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 1, 2013

Why Does He DO That? Terminology Intro

We're going to start 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 Note on Terminology:

In referring to angry and controlling men in this book, I’ve chosen in most cases the shorter terms abusive man and abuser. I’ve used these terms for readability and not because I believe that every man who has problems with angry or controlling behavior is abusive. I needed to select a simple word I could apply to any man who has recurring problems with disrespecting, controlling, insulting, or devaluing his partner, whether or not his behavior also involves more explicit verbal abuse, physical aggression, or sexual mistreatment. Any of these behaviors can have a serious impact on a woman’s life and can lead her to feel confused, depressed, anxious, or afraid. <snip>

via Wikipedia Commons

<snip> Controlling men fall on a spectrum of behaviors, from those who exhibit only a few of the tactics I describe in this book to those who use almost all of them. Similarly, these men run a gamut in their attitudes, from those who are willing to accept confrontation about their behaviors and strive to change them, to those who won’t listen to the woman’s perspective at all, feel completely justified, and become highly retaliatory if she attempts to stand up for herself. <snip> The level of anger exhibited by controlling man also shows wide variation, but unfortunately it doesn’t tell us much in itself about how psychologically destructive he may be or how likely he is to change, as we will see.

In addition, I have chosen to use the terms he to refer to the abusive person and she to the abused partner. I selected these terms for convenience and because they correctly described the great majority of relationships in which powers being abused.  <snip>.

No Gender Discrimination In Our Discussions Here

Mr. Bancroft's experience is with male abusers; he does not have the training or experience to address female-on-male abuse situations, therefore in this book, he does not address it, though he briefly covers controlling and angry dynamics in gay relationships. In most modern societies, even though "we've come a long way, baby" the reality is that men (in general) possess much more political, social, and economic power than women, and in second/third world countries, the power men hold over women is even more extreme. Men kill women and send them to the emergency room much more often than women kill or seriously injure men.

via David Castillo Dominici
at freedigitalphotos
This does not mean that female-on-male violence, especially emotional and verbal abuse, does not frequently occur, or that women in individual relationships cannot be just as angry and feel just as justified as the Angry and Controlling Men of the book title. Sadly, I know many men who've experienced abuse from their mothers or who have lived or still live in abusive relationships with a female partner.

Therefore, if that is your experience, please buy the book and follow along; you will almost certainly gain valuable insights.

Why Does A Discussion about Domestic Violence Belong on a Blog About OCPD?

Some may argue that there is little to no scientific evidence that domestic violence is linked to any mental disorder, including OCPD. I agree - there is no scientifically proven link. My counter-argument is that if the questions are never asked, how reasonable is it to assume that no links exist? Because of stigma and shame, both mental illness and domestic violence are vastly under-reported, under-studied, and misunderstood.
I would also add that statistics show people with a mental illness are far more likely to be victims of a violent crime than perpetrators. No intent here to demonize the mentally ill.

I can state that in my personal experience, and that of many other people with whom I have traded stories, domestic violence and mental illness or brain injury is often linked. This is part of the dynamic that influences our decision to stay in an abusive relationship, perhaps longer than we should. We perceive our partners not as deliberately abusive, but as sick - and what kind of heartless person would abandon a partner suffering from cancer, or heart disease?

Reality - it doesn't matter why we are being abused. Being abused hurts.

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.

Your thoughts?