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, June 5, 2013

Why Does He DO That? Introduction (Part 5)

We are 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 - How To Use This Book

<snip> You may feel ashamed of having a partner who sometimes behaves in unkind or bullying ways, and you may fear that people will be critical of you for not leaving him right away. Or you might have the opposite concern: that people around you are so fond of your partner that you question whether they will believe you when you describe how mean or abusive he can be. But, regardless of these anxieties, it is essential not to stay isolated with your distress or confusion about what is happening in your relationship. Find someone whom you can trust - it might even be a person you have never considered opening up to before - and unburden yourself. This is probably the single most critical step you can take toward building a life that is free from control and abuse.

If your partner’s controlling or devaluing behaviors is chronic, you no doubt find yourself thinking about him a great deal of the time, wondering how to please him, how to keep them from straying, or how to get him to change. As a result, you may find that you don’t get much time to think about yourself  - except about what is wrong with you in his eyes. <snip> I’m hoping that by answering as many questions as possible and clearing away the confusion that abusive behavior creates, I can make it possible for you to escape the trap of preoccupation with your partner, so that you can put yourself - and your children if you are a mother  - back in the center of your life where you belong. An angry and controlling man can be like a vacuum cleaner that successful woman’s mind and life, but there are ways to get your life back. The first step is to learn to identify what your partner is doing and why he does it, which is what the pages ahead will illuminate. But when you have finished diving deeply into the abuser’s mind, which this book will enable you to do, it is important to rise back to the surface and from then on try to stay out of the water is much as you can. I don’t mean that you should necessarily leave your partner - that is a complex and highly personal decision that only you can make. But whether you stay or go, the critical decision you can make is to stop letting your partner distort the lens of your life, always forcing his way into the center of the picture. You deserve to have your life be about you; you are worth it.

Shame Helps Keep Us Silent
If we have a partner who is abusive, it's hard to admit, even to ourselves. After all, we chose him (or her). Were we stupid - or blind? Besides, we have continued to stay with a person who treats us this way - what is wrong with us?

We may buy into his argument that we make him angry. Unfair as it seems, sometimes, it is still less unpalatable than admitting s/he is an angry person who would find reasons excuses to be abusive no matter what we did or didn't do.

Living with an abusive person becomes a Through the Looking Glass world where everything is backwards; they behave badly, we feel ashamed.

And yet, when we do begin speaking out, we find help, support, validation. The Emperor has no clothes, after all.

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?