Abuse - A Male Thing, Or Is It?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Samantha De Bono MBACP BACPC FDAP - COUPLES COUNSELLING & INDIVIDUAL COUNSELLING
27th June, 20110 Comments
Take a look at these comments:
“Every time we have a disagreement, I walk on eggshells, I try so hard to get my partner to understand where I’m coming from, but it’s impossible..... I get screamed at, told what an idiot I am, doors are slammed, punched, kicked and if I try to calm the situation down, I get physically smacked, kicked or punched”
“it’s always my fault”
“... threatens to leave me and the kids if I stand up for myself”
“I generally don’t disagree anymore, it’s not worth the trauma of hours of screaming and shouting, crashing and banging...”
“nobody would believe what goes on behind closed doors, when I don’t agree, it’s horrendous!”
“... it’s like dealing with a crazy person”
“anything seems able to trigger these mad episodes...”
“all I said last time was ‘what we eating tonight?’ and all hell broke loose, I was stunned, needless to say we didn’t eat anything that night. Instead I got a barrage of abuse and no sleep”
These are all quotes from men about their wives or girlfriends and just like women who live with abuse, these men initially thought that abuse came in the form of black eyes or a fat lip, but abuse comes in emotional, mental and physical form, and although many men recognise that their wife’s/girlfriend’s behaviour is cruel, erratic, crazy, demanding, controlling, pathologically possessive, manipulative, passive-aggressive, cold and hostile, they still prefer not to see it as abuse.
Clients tell me that their partners call them names, damage doors or other furniture or objects, throw things, withhold sex and affection to punish and/or use as a transaction. They lie, cheat, steal, make disparaging remarks about them to others–including their own children, make threats, punch, kick, bite, head-butt, slap, scratch, pull hair, etc., and even then, these men won’t acknowledge that their wife or girlfriend’s behaviour is abuse.
Ask yourself this:
How does her behaviour make you feel? How would you and others view her behaviour toward you if she were a man and you were a woman? If a man was behaving this way with your sister/mother/friend, what would you advise that women to do?
If her behaviour makes you feel helpless, hopeless, powerless, crazy, confused, overwhelmed, scared, anxious, stressed, fatigued, and/or physically ill, you may want to consider getting some professional help. Admitting you have a problem is the first step toward solving the problem.
However, be aware that it is unlikely that your partner will agree with your view of the problem. There’s a distinct likelihood that she will turn it around and either call you a wuss or blame you. That’s what abusers do. They blame or ridicule!. It’s what the stereotypical alcoholic wife beater does and it’s what abusive, high-conflict women do.
There’s no difference between a male or female abuser except that 9 times out of 10 she is likely to get away with it.
Why? Because men who live through this behaviour rarely tell anyone about it, they either keep it to themselves or the try to laugh it off with a glib comment like “oh you know what she’s like”. But actually NO, nobody else does know what she’s like, only the man who lives with it can possibly know how dreadful they feel, how emotionally drained, hurt, confused, angry and isolated they feel.
I know it’s probably humiliating for many men to admit they’re in an abusive relationship, but there shouldn’t be any shame in doing so. Your abusive wife/girlfriend is the one who ought to be ashamed. It takes an incredible amount of strength and courage to admit this is a problem in your relationship. But you need to use that strength to get help, and if that doesn’t work, get out!
Related articles from our experts
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- Do you know domestic abuse?
Liz Jenkins Psychotherapeutic Counsellor BSc (Hons) UKCP (Reg'd/Accr'd), MBACP6th April, 2017
- Types of verbal abuse
David Seddon MA, BA, Accred - helping couples and individuals to a better life15th March, 2017
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