explain why someone is abusive but does not excuse it.


Abusers see life by a different code – an abusive distorted reality. With this, abusers feel entitled to a certain life. When they do not receive their perceived entitlement they resort to abuse in order to gain what they feel they deserve. Additionally, with this abusive distorted reality abusers make up rules in their minds as to what constitutes abuse.

To one abuser, yelling, belittling and controlling is not abuse while physical harm would be abusive. To another abuser physical harm is not abuse unless it leaves a mark. To the abuser who resorts to murder, they will use their abusive distorted reality to blame the victim or to tell themselves they had no other choice.

In his book “Why Does He Do That,” Lundy Bancroft shares his experience working with thousands of abusive men. He states he learned very quickly that, “an abuser almost never does anything that he himself considers morally unacceptable,” and that “an abuser’s core problem is that he has a distorted sense of right and wrong.”

Typically victims of abuse may feel confused, exhausted and resentful (understandably) of the abuse. They may ask why? They may want to find answers, to understand the root cause and to have clarity. Abusers may use this to their advantage and blame other people, situations or even the victim for the abuse. Or abusers may stay silent, and, in an attempt for clarity, the victim may blame other people or themselves.

Related Term: victim

By giving the abusive distorted reality a name, we force it to come to the surface. By identifying it we are better able to understand abuse. We gain clarity and relive confusion. We are able to hold the abusers accountable for their actions and to remove any misplaced responsibility from victims or others. When abusers no longer have excuses and tricks of confusion they will lose their power and will be forced to stop the abuse.

Note: Abusers will do anything to justify abuse. If called out, an abuser may try to capitalize on abusive distorted reality and try to play the victim. To stop abuse, this cannot be allowed. The abuser must be forced to change their distortion and stop their abusive actions. An abusive distorted reality may explain but is no excuse for abuse.

Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bancroft

Featured image credit: Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash


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