Cognitive Dissonance is an extreme form of Cognitive Distortion commonly suffered by children of toxic parents and “love fraud” victims. People who enable abuse tend to suffer from Cognitive Dissonance, believing their Abuser has many good qualities that override any evidence they are at all abusive. A victim or enabler tends to treat the Abuser as if they are truly a person worth respecting, valuing their opinion, and caretaking despite knowing on a core level the person is toxic.
The more a person lies, for example, the more a willing enabler will elect to overlook the pattern as well as minimize the impact of his or her lies on both they and any victims. They may constantly talk about how attractive a person is physically when confronted with the reality that the person they are fixated on socially supporting or enabling is of a truly toxic or low-rent nature.
It is the “But… but… but…” syndrome — one where every time the abusive person pulls a stunt to harm another person or self-indulge at the expense of others their actions are overlooked in favor of their co-dependent co-Narcissist claiming they are a good person at heart, a good family provider, they always come home at night, they don’t XYZ or they DO ABC proffered as a rationalization for why it’s appropriate to continue using them while overlooking bad behavior.
It’s believing Barbie or Ken are perfect because of what they look like or because Ken bought Barbie her own pink sports car. It’s prioritizing the plastic, superficial aspect of a person’s nature when and if a person chooses to interact with them on a personal or professional level while seeking personal advancement or to remain in continued favor.
It’s believing appearance and shallow aspects of a person’s nature that are desirable qualities in a mate, friend, or family member somehow justify that person having a right to abuse others. It’s enabling the person’s toxic personality to remain unchecked in favor of constantly seeking to excuse, overlook, or minimize discussions about that person’s obnoxious, self-centered, or socially toxic lifestyle and behavior.
It’s also a common phenomenon for people who have Cluster B parents — wanting to believe their parent is good at heart simply because they are their father or mother. Adult Children with Cluster B are often loved by their own parents in this same way enormously. Bad deeds are excused, justified, or overlooked with the abusive person never being held accountable for devious or thoughtless actions that directly and indirectly harm others simply because parents are taught a false concept of unconditional love by their own toxic parents, toxic grandparents, and people who misunderstand religious texts and choose to willingly promote Narcissistic Abuse AND Enabling.
Reverse Projection — imparting ideas that all humans are kind, loving, caring, concerned about other people’s needs and feelings, and living like with empathy for others firmly rooted in their psycho-social core — is common for people who are emotionally sensitive and have been raised to enable toxic families.
Where a Narcissist, Narcopath, or other Cluster B person projects onto victims a sinister, deviant, selfish, and Machiavellian character nature most simply do not have, the misled Empath or HSP [Highly Sensitive Personality] suffering from a form of Stockholm Syndrome [or an Abuse Enabler who deceitfully aids an Abuser as a Flying Monkey] is likely to say things like,
“Well, he/she DID [lie, cheat, steal, hit, verbally abuse, name call, smear campaign, bully, abuse, disappear, stonewall, manipulate, attempt to triangulate, abandon, whatever], but don’t forget they also [helped pay rent, fixed coffee in the morning, come home at night, don’t hang out at bars, pay child support, brought home toys for the kids or groceries for the family, sent flowers to apologize, bought jewelry, help keep the lights on, made breakfast, babysat their own children while one parent was ill, are physically attractive, have a steady job, are from a good family, are going to inherit money or property some day from their family when their parents or grandparents die, they text or call every day, etcetera].”
YOU NAME IT they claim abuse should be overlooked, excused, denied, minimized, trivialized, invalidated, or ignored because of it.
The phenomenon does not strictly happen with Enablers telling a trauma victim all the reasons why they should overlook and minimize abuse by an aggressor. In the mind of a person suffering from a form of Stockholm Syndrome, one part of the logical brain may realize exactly how toxic and abusive the Abuser truly is while their own mesmerized, co-dependent, and needy part might scream, “But I love him!” or “She’s the mother of my children!” compelling the mind to deny the reality they themselves (and most likely the couple’s children) are being seriously victimized by a Cluster B person.
Hoping for the best in the face of negativity is not wrong to do… but pretending Narcissistic Abuse happening should be allowed or tolerated in even one instance (or overlooked) simply because of all the good character traits or fiscal usefulness of an abusive person to a family unit is the natural progression of toxic people having trained parents and grandparents to deal with abuse.
It’s important for young men and young women to realize the historical roots of encouraging Cognitive Dissonance to form comes from a time when women had no right to work, have a true education, to earn money, to own businesses, or to own or inherit property. Women were encouraged to marry and forced to comply in the family home to all of their husband’s wishes, as divorce was severely shunned in common society.
Conversely, many men married women shortly after meeting them without knowing them well or were set up in arranged marriages. In Western societies, Primogeniture laws kept only the oldest male heirs able to inherit land and estate properties as well, so all female siblings were beholden not simply to their father’s whims but also to their oldest brothers. So were second, third, and fourth sons — noting that family money passed down to the eldest male sibling was typically supposed to be used to support younger brothers and sisters.
Many young men in Europe who were second sons elected to emigrate to America for this very reason — to make their own fortune and not live beholden to the control and abuses of toxic brothers who were older than them or their own toxic fathers. Young women who came to America tended to seek out marriage with good providers rather than endeavoring to settle down with men who treated them well on a personal level.
These same women were our grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and great-great-grandmothers, all giving daily advice to both male and female children encouraging them to overlook abuse in favor of keeping a roof over everyone’s head and encouraging marriages to stay together in order to prevent the entire family from being socially ridiculed or shamed in the eyes of church or synagogue officials. Noting that women who were coming of age in the early part of the 20th century were the first females in American history who were granted the right to vote, but many did not have the opportunity to do things like go to college or live as single women for at least a decade after leaving their parent’s homes helps to explain why — in their minds — ignoring, overlooking, and enabling their marriage partners to be abusive both to themselves and their children was something they did to protect themselves as well as their children from financial as well as social ruin.
After all, if a woman was being mistreated by a man in the early 20th century and she elected to leave — without business experience or a way to earn a living, both she and her children could rapidly end up on the streets. She also would not be likely to receive social support for leaving an abusive husband, as nearly all church and public officials of the day taught people they would be socially shamed as well as punished by an angry God for breaking the marriage contract. Since the Bible allowed wives and children to be beaten, Domestic Violence and Domestic Abuse were not seen by the church as valid reasons not to stay.
Fearing financial ruin, complete loss of social status, and the stigma a divorce or complaining in public about abuse may bring on the children, many abused women raised their own children to believe that the true hallmark of success in life was how long a man or woman elected to remain in a marriage. It was not until the mid 20th century many women started to feel like being alone was preferable to living with an abusive male — daring to risk filing for a divorce and striving in the late 20th century to start educating themselves and making names for themselves as strong, emotionally and psychologically stable, financially fit women able to hold down their own jobs while managing on their own to try to raise children.
Men who were grossly abused by Cluster B females received little to no emotional support from the community either — many being informed by nearly every elder and person they know that it would be cheaper to keep a nagging or mean-spirited wife than to actually go through the process of divorcing and subsequently replacing her. A man trapped in an emotionally or physically abusive marriage or with a woman they simply did not like or learn how to love over time did what any smart male would do in the same situation.
Men who were (or are) unhappy at home tend to throw themselves into their work. Seeking out jobs that required extensive time away from home, extensive travel, or constant overtime gave an escape from home life that allowed them to financially flourish in their careers while avoiding their home life or personal child-rearing obligations. Since women were taught they were supposed to cook, clean, and manage the house while raising children almost exclusively without male help, no one batted an eye at a man who only spent a few nights or weeks in the family home every year. In all reality, such men were praised for being strong, capable providers — allowed to act any way they liked at home or away from home without consequences, either.
Men who were considered good providers but of weak character were oftentimes considered “henpecked” by their more controlling female mates. Seeking refuge from abuse at the office, the longer they were able to avoid going home to see the wife and children, the more relief they tended to feel when and if the office called and they were needed away.
Men who were of an Alpha nature who made big dollars were seen as a prize to be won by most young females seeking lifetime shelter. Such men might be dictatorial and oppressive to deal with on a day to day basis, but women learned how to wait on men hand and foot when and if they did come home. Play acting and pretending to be meek, loving, and stupid was how women married to narcissistic or narcopathic men learned to keep themselves and their children from being physically beaten or cast out on the street like yesterday’s garbage.
The same pattern exists in women who strive to be “trophy wives” for controlling, abusive, and arguably socially abusive but financially wealthy men today. The smart ones know that a successful man is oftentimes a busy man who spends countless hours away from home. Gold digging their husband’s paycheck in exchange for play-acting the role of the submissive bride for a few hours a week is the dignity they trade for having access to his financial wealth without regulation or restraint.
Most spouses of men who are serial cheaters suffer the most extreme forms of Cognitive Distortion. Believing their husbands actually love or care about their needs because they come home after shagging their lovers or mistresses, they tend to keep their minds fixated on all the positive qualities of their mate. When their husband has very few (if any) positive character traits, such women will tend to obsess about things like highly romanticized concepts of romantic love, their lust for a mate to validate their self-worth socially or emotionally by paying attention to them instead of a mistress, or to fixate on things about their partner that are god given assets rather than carefully psychologically cultivated traits.
Just like a man might stay with a woman because she has big boobs or a knockout figure despite the fact she’s dumb as a stump, an alcoholic, a shop-a-holic, acts like a Somatic Narcissist or person with Borderline Personality Disorder, or truly has nothing in common with him regard to intellectual nature, a woman can fixate as well on a man’s wallet or appearance. Women who brag about how much money their husband makes or overlook his poor character in favor of bragging he’s so tall, fit, good looking, has a great job, drives a fast car, owns a pretty boat, is from a wealthy family, whatever, allow those small merits to dominate their mind when and if they are confronted with the reality that their man is habitually an abusive jerk to them pervasively by both social habit and enabled nature.
The distortion is believing all people are kind-hearted, loving, and caring or capable of loving other people by nature. The dissonance is a faulty psychology taught to insist that positive qualities can or ever should be weighed or measured against the good with regard to evaluating whether or not it’s logically or morally appropriate to involve one’s self socially or emotionally with another human being — especially with regard to a person who is prone to using and abusing other people systematically by nature.