DARVO—Role Reversal

 

A strategy common to all abusers is called DARVO.

divider

D.A.R.V.O.

divider

Deny the abuse, Attack the victim, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender.

This is roughly how it can be done (ad absurdum for emphasis):

You are stupid.

Are you accusing me of being stupid!?

You are accusing me of making accusations!

…but what you said was rude and untrue.

More accusations! And you are calling me a rude liar!
You are hostile and name calling. Leave me alone.

Why did you call me ‘stupid’?

You are harassing me.

I want an explanation. Was it something
I said that sounded stupid?

I told you to leave me alone! Stop harassing me! Look, everyone, I am being victimized by that evil person for no reason!

Do you recognize this scenario?
Please leave a comment and share your story!

DARVO

Advertisements

Denying, Discounting, and Dismissing Abuse

Why is it so easy for an abuser to get away with it and so difficult for an abuse victim to be heard?

The typical serial bully is a Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde personality type (male or female) who has put considerable effort into establishing and maintaining a respectable and credible public persona. Bystanders may believe they know him well, that he is a genuinely righteous person, and that he couldn’t possibly be capable of the malicious behavior he is accused of. Unable (and probably unwilling) to imagine that they have been deceived, their logical conclusion is that the accuser is the antagonist, acting out inexplicable malevolence. With derogatory implications about his target’s mental state, lack of character, or foul motives, the abuser fuels this role reversal. Feigning moral indignation and playing the part of the victim, he encourages supporters to see the real victim, who is attempting to be heard, as the abusive one. 

Narcissism

Dr. Vaknin explains: “Even the victim’s relatives, friends, and colleagues are amenable to the considerable charm, persuasiveness, and manipulativeness of the abuser and to his impressive thespian skills. The abuser offers a plausible rendition of the events and interprets them to his favor. Others rarely have a chance to witness an abusive exchange first hand and at close quarters. In contrast, the victims are often on the verge of a nervous breakdown: harassed, unkempt, irritable, impatient, abrasive, and hysterical.”

“Confronted with this contrast between a polished, self-controlled, and suave abuser and his harried casualties, it is easy to reach the conclusion that the real victim is the abuser, or that both parties abuse each other equally. The prey’s acts of self-defense, assertiveness, or insistence on her rights are interpreted as aggression, lability, or a mental health problem.”

Dr. Sam Vaknin, Narcissism by Proxy

Narcissism

Three cognitive strategies have been identified for when people deny, discount, or dismiss occurrences of abuse and for turning away from effective steps to stop it and hold abusers accountable:

1

Reflexively dismissing all evidence as questionable, incomplete, misleading, false, or in some other way inadequate.

2

Using euphemism, abstraction, and other linguistic transformations to hide the abuse.

3

Turning away: ‘I’m not involved,’ ‘There is nothing I can do about it,’ ‘I have no authority, jurisdiction, power, or influence,’ ‘This is no concern of mine,’ etc.

See also:
Adult Bullies
Bullied to Death
Abusers operate on the sly.
DARVO: Deny Attack Reverse Victim/Offender
Why is it so hard to hold abusive people accountable for their actions?

Elie Wiesel Quote Art


Why is it so hard to hold abusive people accountable for their actions?

Aside

Because they are either in
denial, or they simply deny.

BarDivider06

Abusers regularly deny the abuse ever took place, rationalize their abusive behaviors, or use tactics to cover themselves—and each other.

Sociopaths are skilled deniers. Where the rest of us would stutter or blush, they can lie with a convincing confidence. They pose as authorities and, to discourage questions, they act “offended” if their audience shows doubt. An arrogant manner indicates a lifetime of “successful” manipulative control tactics and contempt for other people, who they regard as inferior.

BarDivider06

Why is it so hard to hold abusive people accountable for their actions?

BarDivider06

State of Denial