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Surviving Domestic Abuse: Corruption, Mutagenesis, and Carcinogenesis

Updated: Apr 1

I am not sure if this is something that you as a reader of my blog may struggle with, but it is definitely something I struggled with over the years as a survivor of narcissistic abuse.

One of the major long-term strategies of any Dark Personality is to break their victim down, and remove their autonomy and independence. Survivors of dark personality abuse, if they manage to get away from their abuser find themselves overwhelmed with negative dark thoughts, including depression, self-loathing, and low self-esteem. In some extreme cases, it may even result in suicidal ideation, self harm, and possibly even death by suicide.

People with self-esteem issues often struggle with feelings of guilt and inferiority. Your abuser may even cause you to start feeling like you're an unlovable narcissist or psychopath yourself. Is such a thing possible though? Can a narcissist turn their victim into another narcissist? Can a psychopath turn their victim into a sociopath? I don't know about you, but I find the very possibility of such a thing happening to be absolutely harrowing, considering how I personally feel about my former narcissistic abuser. Interestingly, it took me several attempts to find any results from resources that offer guidance on this topic. I'm not sure what the reason behind this is, but my personal theory is that this is part of the modern zeitgeist. Most people today are highly discouraged from blaming victims of psychological or domestic abuse, and rightly so. A common person that has been blessed with healthy, wholesome interpersonal relationships can never truly fathom the hells that a survivor of trauma have to relive in their head every day.

Nevertheless, I feel like this is a valid, important question. Sometimes, truths can be inconvenient and horrifically unpleasant. As the saying goes, "ignorance is bliss".

Anyway, back to the question at hand. Can a dark abuser corrupt their victim to a point where they themselves become a dark personality? Psychological experts refer to this type of phenomenon as "The Cycle of Abuse". There are many reasons why hanging out with dark personalities is highly toxic. I might even go so far as to say it's the psychological equivalent to playing around in nuclear waste. The best case scenario of course is that you come away unscathed, but the more likely scenario is that you will either begin feeling unwell (mild radiation poisoning), become extremely sick (i.e. radiation poisoning), develop malignant tumors (carcinogenesis) and/or die, whether that's from acute radiation poisoning or gradually as a result of the newly formed malignant tumors that are slowly eating away at your body. Very rarely does mutagenesis result in a positive outcome (the rare events in which this occurs eventually results in speciation and evolution, according to modern scientific theories). One might even say the potential risks far outweigh the possible benefits of irradiating yourself on purpose might have.

Ludwig the Accursed from Hidetaka Miyazaki's Bloodborne.
"We are born of the blood, made men by the blood, undone by the blood; Fear the old blood." -Ludwig the Accursed

Long story short, the possibility exists. I say this, because nothing is guaranteed, and some abuse victims are more susceptible to the corruptive effects of abuse than more resilient individuals. That said, there are certain environmental and genetic factors that put individuals at a much greater risk than others that avoid these conditions. Just like how not everyone that smokes a cigarette is going to develop lung cancer, not everyone who gets abused is going to become toxic themselves. Avoiding toxic situations as much as possible (which I know is easier said than done) significantly reduces the possibility that this will happen. One of the most bullshit sayings I heard growing up as a little child (not necessarily from my parents or family, per se) is "whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger". What about limb amputation? What about a traumatic brain injury or a stroke?

While I was struggling with abuse, one of the books I stumbled across that I would highly recommend to anyone that is curious about this sort of thing is Dr. Barbara Oakley's "Evil Genes" (see image below) [1]:

As the title suggests, certain genetic factors make people more susceptible to developing dark personalities throughout their life, especially when exposed to extreme, highly toxic socioeconomic environments, such as war, famine, rape, and/or extreme poverty. Ever wonder why all the world dictators seem to come from highly unstable, often developing countries countries such as Afghanistan, Cambodia, and North Korea? Socioeconomic toxicity. Some people can cope fairly well, while others will eventually find that the world they live in is "dog eat dog", and will resort to stabbing someone else's back in order to have enough food to last one more day.

Even in a developed, first world country, emotional and psychological abuse is sometimes the catalyst necessary to trigger psychopathological symptoms or disorders within an individual. The more risk factors you are exposed to, the greater your risk. Perhaps in a later post, I will outline some specific risk factors, and perhaps even categorize them in terms of severity. For now, if you have an interest in psychopathology, I highly recommend that book.

I think I will stop there for now. As I stated earlier, I will expand as necessary. Hopefully this was helpful to some of my readers.


[1] Oakley, B. (2010). Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother's Boyfriend. Prometheus Books.

[2]Biblia, S. (2011). The Holy Bible. KÖNYV–KOMPETENC, 139.

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