Why Abusers Do What They Do
Domestic abuse is a systematic behavior that can include both physical violence and verbal abuse. It always involves a need to control and dominate – the main force behind a an abusers behavior – and to do so the abuser will try to isolate their victim from the rest of the world, especially their family and friends, as much as possible.
This Charming Man
A great many abusive men are – to the outside world – the most charming and likable men in the world. They present that face to romantic interested in the beginning of a relationship as well. Once they have developed a relationship they show their true, violent natures but they rarely share that side with the rest of the outside world. That can make it very hard for a woman who is being abused to get help from her close social circle as people often refuse to believe that such a “nice man” could ever do such a thing.
The “Causes” of Domestic Abuse
Abusive behavior is a learned behavior just like any other. It is learned through observation (often as a child) through an abusers culture and what is acceptable (often a real problem for Latin American men) and peer pressure.
There are any number of excuses that an abuser – and their supporters – will give for there violent behavior but none of the following are valid “excuses” for abuse:
Mental Illness – Mental illness does not make men abusive. A man’s violent behavior is a separate issue.
Drug and Alcohol Abuse – Substance abuse is present in about 50% of the domestic violence cases in the US. Drug and alcohol abuse is a trait of many abusers but it is not the cause of their behavior.
Anger and Stress – Some abusers try to blame their behavior on their stressful lives. Again this is an excuse. Everyone has stress in their lives and the whole world is not violent.
She Asks for It – This is the most commonly used excuse that an abusive man will use for his actions and sadly a lot of people will accept it. In the case of Latin American families that are very traditional this can be especially true. There is however is never a reason for a man to abuse a woman. If she is annoying he can go for a walk, there is no need for violence.
In the end abusers behave as they do because they believe it is their right. They believe that they should be in control at all times and that their “rules” must be followed or they will dish out “punishment”.
The Excuses Abusers Use
Any woman who has suffered domestic abuse will have heard at least one or two of these excuses used by their abuser at some point, either addressed to them or to others:
“I just need anger management”
“She pushes my buttons”
“A man needs to show a woman her place”
” I was drunk/high”
“I had a bad day and she didn’t understand.”
“I only pushed her out of my way.”
and perhaps the most common –
The Traits of an Abuser
An abusive man is not always easy to spot. They do share traits though that are red flags that can give a clue as to the real nature that lies behind their charming veneer.
- They continually blames others for their problems.
- They display excessive jealously, even though they themselves are often very flirtatious and frequently abusive men are not monogamous.
- They are cruel to animals
- They begin to suggest changes that need to be made to their partners appearance or personality.
- They have very rigid views about the role of men as the dominant half of a relationship
- They fly into terrible rages for no real reason and will break objects around them without any thoughts about the consequences of their actions.
- They do their best to isolate their partner from her friends and family.
- They try to evoke sympathy from their partner after they have abused them. They will talk about a terrible childhood, a difficult life, they will cry and promise never to “do it again”. They will become overly romantic or attentive.
- They will even try to evoke sympathy from others, claiming that they are sorry for their actions and they will change. They make grand confessions of guilt but continue to also blame their partner as they “push them” so far they have to resort to violence.
Domestic Abuse and Change
The common wisdom is that an abuser will probably never reform and change their ways. This is not always the case but it will take a commitment om the part of the abuser to enter a specialist program in order to begin to do so. Couples counseling is not the answer in the case of domestic abuse. Couples counseling puts the burden on both partners to change to resolve an issue and in the case of domestic abuse it is the sole responsibility of the abuser to change, not the victim.