Why do men abuse women? Men are primary domestic violence perpetrators

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(public domain)

By Spencer D Gear

I would like you to meet Monte. You won’t recognise him by name. He is a composite of many abusive males I have counselled over the years.

As a male family counsellor, I have spent many years working with men and women in conflict. Monte could abuse his wife and not realise the impact on his wife and children. She could tell him at home and in counselling about how it hurt her and the kids with his uncaring dominance.

Yet he wants her to respond positively to his sexual advances at night and is miffed when she refuses him.

By abuse, I mean those who use mental abuse through their words (swearing & put downs). They cut off the money and refuse to allow spouses to meet with friends. Some are very demanding sexually. Occasionally they hurt the partner physically.

Monte is like one of these men. He can swear at his spouse, accuse her of being unfaithful, and threaten to toss her out of the house.

When I work with abusive men, I try to help them see the link among, beliefs, thoughts, feelings and their actions.

What beliefs cause men to eventually abuse their women? Three seem to be prominent.

Firstly, when a man makes himself central or king pin in the relationship, he will disregard the effects of his swear words and other insults on her. He will not be able to walk in her shoes and feel as she feels (it’s called a lack of empathy).

Secondly, some men believe that men are superior and become super sensitive and defensive when there are any threats to that superiority. Monte was like that. He would demand that his wife always agree with him and do things his way. Why? Because he was the expert in many things. He was the only one who could be right!

Thirdly, men who abuse sometimes exclaim, “I don’t deserve to be treated this way.” They expect a certain level of care and love, otherwise they will continue to abuse the wife.

These three belief systems often lead to angry and aggressive men who abuse their wives or partners.

Is there any hope for change? There was for Monte. He realised that he had inherited the view that a man was the centre of the universe from his father. When he woke up to the fact that this was a core reason for such horrible conflict in his relationship, he changed. But it started with his beliefs being challenged.

Is there hope for men who abuse? Absolutely! But the beliefs need to be addressed at the foundation.

I wish you could meet Monte today. He is a radically changed man. But he took responsibility for changing his beliefs and in turn he changed his behaviour. There is hope for men who abuse!

Copyright © 2014 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 9 October 2015.