Using writing, and meditation, and ice cream, and reading, and dreams,

and a whole lot of other tools to rediscover who I am,

after six years living with a man with OCPD.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Why Does He DO That? Introduction (Part 1)

We've begun reading, and, I hope, entering into a healthy discussion of the book Why Does He DO That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft.

Please, do buy your own copy - both because I won't be excerpting all of it, and because this author deserves our $upport.


From the Introduction:

(Photo credit: Robbie Wroblewski)
I’ve been working with angry and controlling men for 15 years as a counselor, evaluator, an investigator, and have accumulated a wealth of knowledge from the 2000 or more cases with which I have been involved. I have learned the warning signs of abuse and control that a woman can watch out for early in a relationship. I’ve come to know what a controlling man is really saying, the meaning that is hidden behind his words. I’ve seen clues to recognizing when verbal and emotional aggression are heading toward violence. I found ways to separate out abusive men who are faking change from those who are doing some genuine work on themselves. And I have learned that the problem of the abusiveness has surprisingly little to do with how a man feels - my clients actually differ very little from nonabusive men and their emotional experience - and everything to do with how he thinks. The answers are inside his mind.

<snip> who can use what I have learned to help themselves recognize when they are being controlled or devalued in a relationship, to find ways to get free of abuse if it is happening, and to know how to avoid getting involved with an abusive man - or a controller or a user - next time. The purpose of this book is to equip women with the ability to protect themselves, physically and psychologically, from angry and controlling men.

To prepare for writing this book, I first generated a list of the 21 questions that women most often asked me about their abusive partner, questions such as:

"Is he really sorry?"
"Why do so many of our friends side with him?"
"Is he going to hit me someday?"

and many others. I then built my explanations around these concerns to make sure that women would be able to look here to find the information they urgently need. <snip>

Is He Going To Hit Me?

via kenfotos at freedigitalphotos
That's probably the #1 question for those who've been in a relationship where they have felt verbally battered and deeply frightened, but not yet hit... yet. And there are no guarantees; however, there are warning signs, which will be covered in this book. (Another reason I urge you to buy it now.)

That a person feels s/he has the right to degrade and belittle you is not a sign s/he respects you and values you. If s/he has "accidentally" hurt you - stepping on toes, an elbow in the wrong place, etc., this could be a real red flag that more is headed your way, especially if the response was not an abject apology on the part of the offender, but more a "well, you shouldn't have gotten in my way" attitude.

While many verbal abusers never "graduate" to physical abuse, it is well documented that verbal and emotional abuse always precedes physical violence.

Do not take your safety for granted, ever. 

If you are in a situation where your partner hurts you - even if it is "only" with words, please contact one of the hotlines down below and begin working out an emergency escape plan, even if as of right this minute, you feel sure you will never need one. Especially if you have children at home.

Worst case scenario if you have an escape plan and never need it, is you have "wasted" a few hours. Worst case scenario if you don't have a plan and need one, is it may cost you your life.

I never thought my boyfriend would hit me, either.

Till he did.

Disclaimer: The information and opinions posted here, and any comment responses, are not to be considered professional advice and are not intended to replace consultation with a qualified medical or mental health professional. If you are involved in a relationship that includes physical, financial, and/or emotional violence, please contact a professional for help and assistance.

In the US:

National Domestic Violence Hotline - 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)  TTY- 1-800-787-3224 
RAINN (Rape Abuse & Incest National Network)
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (includes downloadable guides for helping women in abusive relationships)
National Alliance on Mental Illness, aka NAMI

International Resources linked here.

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