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DV/EA etc opinions needed over here please...

(30 Posts)
humptydidit Mon 20-Jun-11 19:30:48

Today went to freeedom programme and we were discussing the reasons why an abusive man would behave like he does...

There were lots of reasons brought up about bad childhoods, stress, society at large, the media pressure on people... But I still don't quite buy it.

I mean take for example benefit fraud. I am currenlty on benefits, but if I was to get a job and not declare it then I would effectively have 2 incomes... Which would mean that I could pay for nights out, new clothes, holidays in the sun, better car etc etc etc. No doubt that would improve my life and I would enjoy that. BUT I personally don't chose to do that, I know it's wrong and instead I have to get by on what I have and accept that I can't afford a holiday to the carribean or to buy my new clothes from Karen Millen etc etc etc. But I don't commit benefit fraud because I don't think it's right and I would never consider it...

I see this as being like abusive behaviour.

If I am abusive and manipulative and controlling towards my partner then it will make my life easier, I don't have to pull my weight in the home, I can have what I want for dinner every night, I can watch all my favourite programmes on tv, I have a partner who is falling over themselves to make me happy (actually to avoid a row), I have kids but my partner looks after them full time, I don't have to get my hands dirty so to speak. I also have a partner who listens to me when I want to talk and I am free to ignore her if I don't want to listen to her boring chat and moaning. If I want sex, I can have it on my terms without worrying about anybody elses enjoyment. If I'm in a bad mood, I have a family I can let it out on... And if it looks like the situation might be slipping out of control, a threat or a slap or a punch soon puts that to rights.

Why would I want to stop being abusive? Then I would have to compromise, I would have to visit my in laws every fortnight and spend alternate christmas's with them. I would have to do my share of night feeds with the baby. I would have to share chores and housework. I would have to sit thru eastenders even though I hate it, because afterwards we can watch top gear together. I would have to eat chinese takeaway every second weekend although I prefer curry. I would have to listen to endless renditions of biff and chip and the magic sodding key. I would have to listen to my partner telling me about her day and support her when she is finding things tough. I would have to take my turn of taking ds to football practise even though it's January and it's dark and freezing rain. I would have to support my partner in her career and agree to come home early one night a week so she can go to college and entertain the kids so she can complete her assignments etc etc etc...

Need I actually go on?

So my question is, how big a factor is this in the behaviour of these abusive men? Or is it all about having a crappy childhood and a drink problem?

This is similar to the Teddy bear concept (can;t remember who wrote it) where the man doesn't want an equal partner, he wants a teddy bear. Will find the link in a min.

God this has got me all riled up today. Sitting in a room of 12 other women who have all experienced a variation on this behaviour it makes me so sad to think that so many men (and in some cases women) think that they have the right to behave? angry angry angry

humptydidit Mon 20-Jun-11 19:34:28

Sorry don't know if that came out right, wrt benefit fraud what is it about me that makes me not want to do it, but makes other people think it is acceptable? Ultimately I know that my life would be "better" if I did it and had more money, but still I don't do it.

In the same way, if I manipulate people etc then I will get my own way and my life may be better hmm but I don't do it, because I don't think it's an acceptable way to behave therefore I don't do it. So why do these men think that it's ok to behave like this?

allegrageller Mon 20-Jun-11 19:37:59

I think these men lose more than they gain. For instance, in your example re. having sex without caring if the other person actually wants it. That is in most people's book a horrible experience.

In the same way, treating someone else like sh** leads to impoverished, shallow relationships- master/slave rather than companions and partners.

Imho the basic lack of empathy which leads to entitled, arrogant behaviour must be due to a very early childhood trauma of some kind.

allegrageller Mon 20-Jun-11 19:38:51

btw by first sentence I mean most people would be horrified at the thought of having sex without consent of the other person and wouldn't want to do it.

humptydidit Mon 20-Jun-11 19:46:05

allegra I get what you're saying, but so what, loads of people have crappy childhoods, not all of them go on to replicate that confused

You are right that they do lose more than they gain, if you judge by your (non abusive persons) standards. But in the case of my ExH I really don't think that he could see beyond his own sense of entitlement to live his way the way he wanted to.

According to Saint Lundy, "if abusiveness were the product of childhood emotional injury, abusers could overcome their problem through psychotherapy. But it is virtually unheard of for an abusive man to make substantial and lasting changes in his pattern of abusiveness as a result of therapy"

I can't understand it at all confused

LeoTheLateBloomer Mon 20-Jun-11 19:50:36

OP everything you've written makes absolute sense to me, but I don't think it's as black and white as that. In my experience the abuse wasn't a conscience decision. I don't know if my ex saw it as making his life easier. He wasn't happy and he wasn't satisfied, so 'getting his own way' wasn't his motivation. It was the only way he knew of doing things.

He felt out of control of his/our life and that made the abuse worse.

During the (rare) times he was able to admit he treated me badly he always, without fail, managed to blame his own childhood. He was hypnotised soon after we split (his way of trying to sort himself out so I would have him back) and he was taken back to his earliest memories of his mother hitting him and shouting at him for ruining a new pair of shoes.

He will always lay the blame at his mother's door. He was treated badly, therefore he treated me badly. He saw it as his excuse and therefore made it sound somehoew acceptable; it wasn't his fault, it was her's.

Anniegetyourgun Mon 20-Jun-11 19:51:09

Well, in the case of benefit fraud, it's against the law and you could be arrested, fined and given a criminal record if found out, so there's a practical motivation to add to your moral one!

Wrt your analysis of why abusers do it, Saint Lundy of Bancroft, who has worked with and observed thousands of abusers, concludes it is about entitlement and privilege, as you reckon, not about having a tough childhood. And George K Simon in another very interesting book says it is driven by aggressiveness, rather than fear or weakness. To nick a quote from one of the Amazon reviews:

'He writes: "...we have been pre-programmed to believe that people only exhibit problem behaviours when they're "troubled" inside or anxious about something. We've have also been taught that people aggress only when they're attacked in some way. So even when our gut tells us that somebody is attacking us and for no good reason, or merely trying to overpower us, we don't readily accept the notions. We usually start to wonder what's bothering the person so badly "underneath it all" that's making them act in such a disturbing way....We almost never think that the person is simply fighting to get something they want, to have their way with us, or gain the upper hand." '

Think the teddy bear metaphor was Patricia Evans?

barbiegrows Mon 20-Jun-11 19:55:57

You should be a standup comedian humpty, you have impeccable timing - made me laugh anyway.

But sorry I really can't even attempt to answer that question. Actually I did try, but none of it made sense.

I hope the freedom programme helps free you anyway.

Anniegetyourgun Mon 20-Jun-11 19:59:05

Oh, and LeoTheLateBloomer, the Amazing Lundy also tells a story about the man on the anti-abuse program who, after psychotherapy, announced proudly to the group that he now understood that when he hit his wife he was really hitting his mother. The facilitator looked at him over his glasses and said "No, you were hitting your wife".

It may be the reason why hitting became ingrained behaviour, but once you've got to the bottom of it, it stops being an excuse. What his mother did was wrong, but your ex refused to take responsibility for his own actions. Yes, he can blame her for the way she treated him; but every time he treats someone else in the same way, he is making a choice. His mother taught him some bad habits. She did not remove all free will from him.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Mon 20-Jun-11 19:59:43

If the question really was "why would an abusive man behave like he does", and your group brought up childhood trauma etc, it sounds like the women in it might still be focusing on making excuses for the abusive behaviour?

Because if you ask me that question, now at the point I'm at (separated from abusive stbxh and far from questioning the rightness of the decision), my answer to that question would be:

- because it gets them something (their way)
- because they don't care about other people's rights and feelings.

I fully agree with you that abusers are responsible for their actions. Although as we well know, they are unable to admit it, but they are still desperate to hide it from family, friends, and authorities. Therefore they do know, at least on some level, that it is wrong.

So they're not doing it because they can't help it because of shitty childhoods or what have you. They know it's wrong, but they still do it, *to achieve a purpose*: control over another person.

humptydidit Mon 20-Jun-11 20:04:21

Well ok then... maybe instead of a concious decision to behave like this, maybe this is the way they are used to doing things due to upbringing etc... But why, when presented with a "normal" partner, would you continue? I think maybe it's a reason not to change, rather than a reason to behave like this in the first place.

Why behave abusively right from the beginning? Why would you accuse your partner of sleeping with somebody else just because she put on make up this morning if your mother beat you when you were a child?

Why if your mother beat you as a child would you throw a temper tantrum and say "I'm not eating this fucking shit" and throw a plate across the room because you didn't get what you want for dinner?

I see that bad childhood may make you insecure and have low self esteem... But I am insecure and have low self esteem due to living with an abusive arsehole for the last 10 years, but it doesn't mean that I will treat future partners like shit. Yes I might keep them at arms lenght and be very cautious and maybe even jealous and suspicious, but it wouldnt# make me behave in an abusive manner

tribpot Mon 20-Jun-11 20:05:01

In the case of domestic violence, it is also against the law and you could be imprisoned for it. The main difference is that your victim (let's assume in the case of benefit fraud the victim is the state) will often collude in their abuse. The state may not investigate everyone but it also doesn't say 'well he only rips me off because he was damaged as a child' or 'he says he'll stop doing it and I know he really loves me so I'll give him another chance' or - god forbid - 'well the children adore him so it isn't right to put myself first'.

Is it an addiction to violence, domination, power?

Newbabynewmum Mon 20-Jun-11 20:05:58

I hate this. It's an excuse abusers or people who support them drag out time and time again. My EX didn't attempt to strangle me because he didn't know his father, he did it because he has massive anger issues and doesn't control his behaviour like a normal person can. It was his choice to behave the way he did.

humptydidit Mon 20-Jun-11 20:10:36

thanks all, glad am making a wee bit of sense grin

Dunno what has got me so fired up today!!

At freedom programme, another lady actually said, "every week we look at the reasons behind the beliefs of each persona of the dominator and every week we seem to come back to the same few answers, bad childhood, media, society, am I missing something or is that it" Basically she was saying "Change the record ffs" which is how the discussion began!!

Although I have equally met plenty of women who are still clutching to the bad childhood stuff desparately trying to make thier H/P not be abusive just be a victim themselves and therefore unable to help their behaviour and in need of their wife/girlfriends support to get thru it, and it really makes me mad angry

Anniegetyourgun Mon 20-Jun-11 20:11:17

Fair point, tribpot, but where there is no physical violence it becomes much harder to prove. Often, nobody except the victim witnesses it, and she (or he) has had their confidence so ground down that they're not sure whether to believe the evidence of their own ears, and accept they probably deserved it.

HerHissyness Mon 20-Jun-11 20:17:56

I'm thinking that you will get to the stage when you are able to say, actually it doesn't really matter why they abuse us, it's the fact that they do. Everything they say is an excuse, used to justify their entitlement to get what they want all of the time.

If I had that kind of power, I dare say it would be hard to give it up, but I don't and I don't set out to destroy those around me.

i'd be inclined to hurl a few 'Does it fucking matter what these abusers say? It's all bollocks, designed to make us roll with their punches. If there is something I ain't buying anymore, it's THAT!' grin

I reckon it really IS as simple as entitlement., but I don't start my Freedom programme until September (hopefully!)

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Mon 20-Jun-11 20:20:51

annie said it much better than me.

By the way, in that eerie way that abusers have of all singing from the same abusers' hymn sheet, I got that very excuse (or a variation of it) in my stbxh's I-hate-you-don't-leave-me letter trying to get me back: "When I was lashing out at you, I was really lashing out at myself," he said.

(My reply to that was: "No, you were lashing out at me: a real live person of flesh and blood, with feelings." I'm glad I said it, but of course I doubt it registered.)

So, yeah: they can admit that abuse is Not A Nice Thing To Do, but they'll evade responsibility for it. Therapy gives them fancy tools to do that ("blame the parents!").

I don't think the childhood stuff is why they do it: childhood traumas may have warped their sense of entitlement, but it hasn't warped their sense of right and wrong. They still choose getting their own way over doing the morally right thing.

HerHissyness Mon 20-Jun-11 20:20:57

We have a new Phrase of the Day over on our Emotional Abuse Support thread

What's in it FOR ME?

It's a phrase we can start asking ourselves at every turn when he demands something we don't want to do, when he behaves abysmally, just an internal dialogue that starts to right the wrongs of all the pent up abuse and manipulation. In time we will find our strength, our voice and with a bit of luck, the door marked exit and our feet to carry us through it!

HerHissyness Mon 20-Jun-11 20:23:04

Puppy, just keep calling them out and correcting them, every time. Yeah it may not actually do anything to make them think or change, but it reinforces that you are breaking the chains and you are growing stronger day by day.

WARNING: they can get very disturbed by this so best to stay calm and work on your best passive aggressive! grin

FreudianSlipper Mon 20-Jun-11 20:26:21

there are so many reasons why he could abuse but the main reason is because he starts to feel his needs and is entitled too and enjoys the control be it emotional or with violence too

i do not buy into he was abused, drink/drug alcohol and so on because it is always more controlled than that. if this was the case men would be lashing out and hitting their partners no matter where they were or who was around but the thing is they never do, they never abuse in front of others or very rarely and with emotional abuse they tone it right down and then the only ones who pick up on it are other abusers or those who have experienced it themselves

a man (or women before the poor menz comments start) beign abusive is always about meeting his needs not his partners but why he has these needs well there could be a thousand reasons or jsut the one or none but not one of them overrides that he does it because likes the control it gives him it makes him feel safe this is what it is about nothing else

AnyFucker Mon 20-Jun-11 20:26:59

interesting post

haven't got a lot of time to comment much, but it certainly gets me riled when excuses are made for abusive men

there is no excuse, no justification not ever

I had a shit childhood. I am open to lots of media influences. I don't, and would never, abuse people.

babyhammock Mon 20-Jun-11 20:31:04

I spent 5 years trying to understand why ex behaved the way he did and made 1,000,000 excuses for it...

He treated me that way because that's how he felt he was entitled to treat me and I know he knew what he was doing..

All these reasons people come up with that make excuses for it just feed into the victims need to try and help them..

Anniegetyourgun Mon 20-Jun-11 20:33:48

That's the bottom line of it, Hissy. It doesn't matter why they do what they do unless, by understanding, we can change it. As we can't change it, the choices are narrowed to put up with it, or don't. Finding out why is a mere intellectual exercise, interesting but ultimately irrelevant to the central decision: whether you can (or are prepared to) live like that any more. Hopefully the Freedom Programme will offer tools to help the abused realise they don't have to put up with it.

"As long as he needs me, I know where I must be..." and you know what happened to her.

FreudianSlipper Mon 20-Jun-11 20:35:26

jsut reread my post

what i was trying to say he could give a thousand reasons but there is not reason apart from him wanting, feeling a need and a sense of entitlement to behave in such a way

humptydidit Mon 20-Jun-11 20:35:48

hissy good luck with freedom programme, hope it will be valuable to you, like it has been for me.

Will try to catch up with other thread later on.

YOu are right, of course, it doesn't really matter why, it doesn't make it right. I said to the course leader today that I have difficulty imagining "where do his beliefs come from" because it's all so alien to me. Like anyfucker said, I had a crap childhood and I am exposed to the media but I don't abuse people, so it makes it very difficult to imagine why anybody else would.

I guess that this is ultimately my anger at the situation I have escaped from emerging in a different light and I will soon put it behind me and move on grin

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