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.

Can women be emotional abusers?

(76 Posts)
Wiltedplants Tue 27-Oct-15 12:55:39

Just that really or does any 'acting out' stem from past trauma?

OddSocksHighHeels Tue 27-Oct-15 12:59:31

Of course they can. What makes you ask?

maybebabybee Tue 27-Oct-15 13:00:43

Of course they can be.

Many EA or physically abusive men have some kind of past trauma or issue too. Doesn't excuse it, given that plenty of people have traumatic experiences without becoming abusive.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 27-Oct-15 13:02:04

Of course they can. Just the same as with men, if you have had a tough time you may act out in various ways - some of these forms of acting out may be abusive. One does not excuse the other, although it may help explain that behaviour pattern.

Wiltedplants Tue 27-Oct-15 13:03:35

I'm reflecting on past behaviour and wondering if any of it could be construed as abusive.
I've not a malicious bone in my body but I do recognise I have a few attachment issues and I was wondering if they could be interpreted as abusive.

LisbethSalandersLaptop Tue 27-Oct-15 13:03:46

Of course they can!
What are you saying, that women aren't capable of everything that men are? grin

bookworm3 Tue 27-Oct-15 13:05:59

Women are capable of being abusive in every way-particularly emotional abuse. Violence and sexual abuse are more common from men but not unknown in women.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 27-Oct-15 13:06:02

I've not a malicious bone in my body but I do recognise I have a few attachment issues and I was wondering if they could be interpreted as abusive.

Personally, I don't think that to be abusive requires intent, and I think it's perfectly possible, especially with EA that the abuser may not even realise that they are being abusive.

Seeyounearertime Tue 27-Oct-15 13:07:10

I think so. Whether it's learnt I don't know.

I've been emotionally abused in as much as emotionally blackmailed into lots of things.
Biggest things was a house buy.
Basically: I didn't like the house, wife did, every time I said anything negative about the house it was because I didn't value her opinion and she'd cry and go quiet for days. Even something silly, the car parking was awkward, it was turned into me calling her stupid and wrong. Eventually I caved and agreed to put the offer in, suddenly she was happy again.

Also using sex as weapon, I've experienced that in the past.
Extreme example was a GF who wanted some designer handbag (yes as silly as that) I said no because no bag is worth £500. No argument, she accepted my reasons. For the next month every time I wanted a cuddle or affection or sex it was a flat no. When I eventually asked what's up, her exact words were:
"You want sex? I want that bag"
Huge argument ensued, we split.

So yes, I believe anyone can be emotional abusers, I actually think that maybe a proportion of emotional abuse is unintentional and is how the victim has perceived situations. I also think that some women know full well that using emotion will get what they want, turning on the water works when they don't get their way is a classic.

Obviously that's only my experience and opinion though.

maybebabybee Tue 27-Oct-15 13:08:26

OP what kind of behaviours were you referring to?

queenoftheknight Tue 27-Oct-15 13:09:17

Yes, of course they can.

Yes it is learned, internalised and not always conscious. In fact, I would say that it is rarely conscious. That's why it's so hard to change.

Wiltedplants Tue 27-Oct-15 13:09:54

These are all very helpful and insightful responses. I'm trying to improve a few behaviours before they become intrenched as I've been pulled up on something and I didn't realise the effect it was having.
I've been looking at things from my point of view for quite some time and I'll admit not taking respobsibility for my behaviour.

OddSocksHighHeels Tue 27-Oct-15 13:17:38

It's very important to accept what you've done and the effect it's had on other people. The fact that you're a woman won't change how you've made others feel. It's good that you have some insight into how you've behaved though and can try not to continue with it.

Wiltedplants Tue 27-Oct-15 13:23:26

The quandary I'm in though is my behaviour has been reactionary. So beating someone up for a few mistakes, think lying which has resulted in suspicion and accusation for everything under the sun and then justifying the berating because 'once a liar always a liar'. That sort of thing. It's a terrible catch 22.

bookworm3 Tue 27-Oct-15 14:34:03

That sounds quite black and white but it really depends on the severity of what the other person has done. If its "mistakes" then it could be abusive to not give them a chance and keep punishing them over and over. If they have told you serious lies and caused you a lot of grief then its just a normal reaction.
What did the other person do and how bad were their motives?

HumboldtFog Tue 27-Oct-15 18:08:04

Of course they can.
I find it odd that you even have to ask that question.

anothernumberone Tue 27-Oct-15 18:17:29

Women are definitely capable of being emotionally abusive and like all power dynamics it is often directed towards a weaker target so children often bear the brunt.

I have to laugh at the notion that denying sex for a £500 handbag is

using sex as weapon

I would suggest it is more trying to manipluate a man by using sex which is pretty shallow IMHO. She sounds like a total dose so you are well rid.

Wiltedplants Tue 27-Oct-15 18:20:54

I read this forum that women are usually only abusive because of trauma and usually it's unintentionally and not so much the case for some men.

There were lies about stupid things, very stupid things to 'make life easier'. Not other woman or anything that serious but the lies are of course a serious issue. So there is very little trust and integrity is questioned which is found to 'be so fucking insulting'. So the suspicion and questioning as a result of the lies are deemed abusive.

Fintan, why is it an odd question to you?

bookworm3 Tue 27-Oct-15 18:34:30

I think its a very naive view to think that women are only abusive because of trauma whereas men are just, well...abusive.

Abusive people target someone weaker. Have you never seen this in action from a woman?
Men may also have a background that explains why they are abusive.
It doesn't excuse it from either gender.

Wiltedplants Tue 27-Oct-15 19:04:48

Nope I've never come across anyone I know in a relationship context that is female and abusive. That I'm aware of anyway.
I read it on here that it's usually die to trauma I ant remember where if it was a link or a post copied from somewhere but that's why I remember reading very clearly.
I've encountered abusive women at work but as I said I was asking about relationship dynamics specifically.

NotEmptyNow Tue 27-Oct-15 19:15:51

I think you've probably come across it and just haven't been aware that what you're witnessing is EA. People are people. A woman's abuse isn't any more likely to stem from past trauma than a man's. Good for you for self-reflecting. That is very difficult to look at your own behaviour and realise it may have been abusive.

MephistophelesApprentice Tue 27-Oct-15 19:27:53

Definitely possible. My mother had destroyed my father through constant contempt, cruelty, 'gas lighting' and public insults.

She was also physically abusive to me, as well as emotionally. Her actions have devastated my life, almost crippling my capacity for relationships or ability to trust. The reason she was permitted to continue when I was young is that whenever questions were asked by social services or teachers, the common belief was that women could not be abusive.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Tue 27-Oct-15 19:42:08

So there is very little trust and integrity is questioned which is found to 'be so fucking insulting'. So the suspicion and questioning as a result of the lies are deemed abusive.

Why would you stay with someone you have very little trust in and whose integrity you question?

Btw it doesn't like you are abusive, it sounds like you live with a liar who doesn't like that you don't trust him because he is a proven liar.

There are definitely abusive women, my SIL severely emotionally abuses my DB and their DC. My DM did the same. The pattern repeats.

It is normal for abusers and their victims to both have had poor relationship role models and/or trauma, often via their own parents. It doesn't matter what gender they are.

Enjolrass Tue 27-Oct-15 19:42:54

I read this forum that women are usually only abusive because of trauma and usually it's unintentionally and not so much the case for some men.

This sounds like someone trying to shift the blame. Which is never helpful if you are trying to change.

Personally if someone lies and trust is broken, it takes work to get it back.

However it can't be used as a stick to beat the person with forever more.

I know a woman who did this. Begged her dh not to leave after his EA (he felt they should split) 8 years later the EA is brought up at least once a month to not let him go out, or take a call, etc. He has stayed because of his grown up kids don't want to see their mother alone. I do think they will split soon.

She won't take any steps to move past it. Won't discuss it or go to counselling. She is emotionally abuses him. She controls all his movements and even sits and goes through his mobile phone bills and texts.

The EA was his fault. But they are both miserable and she is to blame for that.

Wiltedplants Tue 27-Oct-15 19:49:53


This is closest to what's happening I think however there has been not much chamfer from the instigator in this scenario either.

The lies are told as I described for self preservation (I find this abhorrent) but I do forgive this in the hope there will be change. There's been a little change but there is still gas lighting and minimising which enfuriates me. I stay because I'm currently betting on potential and there are DC.

The reaction is get for my apparent provocation for asking te same things and says the same things over and over is abusive in itself but again I understand there is a complete lack of understanding on that side so I hold out hope that this can change to a less dysfunctional dynamic as I am no doormat however I am willing to take responsibility for any of my behaviour if it's been unreasonable under the circumstances.

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: