Can “mutual abuse” really exist?
In the overwhelming majority of situations.. no.
“Abuse” by definition is about power and control of one person over another.
There’s a cycle of love bombing (also known as the honeymoon phase), tension, abuse, reconciliation, and then the honeymoon phase begins again.
In order for this to happen, one person (the abuser) uses manipulation and coercion to control, demean, belittle, or harm the other person (the victim).
It’s not uncommon for abusers to claim things like “mutual abuse” in order to further manipulate and abuse their victim.
But self-defense or intense REactions to someone else’s abusive ACTIONS is NOT mutual abuse!
If someone pins you down and you slap them to try to get away –
An abuser will tell you that “you hit them” which makes you an abuser too.
But a kick or push in response to someone else harming you is self-defense – not abuse.
The ONLY time “mutual abuse” might occur is during something called “situational couple violence”.
This happens when two people have very poor conflict resolution or communication skills, so arguments can get quite heated.
However, these situations don’t escalate to physical violence and these situations are rare, isolated events – not part of a bigger cycle of abuse.
What do you think about terms like “mutual abuse”?
If you’re looking to heal from narcissistic abuse or relationship trauma, I can help! I specialize in helping people heal from toxic, dysfunctional, or harmful relationships. Read more about my specialties and approach to the counseling process or book a free consult call today!