Emotional abuse

Ivan Seeking

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I caught a bit on the Today Show that discussed the issue of emotional abuse. Anytime I see something like this it almost always focuses on women who are abused by men. But in my family there was plenty of abuse and it all came from the women - and it still does. Without meaning to start a war between the sexes, I think abusive women are often tolerated or ignored, and abusive men are villified. Quite simply, men are expected to put up with it. My solution has been to mostly cut the ties with my family. I won't put up with another generation of abusive women.
 

ahrkron

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Another problem with abusive women is that a strong, firm response from a man can be miscaracterized as abuse in the opposite way.
 
Ivan Seeking said:
I caught a bit on the Today Show that discussed the issue of emotional abuse. Anytime I see something like this it almost always focuses on women who are abused by men. But in my family there was plenty of abuse and it all came from the women - and it still does. Without meaning to start a war between the sexes, I think abusive women are often tolerated or ignored, and abusive men are villified. Quite simply, men are expected to put up with it. My solution has been to mostly cut the ties with my family. I won't put up with another generation of abusive women.
I agree, and can be said about many things, such as physical abuse. My mother emotionally (and, in the past, physically) abuses my father and you're right - he is expected to put up with it. A lot of this is men's fault, though. It is men who largely expect men to put up with such things. But, yes, you only ever hear about men doing this and that to women, while more common fluctuations in domestic equilibrium go unnoticed. I think the effect is worsed by the impetus given by feminism to each and every story of evil, dasterdly men doing evil, dasterdly things, while there is no equivilent male-centric philosophy putting similar stories into focus to give things perspective.

But then what do you expect? Women buy magazines that are basically true-life soap operas in words. Men buy magazines that have pictures of boobs and fast cars in them. We do ourselves no favours.
 

Q_Goest

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I think abusive women are often tolerated or ignored, and abusive men are villified. Quite simply, men are expected to put up with it.
My mother emotionally (and, in the past, physically) abuses my father and you're right - he is expected to put up with it.
Yes - and police, counselors and others seem to maintain this mindset too. At least that's been my experience. I had to leave my wife in order to correct a situation like this that lasted years.

I wonder if the problem isn't more than simply men are expected to put up with it, or they are more capable of handling abuse. There seems to be a natural instinct in men to support families in an unselfish way - to the point that some type of positive experience is obtained from working through harsh situations. Take working outdoors in all kinds of weather for example. Men are much more tolerant of doing things like this than women. Getting cold and wet is not just tolerated, it is in some ways a positive experience for a man. I don't think most women will understand that, but I think men can relate. The military for example, plays on this instinct when coming up with advertisements. They might show some man going through a grueling situation which tests his ability to cope. Men instinctively find that exciting, especially when younger and the hormones really kicking in. Fighting your way to the top of a mountain through fields of deep mud seems to click on something in a man's mind. That tolerance and even glad acceptance of abuse seems to be inherent to a man's psyche. Unfortunately, it does nothing to improve a marriage.
 

matthyaouw

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I'm often hearing how terrible us men apparently are in terms of how we treat women... Ironically, it's normally from a woman who has treated a man similarly badly in the past. It just seems to be acceptable nowadays to condemn a whole gender every time there is a problem with one of them. Its strange how if someone came out with an "All [insert ethnic group here] are jerks" comment because of a problem with one member of the group, there'd be the devil to pay, but make such a statement about a gender, and no one thinks anything of it. This behaviour isn't directed only at men- I've heard similar statements in regards to women. It's prejudice, plain and simple.
 

Moonbear

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It's another manifestation of sexism. It's hard to shake the stereotype that women are weak and men are strong, so if a man is abused by a woman, it is assumed he must be weak or allows it to happen, or just not believed, because no woman could be strong enough to abuse a man. And when it turns to physical abuse, if the man fights back at all, the cops and justice system seems to preferentially believe the woman when she claims he started it, no matter how unjust that is.

From what I've seen though (anectdotally), I really think women are more often emotionally abusive than men. Men get physical, but women play the emotional games...not always of course, I'm just talking frequencies here. I've seen first-hand so many cases of women hen-pecking men, checking up on them, calling them wherever they are, screaming and yelling and telling them they're worthless over the smallest mistakes.

On the subject of abuse, there's a billboard near me that has me truly baffled. It shows the inside of a pickup with an empty gun rack, and the words say, "Abuse a woman, lose your guns." I do a double-take every time I see it. Why not "Abuse anyone, lose your freedom?" Or, "Abuse a woman, get charged with assault and battery just the same as if you abused a man," or...well...it just leaves me deeply disturbed and wondering, is that the strongest the law here gets in cases of domestic abuse - they take your guns away, no jail time? Or is that the mindset of the abusive men here, that their guns are more important than their freedom, so that's the message you need to use? One of these days, if I have a moment to stop there, I'm going to write down the 800 number on the sign and call to ask, because it really leaves me that puzzled.
 

Astronuc

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I would caution on generalizations and realize each persons situation is unique.

From my experience, people who abuse others have themselves been abused psychologically and/or physically/sexually - and that sometimes goes more than one generation.

Part of the dating/courtship process is to learn about the other person and the other person experience, particular in regard to the family. Ideally one avoids marrying someone who is abusive. However, we see the unfortunate statistic in the US (and perhaps elsewhere) that approximately 50+% of marriages fail.

My wife's parents had a bad relationship and my wife's first husband was phyically and emotionally abusive to her - which I learned before we got married, and I knew I was going to have to deal with it. In contrast, my parents were two very caring people, but I did have issues with my mother. My wife and I have had to deal with some of baggage we both carried over from our respective histories.
 

Pengwuino

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I remember seeing a study a loooooooooong time ago where a very large % of men who admitted to being abused by their wives never reported it or even felt like they should report it. They felt that either the police wouldn't believe them or that they were suppose to just accept it.

I guess if a psychologist looked at the statistics without this knowledge, they would certainly think the problem mainly involves abused women.
 
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The thing with abuse, is that it starts small, with little things. And over time, you begin to feel like you deserve it. The abuser makes you feel the problem is you.
If you made it this far, its really hard to get out. Your pretty much mind washed that your suited for no one.
Its the same for both men and woman, but woman tend to band together, for support groups. But up untill the 1960's, woman were expected to just tuff it out too.
Men don't create support networks, and its not because they can't. Many men help out in womans networks. So its not like they don't know how its done.
{excluding our fantastic PF men} Men have a harder time talking about being mentally abused, not because of what woman would think of them, but of what there own gender would think of them. So men as a gender, need to step up to the plate, and say enoughs, enough.
There are so many support groups in place already. The one I know of here is called My Bothers and Sisters Place. It offers help to any gender, but I have never seen a man go there seeking help.
 
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Pengwuino

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hypatia said:
So men as a gender, need to step up to the plate, and say enoughs, enough.
One of the main problems in my mind you call it "stepping up to the plate" while men see it as "lowering yourself to...". It's just so stigmatic that its rare for any man to seek these support groups.
 

Ivan Seeking

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As for the sexism, this is often evident in popular humor. I have heard many, many very abusive jokes about men that, were they about women instead of men would be considered highly offensive. On the more subtle side, if one considers the message from commercials, only very recently does it seem that men grew capable of doing housework. For years one would swear that men are just too stupid to clean a toilet.
 
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So men can build rockets to the moon, but can't build a network of support. He can build a super highway, yet can't cross them to seek help. Thats really sad.
 
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Pengwuino

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hypatia said:
So men can build rockets to the moon, but can't build a network of support. He can build a super highway, yet can't cross them to seek help. Thats really sad.
So only males are capable of constructing things?
 

Ivan Seeking

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hypatia said:
So men can build rockets to the moon, but can't build a network of support. He can build a super highway, yet can't cross them to seek help. Thats really sad.
So you are blaming men for abusive women? Hypatia, I like you and I don't want this to get personal, but this sounds much like the rhetoric that I've heard about abused women in years past.
 
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Pengwuino

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I think she is trying to say (contrary to the joke i made if anyone thought i was being serious) is that men are capable of doing some incredible things but are seemingly incapable of going and getting help for when women actually abuse them. The problem here for hypatia is that what's true for the whole isn't necessarily true for the few. Just because a few rocket scientists can go to hte moon doesn't mean any random male can find help for being abused.
 

Ivan Seeking

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In many cases I think the solution found is to go home each night and down a six-pack or two.
 

Ivan Seeking

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If I missed something then never mind. I'm extremely tired right now :redface:
 
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It makes sense that women would be the emotional abusers more often, that's the only way they can hurt someone if they want to (not many women get violent, it just isn't effective). I also wonder what the reasons are for women being emotionally abusive - are they just mean people, have they been abused, are they angry at their spouses? And are their spouses often abusive too? Or is it mostly just the women who are abusing their spouses?
 

Moonbear

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I wonder how often marriages or domestic situations occur where both partners are abusive to each other? Or is it considered something other than abuse if they both go at it?
 

Ivan Seeking

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Moonbear said:
I wonder how often marriages or domestic situations occur where both partners are abusive to each other? Or is it considered something other than abuse if they both go at it?
I once tried to intervene in a domestic violence situation, and while I was trying to pin him, she came after me! I said the heck with this and got out of it. :yuck:
 

Pengwuino

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Pfff, shoulda tied them both to chairs and forced them to get themselves out. Cooperation or death... that'll create an everlasting bond between them that'll last the rest of their lives.... one way or the other.
 
Ivan Seeking said:
As for the sexism, this is often evident in popular humor. I have heard many, many very abusive jokes about men that, were they about women instead of men would be considered highly offensive.
That's political correctness for you. It is against the rules to poke fun at any subset of the population that has had a cause against oppression, but those who have had none (the oppressors) are fair game. It's the children paying for their parents bad deeds. Nothing fair about it at all.

Ivan Seeking said:
On the more subtle side, if one considers the message from commercials, only very recently does it seem that men grew capable of doing housework. For years one would swear that men are just too stupid to clean a toilet.
It was so often in the last generation that they were. My best friend's dad was banned from ironing after burning a hole through an article of his wife's clothes. Perhaps it was deliberate.
 
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El Hombre Invisible said:
My best friend's dad was banned from ironing after burning a hole through an article of his wife's clothes. Perhaps it was deliberate.
haha, exactly, then he never is asked to do work again! :rofl:

Didn't Homer Simpson try that? Or was that Peter from Family Guy?
 
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http://fact.on.ca/Info/dom/hines01.htm" [Broken]

The conclusion was that much more research is needed, only a handful of studies have been conducted and they left out important variables and used inappropriate comparison groups.

Scroll down to Definitional Issues

[/i]Several researchers have attempted to define the concept of emotional abuse. For example, on the basis of the work of Walker, 1984 and their own experience, Follingstad et al. (1990) described six components of emotional abuse: (a) verbal attacks (ridicule, verbal harassment, name calling); (b) isolation (social or financial); (c) jealousy/possessiveness (even with family, friends, and pets); (d) verbal threats of harm, abuse, or torture; (e) threats to divorce, abandon, or have an affair; and (f) damage to or destruction of personal property. The abused women in their study said that isolation and jealousy/possessiveness were the most frequent types of emotional abuse, whereas verbal attacks and verbal threats of harm, abuse, and torture were the worst types of emotional abuse.

Incidence of Emotional Abuse

In a study of emotional abuse in 1,625 college-aged participants, Kasian and Painter (1992) found that males reported experiencing high levels of emotional abuse in their relationships. Specifically, approximately 20% reported isolating and emotionally controlling behaviors by their partners; approximately 15% reported the diminishment of their self-esteem by their partners; approximately 20% reported experiencing jealousy behaviors from their partners; approximately 10% reported experiencing verbal abuse from their partners; and approximately 10% reported experiencing withdrawal behaviors from their partners.

Similarly, using the PMI, Molidor (1995) found in a survey of 736 high school students that males reported experiencing an average of 23.41 emotionally abusive acts from their partners in the course of their relationship. In addition, two studies showed that college men also experience high rates of emotional abuse. Specifically, Simonelli and Ingrarn (1998) found that, as measured by the PMI, 90% of their male sample reported experiencing emotional abuse. The types of emotional abuse experienced most frequently were jealousy (77%). withdrawal (77%), diminishment of self-esteem (63%), verbal abuse (60%), and social and emotional control (49%). Finally, Hines and Malley-Morrison (2001) found that 82% of their college male sample reported being the recipients of emotional abuse. Such data indicate that men are experiencing high rates of emotional abuse in their relationships. Consequently, it is important to ascertain the effects of this type of abuse on them.


Effects of Emotional Abuse

The effects of physical abuse have been studied much more systematically than the effects of emotional abuse. Although the bulk of this research has been done with women, one case study of an emotionally abused man exists in the literature. Smith and Loring (1994) related the case of a man who was emotionally abused both as a child by his mother and as an adult by his wife. This man stated that, during his marriage, his wife called him ugly, refused to walk next to him in public because she was ashamed to be seen with him, threatened to kill or castrate him while he was sleeping, taught their son to call him “dummy” and “wimp,” found the negative in everything he did (including hugging her and buying her flowers), and accused him of having affairs. He felt frightened for his life, blamed himself for everything, and lost 31 pounds. Why did he stay with this woman? He said, “There were times that she bought me gifts and said she loved me; I occasionally felt a little kindness, and I thought maybe she would change. It was enough to keep me clinging to her” (p. 2). This statement contains an important insight, as the researchers believed that this man suffered from traumatic bonding, in which the abuser alternates abusive behavior with kindness, creating a bond that involves intermittent positive reinforcement. This type of bond is difficult to break.

Although the Smith and Loring (1994) case study is an important contribution to the literature, it does not reveal much about the effects of emotional abuse against men in general. Only two studies have provided some indication of what the possible psychological effects of emotional abuse against men in general are. Simonelli and Ingram (1998) showed that up to 90% of men have been the victims of emotional abuse at least once in the previous year. They then showed the relative contributions of both physical and emotional abuse to the variance in depression and psychological distress and found that experiencing emotional abuse accounted for 14%-33% of the variance in depression and 15%-16% of the variance in psychological distress.

In addition, Hines and Malley-Morrison (2001) assessed the incidence of PTSD and alcoholism symptoms in 116 college men involved in dating relationships. PTSD symptoms were assessed because they are common in women who are emotionally abused, and alcohol use was assessed because, as previously mentioned, men tend to respond to stressful events with externalizing behaviors such as alcohol use. Hines and Malley-Morrison found that the more emotional abuse these men experienced in their relationships, the higher their symptom counts for PTSD and alcoholism. Both of these relationships were statistically significant.

These three studies (Hines & Malley-Morrison, 2001; Simonelli & Ingram, 1998; Smith & Loring, 1994) show that men suffer psychologically from the emotional abuse they experience at the hands of their intimate partners. However, this research is only a first step in identifying the effects of emotional abuse against men. Other possible outcomes and a wider age range of men need to be studied. Also, to properly assess the causal relationship between abuse and adverse psychological outcomes in emotionally abused men, it is necessary to follow men longitudinally.
 
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Battered Women's Syndrome

Quick question - I found this website called Masculinist Evolution New Zealand, and as I was searching for information on this topic, I came across this:

"Battered Woman Syndrome An attempt to have this discredited construct entered into NZ legislation 'through the back door' of the Social Security Amendment Act is foiled." linked to this-

Battered Woman Syndrome

In 1998, Men's Centre North Shore made a Submission to the Select Committee on the proposed Social Security (Conjugal Status) Amendment Bill. Chairman Mark Rowley wrote: Activist Lenore Walker's original conception [of BWS], deeply flawed as it was, and is, has now become nothing more than a political and legal football, used in various ways and for various purposes for different ends... The authors of one law review are quite clear: "The use of syndrome evidence has served only to solidify some of the most archaic and destructive stereotypes about women who kill their batterers. [We] conclude that battered women syndrome expert testimony will fall into disuse as courts come to appreciate that it lacks any basis in valid science, and proponents come to realise that it is inimical to their political cause."


Is battered women syndrome an actual syndrome and is it a legitimate defense in court? I sympathize with both sides. But really, for those of us who don't experience either side, how can we pass judgement on the legitimacy of this position, or even begin to define it? I guess the same thing happened with the Menendez brothers; whether or not they were "justified" in killing, they were guilty of murder.
 

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