NB. When I refer to men being the abusers, this is the case in 80 percent of reported cases. We do not know how many women are abusive, or what goes on behind closed doors. We simply have to accept that all types of abuse exist and that it is extremely prevalent. I have used “women” in the text because most victims are apparently women (reported cases).

I’ve mentioned other forms of abuse, but emotional and psychological/mental abuse make possible other forms of abuse as the victim learns to expect it, and even may think she (or he) deserves it. It’s the wearing away of the stone with the constant drops of water over time, and it takes a long time for a woman to realise how much the man’s expectations have eroded her sense of identity, confidence and self-respect. It is usually not until a woman leaves an abusive situation and has a reality check with other women who have not been abused, that she realises just how much she has been brainwashed.

I have encountered a few men who have been psychologically or physically abused by their female partner. It is harder for a man to report abuse for social reasons, and harder to leave if it means leaving his children. The result is extreme anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide.

Forms of abuse:

Verbal abuse (yelling and screaming) and name calling, e.g., “slut” “whore” “stupid idiot”. The constant barrage of criticism leads to further humiliation and the wearing down of the woman. She may be subjected to attacks on her appearance, her intelligence, her parenting or her competence, which erode her true identity and make her more subservient to the partner.

Psychological/mental abuse, and Mind Games An abuser may deliberately confuse the woman by contradicting her sense of reality, hiding things in different places, “forgetting” agreements and blaming her. He may make her doubt her own mind, or memory, may deny that certain things happened, lie about or misrepresent a situation, change the rules of the “game”, or trivialise an important event. She may get the “silent treatment”, be put in Coventry (where she ceases to exist in the mind of the abuser), or be subjected to his sulking fits. All of this creates uncertainty as to when or whether things will ever revert to “normal” again. The result is more stress and anxiety.

Social Abuse, this involves closely monitoring her phone calls, emails and mobile, criticising her in public, or to her friends and relatives. This is often concealed in jokes about the victim, but which are derogatory and humiliating. Control extends to where and when she can go. He may even go shopping with her to monitor what she buys. She is not allowed to talk to neighbours, or make new friends. Jealousy and paranoia exist as a basis for this and most of the behaviour.

Emotional abuse is aimed at eroding the person’s confidence and self-esteem and is difficult to explain, or for other people to see it happening. Blaming her for all the faults in the relationship, comparing her unfavourably with other women, and seeming to prefer them to her is a common tactic. She may be called “stupid”, “fat”, or “ugly”, and believe that no one else could ever want or value her. Sarcasm, yelling, or using insulting and degrading language is used frequently. She could also be made to feel guilty if she refuses sex. The perpetrator may also threaten suicide, and of course it’s all her fault. He admires and praises other women to make her feel worse. Encouragement, praise, acknowledgement can be rare, arbitrarily withdrawn or non-existent.

I have seen women who have left an abusive situation where their partner has later carried out his suicide threat. She blames herself for the suicide death and may also be blamed by others. Abusers are never happy people, even with the power they crave, and suicide or a violent act may follows when the abuser loses the power and control which has been his whole life’s purpose.

©Kathleen Crawford 2017