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I am shocked by so many tales of nasty, controlling, bullying men on here...

(263 Posts)
snowleopard Wed 24-Oct-07 10:13:31

I know it is very common. I know domestic abuse goes on in many poeple's lives and people often don't realise. But what makes men like this? We hear a lot about how women can grow up with low self-esteem and ending up in abusive relationships... but that couldn't happen if there weren't so many men out there who are prepared to hit, belittle, control and abuse.

I would really like to know what makes men like this in the first place. It's a great truism that domestic abusers can come from any background, social group and walk of life - so what do they have in common? Is there a feature of their upbringing that made them this way - or is it something we can atrribute more to society in general?

Is anyone studying this or does anyone know anything about it or have any ideas? I'm interested in discussing it, but also I have a son - how can we make sure we aren't raising these abusers?

snowleopard Wed 24-Oct-07 10:15:15

Sorry for hopeless typing, grammar and punctuation btw <need coffee>

Cammelia Wed 24-Oct-07 10:16:10

I think its like institutionalised racism in the Metropolitan Police Force,

Sexism is institutionalised in society

Anna8888 Wed 24-Oct-07 10:20:21

snowleopard - you are quite right, there are lots of very sorry tales on MN about abusive relationships and controlling men.

But I am also struck by how compliant women are in keeping themselves down. On recent ironing and cleaner threads there were plenty of comments about how "wrong" it is to have help with household chores. Where did women in 2007 get the idea that there is something in the female condition that gives them a moral duty to prioritise housework and manual labour?

Boys and girls are still growing up with terrible examples of households in which women do all the boring chores for no reward and men earn money and have fun.

snowleopard Wed 24-Oct-07 10:26:33

But there is your basic society-ingrained sexism (which I agree is a huge problem) - involving things like women doing more of the chores, far more women than men changing their name when they marry (can of worms I know, but there is a sexual inequality there), and women earning less for the same work. All this goes on in many perfectly "normal" and happy households - though not mine and I would argue that these things are an issue, but I don't think these women are being actively abused.

Then there is the extreme behaviour of bullying, belittling, sneering, and outright violence by men against women. Do you think that's all part of the same continuum or is there something in particular that makes some men violent?

dizietsma Wed 24-Oct-07 10:28:34

Cammelia is right, sexism is institutionalised in society. Both ways. It's not just low self-esteem/passivity in girls, it's the macho bullshit boys are indoctrinated with. Sexism hurts everyone.

dizietsma Wed 24-Oct-07 10:31:15

Boys are raised to be violent and girls aren't it's a simple as that. Men are no more inherently violent than women, they're just raised that way and society reinforces that.

sprogger Wed 24-Oct-07 10:31:28

I do think that - in some relationships - being the sole money-earner and therefore (in societal terms) the "high status" half of the partnership can give the bloke a sense of entitlement. It takes a mature person to see that keeping the home fires burning is beneficial to the family unit as a whole. An immature person might start believing the consumerist hype and telling themselves they deserve to do as they like.

colditz Wed 24-Oct-07 10:32:29

I think we need to install empathy and compassion into our sons, and not allow them to bully others. We need to give good role models to our daughters - they need to SEE the shared house work, it's no use just telling them about it in theory.

We need some outrage, ladies. Our children are growing up with the smell of burning martyr hanging in their nostrils - don't complain about doing all the housework, just don't DO it! Laugh incredulously at th very suggestion! Attitudes like "Oh, well it'll just get left if I don't do it" ... well, is it your responsibilty if it gets left? Without the assumption that we all clean up our own mess, there will be no outrage when this isn't done, and there will be no fuel for the fire to change things.

If you assume that it's your responsibility to ensure the housework is done, then when nobody does it, you will end up doing it all. We need to strike at the heart of that assumption, and that means practicing what we preach.

ScummyMummy Wed 24-Oct-07 10:33:20

I agree with Cam.

I also think that some boys don't get the unconditionally warm, emotionally sensitive parenting that they need and it leaves them as adults unable to empathise and constantly seeking perfect love and care on their own terms, with a consequent massive stress reaction when that care is, necessarily, imperfect. They then deal with their anxiety and panic by being controlling and abusive towards others, particularly their lovers, to whom they may have been drawn precisely because they are vulnerable to being controlled.

snowleopard Wed 24-Oct-07 10:36:06

dizietsma, I certainly agree that boys are raised to be more violent than girls, though I also think there may be a physical element involved, ie testosterone does make people more aggressive, and men do naturally have more of it, especially when young.


But what bothers me is not so much why are men more often the abusers and not women - but why are some men so violent, what makes them that way? After all, there are many wonderful, kind caring men who are never violent (my DP is one). They were all raised in our society (or in a similarly or even more sexist one, generally speaking) and they all have testosterone so.... what makes it happen?

FioFio Wed 24-Oct-07 10:36:28

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FioFio Wed 24-Oct-07 10:36:55

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Saturn74 Wed 24-Oct-07 10:37:26

"Boys are raised to be violent and girls aren't it's a simple as that".

Most boys aren't raised to be violent, and most men aren't violent.

Abusive relationships occur for many different reasons, not because men are raised to be aggressive, and women are raised to put up with it.

Women can be the aggressors too.

ScummyMummy Wed 24-Oct-07 10:38:12

Agree, Fio!

I think lots of violent men (and women) have experienced violence themselves.

Anna8888 Wed 24-Oct-07 10:39:20

dizietsma - men are no more inherently violent than women... not so sure. My partner (who is not abusive or controlling at home) is quite aware that if he doesn't thrash the hell out of a tennis partner once a week, he feels tense. He loves watching rugby too - he was on his knees sweating profusely in front of the TV during the match which ended in France being out of the final.

Sport is a way of channelling male violence. Have you read Norbert Elias?

ScummyMummy Wed 24-Oct-07 10:39:40

X-posts! I agree with Fio's 1st post, not the one saying i will be a great social worker. Thanks though, fio. How is the new bairn and the equally fab older ones?

Anna8888 Wed 24-Oct-07 10:40:53

snowleopard - some men are much "higher testosterone" than others - it's physiological, not cultural.

TeaDr1nker Wed 24-Oct-07 10:43:11

Women can also be controlling, violent and manipulative too...

colditz Wed 24-Oct-07 10:43:38

Watch the adverts.

Boys toy ads are full of deep voiced heroes, blowing up this, laying siege to that and fighting off the other. All very aggressive.

Girls toy ads are full of "Care for your baby, oh oh, she's wet, you need to change her, you need to care for her, you need to love her ... she loves you, and that makes you responsible for her ..." - basically enouraging girls to think of everyone else before themselves. With boys, the focus is on doing what they want - girls continually have the focus shifted to what someone else wants.

You can carry that through to #### - the woman ... women ... are subjegated to the point of servility. Even where the woman is supposed to be the dominant partner, she isn't actually doing to him what most women would do to a man given tyhe choice - she does what men would choose to have done to them. Again we have the message that men get to do what they want, and women get to do what the men want too.

EricL Wed 24-Oct-07 10:43:42

I think there is definately in the genes that makes us different from day one - but that doesn't mean that boys can't be raised properly by us so they don't turn into selfish morons. I think behaviour and attitudes can be taught for life by us adults.

I do worry when some of the boys on the street seem to be allowed to run riot and pick on all the girls all the time and never get pulled up or have their extreme behaviour changed by their lazy parents. It makes me worry for the future when they are allowed to be like this.

I see it all the time out on the street - the boy/girl divide in the toddlers. The boys all seem to play violent and active games and annoy the girls, whilst the girls like to play role-playing games more.

I hate the fact that there are these sexist and controlling fuckers around that give us men a bad name. I also know some men that are bloody useless and get their wives to do all the housework and even do all the DIY - which is just plain selfish although not agressive.

Don't forget though that we only tend to hear about the bad cases on here - i bet they are way more of us that have loving and respectful partners. Maybe we should start posting topics like 'My DW/DH did something really nice.............' to offset these depressing topics.

snowleopard Wed 24-Oct-07 10:44:07

I should have included in my OP that of course it is not just men who can be abusive. (Though I do think it's overwhelmingly men and my impression of this isn't just derived from MN!)

"Biys are raised to be violent" - I do think this is generally true - it doesn't mean we actively teach them to hit girls, just that it's seen as normal and fine for boys to play violent games, imitate violence, play computer games where they kill people etc. Again this is a generalisation and some girls do too and some boys don't, but I do think society tends to encourage that in boys and suppress it in girls.

There is an argument that boys are naturally violent on a biological level - and that this traditionally serves society when we need soldiers to defend us - and that things like sport channel that aggression to make it safe. That's another discussion really...

snowleopard Wed 24-Oct-07 10:45:20

x-posted about the sport thing Anna!

colditz Wed 24-Oct-07 10:45:40

HAVE I JUST BEEN CENSORED|!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????????????? [shock

FioFio Wed 24-Oct-07 10:46:34

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