What's a Man to Do?
It probably would not surprise you to know that every fifteen seconds a woman or girl is abused by an intimate partner. We hear so much about domestic abuse and battered wives these days that we tend to overlook the personal pain of these brave women. Our society has become desensitized to domestic violence, but for those who are abused, it is very real.
For sure, the devastating affect of abuse on women is outrageous. The man in the woman's life is meant to love, cherish, and protect her til death do they part, but all too often it does not work out that way.. The wife or girlfriend is belittled, humiliated, and degraded leaving her with no self-will,and no self-esteem.
Red Flags of Abuse
Here are fifteen warning signs that abusive behavior may be developing as posted by The National Domestic Hotline1.
- Telling you that you can never do anything right
- Showing jealousy of your friends and time spent away
- Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing friends or family members
- Embarrassing or shaming you with put-downs
- Controlling every penny spent in the household
- Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses
- Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you
- Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
- Preventing you from making your own decisions
- Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children
- Preventing you from working or attending school
- Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets
- Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons
- Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
- Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol
These are signs of developing abusive behavior, and can be abuse in and of themselves. At the very least, consider them red flags.
Women Are Not the Only Ones
While it may not be surprising that women are abused every 15 seconds, you may find it harder to believe the same holds true for men. Women abuse their men at about the same rate of frequency as women are abused by men, but we hear so little about the abuse. Women are more likely to verbally and emotionally abuse their significant other rather than to react physically. But please know that physical abuse is growing in frequency and intensity among women as well.
Men who have suffered abuse are far less likely to report it than women, but the damage is just as serious, and just as damaging. According to Telling It Like It Is, "Emotionally abused men, even if not physically battered or beaten, are having their self-esteem and sense of “manhood” and masculinity destroyed from the inside out. There are no visible scars, wounds or bruises to use as evidence to prove to the police or anyone else that these men are being abused by their wives or girlfriends. But make no mistake, the wounds, bruises and scars of being verbally and mentally abused are obvious and constantly felt by the victim." (www.tellinitlikeitis.net)2
Shame, embarrassment, and fear keep men from going to the authorities. In many cases, the reports are not taken seriously. There have also been instances of woman cleverly having the man arrested for abuse against the woman, adding to his lack of self-esteem.
Cycle of Abuse
The initial acts of the abuser may alarm him. A quick, punch, kick or slap may seemingly just come "out of nowhere". Generally, an apology is made and a promise to never repeat the action is given. However, the next time an argument develops the same action is repeated, and over time escalates into more serious life threatening actions.
The man, stunned, is not expecting this behavior. He forgives and the couple go on until the next time - and the next . . . . The cycle has been set for both, and it runs something like this:
An explosion of abuse erupts. Damage is done.This could be physical, sexual. verbal, or emotional. With each eruption, the self is also attacked leading to a loss of self-esteem. This initiates the next step in the cycle.
At this step in the cycle, three directions are possible. Excuses are made and apologies are given. Often, in the beginning stages, forgiveness is granted. Things seem to be heading in the right direction again; or the abuser may blame the victim for provoking the attack. Of course, this action usually leads nowhere toward reconciliation. The third option is to deny the abuse ever took place, or to try to minimize the damage, perhaps even laughing it off.
This is followed by the.honeymoon stage. Things are progressing happily. The relationship almost seems normal, but of course it is not. The abuser often acts as if the abuse never happened. This is the stage where some promises are made, and for a time they are actually kept. During this phase, the victim enters an area of hope that the abuse is over, and another chance is given.
Next up, the couple return to the routine of every day life. Life seems to go on with no major problems, and the abuse is temporarily under control.
As things become more routine, it is easier for tension to build. There may be tension from the workplace. There may be financial concerns as Peter is not yet ready to pay Paul. In-law and family issues may arise.This is a critical stage. If the tension is not controlled, the wheel of abuse will continue to roll.
It is here that the abuser begins to feel anger building, and minor incidences of abuse take place. It is also at this point that communication begins to break down. The victim senses the need to keep the abuser calm, but realizes what is probably going to take place due to the predictive pattern of the addiction. It is at this juncture that the tension between the abuser and the victim becomes too strong.
Now that the ammunition has been loaded, all that is left is to pull the trigger. The trigger - whatever it is that sets the person off will set the abuse into motion. Another explosion takes place, and generally is followed by the same five steps.
Very quickly the cycle becomes addictive, and often the actions of the abuser can be anticipated. The cycle will continue indefinitely until someone or something steps in and breaks the sequence of events.
Will the Real Wimp Please Stand Up
If husband abuse occurs as much as wife abuse, why is it we do not hear much about it? In David L. Fontes article, Men Don't Tell, he lists these reasons for the topic of husband abuse not being on the "front page". “When a man is a victim of his wife’s physical abuse he is both shamed by the assaults of his wife and shamed by society for not ‘controlling’ her better. Men are considered ‘wimps’ for letting their wives beat them or for complaining about their wives’ attacks. For many men ‘taking it like a man’ means don’t complain and don’t show you are vulnerable or in pain!
“With the prospect of being viewed as ‘wimps’ and/or having the assaults by their wives not believed or minimized by the general public and law enforcement, it’s no wonder few men report their abuse or discuss it openly.” (Men Don't Tell; David L Fontes, Psy.D.)3
There is a tremendous need for abused men to stand up and fight the battle. Being quiet about only perpetuates it. It may be seen as shameful and degrading, but someone needs to make a difference. Boldly step out, and address the issue - not for yourself alone, but for all those who will come behind you.
For confidential help, please contact http://heartfeltchristianministries.weebly.com/
Men : A true, personal story from the experience, I Know Men Are Battered. Do any of these questions sound familiar? "Why don't you leave if it's that bad?" or "How can you let this happen?" or "If I was you I wouldn't put up with that." or how about
- Male Victims of Domestic Violence
This page is for male victims of domestic violence and male sexual abuse survivors, providing insights, experiences and resources for men.
- Help for Battered Men
Domestic violence befalls mostly women, but men are victims, too.