Just this morning, a friend of mine posted an except from Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men that I'd forgotten was really illuminating.
I think it's very important for people in abusive relationships, trying to get out of abusive relationships, or recovering from abusive relationships to see these words. It's worth mentioning that the author, Lundy Bancroft, has worked, as a man, with abusive men in-person and in-depth for likely longer than near anyone.
quote:So is he lying when he says he loves you? No, usually not. Most of my clients do feel a powerful sensation inside that they call love. For many of them it is the only kind of feeling toward a female partner that they have ever had, so they have no way of knowing that it isn’t love. When an abusive man feels the powerful stirring inside that other people call love, he is probably largely feeling:
* The desire to have you devote your life to keeping him happy with no outside interference * The desire to have sexual access * The desire to impress others by having you be his partner * The desire to possess and control you
These desires are important aspects of what romantic love means to him. He may well be capable of feeling genuine love for you, but first he will have to dramatically reorient his outlook in order to separate abusive and possessive desires from true caring, and become able to really see you.
The confusion of love with abuse is what allows abusers who kill their partners to make the absurd claim that they were driven by the depths of their loving feelings. The news media regrettably often accept the aggressors’ view of these acts, describing them as “crimes of passion.” But what could more thoroughly prove that a man did not love his partner? If a mother were to kill one of her children, would we ever accept the claim that she did it because she was overwhelmed by how much she cared? Not for an instant. Nor should we. Genuine love means respecting the humanity of the other person, wanting what is best for him or her, and supporting the other person’s self-esteem and independence. This kind of love is incompatible with abuse and coercion.
…Abusive men come in every personality type, arise from good childhoods and bad, are macho men or gentle, “liberated” men. No psychological test can distinguish an abusive man from a respectful one. Abusiveness is not a product of a man’s emotional injuries or of deficits in his skills… Abuse is a problem of values, not psychology. When someone challenges an abuser’s attitudes and beliefs, he tends to reveal the contemptuous and insulting personality that normally stays hidden, reserved for private attacks on his partner. An abuser tries to keep everyone — his partner, his therapist, his friends and relatives — focused on how he feels, so that they won’t focus on how he thinks, perhaps because on some level he is aware that if you grasp the true nature of his problem, you will then be able to escape his domination.
-------------------- Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen About Me • Get our book! Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
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