The abuser’s word salad & weird language when he’s working hard at resisting taking responsibility
When the abuser is pulling out all stops to show that he is right and you/others are wrong, his language sometimes becomes a little weird. I have observed this kind of poor English in the language of many men who abuse their wives. (However, some abusive men are so well educated and verbally skilled that they can use proper English to do ALL their verbal abuse.)
Sometimes the poor English is like a word salad… or a concept salad. The words and phrases may be normal but they are not strung together logically: there are skips and jumps, the flow of thought is not logically connected. If the abuser is mouthing christian doctrine, the individual phrases may be okay but the way he connects them logically together is NQR — not quite right. Pay attention when you have that NQR feeling!
His grammar and syntax might show flaws. Connecting words (conjunctions) may be missing. Verbs may not match their subjects: for example a plural subject might be given a singular verb, or a singular subject might have a plural verb. He might inappropriately switch tenses. Even more uncanny, the words “I” and “YOU” can be back to front. The abuser might say ‘”you” (or “they”) when he means himself. And he might say “I” when he means you. It can be really creepy when you hear this from your abuser who is lying right next to you in the bed … and I speak from experience.
I suspect this weird language is evidence of how the abuser’s thinking and beliefs are so very distorted. In attempting to mimic the language of people who have functional consciences and good values, abusers have practised how to string phrases together to sound like they are morally upright people. But their stony hearts are evil, so they cannot actually string the phrases together plausibly all the time the way a normal person with a functioning conscience does.
I’ve heard from many victims of abuse and many genuine Christians. They’ve spoken to me face to face and by phone, they’ve written emails, they’ve written on this blog, and they’ve sometimes been in severe shock at what their abuser has just done. If they are gushing their story — and especially if I am the first person who has really listened to them non-judgementally — they may not make it clear what person(s) they are referring to when they say ‘he’ or ‘she’ or ‘they’. (Editors call this is called a ‘pronoun reference’ problem.) And they may miss out bits of the story, or tell bits of the story out of order, so it’s hard for me to piece the story together and I have to ask clarifying questions. But no matter how much genuine Christians may find it hard to verbally communicate what they think and feel, and no matter how much they may be traumatized or gushing, I have never heard them making these weird errors in syntax and grammar that abusers make.
These language errors that abusers make are really distinctive, if you’ve heard enough of them. It’s rather like a parrot who has learned to mimic the language of human beings. When the abuser is desperately trying to regain control and crush the opposition he may not always do the parroting act well. His snakeskin starts to show through his pinstripe suit.
I’ve also noticed that when abusers are writing their responsibility-resistance diatribes, they often make spelling mistakes. Of course, many people make spelling mistakes and we all have made them at times. But I’ve noticed that abusers who use weird syntax and grammar often make many spelling errors as well.
Have any of you noticed these kind of things in the abusers you’ve known?
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