Abused Men – What Can Battered Men Do
to Break the Cycle of Intimate Partner Abuse?
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
Some people will tell you that there are more battered women than there are abused men. However, I think there is just a larger platform for women to express the partner abuse they endure.
This may be a byproduct of the battered women’s movement giving voice to violence against woman. Or, it could be the social cultural influences of accepted female submission. Nonetheless, men who are abused by their female partners live in every corner of the planet.
I came to embrace the work of helping people break the cycle of abuse following my own personal encounter with domestic violence over a decade ago. And to this day, it is no secret that the family linage of domestic abuse stemmed from my ex-mother-in-law, not my ex-father-in-law. But what he endured was not called “abuse” until his dying days.
Today, men are more informed about the dynamics of controlling relationships and more readily identify domestic abuse in their lives. Rather then saying, “I’m hen-pecked,” they can say, “My partner is an abusive woman”...“I am being abused.” And here is where it stops.
Change for Battered Men
Once the so-called identification is made, then what can be done to help the abused man? What can he do to insure his safety...enhance his sense of well-being...and, of course, end the relationship abuse he experiences?
1) Break the Silence
“Breaking the silence” breaks the cycle of abuse whether you are a man or a woman. Silence is the byproduct of the isolation inherent in abusive relationships. And isolation is the social mechanism that maintains intimate partner abuse.
The moment one shares the obvious and the subtle nuances of being abused, they open a pathway for change to occur. You can’t change what you haven’t identified. And your sharing inspires more and more awareness...more and more potential for change.
2) Own Your Part
The other key factor in breaking the cycle of abuse is “owning one’s part.” That is each person becomes accountable for their respective part in the relationship dynamics. Now don’t for a minute read this as suggesting that the person on the receiving end of domestic abuse is “responsible” for the battering they experience from their partner.
Instead, what I’m suggesting here is that when you reach deep within and recognize what you are doing to enable—allow—the status quo of partner abuse AND you relinquish responsibility for what is not yours, a magical window opens up. A significant shift occurs in which the abused man’s victimization changes dramatically.
You see denial is the psychological mechanism that sustains domestic abuse, as isolation is the social mechanism that maintains it. Breaking the silence and owning one’s part truly breaks the cycle of domestic abuse.
Breaking the Cycle of Domestic Abuse
Ask yourself how you are collaborating in maintaining a shield of silence in your abusive relationship? What part (or parts) of the relationship conflict do you carry as yours that is truly not within your domain of control? What is yours that can be and is not controlled by you? Answering these three questions can get you moving toward breaking the cycle of abuse before it spirals out of control.
For more information helping abused men, visit http://www.preventabusiverelationships.com/abused_men.php and claim your Free Instant Access to Survivor Success eInsights. Psychologist Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps individuals nationwide end and heal from domestic abuse at home and in court. © Jeanne King, Ph.D. — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention
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Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court. Contact Us to reach Dr. King.