Real Men Don’t Hit Women iii

by Annie Kaszina on October 7, 2011

 Real men don’t hit women.  And they don’t use words to hurt, humiliate, diminish, or reject them, either.

Abusive men do.

Enotionally abusive men can – and do – systematically smash women to pieces without ever raising their hand.

When emotional abuse happens to you, more often than not it seems to be a spontaneous outpouring of fury on the part of the abuser.

But is it?

That’s highly unlikely given the almost formulaic messages all abusive men come up with.

There is the playground stuff that is the stock-in-trade of all abusive men which includes insults like: “You’re fat”, “You’re stupid”, “You’re ugly”, “Nobody likes you”, “I was going to (do something nice with you) but I won’t now”!

They are formulaic in the way they talk about women: they dislike most women -except, maybe, the intelligent ones they don’t see in a sexual way at all – and they leer, and lech, unashamedly, in front of you, at the ones they do find attractive.

There is the sexual rejection which conforms to this kind of pattern: “I just don’t find you attractive anymore”, or “You may still look attractive [to people who don’t know what you’re like], but you don’t excite me any more.  Quite the reverse.”

There are the unfavorable comparisons: “Why can’t you be like….?” [You can bet he never sits down and asks himself: “Why can’t I look like Brad Pitt?  Or have the gracious manners of Prince William? Or get a decent job like…? etc. etc.] 

There is his unerring instinct for finding, and exploiting, your emotional weakness.  He’ll say: “You’re a lousy mother.  The kids don’t respect you.  You’re a lousy wife.  You’re a lousy sexual partner.”

There are the threats: “You can’t give me what I want.  So, I’m going to find someone else who will.”  [Does he ever ask himself about giving you what you want???!]

There’s the whole crazy-making routine.  Emotionally abusive partners have a great talent for making you doubt your own sanity.  They do this in any number of ways.  They’ll tell you something happened in a very different way to the way you experienced it – the difference, of course, is that in their version of reality what you did, or didn’t do, looks far worse.  They’ll accuse you of doing things you didn’t do.  They’ll make promises, and when you act on them, they’ll deny they “ever said that”.  They’ll tell you black is white, if they have to, to confound your sense of reality.  They’ll tell you that you said things you would never say.

They will act like your very own personal Hanging Judge.  There is no such thing as a “small mistake”, or a “genuine misunderstanding” where an abusive man is concerned.  Everything you do wrong is a deliberate, and serious, assault, and must be punished accordingly.  He won’t say it but he absolutely LOVES to punish you.

They have anger and/or sulking issues.  An abusive man is quick to embrace a grudge.  He shows NO self-control when it comes to visiting his feelings on you.  He will cheerfully call you all the filthy names under the sun.  Or he may choose not to talk to you for hours, days, or even longer – which, actually, is a manifestation of considerable self-control.

They are inconsistent and unpredictable.  Today you may be able to talk, almost freely about something with them, tomorrow it is a trigger for another abusive outburst.

They tell you that you are “too sensitive” when you object to their little “jokes” at your expense, or their rejections, or criticisms, or “remarks”, or comparisons, or etc. etc.

They are consistently negative about you.  Even if they say something that could be halfway complimentary, it isn’t.  Either they will damn you with faint praise, or else they will find a way of relating the (semi-)positive thing to a bigger negative, so as to completely invalidate the positive, as in: “You may be good at your job, but you can’t cook a decent meal”, or “Yes, you look nice, but how come you….?”

They practice a reign of terror with you.  You never know when they will next find fault with you.  Curiously, it always seems to happen when you’ve been feeling a little closer, a little more comfortable with them.  That’s no coincidence, it happens by design.

They constantly remind you that they are wonderful, and you are not.  Their thinking is very hierarchical: they are at the very top of the hierarchy, you are at the very bottom, and there may – or may not – be a few other people in between.

They feel very, very sorry for themselves.  Listen to an abusive man for any length of time at all, and he will tell you his hard luck story.  His hard luck story may be a difficult childhood, horrible women who treated him badly, or A Hard Life – or all of the above.  Most abusers have hard a much harder time than you have… in their own mind, at least.  They don’t expect you to forget that.

They are unkind, and show little empathy.  It’s not that they are incapable of empathy.  It’s more the case that they don’t think you are worth it.  In fact…

They treat you like you are worthless.  It doesn’t matter if you are ill, exhausted, bereaved, or whatever; your role is to serve them, uncomplainingly.  

Real men don’t behave like that. 

The temptation is to try and turn an abusive man into a real man by lavishing your love and your powers of persuasion on him.  It’s a thankless task.  It doesn’t work.  If you are with an abusive man, you are not in a relationship.  He does not feel any duty of care towards you.  You can’t change that.  

Real men don’t need to be changed, tweaked, and educated into proper behaviour.  They already know how to behave decently.  An abusive man is never going to learn that from you.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie October 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Ain’t that the truth!

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Anne Loisel October 8, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Yes that is all so true. Annie I have left as you know from my previous posts but having a terrible time. All my fears are coming true it seems and it was not supposed to be that way???????? He seems happy with someone else yet still emails me and phones and says he loves me????? Its been 2 years now since I left after 32 years of abuse in 2 marriages and I am sinking. Both of them are moving on with their life and I have become obsessed with husband number 2 and cannot get him out of my head. It feels like love yet he treated me so badly in the marriage interspersed with loving kind times of course. I think I have traumatic bonding that was talked about in that book Why Does He Do That? I had not heard of that before but I know in my gut that I have that big time. Do not know what to do to break this . Right now it is breaking me and I feel ashamed to even be admitting this but its true and its consuming me. I have alot of blessings in my life but I cannot get this man who treated me so badly out of my head its getting worse and worse? Please help me? Whats wrong with me? Others get out and are so relieved and go on with their life. Something is very wrong here. I feel like I have become an example of how one can become so destroyed by years of abuse from a man. I did not think it would go this way? I am shocked by myself. I am not even my real self these days. Annie its bad when the abuse feels better than this horrible pain!!!!!!!I am tortured by the thoughts of him being so good to someone else?? I know too he can keep it up for a long time when not married to them. I feel like this is killing me. Most of my friends think I am fine but only one knows the real truth and she is so worried for my health. I have MS but it is mild. I am scared for myself also as just no peace at all. I pray and pray and my church has been supportive but the tortorous thoughts are there. Have you seen this is anyone else or are most women ok once they get out after years of it???? I never thought it would be this bad. The decision to leave and the leaving was horrid but this now 2 years later is even worse!!!!! I know I am in emotional trouble as bad as when I was with him. What can I do to help myself? I have tried everything I know to do and still———

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Julie October 8, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Anne, I am so sad for you. Your pain is tangible. I want to tell you something wise and soothing. I don’t know any of the right words. I would like to share a site with you that has some incredible words, I read and re-read the posts there when I am struggling, as I do Annie’s site.
http://narcissism-support.blogspot.com/2009/01/grieving-relationship.html
For me, I need to talk about it. My goal is to one day be so sick of hearing myself that I am going to abandon it and then it will be done! 🙂 My best to you!

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Anne Loisel October 9, 2011 at 5:05 am

Dear Julie,

Thank you for your kind words. I will look that site up. Anne

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shashie October 8, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Annie, every time i read your posts — that are so absolutely on target — I fee all the better for being out of it. Thank you so much for all that you write. Attending your workshops is on my wishlist; would that I could! One never knows what good stuff the future holds though 🙂

Anne Loisel, you are in a lot of grief/pain. I have been through 2 abusive marriages too and while its ok to grieve for lost time and for what should have been [but never was] its time to give these men up as a bad job [if that sounds rude or pushy, its not meant to be]. its taken me two years of being away and even now, I have to remind myself daily to PRACTICE recognizing that ‘I’ exist and deserve better and that I better work on rebuilding myself anew. We have to accept that God has given each of us free will and your ex is using [or misusing] his free will to seek happiness the way he thinks he will get it. Our lives are ours to handle, its our responsibility [sadly] to get our minds off a fruitless path and try to move on because we are all worth it. All the very best and remember this too shall pass.

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Angel October 10, 2011 at 12:41 am

For any Ladie going through emotional abuse, I recommend an excellent book that will open your eyes. Woman Vs Womaniser by JC Johnson. After reading this book I was able to walk away from 22 yrs of emotional abuse.
http://www.womanvswomaniser.com

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Sophie October 11, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I am new to this site, and reading your posts, I feel so much for all of you.

I broke up with my ex less than two and a half months ago. It was only after I got rid of him and started visiting my local women’s shelter for counselling that I realized he was emotionally, verbally, mentally and socially abusive.

I always kind of knew that it was an unhealthy relationship, and I was so unhappy for such a long time. But I was too afraid to take action for countless reasons, but mainly because he owned a gun. I had awful recurring visions of him showing up at my house in a hysterical rage with it if I ever tried to break it off with him.

Finally, I did it and it was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever put myself through. He threatened to commit suicide over the phone if I didn’t let him see me, and so I had to phone the police. They arrested him (kept him only for a night) and told him to keep away from me. Luckily he has.

It’s been a real awakening leaving this relationship and developing an awareness of it, and I definitely don’t ever want to go back. Unfortunately, I’m having such a hard time moving on in my life. I’m definitely struggling with the after effects of ending an abusive relationship – the loneliness, lack of direction, fear of the future, self-disparagement (the horrible inkling that I am now “damaged goods” – what an awful thought!), and feelings of (still) being trapped. I know I am still in the early period of being out of an abusive relationship. I just really want a sense of peace and closure so I can let go of the past and move on to the future. It sounds like it will be a continuous struggle.

That being said, I’m glad I found your site, Annie! It seems like such a supportive community, and I’m looking forward to reading your next posts. 🙂

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Annie October 12, 2011 at 10:38 am

Hi Sophie,

Thank you for the kind words about your site.

Your ex is clearly potentially dangerous. You would be best advised to have no contact with him. He will read any contact as encouragement.

It sounds like you are still in shock, and carrying all sorts of harmful, and untrue, labels about yourself. You’re not damaged goods, just a bruised human being, at the moment. Your bruises can, and will, heal.

Use all the resources you find on this site, and elsewhere, to help you heal.

And constantly tell yourself – until you believe it – that you really are worth the investment of your own time and energy in your healing.

Warm wishes,

Annie

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Theresa October 12, 2011 at 8:07 pm

I relate to all of you women on different levels.
Having been out of the relationship for 5 months, it is still a challenge dealing with my issues. But I’m also learning so much about myself.
Therapy is so helpful, as are Annie blogs – I’m always amazed at how in tune the writings are with my own life.
Annie, your website and words are what first helped me recognize the type of controlling and emotionally abusive relationship I was in. I have never met you, but you have no idea how you have touched and impacted my life. It makes me emotional to even write this, but your site was a lifeline for me, in that, I felt like I was not alone in the madness of it all. That other women could (sadly) relate but that there was a way out.
I do have a great network of support with friends and family, but none have gone through this type of situation, so I can’t thank you enough, Annie, for taking on this journey with the lot of us.
And I’m truly getting better, one day at a time.
And it feels very, very good.

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MARIA October 17, 2011 at 4:28 am

DEAR ANNIE,
IVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 35 YEARS, I WAS 16 . MY HUSBAND ABUSES ME, VERBALLY ALWAYS BLAMES ME FOR EVERYTHING. I HAVE THREE CHILDREN , MY DAUGHTER GOT MARRIED 2 YEARS AGO, WE ALSO HAVE A GRANDDAUGHTER NOW. MY KIDS DONT GET ON WITH THERE FATHER, IVE ALWAYS TRIED MY BEST TO KEEP THIS FAMILY CLOSE, AND LOVE BETWEEN ALL. MY SON IN LAW NOW DOSE;NT TALK TO US , AND MY DAUGHTER KEEPS A DISTANCE, WHICH REALLY HURTS BECAUSE IVE GIVEN SO MUCH, TO THE MARRIGE AND ITS ALL BACKFIREING ON ME, HE BLAMES ME ON A LOT OF THINGS, IVE BEEN THROUGH BREAST CANCER NEVER HAD SUPPORT FROM HIM. HE STILL ABUSES ME, AND I FEEL I CANT CARRY ON , THANK GOD I WORK , I HAVE MY OWN BOUTIQUE, AND PEOPLE , LOVE AND RESPECT ME , BUT HE IS DRAINING WHAT EVER IS LEFT IN ME , I FEEL SO MISERABLE.

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Gina November 26, 2011 at 9:03 am

I feel like I am no better than he is. In the beggining, no doubt, he was the emotional even physical abuser. Now after 3 years I can be just as mean with my words. I think I’ve grown to despise him. When he calls me names or demeans me I do the same back. How did I become the same kind of person I hate?

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Annie November 26, 2011 at 9:12 am

I’m guessing that because you’ve been so hurt, you’re beginning to feel it gives you the right to hurt him right back. As I see it, the question is not how did you become the kind of person you hate? The real question is why are you staying with a situation that is turning you into someone you hate?

What can you possibly gain?

And what do you think you are losing?

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Gina November 26, 2011 at 9:40 am

Why do I stay? I don’t know? I’ve left him countless times but I go back. Always under the “it will be better this time..” premise. I guess a big part is financial. I let him bury me in debt. His bills got paid off and mine quadrupled during our few years together. I did this to myself, everyone near me despises him, I recognize it’s a hole only I can crawl out of. What I didn’t know was how difficult it would be but it looks like I am not alone and it can be done. That alone gives me strength I didn’t have a few days ago. Thank you:)

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