Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Do abusive men only see women in one of two ways?

(31 Posts)
helcarmar Wed 28-Sep-11 08:56:52

Something got me thinking about this today, But an emotionally abusive (who wasn't above threatening physical violence without actually hitting me) ex-boyfriend seemed only able to view women in one of two ways:
a, Goddesses
b, Inferior beings

He'd either dismiss them (using a variety of choice swear words) or put them on pedestals. In fact, he could only get really aroused by thinking of women as mistresses.

Not thread hitting and running but got to go out to work soon. Interested in any thoughts about this. My interest is now 'academic' as thank god I'm out of it and I am in a position to be coolly reflecting on this as opposed to being in the thick of it, nevertheless, I've no objections to people using this as a support thread for those struggling with such a man. Thanks in advance for any replies.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Wed 28-Sep-11 09:04:42

Hmm. Interesting question. I don't relate to being seen as a "goddess" or "inferior being", but maybe it's just that terminology that's not really jibing with me. Here is how my abusive stbxh saw me:

- cute pet (object)
- physical possession (whore)
- provider of comfort and nurture (madonna)
- evil bitch who wasn't doing what she should be doing and must be put back in her place, with force if necessary (enemy)

In none of these categories was I a free and sovereign human being.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Wed 28-Sep-11 09:08:06

So I would say that an abusive person sees his/her partner in many ways, but none of them respectful.

mammya Wed 28-Sep-11 09:11:47

They start by putting their partner on a pedestal, then when she can't live up to this ideal, she becomes an inferior being, an enemy that has to be broken. IMO!

RabbitPie Wed 28-Sep-11 09:19:43

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

babyhammock Wed 28-Sep-11 09:21:08

Definately inferior being/slave, in my case. All other entitlements regards me were pretty much puppy's list.

I'm now regarded as a runaway slave hmm..

solidgoldbrass Wed 28-Sep-11 09:57:39

Generally abusive men see women as not human. Really abusive men don;t see anyone as human/real/having agency apart from themselves, but most abusive men consider women as a separate species, one that has to be conquered and controlled. WIth some of them it;s a mix of fear and hatred: they are scared that an 'uncontrolled' woman will harm them so they have to attack and subdue her.

helcarmar Wed 28-Sep-11 10:57:37

Quick post: OK, but what's with the 'goddess' business my ex had? He could only, sorry to be crude, 'get off' when seeing a woman as some kind of superior goddess/mistress. Yet, in non-sexual situations, treated women like scum e.g. if a woman was driving badly (which she was in all fairness), it wouldn't merit a normal response from him as in : 'That woman can't drive' followed by a tut, but a full-on :' Silly f***ing c* shouldn't be on the road' said in a really aggressive manner. While men would just get a tut and 'what's he doing?' non-aggressive response IYSWIM.

Cheaptrickortreat Wed 28-Sep-11 11:05:13

I like the four different groups and can put myself in the Enemy group by some men. I think it is sad but true that the different types even exsit sad

Cheaptrickortreat Wed 28-Sep-11 11:07:06

Also i think some women can do the same to a man.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Wed 28-Sep-11 11:16:40

The sex thing you describe sounds like issues around dominance and submission. Abuse is all about that. It sounds like your ex liked to dominate outside and submit inside the bed.

Or maybe he just had common-or-garden BDSM preferences, and also happened to be an abusive jackass.

livingonthedge Wed 28-Sep-11 11:29:23

I think that some see all women that they are in relationships with as a their-mother-figure and that they have not matured beyond the stage of being physically dependant on them. (Am not trying to joke - I think that this is often true in some deep Freudian sense). By this I mean that they feel that they are completely entitled to be "looked after" by the woman in their life and also to receive completely unconditional regard from them and so they (a) feel really cross and justified in being cross when this does not happen and (b) think that they can say/do what they like but you will still love them as that's what parents do.

I suspect that many of the abusers (or any kind) who were not abused themselves as children had mothers whose lifes revolved around the children and who did everythign for them and their fathers in a perfect housewife kind of way. When you combine this life expereince with someone who does not mature properly beyond the dependance stage of life then there are problems.

cecilyparsley Wed 28-Sep-11 11:35:10

men and women can be predatory, controlling, manipulative, very broadly speaking men have more power and status and thus are more able to control women than vice versa.
What I mean is that women can be just as bad, given the opportunity.

However, it does feel to me that men are culturally conditioned to see women as people who exist to serve their needs, and women frequently collude in this.
Am I wandering off topic?

I think men are inclined to put women on a pedestal whilst the women conform to whatever it is they think women ought to do, sweet, compliant, deferential, that kind of thing.
Failure to conform is likely to elicit some form of punishment, or sanctions.

helcar the driving thing is classic confirmation bias, he believes women are bad drivers, so when he see's a woman drive badly it reinforces his belief. When he see's a man drive badly he excuses or downplays it

tranquilitygardens Wed 28-Sep-11 14:43:25

I agree with the comments already made, some will put their partner on a pedastool, then when they don't forfill the dream of the abusive man, then they are inferior beings, to the abusive man.

Think Mark Wright from TOWIE!

runoutofideasforanickname Thu 29-Sep-11 09:01:06

Oooh lots of assumptions going on here. People are complex beings and yes men and women are different but we are all the product of our upbringing, our environment, society as a whole, and the media. We should remember that nobody is perfect and that all relationships need working at. It is very naieve to think that individuals who come to live together will co-exist in harmony without effort and input. I'm not supporting in any way staying in an unresolveable abusive relationship, just stating that issues can often be resolved with dialogue.

solidgoldbrass Thu 29-Sep-11 09:21:15

RUnoutofideas: But it's stupid to ignore the culture, tradition and history that has always upheld the idea of women as less than men, men's property, there to look after men etc and the effect this has.

NicknameTaken Thu 29-Sep-11 10:08:59

Totally agree with livingontheedge. With my ex, the categories were "Person who is fulfilling all my needs, desires, wishes, even the ones I cannot articulate" and "Person who is not fulfilling all my needs etc". There was a definite streak of infantile rage against the non-perfectly nurturing mother when he felt his needs weren't met. It wasn't humanly possible to stay in the first category, although god knows I tried (and I agree with cecily, that was collusion on my part and I should have known better).

runoutofideasforanickname Thu 29-Sep-11 13:47:47

solidgoldbrass: I come from a long line of women none of whom ever felt less than a man nor their men's property. They like me had long term partnership relationships and never ever felt undermined. I was taught to self respect and respect others too. They and I served our menfolk and our children with pride and were served by our men and children with love and respect in return. Old fashioned maybe but it worked for us.

thisishowifeel Thu 29-Sep-11 14:02:47

There is a chap called Adam Jukes who has suggested that there is a dysfunction in the way abusive men (he works with men only, and I accept that women can be abusive too) have not separated from the mother as young children.

This would certainly explain why so many of them seem to behave like toddlers.
There is the point of view that this is merely blaming the woman again...but if the mother is somehow unavailable, the small boy does not learn all the stuff after that..and is essentially stuck.

Place that little, terrified, out of control boy, in an essentially sexist society...mtv anyone? and bingo. And that would explain why it is at the epidemic proportions that we see.

turquoisetumble Thu 29-Sep-11 14:29:18

*- cute pet (object)
- physical possession (whore)
- provider of comfort and nurture (madonna)
- evil bitch who wasn't doing what she should be doing and must be put back in her place, with force if necessary (enemy)*

God, that's my husband. I am the first three (if you change whore to wife). He genuinely believes he loves me, but it's the way you would love a pet. He gets pleasure from having me around, but doesn't relate to me like a human being. The love is totally one way - how I make him feel, with very little responsibility on his part (he does feed me and take me for walks!). My feelings are totally irrelevant to him. He just doesn't want me to leave, and doesn't care if I'm happy.

When I start divorce proceedings, I have no doubt I will move into the final category.

turquoisetumble Thu 29-Sep-11 14:34:16

thisishowifeel husband's mother is one of the most self-obsessed women I've ever known, and shows very little interest in her children (apart from how they can make her happy). I wouldn't be surprised if that theory is true, at least for some men. I will look up Adam Jukes.

passionsrunhigh Thu 29-Sep-11 15:56:06

he's most probably had mother issues.
If she was very controlling, tough, yet perfect/efficient in many ways (made him feel small, but also he was in awe), then that would very much transfer into sexual preferences for superior women. But as he's not a child anymore and can't be blinded by anyone for long (as no woman is perfect, and unlike a mother can't brainwash him completely), then he gets disillusioned when he sees her real self, and it makes him v.angry at women. He's seriously dysfunctional, thank god you left.

passionsrunhigh Thu 29-Sep-11 15:56:22

x post!

passionsrunhigh Thu 29-Sep-11 16:06:38

I think if the mother is selg obsessed but doesn't punish her son in a cruel way, he's unlikely to be as angry as that. It's being totally dominated by someone he loved (mother) and yet disrespected/unloved that causes a latent but v.powerful resentment. There are mothers with creative careers, like actresses etc who aer very much self obsessed but they aer still loved by their sons and sons are fine, if she wasn't on his case ot actually didn't keep telling him that he's a useless waste of space - I know examples when mothers were like that to small boys (and what a horror they ve grown up as!). Say if a mother is clinically depressed i.e. unavailable often, yet genuinely loves her boy and tells him that he's good, he won't hate women.

thisishowifeel Thu 29-Sep-11 16:45:59

Reading the free pages of Jukes book "Men who batter Women" 'Tis utterly fascinating, and so far the best I have read on the subject. It covers the narcisissm, the stuck at toddlerness, the control, the anger, the invisibilty of women generally. Will probably buy it.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: