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AIBU to have a low tolerance on physical abuse?

(26 Posts)
Potol Mon 05-Sep-11 21:22:38

Ok, I know I'm not but how low is low.

Just been debating this with someone who thinks that her DP/DH pinching her till she cries out, slapping her thigh (in her words 'with the intent to hurt and control') and pushing her in argument is okay because 'she doesn't see it as abuse'. She also said that she does the same in return so it's fine. And also that while he's controlling he's not a mean person. I remained skeptical at this stage and said (via chat), I have a zero tolerance of physical abuse.

Her response was: what nonsense, that's impossible. So I said, ok here's an example. See I bite my nails and hate doing it. DH would lightly tap me across the hand when he saw me doing it. Once the tap stung and I turned to him and said firmly, 'please don't hit me again'. He looked taken aback and said, 'Sorry I just didn't want you biting your nails'. I said, 'Whatever, just no hitting please'. And he's never done it.

We have never pushed each other in an argument, pinched and left marks, thrown things or slapped each other. Friend made me think that I was a lunatic and apparently most couples do this and it's 'just a husband-wife thing'.

Note that her DH also called her a 'fucking whore' in front of us and my DH was appalled and wanted to say something (this was over something trivial about a text message she hadn't answered) but held his tongue.

Am I totally nuts, have utterly unreasonable standards or do 'normal' people not actually behave like this? (I'm hoping that MN restores my faith in humanity but I'm prepared to be told that my zero tolerance is unusual)....

HerHissyness Mon 05-Sep-11 21:33:11

the only tolerance to have on the behaviour you describe above is ZERO TOLERANCE.


cecilyparsley Mon 05-Sep-11 21:34:35

there's a fair amount of play fighting/wrestling between him and me, never done in anger though...I'd be outraged at any kind of physical chastisement.

pigletmania Mon 05-Sep-11 21:38:46

It really depends on the context and if both people are happy with it. For example people practise bondage which can be classified as physical chastisement. Some people take the dominant/subordinate roles in a relationship like master and owner types realtionships both happy with this arrangement.

fit2drop Mon 05-Sep-11 21:38:49


Playful and with no intent to hurt is ok but never in an argument or as a means to control.
Its wrong wrong wrong, of course its not nonsense,

Your friend is making excuses .Unfortunately so do most abused people who have abusive partners, Therefore fuelling the myth that a tap, a shove , a push, a clip, and disrespectful language ia acceptable and the problem lies with the abused for being silly , after all "its just a slap FGS!"

I was on the end of just a slap from my ex H. turned into him knocking me unconscious and breaking bones.

My lovely new DH would not even raise his eyebrow never mind his hand..

StrandedBear Mon 05-Sep-11 21:38:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pigletmania Mon 05-Sep-11 21:39:12

Like dominatrix types stuff

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Mon 05-Sep-11 21:41:38

I have zero tolerance for physical abuse too

I don't necessarily believe this makes me 'normal', but I do believe it doesn't make me 'nuts' or that I have unreasonable standards.

What 'most couples', or any any couples for that matter, do is of no personal interest to me but it never ceases to amaze me that anyone can be of the opinion that physical abuse, or what is sometimes euphemistically described as 'horseplay' where one party is unwilling to engage, is acceptable on any level.

maras2 Mon 05-Sep-11 21:46:56

Normal couples do not assault each other.Just sayin'.

EdithWeston Mon 05-Sep-11 21:50:48

Remember what Michelle Obama said to that group of schoolgirls? "Good relationships don't hurt".

That's true of physical as well as emotional pain.

A couple who play fight (consensually, emphasis on play) may well be OK. What you describe doesn't sound remotely like that.

PerryCombover Mon 05-Sep-11 21:51:49

did she say with the intent to hurt and control?

Potol Mon 05-Sep-11 21:57:26

Ok thanks for your replies. Don't think dominatrix/horseplay should come into it.The first is clearly in the realm of fantasy and most ppl who indulge in it (as far as I know) often have code words to let the other person know when to stop. Horseplay in my head at least is clearly different. There is affection involved. I can't associate the words 'abuse' with 'affection'.

Let me phrase it a little differently. Friend said, 'there is a spectrum on physical abuse'. I utterly disagree. As evidence of this 'spectrum' I asked her if it was ok if DH pushed her, she fell over and she was pregnant? Answer: well depends on intent. Sometimes you push people without intending them to fall so if he didn't intend it, that's fine. I of course, cannot disagree more. So is there a 'spectrum'? (And how does it differ if there is emotional abuse?)

AnyFucker Mon 05-Sep-11 21:59:24

only zero tolerance is acceptable

no spectrum...any kind of physical abuse to dominate another is unacceptable

Birdsgottafly Mon 05-Sep-11 22:09:16

'The spectrum' can be set in childhood, depending on what you witness or is around you.

I grew up in an area where lots of DV took place, as well as EA and game playing, thinking back, relationships where terrible. There was a whole 'culture' of abuse, in different forms, towards children, also.

It took me a while to realise how relationships should be and to learn how to communicate, effectively.

BibiBlocksberg Mon 05-Sep-11 22:13:10

Agree with the zero tolerance. Just remembered the face slapping (light) boxing, pinching etc low level stuff of ex here and I would find it uncomfortable and unacceptable at the time but he wouldn't listen when I told him not to do it.

Like living with a bleddy teenager at best, abusive at worst.


TheBigJessie Mon 05-Sep-11 22:14:06

My rule always was: I wouldn't accept a stranger hitting me, so why would I accept it from a person who was supposed to love me?

PigletJohn Mon 05-Sep-11 22:15:39

"pinching her till she cries out, slapping her thigh (in her words 'with the intent to hurt and control') and pushing her in argument is okay because 'she doesn't see it as abuse'. "

Sounds to me like she is one of these women who is a an abusive relationship but says "he only does it because he loves me" and withdraws her police statement after she's been beaten up.

It drives me wild but who can help them if they won't be helped?

EdithWeston Mon 05-Sep-11 22:17:40

There might be a spectrum of physical contact (hence play fighting, consensual bondage with a safety word etc).

But there isn't a spectrum of abuse

FreudianSlipper Mon 05-Sep-11 22:20:01


she is in an abusive relationship many woman can not see it as abuse as they have been manipulated by their partner, but i am guessing she does know and is being defensive as she already admits he is controlling and sadly can not see how that is wrong for her

dominatrix is totally different it is about sexual play, there is nothing playful going on in her relationship and play fighting is very often the start of physical abuse, not always though

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Mon 05-Sep-11 22:24:54

The practice of sado-masochism between consenting adults is an entirely separate matter and should be removed from this particular debate.

There can be no 'spectrum' of what constitutes phyiscal abuse in the generally accepted use of the word, but there can be a scale of the damage/injuries caused by physical abuse.

Physical abuse is often accompanied by verbal and emotional abuse. IMO all are unacceptable and any scale can only chart the escalation of the abuse/abuses.

IME 'horseplay' can be thinly disguised physical abuse when practised on an unwilling or unsuspecting partner/party/parties. Your example of pushing is a case in a point: a 'playful' push can hide an intent to cause physical harm to another.

There is a vast difference between calling another person a 'fucking whore' or a 'fucking cunt' in good humoured banter and using this terminology as a means of demeaning or denigrating them.

biscuitmad Mon 05-Sep-11 22:30:31

me and dh bicker which really gets on my nerves when we are out or with friends. If he tickles me he ends up sticking his fingers in my sides too hard, men dont realise how strong they are. And I end up telling him to fo because it hurts. I would never let a man hit/slap/or slag me off in a nasty manner. Not only is it embarrasing for the woman but also for the friends.

Next time they do this in front of you stare at him and say wow. When he asks you why tell him what you did was out of order and leave it as that. Maybe if its pointed out to him he will calm down????

FreudianSlipper Mon 05-Sep-11 22:36:12

men do not realise how strong they are hmm yes they do and certainly do if it is done more than once

really, are you not capable of knowing your own strength?

AnyFucker Mon 05-Sep-11 22:38:19

biscuitmad do you wish someone would intervene on your behalf ? sad

Onemorning Mon 05-Sep-11 22:40:49


I wouldn't put up with it now. I grew up around DV and it's taken me years (and an abusive marriage) to work out what is acceptable. If my DH ever hit me I would be off like a shot.

BertieBotts Mon 05-Sep-11 22:47:47

I remember a couple of incidents with XP which I didn't think were serious at the time. Playfighting was probably relevant because he wouldn't "play" at all, it was an exercise in showing me that he was stronger than me and that he could have hurt me, he was just choosing not to. I remember once I kicked him in a joking way a little harder than I meant to and he grabbed my foot and squeezed it so hard I thought the bones might break.

Not okay. I didn't notice it at the time but he was doing that on purpose to hurt me, and he had a massive grin on his face at the time.

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