By Amy Setzer, Legal Assistant, Woodruff Family Law Group
Domestic violence doesn’t end when a victim gets “out,” it just switches tactics. The final participant in our Communication Challenge knows that better than anyone. Day in and day out, their own demons trick them into repeating the battle they’ve already won—only difference is, this time, it’s not in person.
Perpetrator #4: The Appeaser is ruled by fear; usually a victim of physical and/or emotional abuse.
Modus Operandi: Long exchanges in which the abuser attempts to regain ground, while The Appeaser attempts to…well, appease him. These conversations are typically much lengthier and frequently followed by a series of desperate, “emergency” phone calls to her attorney.
Numerous survivors of abuse fall into a communication spiral so predictable, it was easier to make a flow chart than try to describe it narratively. What The Appeaser doesn’t realize is they are living the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. To elude the inevitable onslaught of violent and demeaning texts, e-mails, and voicemails, they fall back on old habits like placating their Ex by soothing and pleading. Yet by responding, they open the door for just that. In the end, The Appeaser inadvertently contributes to the creation of the very situation they are trying to avoid.
In many cases, The Appeaser lived for many years in a world where they had no voice, no power, and no self-worth. Their Abuser stole all of that—beat it out of her either literally or figuratively. Because most victims of abuse suffer forms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders, the volatile communication spewing from their estranged spouses triggers a learned response. This is the case with the Appeaser; it’s how they get manipulated into a trap like the one above.