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why are some wonen attracted to abusive men

(81 Posts)
londonniceguy Thu 03-Oct-13 09:20:19

Some women seem to be serially attracted to abusive men. Nature or nurture?

londonniceguy Thu 03-Oct-13 23:21:09

OhDearNigel That is a great analysis, I must say

OhDearNigel Thu 03-Oct-13 23:12:47

I heard one eminent lecturer in domestic violence describe it like this:

Children and their parents make a jigsaw. If your parents are in an abusive relationship, the pieces of the jigsaw might be differently shaped to normal jigsaw pieces, jagged, mishapen if you like. The little girl's brain is wired to fit the dysfunctional jigsaw of her family life.

When that little girl is growing up and looking to make her pwn jigsaw puzzle, she might find a lovely, kind man who is a regular shaped piece of the puzzle. He's great but he doesn't really fit into the jagged edges that she's used to, the jagged edges that her subconscious needs to feel "complete". So they split. Then she finds a new guy. He's a bastard, treats her badly and makes her cry. Just like her dad did with her mum. But he has all the jagged edges that fit neatly into her mental jigsaw. This is why DV victims go for the same man, over and over and over again.

I think there might be something on her website - Zoe Lodrick

londonniceguy Thu 03-Oct-13 22:11:35

Ha Yoni. I only watch it occasionally, but they all seem to shout and scream at each other. They are all sooo dysfunctional. The dynamics of male - female relationships are extremely complex and sometimes unfathomable

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 03-Oct-13 21:45:33

I think also OP what you say is very true -people with healthy emotions can very often spot someone who is in an unhealthy relationship headspace and steer clear. This definitely happened to me a few times. This leaves only a pool of either people who are emotionally unhealthy themselves and don't notice, or don't care, or predators who are specifically looking for someone vulnerable. I think this latter category of abuser is rare. I think abusive relationships come from people playing out unhealthy dynamics, and unfortunately for women, our culture is very much a man's world, still. So the person who expects more often ends up being the man and he will go to ridiculous lengths to get what he feels he is entitled to. The woman steps easily into the scapegoat and peacekeeper role and the abuse dynamic is set. It can happen the opposite way, or both parties can be manipulative in equal measures, but let us not forget that relationships don't happen in a vacuum. As long as society tells us even subtly that men are on top, certain men will fight to keep that position at home.

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 03-Oct-13 21:32:19

I read an article once which claimed that every single character on eastenders could be diagnosed with some kind of personality disorder, going by the DSM-IV.

Lazyjaney Thu 03-Oct-13 19:50:08

I thought divorce rocketed till the 90s then stabilised?

When I was in my 20s and footloose, some of the men (boys?) I knew reckoned that women didn't like "nice guys", or similar comments. I've not heard it much since, but there are definitely women I know over the decades who are in a repeat loop with unsuitable men (and vice versa for that matter) that everyone else can see are crap from miles away.

I think 2 things have changed - firstly more economic independence so less need to take crap, and secondly a higher expectations of marriage and less willingness to take the rough with the smooth.

garlicvampire Thu 03-Oct-13 18:28:10

There are some really interesting posts on this thread. A lot of self-insight - kinda refreshing in Relationships wink I hope it'll develop, so that some readers might recognise bits of themselves here and do the hard thinking about their relationships. It's really difficult, that shift of perspective, isn't it?

garlicvampire Thu 03-Oct-13 18:10:35

I do, Wordy grin

wordyBird Thu 03-Oct-13 18:10:00

Sociopath Square!
I hope it's not wrong to laugh at that, because I did ..

londonniceguy Thu 03-Oct-13 18:07:17

garlicvampire As an aside I met Brian May and "Angie" last year. She is a good laugh, had quite a chat with her.

garlicvampire Thu 03-Oct-13 18:03:49

Head - perhaps because men are more often caught cheating? Also, a lot of mothers draw the line at physical abuse of their children (not the mothers in my family, regrettably.)

I love Eastenders smile I'm quite aware of why I find it so interesting! Sociopath Square; it looks familiar, somehow ... I want to marry Masood.

headinhands Thu 03-Oct-13 17:50:08

While I agree that's it's seen as more feminine to 'defer and accommodate', up until we hit our forties it's more likely to be women who file for a divorce. So not sure how that fits in?

headinhands Thu 03-Oct-13 17:39:58

It was interesting what a poster said upthread about the addiction to the drama, I can identify with that too. In my head the amount of drama equated to the strength of feeling which is obviously nonsense to me now but at the time the rollercoaster was down to how much we felt for each other confused

wordyBird Thu 03-Oct-13 17:30:53

I've also seen a few women I know get into abusive relationships when there hasn't been any clear cut pre-conditioning there, such as abuse in childhood.

However I would agree that the 'I can handle it' attitude was/is there. I'm strong, I can cope, other people crumble but I can take the pressure without complaint kind of thing. This strength becomes a weakness in the context of abuse.

I'd also say there was a powerful compassion and willingness to give the hand of friendship to someone behaving badly, or in a damaging way.

Again this is a strength in some contexts, but in the context of an equal relationship, it could lead to excusing abusive behaviour as something justifiable or unavoidable, or to blaming oneself.
Not arguing this is common or even true: this is just how it appeared to me...

headinhands Thu 03-Oct-13 17:00:48

I don't think abusive people are often actually self aware enough to consider themselves abusive. I know my ex wouldn't consider himself so. Apparently he still refers to himself as a pacifist He himself saw abuse growing up and assumed that it was the normal way to operate. Read a while ago that early intervention is our best chance of breaking the cycle ie tackling these attitudes at primary age.

londonniceguy Thu 03-Oct-13 17:00:32

I hate to say it, but I do know people who's lives resemble East Enders, with a veritable torrent of arguments, drama and childish behaviour. This is precisely the type of women I avoid TheKnightsWhoSayNi, as characterised in that particular Soap Opera. I'll name one of the characters to help you Kat Slater for example... A classic.

londonniceguy Thu 03-Oct-13 16:42:35

Yes garlicvampire . That is precisely what I meant, pushing the boundary of normality to generate a reaction. TheKnightsWhoSayNi Please see garlicvampires post for an explanation of provoke.
PS Your starting to stalk me across all my threads now aren't you. You naughty boy xx

MatildaWhispers Thu 03-Oct-13 16:26:54

I absolutely never tried to provoke, it felt like the opposite. I was frequently provoked but became conditioned so that I didn't respond or rise to it. I thought I had to cope with whatever crap came my way.

AlisonClare Thu 03-Oct-13 16:25:00

Another persepctive: the father of my children was an alcoholic and I would now describe it as an abusive relationship, although I couldn't see it at the time. Fast forward to a few years after his death and I'm embarking on another relationship. I can remember acknowedging a huge sense of insecurity within myself when I knew that the man was a 'good' person. In my relationship with the children's father, even though he treated me badly, I was secure in the knowledge that I was the 'good' one. That is, I needed to be the 'good one'. This was a scary awareness, obviously linked to my emotionally abusive childhood, and I'm not sure that I've fully dealt with it yet.

garlicvampire Thu 03-Oct-13 16:24:11

its like I'm viewing a different species - YES! I recognise that!

TheKnightsWhoSayNi Thu 03-Oct-13 16:23:15

I'd like to know what you mean by trying to provoke you. That's almost like the words of an abuser. "She was trying to provoke me." It's a blame thing.

And I use the word "distaste" from the tone of your words.

ChelseaBun Thu 03-Oct-13 16:22:47

Thanks for that garlic. I was diagnosed with an auto immune disease more than a year ago. It all fits into place. While I was in the relationship I could actually feel the damage it was doing to my body - hard to explain.

garlicvampire Thu 03-Oct-13 16:18:46

I thought what London said made sense confused We were talking about boundary-pushing upthread: this is what you meant about behaving somehow provocatively, isn't it, London?

Not long ago I was in a group of people, where one man told a little story about horrible abuse by his father. The reaction he wanted, of course, was massive sympathy so he could proceed to depict himself as damaged but heroic. He got it, from another woman there. A few years ago, he would have got it from me.

I'm aware that some victims are pure victim, patiently soldiering through their abuse in a state of irrational optimism, That doesn't describe the vast majority of abusive relationships, though, Bugsy. Most of us give it back, too.

WeeHelena Thu 03-Oct-13 16:17:27

Nutriciousanddelicous sounds like we had the same type of parents among other factors that I won't go into too long a story I believe this has contributed to my self worth and my 1st abusive relationship.

And I can relate to being a fixer and I felt responsible like I owed it to for my abuser I eventually left but the damage was there for a long time.

I'm now in a seemingly respectful and committed relationship but I still almost anticipate certain behaviours from him like my ex, he has never done so but still I'm ready to assert myself.

feelingdizzy Thu 03-Oct-13 16:13:17

Am watching this thread with interest, I have been with emotionally abusive/absent men who have messed with my head.

In the rest of my life I have it fairly sussed, I have a demanding job which I do well ,am a good (single) parent to my kids. However I just keep choosing bastards. I have now got to the point if I find someone attractive I think nah, because I fancy him therefore he must be a prick.

It's like I don't see 'normal' I only spot the dickheads, I am nearly 40 and have had one normal relationship (I dumped him!!) .I see loving couples sometimes and wonder how they do it ,its like I'm viewing a different species ,a group of people to whom I couldn't belong.

I would love to get it sorted, I would love to have a good relationship. I will be watching.

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