Myth 6: You Must Be Exaggerating!
Everyone Would Know If Your Spouse Was THAT Bad.
TRUTH: It is almost impossible to spot dangerous spouses from outside of the marriage.
This myth says that abusers, narcissists, and sex offenders are easy to spot. You can tell just by hanging out with them. If it’s not obvious to everyone, you must be wrong.
- “I don’t think he’s an abuser. You’re being overly dramatic.”
- “I’ve never seen him be mean to anyone. I think you’re lying.”
Abusive people do not show their abusive side in front of bosses, friends, or people they want to impress. They rarely beat or torment their spouse or children in front of two witnesses, a video camera, or an audio recorder. They are clever. Abusers don’t want to be caught, and often the victims say nothing in hopes that the person will change, or out of fear no one will believe them.
Some abusers—especially in religious circles—are friendly and charming in front of others, but turn into the opposite behind closed doors. One woman described her husband as Dr. Jekyll-and-Mr. Hyde: He was a man who would go out of his way to help people stranded along the road by fixing their flat tires, but he would viciously attack her when he got home, satisfying his violent temper without compassion or remorse. “I knew no one would believe me if I told them he was abusive,” she said. It took her years to get out.
This is part of Chapter 3 in The Life-Saving Divorce. For more on this topic, including many wonderful first-person stories, read the book.