We should not be surprised when Donald Trump sides with perpetrators of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and pedophilia. Survivors of these forms of intimate violence and those who help them heal, are familiar with the power and control dynamics abusers use. These are the same tactics the President used to get elected, and continues to use to divide and conquer the populace so that enough people remain committed to his version of reality.

Control—of the person, their own image as impeccable, and their version of reality is the focus of a perpetrator’s every move. “Crazy making” (or “gaslighting” after an Academy award winning movie) is when an abuser says or does something to control and intimidate but when confronted, they deny, distort events to put themselves in a favorable light, and repeat the “trumped up” version to as many as possible. Eventually the truth fades into the background and the victim is portrayed as an unreliable witness. Consider how often the President cavalierly lies to alter the record and how crazy making this is for those in the media covering him.

Polishing a positive public persona with those who hold power is another hallmark of a perpetrator. Behaving at work and in the world in ways dramatically different than with the victim, maintains the false image and undermines the victim’s believability. Trump lauded Rob Porter as someone who “worked very hard” and did a wonderful job in the White House. He said it was a “very tough time for him,” and wished him a wonderful career. Abusers care about how they appear and are skilled at currying favor with those who can protect and defend them. For most this includes police officers, lawyers, and judges. For a president it includes politicians in his own party and his voter base.

And finally, a colossal lack of empathy is perhaps the most telling attribute of a perpetrator. They take no responsibility for their behavior because they are unable or unwilling to walk in the shoes of the people they victimize. The only time Trump has shown a shred of concern for women who are victims of violence is when the perpetrator is someone with whom he does not identify—a democrat or a man of color.

Perpetrators isolate their victims by creating an impenetrable circle of supporters who believe their lies and silence their victims. The White House did the same when they intentionally ignored Porter’s pattern of abuse and allowed him to maintain and expand his position, even without a security clearance. Surely crimes against women should be viewed through the lens of justice and not how they will impact the public persona of the man in the White House. For if not yet proven to be an actual abuser himself (with graphic photos of his own), Trump has shown us time and again he identifies with them, operates from their playbook, and surrounds himself with those who do the same. Sadly, abusers across the country have a role model: Perpetrator in Chief.