Every abused woman should read the book “Why Does He Do That” by Bancroft. It’s helping me more than any other thing (and I’ve tried and read a plethera of things) come to terms with the abuse and what to look for as signs before you get deeply in another abusive relationship. If anyone else out there has experienced abuse by someone you love, then you probably feel like not only your heart, but your spirit was broken. Maybe you now question your judgment on men and are wondering where you went wrong in picking an abusive lover. It is not you. You did not deserve abuse no matter what. Maybe now that you’re out of it- you can slap your forehead as you saw signs of abuse early on. But please read the book. It’s not you. I am just now getting it myself as my life has been a wad of emotions.
“Confusion has been part of the experience of almost every one of the hundreds of abused women I have spoken with. Whether because of the abuser’s manipulativeness, his popularity, or simply the mind-bending contrast between his professions of love and his vicious psychological or physical assaults, every abused woman finds herself fighting to make sense out of what is happening.” From “Why Does He Do That.”
Right now – I am a bundle of confusion, and I can’t seem to separate the gentle sweet moments of what I felt were utter love and the times when he was emotionally, verbally, and physically abusive.
The author helped me understand the different abusive personalities (there are ten listed in the book, but there could be of course others not included).
For me the categories laid out which my ex-partner fell under were:
- Mr Sensitive. “Mr Sensitive has the potential to turn physically frightening, as any style of abuser can, no matter how much he may preach nonviolene. After an aggressive incident, he will speak of his actions as “anger” rather than “abuse,” as though there were no difference between the two. He blames his assaultive behavior on you or on his emotional “issues” saying that his feelings were so deeply wounded that he had no other choice. Many people reject the possibility that Mr Sensitive could be an abuser…” Just because he is just that. Sensitive. And his feelings get hurt extraordinarily easily. He even cried more than me at movies and would be extra sensitive to anything he took as a slight from another person. Sometimes holding grudges for the smallest offense.
- The Player. I should bold this one. I was never going to fall for another player, but seriously—he preached monogamy and had a sob story of being cheated on. I trusted, missed signs, and fell in love. With a player. He was the one who pushed commitment, the talk of kids, the first to move his toothbrush to my place, etc. “He knows how to make each woman feel that she’s the special one and yet at the same time keep her off balance, so that she never feels quite sure of where she stands with him…He tells each one stories about how other women have mistreated him, or shares other bits of information—largely invented—to make previous, or current, women in his life sound conniving, vindictive, or addicted to substances.”
Man. I think it hurts just as much as his abuse. His cheating. I noticed my ex-partner in the texts to his women using the exact same wording and phrases to line up his next supply during my devalue stage. The author though made a great point that even if he were loyal, and promised to never cheat again, you would just be married to a faithful abuser then.
“Chronic infidelity is abusive in itself but the Player doesn’t stop there. He is irresponsible, callous in dealing with his partner’s feelings, and periodically verbally abusive. As the relationship progresses, he may start to go for long periods giving his partner next to no attention and barely speaking to her, so she feels shelved.” The book also goes on to say that “The Player’s constant flirting and cheating help him to get away with other forms of mistreatment. His partner is is likely to focus on her hurt feelings about his infidelities and our effort into stopping him from straying, and in the process, lose sight of his pattern of abuse.”
- The Victim. “Life has been hard and unfair to the Victim. To hear him tell it, his intelligence has been chronically underestimated; he has been burned by people he trusted; and his good intentions have been misunderstood. The Victim appeals to a woman’s compassion and desire to feel that she can make a difference in his life. He often tells persuasive and heart-rending stories.” Yes, yes, and yes. I was totally blinded by this and my need to help. For the other women out there who were as naïve as me—know that it is a big red flag if your current man is very negative about his ex. Listen for disrespect or contempt which is very different from just being angry. The book lists ways to ask questions where you can decide for yourself if the person you were dating was abusive or not in a prior relationship.
Healing will take time. It will take no contact and building back up your self-esteem. Find support. I know my brothers and a couple good friends have heard me over and over try and make sense of everything. Find a friend who will be there and let you vent when you need it. Cry. Let your soul feel the betrayal so you can move on. And abuse doesn’t have to be just physical. It is emotional and verbal as well. If you are wondering if his abuse will ever turn physical- trust your instincts. Your instincts are better than you give yourself credit for. I should have trusted mine!
It is hard when the abusive partner feels like family and you care about them more than anything. But they will not change and you must be strong and break away. Please read the book if you want closure (which you will never get from your partner.) And live a beautiful life. You deserve to be loved. You are worthy of respect. You are beautiful. You are strong.