There is much debate about these two questions. For me there is no debate. I don’t self soothe with lies that make it easier to bear.
I know some survivors of abuse choose to believe their abuser ‘couldn’t help it’. That’s easier to deal with, than the truth of knowing an abuser intentionally abused them.
I know there are mental health professionals, who choose to believe abusers don’t know their actions are abuse. I am aware this is also self soothing – so it’s easier to provide therapy and be nice to them.
All of my abusers knew it was wrong, abuse and they all proved they could control their behaviours. So, the only answer left – was they intentionally, deliberately and knowingly abused me.