How To Recognize An Abusive Man
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Abuse comes in a variety of ways. I will discuss four of the most commonly known which are, verbal and physical abuse, psychological abuse, abuse as a cultural phenomenon and the three stages of abuse.

Is abuse always the abusers fault?

Verbal and physical: Verbal and Physical abuse has become common in many cultures. In my view, any form of abuse—a slap, an insult or yelling—is wrong, whether it is culturally acceptable or not.

Sometimes verbal or physical abuse starts out as a form of controlling then leads to the abuse.

For example, there are those unique people–particularly some women—who want to be controlled in a love relationship. Yes, I was just as shocked as you when I first came across people like that. These people thrive in the arms of their controllers.

To them, being controlled by their lover is a sign that their love is strong. The following true story illustrates this point:

A couple, Chris and Mary were out driving one day. Suddenly an argument erupted.

“You are not tough enough,” Mary yelled. “I can’t be with you. I need a strong boyfriend.”

Chris was stunned. He also took notice of what Mary said.

A few days later they went to the supermarket. When they arrived home, Chris got out of his car and said, “Hurry up and get out of the car, and bring the groceries with you!”

Mary batted her eyelashes and smiled at Chris.

“Is this the way you want me to talk to you?” Chris asked.

“I appreciate it,” Mary replied. “At least you’re trying!”

Mary wanted to be controlled. The problem with a man or woman who wants to be controlled is that, the controller can become an abuser given enough time. Having said that, is abuse always the abuser’s fault?

An abuser can be a man or a woman. Some women are emotionally abusive with their men.

And as odd as this may seem, some women are even physically abusive to their husbands. Verbal abuse has become a form of humour on TV shows.

Husbands and wives yell at the top of their lungs to get a laugh and improve ratings. Since when did abuse toward another person become a comedy show? Abuse is no laughing matter, is it?

Abuse can come in many forms. And sadly, some victims learn to become abusive themselves. This is called identifying with the abuser.

This is when you have been abused for so long that you begin to fight back and to abuse your abuser to protect yourself and to survive.

In addition to that, when you leave an abusive relationship, you might become an abuser yourself to prevent another abuse.

For example, you may become a male or female basher, or you may verbally attack the opposite sex when they have done nothing wrong.

I am going to use a story about Sammy, the dog, to show that even an abused dog can become abusive—but can also change for the better when treated well. Although it happened to a dog, the underlying meaning is the same as if it had happened to a person.

Years ago, I lived next door to a family with a little white poodle named Sammy. Rain or shine, twenty-four hours a day, Sammy was tied up outside in their yard.

I wondered why the family never brought the dog inside at night.

Observing the dog through my living room window, I noticed that whenever a family member arrived home from work, the little white dog would approach the person wagging its tail.

As it got closer, however, it would tuck its tail between its legs.

Every time a car drove by, the poodle would bark at it and make an unsuccessful attempt to chase after the car. The barking became louder and louder. Soon the poodle began barking at anyone who walked by on the sidewalk. The barking would continue even after the person had disappeared from the dog’s view. Neighbours began to complain, but the dog’s owners didn’t care.

Fortunately for the dog, a miracle was about to happen. An older couple who lived on the other side of the house asked the poodle’s owner if he would be willing to give them the unloved poodle.

The poodle’s owner agreed, without hesitation.

The couple took the dog into their home, fed it, washed it and had it groomed. Instead of keeping the dog outside, they kept in indoors.

They gave the little poodle freedom to run around in their backyard. Most importantly, they gave it what was missing in its life—lots of unconditional love.

There was no more barking or chasing after cars. How peaceful it was to sit in my living room and not have to listen to that poor dog barking relentlessly.

Several weeks later, after a morning run, I saw the older couple walking the poodle.

I was certain the dog would bark at me, but when the couple and I greeted each other, the poodle began to wag his tail happily.

As we began to chat, Sammy continued wagging his tail and sniffing the ground around us. Not once did he bark! I couldn’t help but notice how clean and happy he looked. I was amazed by the remarkable transformation.

What Sammy, the poodle, experienced is no different from what many men and women experience in abusive relationships?

But unlike Sammy, you as a human can take action to change your circumstances and regain your happiness. If you are, or have been, in an abusive relationship, look at your life. How and why did you allow yourself to be in that situation?

Do you have thoughts of revenge or fighting back? These thoughts are normal; it is natural for you to want to protect yourself.

But if you can find a way to rise above your ill feelings, you will transcend to a higher level of being that very few have experienced.

Psychological Abuse: Psychological abuse is neither verbal nor physical—though those may also be present. Psychological abuse is about the feeling one has about how he or she has been treated.

The abuser is able to go into the victim’s head because of the way victims feel about what is being done, or has been done, to them.

Often victims make it even more likely for the psychological abuse to persist because they hang on to how they are feeling and what the feeling arouses in them. Psychological abuse is commonly found in victims of physical or verbal abuse.

Even when a marriage or relationship has ended, the feeling, the nervousness, the insecurity the abuse caused still remains with the victim. Victims may react strongly to any word or name that their abuser used on them. Below are three examples of psychological abuse.

Example 1: A woman called me. She was furious. She had had enough of her husband. What was the problem?

Her husband would tell her how much he loved her but when he went out to visit friends, he would never take her with him.

The caller believed that her husband felt she was not good enough to be seen with him.

Example 2: I came home to hear a frantic message on my answering machine asking for a call back right away.

When I called, Nick’s words were, “Ernesto, I am going crazy. I am stressed. This is the end for my relationship.” Yes, he did not greet me. He went directly to the point.

After I called and talked with him for an hour, the real problem became clear. Nick was living with a woman who had a male friend. The woman tried to introduce her friend to Nick but Nick did not like the man.

He demanded she stop visiting the friend, which she refused to do because she knew him before she met Nick. So whenever she visited the man, she would not ask Nick to come along.

He would become upset and at times even angry about these visits.

This particular day when he called, he had become overwhelmed by his girlfriend’s friendship with the man, and everything he told me were things that he had made up in his own mind, which brought on the psychological abuse.

Example 3: Twelve years after her divorce, Megan would still go into what she refers to as a protective mode when her date would say something like, “Hello, woman.”

The reason, she explained to me, was this: For fifteen years, she was in a marriage that was verbally and physically abusive. She married young and never knew what it felt like to be loved.

Even after she left her husband, Megan had never experienced happiness. So why would she become concerned when she heard the word “woman”?

In her own words, when she was married, her then husband would use words like, “You are a woman; you don’t know anything.” “Shut up; you are just a woman.” “What do you know? You are a woman” and so forth. So whenever Megan’s date used the word “woman,” she became worried that the new man in her life would abuse her.

The psychological abuse in this case is that although Megan left her marriage and had been out of it for over a decade, her ex-husband was still in her head and able to abuse her, but this time psychologically.

The question now is, can a man date and have a good love relationship without abuse of any form? The answer is yes. I will explain the best way this can be done a little later.

Abuse as a cultural phenomenon: It is not always possible to stop abuse.

Neither am I saying that you should make a habit of rewarding a lover or spouse for abusing you.

What many people don’t realize is physical and verbal abuse of wives is still going strong in many cultures.

There are many third-world nations, the so-called developing nations, where spousal abuse is still accepted. For example, a husband might continually beat his wife.

Some men still think it is okay for them to abuse their women and children.

Then, when the time comes, and the wives have had enough and run to their parents for protection, her parents, particularly her mother, will often send her back to her abuser for the simple reason that he is her husband.

Abuse seems to be accepted to a point when it occurs between parents toward their child.

The child is told, “Well, he is your father” or “She is your mother.”

Another form of this phenomenon that I have encountered recently is some women who believe that certain wives should be beaten by their husbands.

The explanation I have been offered is simple: certain women should be beaten because they are stupid, difficult to explain things to, or difficult to reason with, so the husband should beat the stupidity out of them.

Those whom I have heard this from are women themselves.

Does a person in a love relationship deserve to be abused by the same person whose responsibility it is to protect the companion? No one should accept abuse as a norm. No spouse has the right to abuse the other. Can a victim of abuse put a stop to the abuse? Yes.

When do you put a stop to abuse? Generally, abuse takes shape in stages.

My recommendation is to prevent it before it starts. You do so by asserting that you will not tolerate abuse of any form. If it is too late for that, you can still prevent abuse as soon as you notice it.

If you allow it to continue, you will find yourself going through the below stages.

The three stages of abuse

If you are a victim of abuse who has allowed the abuse to occur for too long, you may find that you have gone through the three stages: the abhorring stage, the tolerating stage and the acceptance stage.

Here is a real case to depict these stages.

Abhor stage: Erica, a beautiful, educated young woman, met Tom, a polite but uneducated, hardworking man. Erica did not give herself a chance to get to know Tom. As soon as Tom proposed, she jumped at the chance. Not long into the marriage, Tom began to accuse Erica of cheating and threatened to beat her. Erica thought Tom was bluffing.

Tolerate stage: The accusations began to escalate.

Tom referred to his wife of only three months as a bitch and a whore.

Soon the beatings began. Erica stayed with Tom.

They ended up in a psychiatrist’s office. After six sessions, the physical abuse stopped, according to Erica, but she had to call Tom every thirty minutes to inform him where she was. E

rica tolerated Tom, hoping that one day he would stop abusing her.

Acceptance stage: When the abuse did not stop, Erica became used to it and accepted what was being done to her.

This was followed by making excuses for her abuser.

Tom abused Erica frequently. If a couple of weeks went by and Tom did not abuse her, Erica saw this as a good sign that the abuse would stop.

Her psychiatrist strongly suggested that she leave her husband within a month. (When I worked with her, I gave her one week to leave her husband.) Erica packed her bags but did not leave Tom.

At the acceptance stage, the victims of abuse regard any small positive change in their abuser’s behaviour as a giant step forward, as a signal that the abuse will end.

Below are statements that victims of abuse commonly use to justify the abuse and to defend their abuser:

“But I love him or her…”

“He or she stopped hitting me…”

“I hope he or she will change…”

“He or she loves me…”

“It is my fault…”

If you are a victim, does what you have read sound familiar?

Do you abhor the behaviour of the person with whom you live? Or do you now even accept it?

To avoid becoming a victim of verbal or physical abuse at the hands of someone who is supposed to love, protect and care for you.

The first time you notice any of the above signs, put a stop to it immediately. Never do anything to make your abuser think that is okay for him or her to abuse you.

If you try to put a stop to the abuse without success, end the relationship and move on because most abusers don’t change.

Street Talk

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