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In the book “Why Does He Do That?” Lundy Bancroft outlines ten types of abusers. You can see the brief description of each type in my previous post on identifying types of abusive men.
Today we are going to dive more into the mindset of the Water Torturer.
The Attitudes That Drive the Water Torturer Abuser
The Water Torturer’s driving belief is that as long as he remains calm then nothing he does can be called abuse. He does not raise his voice or his fists. He may occasionally use low level physical abuse such as blocking a doorway to prevent escape or following his partner around the house. He usually will not cross the line into hitting, kicking, slapping, etc.
A Water Torturer will be incredibly cruel without ever losing control. He proves that abuse is not born from anger or losing control.
The Water Torturer, like Mr. Right, is an expert at twisting his partner’s words or taking them out of context. His goal is to make her (and anyone else witnessing the event) feel like she is the abuser. His relentless sarcasm, derision, mimicking, laughing at her, and other emotional assaults push all the right buttons to make her lose her cool.
The Water Torturer genuinely believes that there is nothing wrong with his behavior. Since he subscribes to the idea that abuse has to include raised voices and physical assaults he thinks his actions are normal and acceptable. This makes him especially dangerous to the emotional health of his partner, because there is no way for her to communicate her pain to him in a way he will listen.
When the Water Torturers friends, family, and even children see him remain calm while his partner is yelling or crying they come to believe his assertions that she is the problem and he is innocent. He is especially dangerous in custody situations where it is easy for him to find plenty of witnesses, often even his own children, that will attest to the fact that he never loses his temper, but mom is always angry and out of control.
The Partner of the Water Torturer
It often takes years for the Water Torturer’s partner to figure out what is going on. A woman living in this type of relationship tends to blame herself. After all she was the one who “lost her temper” or refused to continue the conversation.
After a conversation with the Water Torturer his partner is left feeling agitated and confused. What went wrong? Why can’t she just control her emotions? Why is it so dang hard to explain to anyone why she is so hurt? What exactly is going wrong here!?
Often the partner of the Water Torturer will apologize for their part of the argument expecting reconciliation. Instead she will just receive a further emotional beating as her abuser rubs in just how wrong she was and may demand even more of an apology or refuse the one she gave.
When the partner of a Water Torturer leaves the relationship she may experience delayed anger and rage. As she gets out from under the fog of his verbal assaults she is able to identify the abuse more clearly. The anger that wasn’t safe to show while in the relationship can bubble over. She may experience this anger coming out sideways at people who don’t deserve it.
DO YOU KNOW A Water Torturer?
If a friend or family member tells you that they are being abused in this way please pay attention. The Water Torturer can be difficult to identify, even for the victim. Once they realize what is going on they will need support from others that they can trust to help them see truth clearly.
Remember not every abuser fits neatly into one package. You may know someone who has a few of these traits, but not all of them. You may know someone who has all of these traits, plus a few dozen more. The important part is to recognize the attitudes of abuse at work here.
If you find that the attitudes of “As long as I’m calm, nothing I do is abusive”, or “I can convince you and everyone else that you are crazy”, or “Your emotions are abuse” are present in your relationship then you are probably dealing with a Water Torturer.
If you believe that you are in an abusive relationship please reach out and seek help using the resources at the bottom of the abusive types post here.
This one would be so hard to wake up to. I have seen my guy act like this occasionally but on a regular basis so I know he’s capable of it. However it’s not his default. My concern is if I crack down on his yelling but he doesn’t really change he’ll go from yelling to water torturer. His more dominant ones right now are Mr. Right and Demand man.