This is an interesting analysis of the Republican party…
A domestic violence survivor and crisis hotline counselor explains how today’s Republican party matches the classic profile of an abuser. The Republican party fits the classic personality profile of an abuser. Photo montage by Elisabeth Parker for Addicting Info.
As a former victim of domestic violence, in another lifetime, I learned a lot about the abusive personality. When it was over, and I was out, I became a domestic violence hotline counselor. The classes I took to train me for this job taught me two things: One, abusers aren’t psychotic, but instead have character disorders; and two, abusive behavior isn’t uncontrollable – it’s a learned social behavior.
Enter stage left, Republicans and what used to be their “fringe” faction, the tea baggers. The “fringe” faction, though, has of late become “non-fringe” enough to take over the House, lead John Boehner around by the nose, shut down the federal government and gleefully high-five each other as our country teeters on the edge of default – all, ostensibly, to wage war against Obamacare, a law that was passed by the House and Senate, signed by the President, upheld by the Supreme Court and that has withstood 42 Republican-driven repeal attempts.
Like abusers, Republicans always make things someone else’s fault.
The behavior of Republicans – most recently around their government shutdown, and as they dig in their heels and rationalize – by making it someone else’s fault – driving the country into default, it reminds me vividly of the abusive personality that I engaged with daily, for years, until my divorce. No compromise was ever allowed, it was his way or his other way. He never talked about the many ways in which he was wrong, it was “look what you made me do.” In his mind, the only one whose behavior needed changing was mine. Any abusive behavior of his was justified because, in his warped thinking, I provoked him. He used bullying, fear tactics, threats and intimidation to get his way. In the end, although never abusive to them directly, he used my kids as pawns in his abusive game. He refused to share responsibility in any part of our relationship breakdown. I owned it, lock, stock and barrel.
Like abusers, Republicans do not negotiate in good faith.
If you break it down, how different is the behavior of a classic abuser than the behavior we are now seeing within the Republican Party, most notably, and startlingly, the tea baggers, beginning with the mastermind of the Republican government shutdown, Ted Cruz, and moving on through the ranks of Mike Lee and Michele Bachmann and Paul Ryan and Louie Gohmert, and about 30 others? As a domestic violence survivor, I know that the President and Harry Reid are utterly correct to hold the line at negotiation. Abusers – such as the House tea baggers, along with John Boehner, their puppet – do not negotiate in good faith. Regardless of what “deals” they offer up today, they will renege when it comes time to uphold their end of the bargain. When Republicans say they want a short-term “deal” to re-open the government and avoid a default, I know what that means: Just as abusive personalities are generally incapable of rehabilitation, neither are Republicans. Rehabilitation implies that there is a point of normalcy in the past to which one can return. I have yet to see that point for Republicans; they’re beyond redemption. A year ago, Paul Krugman aptly pointed out that the debt ceiling debacle demonstrates that “raw extortion works and carries no political cost,” and that “irresponsible brinksmanship” is now “a proven effective negotiating tactic.” Mr. Krugman, meet your classic abuser.
Like abusers, Republicans must win at all costs.
An abusive personality really doesn’t care who is caught in the crossfire. His desire for control, his low self-esteem and irrational, desperate need to be the winner at any cost trumps any scrap of humanity. Despite the fact that Republicans raised the debt ceiling more than 25 times under Republican presidents (and five times, without batting an eye, under Bush), their classically abusive personalities have risen to the fore under this President. At any cost, regardless of any harm to others, they will win. So what if the U.S. defaults? According to some Republicans, for the President to allow a default would be an “impeachable offense;” on the other hand, if the President were to invoke the 14th Amendment and direct the Treasury to pay its bills regardless of the House’s inactivity, that, too, in the minds of Republicans, would no doubt rise to the level of an impeachable offense. As in all abusive relationships, it’s a Catch 22. Listening to the screaming rage of Republicans, it’s clear that no cost is too great to make President Obama look bad. If the measures Republicans implement increase the chance that this President’s success story will be on pause, they’ll make a pact with any devil. So what if their newly-discovered “fiscal conservatism” trashes a still fragile economy, tanking the markets, and driving unemployment numbers up? If that’s what’s required to be the victors in the game of chicken they’ve been playing with our lives, that’s what they’ll do. Their lack of humanity, and lack of a moral center, is truly breathtaking.
Like abusers, Republicans will invalidate you.
I remember, during the days when I was on the receiving end of such bullying tactics, how my heart would pound and adrenaline would flow, how my stomach would knot up. I’ve felt that way any number of times during these past terrible weeks as progressives have fought for a toehold in the battle of integrity against a foe who has none. My gut has kept score. A classic abusive personality generally uses sexually derogatory slurs against his victim, but in this case, Republicans continue to press the case that this President is not legitimate. Their use of coded and un-coded racial slurs against our President are not dissimilar to the derogatory terms like “slut” and “whore” that classic abusers use to refer to their women; it’s how they engage. And it is, sadly, how the Republicans have engaged politically ever since President Obama was elected, and continue to engage.
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