Why So Many Abusers Seem Like ‘Nice Guys’ To Everyone Else
While we still don’t know for sure whether or not Johnny Depp abused Amber Heard and probably never will, one thing is for sure: the whole situation has become increasingly sexist and has shown why women still shy away from speaking out about their abusive relationships.
While some “friends” of Johnny Depp claim that Amber Heard is manipulative or a liar, others claim to prove Johnny’s innocence by explaining what a nice guy he is.
But the thing is, an abuser’s attitude towards his friends or his family, or even strangers, has no correlation to how he treats his significant other behind closed doors — and as two victims of domestic violence have told Galore, even regular, non-famous guys can seem perfectly normal to everyone else while abusing their partners behind closed doors.
After all, if a man initially came off as violent, why would a woman ever date him in the first place?
In the traditional “cycle of abuse,” there is a honeymoon phase which involves the abuser giving constant apologies, saying “I love you,” and potentially buying gifts as an apology, according to Psychology Today.
“Men that are abuse are very clever, smart, and extremely charming,”explains John G. Taylor, MA. “Most of these men have a personality that draws people in because of their level of charm. This is part of their art to deceive and manipulate.”
Taylor describes abusers as a sort of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde character. Their personality changes so drastically that often times they can convince the abused to stay, or convince others into thinking that they would never do anything violent to their partner.
“Often times when a victim does report an assault she is not easily believed because people usually say, ‘Not him, he is so nice,’” says Taylor.
Unfortunately, this type of thinking and manipulation makes it even harder for the abuser to get help and speak out. Cara*, 22, who describes her battle with her abusive ex here, explains how her abuser hid his volatile side from everybody else easily:
“In front of his friends, fraternity, and family he came off as normal and a good guy; but as soon as the doors would close his anger would take over and his persona was completely different. It’s so easy for no one to know because they have never seen that side in a person before.”
Nichole*, who faced a similarly abusive college relationship, told us something similar:
“My ex was the nicest person you could ever meet. He was one of those ‘résumé perfect’ type of boyfriends. If you were to put his skills and experience on paper, along with his personality traits, and rate his attractiveness; he was overall a really great guy. He was the type of guy you brought home to your parents and wanted to introduce to your friends. Matter of fact, he’s shy in nature, so it would seem uncharacteristic for him to be abusive in any way, but it didn’t mean he wasn’t capable of those types of actions. I think that made him more dangerous. The fact that he was capable of controlling someone behind closed doors without anyone knowing, and of course, I couldn’t tell anyone because I felt like no one would believe me. Again, it was because it was so uncharacteristic of him [since he appeared to be] ‘such a nice guy.'”
Sources have told the gossip media that Johnny Depp’s family “always hated Amber,” and random fans have taken the liberty of commenting on articles about the abuse, with one fan implying that since Johnny has tipped 50% at restaurants, there’s no way he could be an abuser.
As mentioned above, there’s no way for any of us to know what really went down between Amber and Johnny. But in Hollywood and in real life, we all need to keep in mind that abusers are capable of seeming like normal, even nice, guys. To say otherwise is to discredit the women they victimize.