One of the most difficult truths to grasp is the realization that the domestic abuser does not think like us. Your abuser’s thoughts are not your thoughts. Let me explain by illustration. Victor Davis Hanson, in his book The Second World Wars [Basic Books, 2017] a statement by the British statesman Anthody Eden is quoted. Eden said that very few Brits had, as Davis says, “ever encountered anyone quite like Hitler or Mussolini.” Eden said:
You know, the hardest thing for me during that time [leading up to the war] was to convince my friends that Hitler and Mussolini were quite different from British business men or country gentlemen as regards their psychology, motivations and modes of action. My friends simply refused to believe me. They thought I was biased against the dictators and refused to understand them. I kept saying, ‘When you converse with the Fuhrer or the Duce, you feel at once that you are dealing with an animal of an entirely different breed from yourself.’
Eden had it pegged, but as it is today in most cases, very few would listen. Most people felt that, like themselves, Hitler really didn’t want war. Why? Because they didn’t. And they assumed that ultimately everyone wanted peace.
But there are people in this world who do not want peace. They want power. They want control. And the attainment of those stations usually requires war, oppression, the making of victims, and the infliction of suffering.