Sanctuary for the Abused

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

10 Reasons Abusers Don't Change

Ten Reasons to Stay the Same

From "Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men" by Lundy Bancroft.

To answer the question "Why Does He Do That?" we have to examine the foundation on which abusive behaviors are based. On the first level are the abuser's attitudes, beliefs and habits-- the thinking that drives his behavior day in and day out, which we have been looking at. On the second level is the learning process by which some boys develop into abusive men or, in other words, where abusive values come from, which is the topic of ch 13.

There is also a third level, which is rarely mentioned in discussions of abuse but which is actually one of the most important dynamics: the benefits that an abuser gets that make his behavior desirable to him. In what ways is abusiveness rewarding? How does this destructive pattern get reinforced?

Consider the following scenario: Mom, Dad, and their children are having dinner on a Wed night. Dad is snappy and irritable, criticizing everybody during the meal, spreading his tension around like electricity. When he finishes eating, he leaves the table abruptly and heads out of the room. His 10 yr old daughter says, "Dad, where are you going? Wed is your night to wash dishes." Upon hearing these words, Dad bursts into flames, screaming, "You upstart little shit, don't you dare try to tell me what to do! You'll be wearing a dish on your face!" He grabs a plate off the table, makes like he is going to throw it at her, and then turns away and smashes it on the floor. He knocks a chair over with his hand and storms out of the room. Mom and the children are left trembling; the daughter bursts into tears. Dad reappears in the doorway and yells that she'd better shut up, so she chokes off her tears, which causes her to shake even more violently. Without touching a soul, Dad has sent painful shock waves through the entire family.

We move ahead now to the following Wed. Dinner passes fairly normally, without the previous week's tension, but Dad still strolls out of the kitchen when he finishes eating. Does a family member remind him that it's his turn to wash the dishes? Of course not. It will be many, many months before anyone makes that mistake again. They quietly attend to the cleanup, or they squabble among themselves about who should do it, taking out their frustrations over Dad's unfairness and volatility on each other. Dad's scary behavior has created a context in which he won't have to do the dishes anytime he doesn't feel like it, and no one will dare take him to task for it.

Any incident of abusive behavior brings the abuser benefits just as this one did. Over time, the man grows attached to his ballooning collection of comforts and privileges. Here are some of the reasons why he may appear so determined not to stop bullying:

1. The intrinsic satisfaction of power and control
The abusive man gains power through his coercive and intimidating behaviors -- a sensation that can create a potent, thrilling rush. The wielder of power feels important and effective and finds a momentary relief from life's normal distresses. It isn't the woman's pain that appeals to him; most abusers are not sadists. In fact, he has to go to some lengths to shield himself from his own natural tendenty to empathize with her. The feeling that he rules is where the pleasure lies.

Yet the heady rush of power is the bare beginning of what the abuser gains through his mistreatment of his partner. If the rewards stopped here, I would find it much easier than I do to prevail upon my clients to change.

2. Getting his way, especially when it matters to him most
A romantic partnership involves a never-ending series of negotiations between 2 people's differing needs, desires, and preferences. Many of the differences that have to be worked out are matters of tremendous importance to the emotional life of each partner, such as:

-- Are we spending Christmas with my relatives, whom I enjoy, or with your relatives who get on my nerves and don't seem to like me?

-- Are we eating dinner tonight at my favorite restaurant, or at a place that I'm tired of and where the children seem to get wound up and irritating?

-- Am I going to have to go alone to my office party, which makes me feel terrible, or are you going to come with me even though you would rather spend the evening doing almost anything else on earth?

It is important not to underestimate theimpact of these kinds of day-to-day decisions. Your happiness in a relationship depends greatly on your ability to get your needs heard and taken seriously. If these decisions are taken over by an abusive or controlling partner, you experiences disappointment after disappointment, the constant sacrificing of your needs. He, on the other hand, enjoys the luxury of a relationship where he rarely has to compromise, gets to the things he enjoys, and skips the rest. He shows off his generosity when the stakes are low, so that friends will see what a swell guy he is.

The abuser ends up with the benefits of being in an intimate relationship without the sacrifices that normally come with the territory. That's a pretty privileged lifestyle.

3. Someone to take his problems out on
Have you ever suffered a sharp disappointment or a painful loss and found yourself looking for someone to blame? Have you, for example, ever been nasty to a store clerk when you were really upset about your job? Most people have an impulse to dump bad feelings on some undeserving person, as a way to relieve-- temporarily-- sadness or frustration. Certain days you may know that you just have to keep an eye on yourself so as not to bite someone's head off.

The abusive man doesn't bother to keep an eye on himself, however. In fact, he considers himself entitled to use his partner as a kind of human garbage dump where he can litter the ordinary pains and frustrations that life brings us. She is always an available target, she is easy to blame-- since no partner is perfect-- and she can't prevent him from dumping because he will get even worse if she tries. His excuse when he jettisons his distresses onto her is that life is unusually painful-- an unacceptable rationalization even if it were true, which it generally isn't.

4. Free labor from her; leisure and freedom for him
No abusive man does his share of the work in a relationship. He may take advantage of his partner's hard work keeping the house, preparing the meals, caring for the children, and managing the myriad details of life. Or, if he is one of the few abusers who carries his weight in these areas, then he exploits her emotionally instead, sucking her dry of attention, nurturing, and support, and returning only a trickle.

All this uncompensated labor from her means leisure for him. During the house he spends talking about himself he is relieved of the work of listening. The long weekend days when she cares for the children are his opportunity to watch sports, go rock climbing, or write his novel. My clients don't make the connection that someone takes care of the work; they think of it as just mysteriously getting done and refer to women as "lazy." Yet on a deeper level the abuser seems to realize how hard his partner works, because he fights like hell not to have to share that burden. He is accustomed to his luxury and often talks exaggeratedly about his exhaustion to excuse staying on his read end.

Studies have shown that a majority of women feel that their male partners don't contribute fairly to household responsibilities. However, a woman whose partner is not abusive at least has the option to put her foot down about her workload and insist that the man pick up the slack. With an abusive man, however, if you put your foot down he either ignores you or makes you pay.

The abuser comes and goes as he pleases, meets or ignores his responsibilities at his whim, and skips anything he finds too unpleasant. In fact, some abusers are rarely home at all, using the house only as a base for periodic refueling.

5. Being the center of attention, with priority given to his needs
When a woman's partner chronically mistreats her, what fills up her thoughts? Him, of course. She ponders how to soothe him so that he won't explode, how to improve herself in his eyes, how she might delicately raise a touchy issue with him. Little space remains for her to think about her own life, which suits the abuser; he wants her to be thinking about him. The abuser reaps cooperation and catering to his physical, emotional and sexual needs. And if the couple has children, the entire famly strives to enhance his good moods and fix his bad ones, in the hope that he won't start tearing pieces out of anyone. Consistently at the center of attention and getting his own way, the abuser can ensure that his emotional needs get met on his terms-- a luxury he is loath to part with.

6. Financial control
Money is a leading cause of tension in modern relationships, at least in families with children. Financial choices have huge quality of life implications, including: Who get to make the purchases that matter most to him or her; what kind sof preparations are made for the future, including retirement; what types of leisure activities and travel are engaged in; who gets to work; who gets to not work if he or she doesn't want to; and how the children's needs are met. To have your voice in these decisions taken away is a monumental denial of your rights and has long-term implications. On the lfip side, the abuser who dominates these kinds of decisionsextorts important benefits for himself, whether the family is low income or wealthy. One of the most common tactics I hear about, for example, is that the abuser manages to finagle dealings so that his name is on his partner's belongings-- such as her house or her car-- along with, or instead of, her name. In fact, I have had clients whose abuse was almost entirely economically based and who managed to take many thousands of dollars away from their partners, either openly or thorugh playing financial tricks.

An abuser's history of economic exploitation tends to put him in a much better financial position that his partner if the relationship splits up. This imbalanace makes it harder for her to leave him, especially is she has to find a way to support her children. He may also threaten to use his economic advantage to hire a lawyer and pursue custody, on of the single most terrifying prospects that can face an abused woman.

7. Ensuring that his career, education or other goals are prioritized
Closely interwoven with financial control is the question of whose personal goals receive priority. If the abuser needs to be out several evening studying for a certificate that will improve his job advancement potential, he's going to do it. If a career opportunity for him involves moving to a new state, he is likely to ignore the impact of his decision on his partner. Her own goals may also advance at times, but only as long as they don't interfere with his.

8. Public status of partner and/or father without the sacrifices
With his strong people-pleasing skills and his lively energy when under the public gaze, the abusive man is often thought of as an unusually fun and loving partner and a sweet, committed dad. He soaks up the smiles and appreciation he receives from relatives, neighbots, and people in the street who are unaware of his behavior in private.

9. The approval of his friends and relatives
An abuser often chooses friends who are supportive of abusive attitudes. On top of that, he may come from an abusive fmaily; in fact, his father or stepfather may have been his key role model for how to treat female partners. If these are his social surroundings, he gets strokes for knowing how to control his partner, for "putting her in her place" from time to time, and for ridiculing her complaints about him. His friends and relatives may even bond with him on the basis of his view of women in general as being irrational, vindictive, or avaricious. For this man to renounce abuse, he would have to give up his cheerleading squad as well.

10. Double standards
An abusive man subtly or overtly imposes a system in which he is exempt from the rules and standards that he applies to you. He may allow himself to have occaisonal affairs, "because men have their needs," but if you so much as gaze at another man, you're a "whore". He may scream in arguments, but if you raise your voice, you're "hysterical". He may pick up one of your children by the ear, but if you grab your son and put him in timeout for punching you in the leg, you're a "child abuser". He can leave his schedule open and flexible while you have to account for your time. He can point out your faults, while setting himself above criticism, so that he doesn't have to deal with your complaints or be confronted with the effects of his selfish and destructive actions. The abusive man has the privilege of living by a special set of criteria that were designed just for him.

Glance back quickly over this impressive collection of privileges. Is it any wonder that abusive men are reluctant to change? The benefits of abuse are a major social secret, rarely mentioned anywhere. Why? Largely because abusers are specialists in distracting our attention. They don't want anyone to notice how well this system is working for them (and usually don't even want to admit it to themselves). If we caught on, we would stop feeling sorry for them and instead start holding them accountable for their actions. As long as we see abusers as victims, or as out-of-control monsters, they will continue getting away with ruining lives. If we want abusers to change, we will have to require them to give up the luxury of exploitation.

When you are left feeling hurt or confused after a confrontation with your controlling partner, ask yourself: What was he trying to get out of what he just did? What is the ultimate benefit to him? Thinking through these questions can help you clear your head and identify his tactics.

Certainly the abusive man also loses a great deal through his abusiveness. He loses the potential for genuine intimacy in his relationship, for example, and his capacity for compassion and empathy. But these are often not things that he values, so he may not feel their absence. And even if he would like greater intimacy, that wish is outweighed by his attachment to the benefits of abuse.

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shared by Barbara at 12:07 AM



You hit the nail right on the head Barbara!

Wher is their incentive to change? Its to their advantage NOT to in their eyes!

Then they get ticked off over the distance....sigh!

12:58 PM  

There are some abusive women anonymous. But there are many men who treat women this way. Everything that has to do with them comes first!

6:33 PM  

I am a girl who is totally tired of a abusive guy who has been ruining her state of peace since a year.

I don't have words to express my feelings.

1) I am being stalked
2) My laptops and mobiles are all hacked
3)The guys checks my personal stuff after I leave.

I guess he thinks that all this is justified since he is under the false impression that I like him, but honestly my reply is that I have lost all respect for him just because of the abusive behavior.

I don't know how to stop him, perhaps better than committing suicide , taking a legal action is better thing

9:03 AM  

Barbara this is my life for 38 years and still is. I had a Narcissistic Mother now husband and possible 29 year old daughter. I am more than worn out.This is all very sad but true!

1:23 PM  

this was my existence for 12 long, miserable years, married to a sadist who called me names, was constantly picking away at me for everything imaginable. He was very verbally abusive all the time, and YES ! every neighbor was convinced he was "mr wonderful" sheeesh ! what a deceiver he was. Well, I had the opportunity to "boogaloo" in June of 1997, and I ran for my life, without looking back !! Praise the Lord !!

6:50 PM  

I lived a true nightmare with my husband over the last 6 years.
Sad reality is he is just an abuser, nothing but an abuser and never will be anything other than an abuser. So sad for him. And his next victim.
But one day I will heal enough to find peace, happiness and love.

5:19 AM  

Great article. Again, I never hear about this stuff in psychology class. Never hear of it ANYWHERE!

Remember, rarely is anything so clearcut and obvious in real life, unless your eyes have been opened to it and you allow yourself to see the truth. That psychopathic behavior is the norm and we perpetuate it by trying to include the victims in the working out of problems or including them in the guilt. Mri's checking for psychopathy could so easily help the victims.

Another form of psychopathic control is a form of "munchausen by proxy." This doesn't have to be a parent doing this to a child but a spouse doing this to a spouse or an adult child doing it to their elderly parent. I have seen this. Again, there is certain terminology used in counseling, church and medical disabilities and "lovingly" taking your spouse to the doctor, and knowing all the meds he/she is on, the interworkings of their illnesses etc, is a great place for a psychopath to display themselves. How they look so long-suffering and benevolent. And the illness may not be caused by them but they want to be there to get all the credit. Please PLEASE lets help the helpable.

2:41 PM  

I am in recovery after a 20 year marriage to an abuser. It grew over time, and got worse. It culominated with him pointing a loaded pistol at my dogs twice to frighten me, and then finally held a load pistol to my ribs. He is gone now, and I am trying to heal. I was granted a restraining order. He was ordered by the court to attend a certified batter intervention program. I do not know if the program helped him, and it is too late for us anyway. His treatment over the years left me with little feeling of intamacy for him, and drained me emotionally. It is a long road back, but I will find joy in my life again. I am re-connecting with people and activities that I had all but given up. I am taking care of myself and my dogs. I am strong, and will heal. Your reasons why an abuser will not change make perfect sense. On their own, there is no motivation to change.

8:55 PM  

I find it disappointing that the author has directed this squarely at men. I know, you've got to pick your target market and speak to it, and there are far more abusive men than women, but I'm living in an abusive relationship with my wife, not physically but emotionally.

6:43 PM  

I have an abusive 33 year old son who starts yelling at me for anything, mainly when he stays at my house while coming to visit his friends. I don't even invite him, but he shows up and then starts yelling that the house is messy or cluttered, or that I said something to annoy him. No, he wasn't abused as a child, more like spoiled as an only child, and used to getting his way by having fits. He always turns it around like it's my fault afterward. We're currently not speaking. Very sad to devote your life to a monster.

6:56 AM  

An excellent article which is so true for men, too! I am married to a most amazing man, who was victim to ALL of the above abuse from his wife for over 25 years! It almost broke him to leave, and in the end he left because he saw his children becoming the same monster his wife was, and realised he should've left a long, long time ago. It's never too late to start over. WALK AWAY. Abuse is not normal, and although victims find it hard to stop trying to find ways to justify every abusive action when it happens, that is the ONLY way to find peace, and find the door. Abusers do not change. Ever.

2:16 AM  

Check! Check! Check! Everything listed in the article has touch my life or is now running and ruining my heart, both emotionally and physically. Not too long ago I was taken to the hospital because I almost collapsed in the grocery store. I literally thot I was going to die, it was similiar to having a stroke. I kept a level head enuf to pray and I prayed for my children and my husband. I thot if now's the time I felt unafraid to die and very good about my efforts with my kids and my husband. The biggest remorse that hit me was how I didn't take care of myself. That was my biggest sadness. Anyway my husband eventually came to the hospital to pick me up. On the way home he was screaming at me calling me names, all after I'd been strapped to heart monitors, tests galore. He took me home and I needed help. He refused to help me. Instead he left. He left me overnite with no car, by myself, alone. I dont get it. I just don't get it. I spent the nite alone in my house after near death in the hospital because my husband couldn't stand being around me. He came home the next morning and in his sing song manner said hey hows it going, want some coffee? I still can not get my head around how a human being lacks the empathy to care for another, especially someone you promised to love and care for in sickness and health. What I can say is this, even tho we are affected everyday by the points mentioned in the article, there is in each person struggling with abuse courage and bravery and a place where we are untouched by the abusive partners behavior. When faced with the idea literally I was having a stroke and could die I felt Strong in my Capacity to handle hard things and felt a peace and an ease facing my own mortality. Im still with this person and he still bullies me and I feel sad and disappointed often. Im not free of this struggle at all. Why? I dont know. I just don't know.

6:15 PM  

Women can be incredibly abusive and controlling, too. One day, society will have a better grasp of the issues. I would encourage that you are not alone. If you call a hotline and the person gives you a hard time, keeping calling until you get the support you need. All the resources for women to survive and recover from abuse apply to you as well. Please take care of yourself, walk in the truth not the lies, and know that you are worthy of respect and love.

12:19 PM  

I am an abuser... I fight against these a lot of these tendencies daily. Most of the time successfully but sometimes I lose control and snap! All of this info is for the abused. Where's the best place to start for the abuser. All material here says that I will never change. Less than 2% do. My family should run away... if they will not should I do them the favor to leave them? Sincerely, I love them and want the best for them. Leaving seems cowardly but my actions when I'm angry are cowardly.

7:18 AM  

My husband, doesn't control me like I know a lot of men can do. What he does is sit and do nothing. We collectively have 5 young children together and his theme is "if it's not my mess, I am not cleaning it". I cook as soon as I get home, clear off the table, put food on the table, he gets his food and starts eating while I dish out all the little kids food and cut it to size and start feeding the 1 yr old baby who sits right next to him. He finishes dinner rinses his plate and puts it in the sink and goes back to watching t.v. Kids get done with dinner and get them ready for bed. He usually goes to bed about this time. I tuck the kids in and do prayers. Then I start cleaning up dinner. So this is pretty much how our household runs with everything. Unless it has to do directly with him, we don't exist. UNTIL...he gets mad at HIS oldest and starts slapping him around to the point of bruises. He beats on the dogs has even taken a pellet gun to them. This only happens maybe once or twice a year with His kid and more often with the dogs. He has never touched me and has never done anything to My kids, except leave them out when he is playing with His Golden Child. We had it out not to long ago, and I heard the "i'm Sorry' and "I'll never do it again" "I don't want to lose you". He took it upon himself to clean our absolutely trashed house and cook me a really well planned and thought out meal (he has never done any of this stuff in the 3 years I have been with him) Can he really change? Is he just doing the "Honeymoon Phase"? I don't know whether or not to trust him... Ideas...Thoughts?

4:07 PM  

To those upset this is about men, it was written BY a man who works with abusive men. This is not a book written by women bashing men. It is written by a man which gives it all the more credibility. As the authir states, women have their form of verbal abuse too but rarely is a man terrorized and on fear of a woman. MANY women live in fear of men. The abuse isn't comparable whatsoever.

12:31 AM  

Living in fear is not an option but its most that abused vitlvrims live in. I am one of them. Its hard because I love him n we have daughters. However he has another child from. Cheating this is very devasting I am the blame for it all. I know I can do good on my own I was fine before I met him but leaving is hard. Pray every day for change.the man I love has these traits. What to do now...

3:02 PM  

This feels like it was written personally for me. He is currently incarcerated for domestic violence. His family takes up for him & after reading this I now understand why. He was the child spoiled to getting his way, hes now the Dr.Jekyll & Mr. Hyde husband that everyone adores & I am the quiet, long suffering wife whom his friends & family blame no thanks to him. I cant thank the author enough for opening my eyes up to what is really going on in his head, and I kid you not...everything written, every bulletin, fit my husband. Time to move on...

6:13 AM  

This article feels like a page out of my life with Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde..loving husband one minute, hated villain the next..his mood swings were outrageous, and I tried to convince myself that because he married me & loved me so intensely, that I could handle his lows..the cycle of love/blame/abandonment has been an ongoing event throughout our relationship..I realize with sadness that I can't continue living like this or I will never find my true happiness for me and my daughters. His family and friends see me through his eyes and I am to blame for everything, including his recent incarceration for hitting me. It takes a strong woman to not hit a man back, & an even stronger women to realize he will never change & move on no matter how painful. This cant be love when his family & friends look the other way when he has affairs, when he abuses me, while I am left alone, sad & taking care of our family. I'm tired of being blamed for his mistakes. Time to goooooooo.

6:25 AM  

this was my life for 15 years. my abusive husbsnd blamed me for his behavior. for many years i thought i was crazy, a psychopath, bipolar. i blamed myself for my failed marriage. i left him many times. last time i did not go back. he went on the internet and married a woman in less than three months. they seem very happy together, adding to my belief that it was me. it wasnt until my 17 year old son left his dad and refused to have anything to do with him that i realized it wasnt me. when i left, he abused my son. the unfortunate thing is that he has alienated my 15 year old daughter from me and my family. he has doted on her since birth, often putting her in charge because she had such a crazy incompetent mother

9:24 PM  

Your comment people will say is brave. It is
Your ahead of the game because you know there's issues to deal with
My ex didn't and doesn't
He's got my baby
Destroyed family
Has everything but everyone sides with him
If I can't get courts to return baby full time as opposed to shared with him getting majority I will have to run
He refuses to see that he did any wrong tat included at taking me when I held our baby and my older child but courts said I may date another abuser n gave him more custody
He breached restraining order three times since split
Stalks me
Won't cooperate over baby
I will have to run
I hope you succeed in addressing your problems but you accept you have them
That's the start
Don't give up

12:39 PM  

I am in an abusive relationship. I'm 26 and he's 24. It's been an emotional nightmare for me. He keeps telling me he'll change but he's done everything to push me away and still abuse me. I really wanted to believe him.

I just ended things with him but it's so hard to stay strong and stay broken up. I'm so broken apart and I feel so shameful that a part of me wants him to call and apologize.

It's true about the sneaky part. No one would ever think he's abusive. Very quiet, shy, "nice."

9:04 PM it please...(men ending verbal abusive and control)...thnx for writing...i try to believe it was my husband writing...dream on...

1:36 AM  

Yeah exactly the same with me. Every time we fight or he screams at me over nothing I feel like I need to apologize. Its absolutely ridiculous.

7:06 PM  

I was married for 20 years to the guy that is described in this article. we've been divorced for 13 years now and I'm still struggling to become a person that I like that I'm proud of.I don't have any self confidence. I'm always telling people I don't remember so I don't have to get into an argument with anybody because I know I'll lose. That's what he taught me. I did everything in our marriage I did the yard for the house work raise the kids did the shopping he did nothing.I'm having a hard time finding a relationship that I can trust that's not going to do the same thing. My mom always said my picker is broken.

12:52 PM  

I have been on a toxic relationship for the last seven years. He abuse me verbally, physically and emotionally. He does all of that in front of our kids and tire of him i just want to move on and never looked back. He has no respect for woman or for me.

1:53 PM i love it...i was confused why we start catering them feeding it is about them and lost ourselves....

i was a bit confused as i am going through self blaming...but i am near t believe its not my fault:)...
but one thing was killing me why we cater them during that abusive cycle....
you expressed it so nicely and simply....such a relief...knowing nothing is our fault

2:55 PM  

What if the abuser is a son, and I want to do everything in my power to help him?

7:07 PM  

I am in an abusive relationship. It's hard to say that but reading this article has made me realize that every point made perfectly describes him. He had beaten me up when I was six months pregnant. We got together pretty quickly and all of a sudden were having a baby. He to blames me for all his behaviour. My mom had walked in on him standing over me beating me and had called the cops. I was petrified and denied that he had hit me. I did not want the father of my child to go to jail. I also was constantly telling the cop to please tell him I didn't call the police and my mother had. Which made me realize how I truly am scared of him. I keep going back to him, I don't know what to do. I feel like an idiot at times. I know the answer.. to leave him and protect my baby. He is not abusive towards our baby. But I don't trust that he won't ever be based on his outbursts. I know the answer but why can't I get there. I feel so lost and depressed, I've been drinking alcohol more than usual to self medicate. He is using the fact I drink to tell me I'm a terrible mom. I don't no what to do.. anyone please?

12:21 AM  

I see the MRA members are here to detract from a serious issue at hand and to say that women are evil too.

Very sad state of affairs that men use an oppressed women's site to come and oppress women.

Yes, women are abusers. But the ratio is about 9-1.

12:25 PM  

I don't know what to do.
I am the mom of a 32 year old son, who is in an abusive relationship and he is physically and mentally abused daily. She demeans him, has broken every dish in the house by throwin at him, because he didnt come quick enoiugh when she asked him too...she actually broke her hand while beating him in his head. Of course, she told everyone that she broke it in a car wreck. Everyone know better. Her, or their friends feel sorry for him. They have tried to talk him into leaving, but he will not leave. They have a baby. He will not leave the baby, and she will most def. hold that over his head.
I, as his mom, would like to beat the snot out of her and show her how it feels to be on the other end of the abuse. i don't understand her. He works 2 jobs, takes care of the cooking, cleaning and the baby. ...and I'm not just saying that, I've heard it from everyone else. I don not think that i could live close to them because I would hurt her. I don't want to feel this way, but I feel for my son. He feels trapped. If it were her being abused..she would report it and he would go to jail. He is so kind-hearted. he would do anything for anyone. He is totally embarrased when she acts like this in front of friends. What to do?????

1:47 PM  

20 years, kids conditioned to believe I was crazy....eventually just gave up, quit housekeeping, still worked full time, and at family business. Then he intentionally stole from government agency, which caused loss of family business for very immoral gains. He left us in small town to deal with fall out. One of the kids blamed me for years, while I frantically tried to hold marriage together, not knowing he had already established new family (woman and her child(ren) 2500 miles away). Still believes he can steal from us, while he has her that he should be abusing. Almost cost me my life, the brainwashing was overwhelming. He makes 5 times what I do, even with the fraction he has to pay me....yet steals from us on his whim. He was not raised this way, and when I hear our kids say they're glad he's gone, it breaks my heart. Still cleaning up after him, and his family feels they can now jump on his bandwagon to continue his sick work. They do not accept the truth, I look forward to the day when they wake up. Wish there was some way to erase his memory, and the triggers caused by the years of abuse. And I wish I could take the pain of our kids away. Staggering.

9:30 AM  

I will be honest.i have been abusive. I am working on changing that.i have always regretted everything within minutes. I WANT to change and I will. I am doing everything in my power. Any advice is appreciated. I realize it will take me a long time to change my complete way of thinking and treating others. I am fully committed to fixing my problem.

11:09 PM  

I have been in an abusive relationship for almost a year now. I am the only one who works, I pay for absolutely every single expense while he sits on his butt, refuses to contribute towards any aspect of our relationship. He lies, cheats, hurts me every way he can. He broke my cheek bone on my face from punching me in the face. I didn't have the heart to send him to jail so his mother called the cops and made a report, but his charges were dismissed at arraignment and he got off scott free. He choked me while I was pregnant with his child because i asked him to please give me my cell phone back that i bought and pay for. I collapsed to the floor after it happened. His mom ran to me asking why I was on the ground crying, he laughed with his response and said she's crying because I choked her, I don't care and he left with his ex girlfriend who we waiting outside. I got an abortion the next week. I couldn't bring a child into this world with a man like that. He threatens to kill me, my dog, my father all the time. I tried to leave last week, he wouldn't let me take my own truck, (he has title in his name to control me) I left on foot with just the clothes on my back and he drove after me. Almost hit me with my own truck twice. He parked my truck sideways in the middle of a very busy street and tried to beg me please don't leave, saying he would lie and have me thrown in jail. Finally a stranger stopped, opened his door and told me to get in, that hell drive me to safety. I got in the car with the man and he drove away before my fiance could catch us. I had him drop me off at a gas station and stayed the night with a girlfriend, but came crawling back the next day. I don't know what to do, the lease to our home is in my name, but he refuses to leave because he has no where to go. I think I need a restraining order...

7:40 AM  

Thank you to everyone who shared their stories of survival, the emotional, spiritual, mental and physical stages of being involved in/previous abusive relationships. You are all very brave and you've provided someone with the hope and strengths of moving away from this toxic love. Be well all.

12:34 AM  

My husband beat me up when I was 3mo. by repeatedly kicking me in the stomach causing a miscarriage of one twin. I was blamed, surviving son is now 6mo after birth I've stayed with him through alot, we're high school sweethearts going on 30. He was never this way as a teenager, not the anger or the rage, or the physical and verbal assaults. Idk what happened but I just knew it was me and I caused this, his family and all our friends would never believe he's such an awful man in the privacy of our house. I started feeling as though my sanity was in question, and started drinking daily to ease the pain. I was slowly losing myself, the last time he abused me he broke bones in my face, one of which caused a disfigurement. Yep, it was no longer a secret, he had never crossed the"line" (above neck) before and my face was so shattered it became apparent I had been abused. I was so disgusted that I allowed him to do this continuously without consequence and now I am forever scarred. My children cried and were so traumatized by my injuries and the fact that the man they knew as dad could do this with no remorse. It's definitely been an uphill battle but once I got rid of the vermin of him in our lives we are all much more at peace. I stopped drinking realizing that the troubles I tried to get away from were caused by the exact same thing I was letting disturb my life. Him. Be strong friend, know you are not alone! you're love for yourself and child can conquer these thoughts of depression and loneliness and to seek safety. Please understand the value of your life and your self worth. You are able to get through this.

1:07 AM  

Thanks. But how do u get a loved one out of this!

2:56 AM  

For those pointing out that he seems to only be talking about male abusers, the author actually talks about that in the book. He's using generalizing terms because most abusers are men and most victims are women, but he acknowledges that it can go the other way around, and several times he addresses gay and lesbian relationships too.

3:48 PM  

I've been in a relationship with someone I considered my true love. When we first met, it felt like we had already known each other for years . He was everything I was looking for in a man; Complimented me, cooked for me, was amazing in bed (caring about me and not himself (or so it seemed)(but by caring about me he was actually looking for approval from me about his skills to boost his ego) intelligent, and just made me feel like I was loved: like in the way he held me, was thoughtful with purchasing gifts, the way he talked to me sometimes was just sweet. But occasionally when things didn't go his way or if I questioned him about something he'd slap me, scream at me, call me a worthless piece of s&*t, retard, bitch, c&*t, push me, and occasionally kick me. Then he'd say I made him do it. He'd get furious at the thought that he wasn't the number one person in my life. Then we'd go back to being loving and affectionate. I gave up my education to help support us when he got laid off. I had to have a job I hated, while he was on a mission to find a job that he loved. He'd abuse our animals to the point where I'd cry and had to look away because the last time I tried to interfere I got hit and screamed at. It's hard to tell if the feeling I have in my chest for him is love or anxiety. I know I love him and always will, but it seems like I won't find someone better. Noone is as intelligent as him and has all the same good attributes. It's sad how we make excuses for their behavior and how good they are at manipulating us to feel like they truly love us but then don't treat us like equals. If only there was a way of inducing amnesia and starting over. I'd like the last decade back please and for my standards not to be tainted with someone that's so right in so many ways but also so so wrong.

3:55 AM  

I am currently going through a separation from my husband of 13 years. His abuse was controlling my life. Everything has to be his way. His career came first. his education came first. Every aspect of our life together was what he wanted. Recently, my husband slammed me on the ground and put his forearm on my throat. Three weeks later he slammed me against a car and choked me until my 17 yo had to knock him out. I have since moved out and back home to GA from NY. He promises he is getting help and that he will change. I do not see that he is changing at all as he is still drinking(this is when the abuse is at its worst) I really would like to know why am I so angry with him all the time. Why am I hanging on? Other than financially I mean.

1:30 PM  

This is so true. I've been married for 5 years and have had the courage and support to walk out. Reading this has made realise that whenever I feel like going back, I should remove that thought out of my head.

12:46 PM  

Sorry my grammar isn't great . But I lived with a man for 18 years who was a phycopath I do believe . What worries me the most hearing all your stories is the children . I have 2 girls and 1 boy and it has changed who they were supposed to be. I wish I would have left when they were babies . Guess I was young and niaive :( It has infected my whole life being with this man so long , and my children's life's
I never new anything about mental illness at that time . I always new there was something wrong with him. My heart and love go out to each and everyone of you . God Bless

2:18 PM  

I have the biggest problem with #3. My abuser gets drunk, screams, and dumps all of his problems on me. He uses me as a verbal punching bag. I'm exhausted. I can't keep up with this much longer.

He does the housework so that I can write professionally, but right now, the problem is that he chatters all day long about the same stuff over and over, and when I try to write I can't concentrate. So I wind up having to write far into the night in order to make money and the result is that I'm getting exhausted. He gets into drunken rages and screams about how I do nothing to help around the house (which isn't true) and can fly into a rage about anything. So I walk on eggshells all the time.

I'm starting to finally have some success as a writer and this is absolutely essential for us as we are very poor.

Right now, he's mad because I asked for a little quiet while I'm writing, and I get told "I am going to talk whenever I want" and it evolves into an argument. So then I wind up writing until 6:00 a.m. so that I have the quiet I need. I wish I could talk to someone.

1:55 AM  

I grew up with an abusive grandparent, so I guess I didn't think being treated badly was abnormal. I got religious, felt I had to get married then. Had a baby with him, by the time our son was born I had been battered three times- but I was under the spell of "young, dumb, In looove and religious".I stayed for almost 25 years.
I couldn't pick a decent man if I tried, they always turn out to be abusive, even when they seem really boring and nice at first.I make it a point to pick nice men. Maybe I make them abusive somehow?
I don't date anymore because of this phenomenon- now I have a dog and talk to my mom a lot instead.
I suffer a lot for what happened, replaying it every day in my mind. PTSD super bad- cant even seem to get a normal life together. Time is helping and I know I will be ok- but not sure if I can ever be 100%.

2:02 PM  

Can you tell me what symptoms he had I am also dealing with a man that I think he is that

9:39 AM  

First you need a safe place to go, try to gather your important papers when you leave. Only leave when he isn't around. Try to record him or video record any threats take pictures or any abuse on your body. But very careful in doing this. You need to leave or you will end up in a grave. You need to take the courage I beilve in you and pray now for you to get out reach out to god in prayer. If its the house or the car don't worry seek a lawyer. Your life is much worth than a material thing you owe to your baby in heaven

11:09 AM  

This article was scarily accurate. I wish the whole world can read it. I wonder if these men know that they are abusers. Sad, my husbands a medical doctor....but blames me for the abuse.

5:38 PM  

I don't know what to do anymore my boyfriend keeps insulting me he lies to me every day he said that he will kill my familiy and he tells me that everyday sometimes he punches me and he eavem broke my arm he cant stop talking that he is the best that he will kill my family and friends he talk like he knows everything about fight and how he always fight and doing that stuff he stealing me and when i want to report him he lost his mind he punch me in my chest and kick me he say that nobody even police cant do nothing he knows a lot of them .... I dont know what to do i give him money i say thats ok when he screams that i'm weak i do anything for him he destroy me i cry every single night .... why i love him so much ? i want to be like it was when we meet ... but when i want to leave him he said that he is going to killl himself and then call my friends and his family and told everybody that he is going to kill hisself and that I am guilty that he is going to die and then send people on me and my family that they would kill us.... I am despirate

7:18 AM  

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