A very common aspect of psychological abuse and manipulation is for the abuser to claim that the victim is being abusive towards them. I’ve written about the abusers “victim complex”, and “gaslighting” in this manner before.
But right now I want to address the specific scenario in which the victim snaps at the abuser. They endure and endure, they have been told that there is nothing to react to, they have been told they overreact to everything, so they are afraid to mention their hurt, and confusion, and cannot acknowledge they are being abused.
The endure so much for so long, they snap. They scream at the abuser. Insult them. Maybe even throw in a low-blow or unfair insult. They may even physically attack, although this is very very uncommon in victims of abuse.
The abuser jumps on this reactionary outburst. They claim it is “proof” that the victim is unstable. They claim it is “proof” that the victim is the abuser after all. They can hold it up, and hold it against the victim for as long as they can, and as hard as they can.
They are not interested in talking things out. They are not interested in listening to why this outburst has happened. They have their “proof”, and that’s all they ever needed from the victim. They get to say things like, “YOU’RE the one who frightened ME”, and “you are an emotional time bomb” and “I have to walk on eggshells around you”, and have the victim believe it.
While the abuser is the actual time-bomb, and the victim is frightened and walking on egg shells, but dare not admit it or bring attention to it, or has been so deeply abused they don’t even see it themselves.
The abuser turns the roles, and paints themselves as the victim.
This leads the victim to believe they are in fact the abusive one in the relationship. They now believe they are violent and emotionally unstable, and may start describing themselves as such and seeking help for these problems.