When abuse is mentioned it is often a man that comes to mind and this is due to number of reasons. Firstly, a man is generally seen as being stronger than a woman and so this can sound right.
And if one were to look back on history, there are numerous examples of men who have abused their power in relation to women. These are two big reasons that can cause one to assume that men are the main culprits when it comes to abuse.
However, while men can be and are abusive in some cases, women are just as capable of being abusive. A man may be physically abusive, but they can also be emotionally or verbally abusive. And women can use the same methods of abuse, they are not limited either.
On one side is ones physical age and on another is their mental and emotional age. And they don’t always match up with each; one side can be more evolved than the other.
So although it may be a surprise to some people that a man could be abused by a woman; what’s going on at a mental and emotionally level may not match up to what is physically observable.
Due to the general image that men have and how they are meant to be strong and capable, it can often create a lot of shame to be abused by a women. And so it is likely that a man may keep it to himself.
Perhaps this is one reason why abusive men are often given more exposure than abusive women. It can also sound more realistic for a man to be abusive and less so for a women to be.
This is typically going to be woman that hides her true nature at first, but there may be certain signs or clues if a man was to take notice. And yet, during an early stage of a relationship, it is easy to be caught up in the all that is good and pleasurable.
So this means that even if there were certain actions or behaviours that give their true side away, one is unlikely to see them. Other people may become aware of them and point them out, but they could end up being dismissed by the man.
Perhaps the woman is exceptionally attractive and/or comes across as: kind, generous, loving, supportive and warm. A man may admire these traits or as a result of a recent set back or loss is in a vulnerable place and is drawn to this woman.
As the relationship progresses there is going to be another side that is revealed. And this may have been there during certain moments in the beginning or it could be a side that is completely different to what the man first saw.
In some cases this abuse could be physical, but in most cases it is going to be verbal and emotional. This can range from subtle criticism, manipulation and put downs. Or these could be more extreme, but one is often going to be worked down gradually. A woman may withhold intimacy and love as a way to take control.
If the abuse was too much in the beginning the man may leave. So through this gradual approach, a man can become accustomed to it. And over time it can feel normal or even comfortable and as a result of this, there may be less resistance to the abuse.
The need to leave the relationship may arise or their friends or family may suggest that they do, but this is often easier said than done. Because even though it is dysfunctional and healthy, one can end up being worn down by the whole experience.
So as much as one may want to move on and find someone who is healthy, they might question their ability to do so. However, their family and friends may not even believe that abuse is taking place. And this is because they may only see the side of the woman that the man first saw.
For some men this will be something that continually happens and no matter where they are or what woman they go for, the same thing occurs. Or it could be an experience that a man seems to have at random and is nothing like their pervious relationships.
There are at least two reasons as to why a man would attract an abusive woman. One is the kind of childhood they had and the other is what has happened to them in later life. If a man has experienced some kind of loss in later life for example and this is not processed; it can lead to a sense of vulnerability.
The Vulnerable Man
Here, as a man is in a lower place and is looking for support, he could be attracted to a woman that comes across as strong in some way. Through feeling weaker and in need of affection, a man may be more likely to compromise and to put up with the more subtle forms of abuse.
And as this turns to even greater expressions of abuse, the man does not have the energy or the strength to stand up for themsevles. So what started off as being a minor problem, soon spiralled out of control.
The biggest factor will be the kind of relationship they had with their primary caregiver. If a man was brought up by a mother who was abusive, it can set a man up to feel that this is normal and how they deserve to be treated.
This creates a kind of tolerance for abuse and even if this early abuse is not too extreme, it can lay down the foundations for one to put up with abuse that is.
The Ego Mind
As one is likely to have experienced this abusive behaviour from their mother on numerous occasions, it would have become familiar to them. And what is familiar is what is classed as safe to the ego mind.
So even though it was unhealthy and dysfunctional, one’s mind came to feel comfortable with it. One was trained by their mother to put up with abusive behaviour.
At one level, being around abusive women will not feel good, but at another level it will feel normal and how life is.
These early associations that the mind formed will need to be changed; so that the mind no longer sees abusive women as being familiar and therefore safe. As this happens one will not be attracted to them or attract them into their life.
Emotions and feelings that had to be pushed into the body during these early moments may also need to be released. This is a process that can be assisted by the assistance of a therapist, healer or a coach or through one questioning and challenging their inner processes and behaviour.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.