Warning: Abuse can be a very serious and very sensitive issue for many women… If you are already in an abusive situation, the perspective of this article may not always serve you, so please take caution in how you interpret this article.

If you are in an abusive situation, then for your sake do everything you can to get out of there if you can. You are too important to be continually subjected to abuse, whether that’s physical, emotional, or sexual.

You can review safety tips and guidelines for addressing an abusive situation, including getting help and support, understanding the warning signs of emotional, physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual abuse, at the following websites.

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_help_treatment_prevention.htm
http://www.thehotline.org

With that warning out of the way, let’s take a look at this different perspective on why male partners abuse women.

(Because I believe if you want to really fix a problem, you have to understand what this problem really means for all parties involved.)

Abuse is defined as: ‘use (something) to bad effect or for a bad purpose, misuse.’ ‘To treat with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly.’

But the truth is, women abuse men just as much as men abuse women. Perhaps not as much physical abuse as mental and emotional abuse. We as a society don’t tend to focus on mental and emotional abuse simply because the bruises and scars of emotional abuse are not as obvious and easy to notice.

Not to mention abuse is just as prevalent in same sex relationships.

I recently received an email from a lady who had been physically and emotionally abused by her girlfriend for over 10 years. She had gotten herself into a place where she had no perception or concept of what a healthy relationship really is. She had even asked me whether getting slapped by her partner on a daily basis or getting kicked out of her own home was normal or not.

Needless to say, I told her to get out of there.

(Perhaps I will talk about what constitutes a healthy relationship in a future article…)

If you are being abused as an adult, but you can’t seem to leave…

As adults, if we are abused by a man once, it may come as a shock.

But if this happens over and over as in a chronic cycle of abuse, we are not only making a choice to stay in that relationship but also we are choosing to reinforce the pattern of abuse.

In other words, we are “helping” the abuser by being in the role of an easy abusee or victim.

I know that kind of sounds bad… and I’m not pointing the finger at you. I’m only saying this because I’ve being through hell and back and I don’t want you to suffer the same.

I know you too can break the cycle of abuse and create the space in your life to invite healthy and nurturing relationships to enter.

How does a woman get herself in that situation to start with?

One of the biggest reasons I think women get themselves in chronically abusive situations is because she had not being honest and truthful to her emotions.

When we don’t attune ourselves to the real emotional and physical pain that lives inside of us and we simply block it out – then we run the risk of choosing abuse and be willingly abused. We can’t stand up for ourselves if we aren’t able to feel ourselves. We can’t communicate our pain if we don’t let pain surface and be felt.

This is true of both physical pain and emotional pain.

If a man abuses us, and we are repeatedly not attuned and responsive to how his words and actions make us feel – then we are doing ourselves a dangerous disservice; we are choosing abuse and we are choosing the safety of the abusive pattern that we are in.

Any more than once, or twice, and if we stay – then we have a bad emotional comfort pattern that favours staying in abusive situations. (The longer we stay, the worse the pattern becomes.)

Should we just simply blame the abusive man?

In this society, we typically just blame the man who has been abusive. Fair enough, it’s never OK to abuse another and of course he should stop. We all need to look after the women and the children of this world.

But simply by shaming and blaming the abuser, this never reduced the incidence of abuse overall. In fact, it may actually make the situation worse for many.

Blaming and shaming never works long term. But it does make people more resentful and create separation in the world.

Not to mention that the woman, (the abusee) will probably continue her pattern of attracting abuse into her life, whether in the form of a new partner or at the work place etc.

But she never asked to be abused…

A couple wakes up together in bed at 7am. It’s another work day.

They’ve been together for the last 5 years. Things aren’t great, but they’re not bad enough to do anything about it.

The woman gets up out of bed, yawns and stretches.

The man sits up and says to the woman: “have you exercised this morning? what’s that on your face? You need to clean your face, it’s dirty. You smell, wash yourself!”

He’s a little harsh don’t you think?

The woman never asked to be verbally abused like this… but instead of speaking up about it, she rolls her eyes and stays quiet.

She holds her emotions in. She doesn’t want to upset the status quo.

She doesn’t want to “upset” him.

Yet her very behaviour is perpetuating the pattern and cycle of abuse. (This couple had been doing this for the past 5 years.)

Her lack of energy bouncing back at him makes him want to push forward harder.

She betrayed herself by not standing up for herself.

And no, this wasn’t the first time this verbal abuse has occurred.

What if she was truthful to her feelings?

What do you think would have happened if she didn’t ignore her emotions? What if she was attuned to how the verbal abuse was making her feel?

What if she broke down crying? What do you think would have happened? Perhaps the guy would see her vulnerability and see if she’s ok. Or perhaps he couldn’t care less and she would finally have enough pain to get out of that abusive relationship.

What if she snapped back at him in anger?

Either way, it would momentarily break the pattern of abuse. Either it would force them to mend the pain, or have enough pain to break up and move on.

Becoming attuned to ourselves is your gift to yourself.

Very few of us feel and acknowledge our own power to attune ourselves to how a man’s EVERY word, EVERY action makes us feel.

IF we were to become attuned to all of our feelings, to the inevitable pain or pleasure that a partner’s actions made us feel…  then we’d already have left, or done something to sever the pattern of abuse. We wouldn’t just “hang around” to keep the status quo.

We are strong when we also attune ourselves to men and are responsive to men’s words and actions.

We are strong when we teach them how to treat us through true attunement in relationship and true responsiveness in relationship.

More on attunement and what weakness and strength is here: http://www.thefemininewoman.com/2014/08/makes-woman-weak-strong-vulnerable/

That problem isn’t necessarily just the obviously abusive partner – it is us who are staying with the obviously abusive partner too.

Because by choosing to be the abusee over and over again, we choose our pattern of staying with the abusive person, and in turn we are facilitating the abuse. We are practically “abusing ourselves” by staying.

What is the strong position to take that would NOT facilitate abuse?

In every situation there is always a strong position you can take that will result in the best outcome for everyone.

This position isn’t always intuitive, and certainly isn’t always easy. Rather, it requires you to be courageous enough to stand up for yourself.

What if you paused, and let the feelings sink into your body? And perhaps allow the feelings to travel from your throat, to your heart to your feet… and really feel the hurt on every level possible.

What if you expressed these emotions, from the knots in your belly, to the tears that are buried deep under our masks and shells?

What if this path of feeling pain and opening to pain is the path to ultimate freedom and joy?

But too many of us attempt to push down our emotions, use logic to make the abuser think better of themselves. (Essentially, the woman’s self esteem is lies in HIS hands and she is basically asking for his approval… which again sets up further abuse.)

(The longer we haven’t let our bodies and hearts be vulnerable in human relationship, the more numb we are to a man’s true intentions) find out more on how to be strong, feminine and vulnerable here.

Well, if you expressed your pain and hurt and stayed with it, (not in retaliation as anger, but just hurt), then one of two things will happen.

1) Either the man will respond with more abuse, for which you’d know without a shadow of a doubt that he doesn’t care about you, and that your job is to respect yourself and leave.

Or:

2) The more likely outcome would be that the man will react to your vulnerability. He would soften in response to your vulnerability and become more caring in that moment.

Does he have good intent?

It’s very interesting to understand sometimes why men lash out and abuse in the first place.

Sometimes as women, we don’t really get to see his real intent behind the abuse. (Of course, every relationship is different, and I’m certainly not defending anyone who is abusive in your life.)

And men might not do this consciously as such but sometime when men ‘lose it’, despite seeming relatively calm and non abusive in the past, is because he wanted to feel the woman’s trust, respect, devotion and vulnerability towards him.

Sometimes, to a man, reacting in a verbally abusive way or in an emotionally abusive way was the only way he knows how to try to feel her as HIS woman.

To exert his dominance, to create that polarity (although a bad way to do it), to metaphorically penetrate the woman’s emotional walls.

Of course, there are so many better ways for any man to create polarity, and break through a woman’s walls.

Studies show that low mate value men more likely to abuse

In a study done on men’s mate retention strategies, they found that there was a high likelihood of low mate value men using verbal insults as a high risk (as in, high risk of losing their woman) mate retention strategy.

High mate value men (or men who see themselves as high mate value) just don’t use that strategy. They don’t need to. (They have other value and resources.)

You see, ancestral men had the problem of trying to keep women sexually faithful. Otherwise they risked humiliation in taking care of another man’s child.

Verbal, emotional and physical abuse was one effective but high risk way of trying to keep a woman sexually faithful because it brings her self esteem down.

WHAT has this got to do with men wanting to make women more vulnerable?

Well, women are vulnerable when they deal with men, but they are vulnerable in low value ways, or in strong ways that make her a total goddess.

(Click here to take the quiz on “How Naturally Feminine Am I Actually?”)

And this HIGH value vulnerable way is the way I’m vouching for. More or high value vulnerability in our free masterclass: http://shenwademedia.com/optin/commitment-masterclass-register/

What are the ways women are vulnerable to men?

Women are vulnerable when they respect and devote themselves to a man.

We are vulnerable when we are attuned to how he makes us feel, as well – but this is a goddess’s vulnerability – she owns herself, and isn’t afraid to lose ‘something’ in a relationship.

We are vulnerable (but weak) when we WANT something out of being with a man, eg: we go in to the relationship for what we can ‘get’ out of being with him – and the relationship never began based on love and care.

But when men abuse to try and make a woman vulnerable – essentially they are trying to possess a woman OR they are trying to make her open to him.

Men try to make women open to them?

Some men indeed unconsciously abuse to try and make a woman more vulnerable and attuned to them – and this attunement would hopefully invigorate the relationship and make it a relationship where the two partners were actually relating to each other and caring for each other – not just a relationship based on what’s comfortable; and based on repetitive patterns of comfort, however that shows up.

Women are more vulnerable to abuse when they go in to a relationship to ‘get’ something

A lady once said to me; ‘why would women want to understand men? That shit doesn’t work – because women are going in to a relationship to fill their need for love and self esteem anyway – so why would they care about understanding men?’

Well, as it turns out…that’s very dangerous.

More dangerous than most of us can predict.

When we are needy of something – we are automatically putting ourselves in a weak position – we are at the mercy of their bad or good response.

We can only HOPE for a good response and take it if it comes.

If we are delivered a bad response – well, it doesn’t change the fact that we went in to the interaction to get a man’s love and approval – and unless we change THAT – then we will stay in the cycle of abuse – just as the lady in the scenario above did.

HOW to never get involved in an abusive relationship again?

Here are the only steps you’ll need to NEVER go deeper and deeper in an abusive pattern with a man:

1) Relinquish your thoughts and attune yourself to him. Your thoughts belong to you already. Instead, stay present with him, feel in your body – not THINK – but feel in your body – which is a well of reliable source power – how he makes you feel.

2) Respond authentic to your feelings, while holding his gaze or presence. Demand nothing less than his full devoted presence, especially when he is hurting you and you can feel it. Scream the hurt in his face if you need to.

3) If you demand a man’s full presence with your wide open, attuned and vulnerable response – and you do it consistently, and you feel his energy shrink away from you – not wanting to take care of you – by then you should be able to get up and leave in some way, because you would have allowed yourself to feel the pain or hurt – or whatever it is that his responses made you feel.

Feeling and being attuned to pain and pleasure is our answer

Feeling and being attuned to pain and pleasure is our answer.

Give the gift of your presence, and open your body and heart to the infinite source of awareness that is in there.

Your thoughts still serve you – but they can be a very weak source to rely on.

Logic doesn’t inspire a man to take responsibility for committing to you and caring for you.

(Click here to take the quiz on “Am I Dating a Commitment Friendly Man?”)

Your emotional vulnerability does – or does not – and thereby helps you eliminate the lesser men.

I shouldn’t be responsible for his actions!

Shouldn’t I just be responsible for my own actions in relationships? I shouldn’t be responsible for his actions!

I’m not here to tell you what you should do. I’m not here to tell you how much responsibility you should take on.

But let me ask you this…

If you didn’t wash yourself for a whole month, would that perhaps affect your relationship and those closest to you?

Of course it would!

We all affect each other whether we like it or not. And in our intimate relationship, it’s stupid to think that we’re only and solely responsible for ourselves and our own happiness.

If we are that careless about our lover’s needs and happiness, then we probably shouldn’t be in that relationship in the first place.

I hate that people think it’s only men’s responsibility to stop abuse.

This is insulting to the goddess that we are inside.

Just as it’s not only women’s responsibility to stop her abusing a man in a relationship. (the reality is, just as many women abuse men in our society as men abuse women, perhaps not as much physical abuse. But don’t words cut deeper than fists?)

The truth is, all of us are responsible.

You are not a victim. You have all the power within you to shape your life for the better or for the worse. It’s a hard and painful path to choose to take responsibility – but it releases you from suffering, and from being that victim.

It’s time for all of us to take on a greater responsibility for not just ourselves but those around us. And only then will we get to experience a fulfillment and joy that comes from caring for something greater than ourselves.

Why wouldn’t you want that?

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P. S. To learn more about gifting men with your authentic vulnerability and how that attracts a man who devotes himself to you, we go in to depth about that in our Commitment Masterclass.

  • Sherry

    This article is total bullshit, letting abusers off the hook and victim-blaming. The author should be ashamed of promoting such lies and harm.

  • Limit CSXi™

    Today, a devoted Catholic girl I know proudly and openly admitted to
    the “selfish indulgence” of fucking “countless guys,” in succession,
    mostly because she can, but also because she thinks women have no moral
    obligation to their significant others. According to her, God is the
    most important thing in life, so she is never willing to invest emotions
    into any of her multiple male fuck toys for any duration of time.

    She frequently wrecks her own car, lies to human dildos about their
    significance to her, disappears for entire semesters to find and fuck
    random men/women, smokes, and writes suicide letters to gain sympathy
    from others. She’s also an aspiring mechanical engineer, and wants to
    find the college graduate husband she clearly deserves. He *must* be an
    engineer, and he must agree to marriage and children… or else!! She is
    24.

    She particularly likes her current fuck because he believes in demons??

    This is the abuse women dish out that always goes unpunished. Some men explode, while others commit suicide. Because either way, if the story gets out it’s our fault.

  • Nes

    Hi there… A very controversial article. I’ve found it quite clear though: if you already are in an abusive relationship get out, seek help (not this article). Then work on yourself (with the help of this article when you’re ready to do so). Hem… It took me sometime to coment on this article as I needed to.. Think about it more. It’s international women day today so… It’s been 2 years since I “got out of trouble”. But before I share my experience I would reinforce what Renée is saying; it’s quite simple: if you have self-esteem issues and enter in a relationship to get something, with a low value mate… There are chances abuse (from your side or his side ) will happen. So beware and get attuned with how this man makes you feel. Respond with authenticity (feel your pain and show it) and observe what the man do. His “energy shrinks away”? Then you have your answer. He’s taking pleasure in seeing you vulnerable? Yell at you? Dismiss your feelings? You have your answer once again. I would say walk away. But it’s really your choice. The first sign is enough in those cases.
    Simple. Well no not simple: you still have to get the nerve to give up this relationship right?

    As I’m heavily invested in getting myself the best I can I still have a question Renée (or others from this forum): What are the retention strategies used by high value mates? You said men try to get you vulnerable to them this way. How do they do it without lowering your self-esteem? I’m very curious. My mom and step-dad use humor a lot (kindly laughing at each other)… Sometimes it backfires and my mom get hurt and she responds. It’s generally tense but also funny to observe. They really like each other.

    Ok .. Now my story. Out of despair (clock ticking / low self-esteem) I got myself in this crazy situation of travelling to another country to meet again some guy that have been pursuing me for 2/3 years. I was kept inside a house for 2 weeks, enduring every mean word of appreciation he had for me, despise in public, yelling, threats, control of what I wear, how my hair should be, why don’t I know his culture, why your dress is too short, why your dress is too long and I don’t care if it’s in a fabric from your country, say thank you: I gave you a gift!, cook this, don’t eat my food, but why don’t you eat the food I bought you, you really drink a lot of water, cook this, what are you writing on your laptop (if he only knew how it help me to write and pray)…. No you can’t call your parents, no you can’t access Internet.

    Well… no he didn’t beat me. Yes I was able to go back to my country. And although I didn’t know this blog at that time, I applied exactly what Renée says in this article: 1) I got support: a friend who would keep calling him. My parents knew where I was (I convinced him they would be glad to know I’m safe.. After 3 days). He knew I would be looked after by my consulate. 2) I felt my pain and didn’t hide my feelings. His answer: yelling at me. From there my decision was taken. 3) Then it was survival mode. Get out of there. He didn’t break me up…
    I was ready to die just there if I had to. But he wouldn’t break me. That was my resolution. And he probably knew I would be more of an hassle to him. 😉 that was my strategy.

    He still tries to contact me from time to time to make me feel bad. I ignore those. Last year after being harrassed I decided to accept the fact that I was abused and responded his email. once. No more. It hurt because he would just deny and say something like “wow you’re very different” (back there he would always say how much I was sensitive). He still sends messages from time to time. What for? Justify himself probably. Show that he’s the good one.

    What is being sensitive? I’m accepting that. That’s why I really would like to know what are the good retention strategies so that I don’t mess up now in case a good man do that.

  • Michelle

    I found this article interesting to say the least, and I think you have a valid point even though many people disagree with you entirely. I’ve never had an abusive boyfriend but my mother was emotionally abusive to me growing up and I definitely think she’s abusive to my stepfather. My husband also has had friends who had physically abusive boyfriends, and he said that they told him that the abuser always started with small things and the girlfriend didn’t react . When the abuser saw that he could get away with it, then he gradually became worse and worse. As far as my mom goes, she has always been a very pained and self-centered person who honestly does not even realize she’s abusive. She is convinced to this day that my stepfather is very happy even though my brother and I cannot fathom why he chooses to stay with her. Therefore I have to agree with you when you say that by being honest and truthful from the beginning, expressing your feelings openly is a safeguard against things getting way out of hand. I think being in touch with those feelings helps women pay attention to the red flags in relationships and get out before they get too attached as well. I don’t want to just blame the victim but it is the victim’s responsibility to keep herself safe.

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  • Stacie

    Respectfully…I disagree. It all depends on the type of man or woman you’re with. A good man and a good woman Is just NOT abusive. Abuse in any way is a character flaw, a personality flaw. It’s a lack of self control. It’s someine putting their own needs above another’s. People get frustrated because we are imperfect humans but that’s why we need self control and a conscience, or we will just run amok abusing people as we feel like it. Abusive people are control freaks and suffer from various personality disorders, and probably demons as well. They desire a world that they control because they are so messed up internally, and they have no faith in God. Only a relationship with God can fulfill the void, not people or material items, but we resist this and end up in debt, buying expensive items, developing mood disorders, getting married before we are truly ready, and so on. I digress, but as I was saying, if you are being abused you shouldn’t blame yourself. Many people are mentally ill! Many men are narcissistic! Women too, but this article/website is about men. I hope any woman in an abusive relationship gets out and doesn’t hang on trying to change herself for the abuser. It’s a trap, it’s a lieand the devil IS a liar. You are fine the way you are, if a man doesn’t like you the way you are then he is not the man for you!

    • Jessica

      I know that’s right. God is definitely not in people who are abusive. If a person is going to lead, they need to be led. Unfortunately, God is not leading them, otherwise they wouldn’t need to be in control of everything. If you can’t accept someone or someone can’t accept you, then there is no need to even be in a relationship. Maya Angelou said it best. “If someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

  • A very poorly written and poorly constructed article, in my opinion. I was with you on ‘helping the abuser’ by taking the ‘role’ as you put it, however after that it all kind of dwindles into lay opinion with very little in the way of an accredited toolset.

    To summarily claim that crying or anger would ‘break the abuse pattern’ I find ridiculous. For many, those things are the abuse pattern!!
    Again, further down you say oh well if he responds with more abuse then you know to just leave. WHAT. Millions of women (and men!) CANNOT leave for a million reasons – children, finances, fear, cultural or religious reasons to name but 5 of a million more.

    And if a person IS able to leave, then the only way to deal with an abuser is to STAY OUT and perpetuate NO CONTACT. None. Nada. Ever. THAT is how to love and respect yourself, girlfriend. Not see him now and then and ‘handle it’ with the goddess within. (Jeez).
    Quote: “if she’s on her own, she won’t have the influences necessary to help her out of it” .. that is a VERY irresponsible statement to make when there are bound to be people in various stages of ‘getting out’ looking at these pages for help. And kind of compromises the integrity of claims about any inner goddess providing strength!

    As other responders have said, there are many and varied reasons, and personality types, AND personality disorders (which you appear to have overlooked) that contribute or jigsaw into a myriad of different situations.

    I find it patronising, naïve and dangerous that you consider your one situation to be the blueprint to solving the global domestic abuse issue, and so for me this article is worse than inadequate, it is misguided and dangerously so.

    ‘Open Letter’ Postscript:
    I wholeheartedly implore ANYONE looking on the internet in the hope of finding constructive help to go through accredited sources, Doctor/GP etc to make sure you are dealing with someone who is PROFESSIONALLY QUALIFIED!!! – if in the UK then your GP can help you with this or you can use the NHS website anonymously to find Registered and Accredited psychologists, relationship counsellors, therapists etc and abuse support organisations, the latter of which have a big catalogue of helpful advice and articles! eg. Womens Aid.

  • Pixie Pie

    I was totally diggin this site, talking about feminine energy and everything until I came across this: “The more likely outcome would be that the man will react to your vulnerability. He would soften in response to your vulnerability and become more caring in that moment.”….Sorry, hon, you lost me there. From my experience growing up in an abusive household, vulnerability is the LAST thing you want an abuser to see. They don’t have empathy, they don’t care when you cry. They LIKE it. It boils their blood, gets them excited, makes them feel powerful.

    Abusers aren’t squishy grumpy teddy bears that just need to know they hurt your feelings. They’re cold, calculating and brutal animals that feed off of fear. Would you cry for mercy from a rabid bear? Come on, now. The only way to deal with an abuser is a restraining order.

    • Jessica

      Or simply by losing your mind one time. It has to scare the hell out of the other person and you. Or fight back physically. Let the abuser know enough is enough and wear them out!!!

      • Pixie Pie

        Right on!

      • Lizbot

        So true

  • Morena

    Hi Renee,

    It would be nice if you can let me know if you read what I’m about to say. I know I will get flak for what I’m about to say but I’m only speaking the truth from what I see and know and just having that innate and knowing the history and why. This is a very sensitive topic for me because my mother was abused on all levels and she is no longer here because of it.

    With that being said. I have a friend that can never be alone, she is always in a toxic relationship with men (well not anymore she’s with a woman). She is the enabler, she knows this but does nothing to get out of it, its all talk. she constantly plays the victim and doesn’t value or love herself. I have shown her love and wish the way I felt about her, she felt that way. If its not a man being verbally abusive, now its a woman, who acts like a man. She is constantly in “victim”mode. She’ll tell me how she is going to leave and nothing.

    It’s never right to abuse but when you stay and make excuses because you want so desperately to be loved and not alone then you are inviting that behavior. I remember i met a guy and for 2 months we were getting to know each other. Red flags started going off that I seen for the first 10 years of my life with my father abusing my mom. The way this man looked at me because he didn’t like the fact, that I went out the day before and i didn’t answer the phone. First of all the time frame of this guy trying to be possessive without really even knowing me is crazy. But that look he had in his eye, I seen that look to many times with my father and I stop talking to him. Before that, if he knew where I was, he would show up there and bring a rose, the first time he did it ,i didnt think anything of it but then the next 3 times. I was like wait a second…. The last time he did it, he texted me and said I’m outside and my stomach turned. So I went outside and instead of him being happy to see me, he was looking at the guys looking at me.

    Whenever I see the signs of abuse on any level. I have to say something. Pretty much all my female friends are in some form of a toxic abusive relationship and they are trying to make things work because of how they feel about themselves and for the kids but it never helps out in the long run. When my own father threatened me when I was 18, he said I’ll punch you in your mf’n mouth I got up walked out of his room and started packing my things because he would have done it, he called me the b word, he was upset because I was wearing a pants suit with my arms out, He caught my mother when she was a 18. Thats another long story but I left. How do you speak to your daughter like that. Everybody heard him and if we were alone and no one could witness it he would have because he did it to many times breaking my mothers nose black eyes, he even shaved and cut off all her hair. My father hates women, because of how his mother treated him and what he witness growing up, he’s 65 and he feels he’s above the law, recently in 2007 he got arrested again for punching his girlfriend in the mouth but she keeps on going back to him, this has been going on since 1990. He thinks that all women are is to cook and clean, give him sex and do as he says with no voice or opinion, hes one of those practicing muslims that wants four wives to attend to him.

    He has never worked or provided or did anything productive with his life instead of harm others constantly. I get so upset when I see women in abusive situations and they dont do anything to get out of it. I’m there for them as an listening ear but they really think that these men love them. I constantly tell them that love does not hurt. Someone them wouldn’t know a good relationship if it bite them in the ass. I was trying to help a freind of mine out by telling her loving and kind words trying, because shes with a very masculine women and she told me I was being offensive and disrespectful. That was the last straw , I havent spoken to her since January of this year. She was so worried about what her man girl would think and how everybody else feels instead of herself. I can’t , I’m exhausted with being a good friend to this girl. We have been friends since we were 11 and I’m 34. I have never disrespected or anything. Always been there for her, when she need a place to stay, food for her and her kids, always there in every way and for her to call me that, when I said nothing but kind and loving words. I couldn’t do it anymore. So i’m just taking a break form her because every relationship she gets in to, she’s just a puppet and gets taking advantage of on a daily basis, when people show her love, she doesn’t know how to respond, she always thinks there’s more to it but when someone abuses her in anyway she takes it. She has deep rooted issues. She’s been so hurt by men that she went to women but doesn’t consider herself a lesbian and now shes experiencing the same thing with a masculine woman and she tells herself its the best of both worlds, what she really need and wants is a kind sensitive loving man who’s attentive to her needs and wants. She just a pleaser and enables this behavior.

    At times it is hard to get out, thats why you need a plan, my father isolated my mother from everyone, she had no one to turn to. We feared that she would be dead because of it and all of our fears came true. This is why I feel my lives work in someone would be to help and empower these women. I seen to many things and I can’t let my mothers life and death be in vain.

    • Hi Morena, i have read your comment. Thanks for leaving your thoughts here! It’s fantastic that you got up and left when you were 18. Not everyone can do that. xo

  • Alex

    This article simplified something that isn’t a simple issue. This article probably rings true to your own experience with abuse, but every situation is different. This disappoints me, and after reading several articles with the same effect, I won’t be returning to this website. I am definitely a strong advocate for people, not just women, and the message I am receiving from your posts is that men are allowed to be men, but women are not allowed to be women. Encouraging women to suppress masculine energy? This totally opposes my belief system, and while I understand that you have your own, I would suggest you take measures to adequately inform your own opinions.

    • Which person mentioned ‘encouraging women to suppress masculine energy?’

  • Anna

    “the reality is, just as many women abuse men in our society as men abuse women” This is just the same tired old myth that gets perpetuated every time the issue of men abusing women comes up, and every single time the person stating it is under the illusion that they’re enlightening people to some sort of ‘little known fact’. Men are far more likely to abuse women, both physically and emotionally. They are also statistically more likely to report abuse than women, despite the myth that ‘men are afraid to come forward because they’re too ashamed’. Read Lundy Bancroft’s book to learn about the myths before you write articles perpetuating more of them.

  • Marj Hahne

    I always value your nuanced perspective, Renee–you’re one of only a small handful of relationship experts I follow anymore. Another is Alison Armstrong (www.understandmen.com), whom I heard in a radio interview say that what alarms her about a man’s physical abuse perpetrated on a woman is that it means that his fundamental masculine instinct to PROTECT has been broken–which makes me question if a woman’s display of vulnerability in the face of a man’s repeated physical abuse will make an enduring difference.

  • Beverly

    Abuse is a very complex subject. I don’t think one gender is more abusive than the other, they just have different ways of abusing. People who stay in abusive relationships have often already learned to suppress their intuitions and feelings, perhaps in their childhood. In that case it is easy to stay with people who mistreat them, because they already know how to turn themselves off and stay with it. It’s a deeply ingrained pattern that takes tremendous effort to change.

    I’ve also read of previously well-adjusted women who get in relationships that become abusive and then stay. In this case often the man has many appealing qualities that mask an underlying pathology towards women. The healthy woman gets worn down in a gradual progression of subtle and harmful head-trips. Perhaps the woman stays initially because she is taken in by the charm, and then her defenses get gradually dismantled and she becomes a different person.

    The whole topic is much more complex than this article portrays. The people in these types of relationships are bound together in a highly choreographed “dance” that is extremely difficult to dismantle. They are energetically complementary on some level. They both participate in the dance and are both responsible for it. But the admonition to “just take responsibility and leave” doesn’t help the person who is in the situation. If it were that simple, everyone would do it and there would be no ongoing abuse.

    • Yes, beverly, I agree with you. Once you’re in, you’re in, a lot of the time.

      For example, with the person who has abused me – whom I still occasionally see – it is a VERY big effort and dedication for me to respond strongly to them, without reverting back to the weakly submissive woman I used to be around that person. (But I do it, and am grateful that I can now actively feel myself responding in a resourceful way).

      I would also say that it’s extremely important for ANY woman who is dealing with, and coming out of an abusive situation – to surround herself with people whom can see through and are against the abuse – if she’s on her own, she won’t have the influences necessary to help her out of it.

      This is why loneliness – showing up as a kind of neediness of company and a lowering of one’s self esteem – is also something I think could trigger women to get in to abusive situations which they wouldn’t otherwise.

  • Joan

    I never saw a problem with the first posting, but ok. It’s not hard to realize when your in an abusive relationship, I went through hell and back myself. I knew what was happening and I attempted to fix the situations through my own willpower, using logic and reasoning. This never worked.

    After reading this I know now that I never would have fixed them. The abuse was ingrained in the men and they only wanted the abuse as a way of feeding that desire to hurt me. It was about hurting me. There was a few times I had cried and it only fueled them to abuse me further.

    Now, I have to admit I’m with a man who is rather difficult to deal with in a lot of ways. I have to follow these teachings rather closely. He’s not mean, but appears mean at times and I have to work at the emotional stuff.

    Just yesterday, I wanted to go someplace but our private road needs a cleaning and he is too busy working. He’ll get to it when his shift is over. When I said I wanted to go out some place he understood and he didn’t call me a complainer. My point is I didn’t have to control my voice or use logic or just avoided how I felt. It was how I felt. I have to be that way with him all the time or else he can’t understand me. It was a situation where we connected and he knows how I felt. Or I could have just kept it to myself, but I am trying to stay connected here. Yes, I know there was nothing he could do to fix the problem right now, but him just knowing how I felt is the connection.

    If you feel something just go ahead and say it. This isn’t about trying to protect him, he doesn’t need protection, and you are only protecting yourself anyway. If he gets confused at all about you it is hard to have the connection. If he knows your feelings he can respect them or not, it is up to him. If not it is not our job to control the situation with logic. After 3 rounds of feminism, it is hard to believe that women are still in this rut.

    So this is good to say, don’t keep the status quo. I tell myself this all the time.

    • I liked the first post. Yes, it was hard to take in, but it served women more to stop CHOOSING victimhood. This article sounds more like appeasing women who have chosen victimhood because they were mad at you for not honoring them as a victim.

      Either way, I think it is important to remember that in the US, men could abuse and rape their wives as much as they wanted up until the early 1980’s when the 1st conviction for spousal abuse was made. Soon after, law officials had to make spousal abuse arrests. So, many women are new to learning the fact that they do not have to be abused.

      As someone who witnessed abuse growing up, and attracted men who had beaten other women but not me, I wondered what the difference was. Your 1st article really spoke to me and isolated the variables.

      Yes, some men are just always predatory and there is nothing that women (or anyone) can do to change the dynamic. However, for men who abuse some but not all women, I think you saying he feels low status and thinks she will leave makes total sense. Also, he is trying to force you to open up makes sense, too. If his methodologies make you FEEL bad, he is a bad match. Don’t make excuses for an abuser just because you have decided to stay. Just own that you openly choose to be abused because you think it is the better option than life without your abuser. Then you are not a victim.

      Other men can get you to open and be more vulnerable without abuse but if you choose to stay with your abuser, it is important to know effective ways to change the dynamic for better.

      • Thanks for your input Felicia, it’s also nice to know that the first writing spoke to you.
        – Renee.

  • k

    wow I guess there is a problem in western world but in communism we were all happy workers for the state that is sarcastic remark so I just want to say do not get abused we are all people

  • Amy

    I’m not going to comment on the abuse aspect of this post, but I found the advice about feeling and expressing your emotions interesting. The only thing is, how do you know which emotions to express and which to ignore?

    I feel very threatened when my boyfriend thinks someone else is attractive (for instance a casual remark about a celebrity). It’s ridiculous but causes me to feel terrified he no longer likes me, even though my brain knows I’m overreacting. If I expressed my full emotions on this I would come across as a complete nutcase. He’s perfectly great, faithful and I’ve never even been cheated on by anyone else or anything to cause this paranoia! it’s just an example of how our emotions are not always right to express. Can you clarify which we should express and which we should not?

    • Joan

      I’m not Renee but your comment has made me really feel for you and I need to express it. I just want to give you a big hug.

      Why would you feel like you would come across as a complete nutcase? This situation would drive me crazy if I had to always listen to those comments he makes even if he is wonderful and faithful. Maybe its a fear that you are making the decision to not express.

      Your brain is telling you? Well that’s just logic. I’m not expert here but I would honestly go over with myself about how it makes me feel then express that. Maybe not tell him your terrified that he no longer likes you (I don’t know if that’s the real feeling here). That might make him just explain its not true, he does like you, then continue with the remarks.

      I don’t know what the real emotions are. Maybe you think you are being crazy, but the real emotions are hurt, anguish, humiliated.

      • Amy

        I’d come across as a nutcase because I am being irrational… I am comfortable having my harmless crushes on, say, an actor, but if I feel a glance is given to a girl behind me in a cafe I feel sick, even if in reality he hasn’t noticed she exists. With my past boyfriend too. Neither of them have done anything to warrant it, have been disrespectful, have been unfaithful, have even openly looked at anyone- it’s my issue. It’s not as if he sits there making remarks (never), I’m just giving an example of an emotion (terror, jealousy, possessiveness) that wouldn’t be sensible to express. So how do we decide which emotions to express?

        The feelings behind it are simple- that I’m not enough, that I lack ‘something’, that I’m secretly unloved. Even though I’m treated like a queen by the person I’m with and couldn’t wish for any changes.

        I’m not sure all of our issues should be brought out into the open within our relationships, sometimes we need to deal with them ourselves and decide which are nonsense?

        • Joan

          Ok, I get it. He’s not making comments, just looking and you feel badly. Of course our feelings are valid. Thank God he’s not making comments.

          There is lots covered about that in the site. I don’t remember which articles. I can’t write a whole posting about it, but you can research it here. I somehow remember the article, “5 Things you shouldn’t worry about with men.” Something like that. It will help you explore your feelings about the situation too.

    • Hi, Amy!

      Thanks for commenting. You seem to be asking a very broad question here.

      I believe that you need to be ok with relaxing in to ‘starting’ the process of expression.

      At first, you will feel like a nut case. At first, he may think you’re a nut case – but that process is necessary for the evolution of the relationship.

      And the other thing is – when we change form being unable to express due to fear of coming across a nut case – and we decide to open more to our feelings and show it – we can naturally swing the pendulum and be out of balance (especially if we are not able or capable in that moment of expression to be attuned to how a man’s really responding to our expressions).

      You will need to trust the process of swinging the pendulum until you find your way – and you will find your way by taking the feedback of others. Other people are important for your evolution.

      I trust you to start the process. You’ll have to relax the withheld part of you and THANK her before you go ahead.

      In fact, I thank her. She’s been thoughtful – but it’s time to be more free.

  • Lori

    Renee,

    I am sure you mean well here, and I understand your points but there is too much complexity to what happens in an abusive relationship. They tell you how much they love you and want to protect you. They isolate you from all of your friends and family who see things plainly and simply. They lie to you and lead you to think that the yelling/bickering/”caring attitude” is for your own good. Some will gaslight you into thinking you are crazy, and undermine your knowledge as a parent and person. They try to make you believe without them you are nothing, and it happens slowly so you don’t realize how much you doubt yourself until you are there doing it. Emotional abuse is much worse than physical. I still get panic attacks when I am near him. I left but it took a while and now going through a divorce, which is no walk in the park either. One thing that is very true, many women go back to the abusive relationship and it becomes worse. So trying to work it out could be potentially more dangerous. And yes I have seen women abuse men too, after all many men are easy going and want to please. Believe me I did all of the things you mentioned to get my husband to see things my way, calm conversations, asking with respect etc. nothing worked. When I would cry he would yell at me, if I showed emotion about anything he did not respond. It has left me doubting myself and my interaction with men. I actually read your articles and do most of the things you say already, naturally, however, I wanted to learn how to keep a good relationship going, and never let myself fall for a man that would do this to me ever again. When we fell in love he was everything someone could dream of, but his family got involved and I was nothing anymore, it became what he only wanted. Now he wants me back and is willing to give up everything, he said how good and kind I was and how much I helped him and his family. Now he realized that I was trying very hard. But I will never return, ever. After so long I deserve a wonderful life!

    • Queen

      Dear Lori,

      I do agree once you are in, predatory abusers trap you in physically and psychologically). Your husband will likely abuse the next woman he is with because his “system” for keeping a woman is abusive. That is different from a man who turns abusive in moments of emotional overwhelm.

      I wish there were different names for “abusive relationships.” Think of a murderer, there is the drunk guy at the bar where the fight gets out of hand and he kills someone and then there is Ted Bundy.

      Predatory men are not there for your benefit, so there is nothing to “fix.” Predatory men have no higher purpose for their abuse, it is just their animal survival, and they will likely abuse everyone – not just you.

      Your husband was predatory – not what Renee is writing about here. All the best to you.

      • WOW, Queen. when you mentioned Ted Bundy, the name rang a bell.

        And then, I googled him. And then, I came across a youtube video of his final interview before being executed and I’m almost reeling but also, I’m floored. It is truly shocking to witness how articulate and “average and normal” he seems – despite raping and murdering probably more than 50 women.

        Interestingly, he mentioned that having lived in prison for so long, he’s met a lot of men who were motivated to commit violence like him, and without exception everyone of them was deeply involved with pornography(!).

        On top of that, he said that ‘you crave something more, harder, something that would give you a greater sense of excitement.’

        Yes, these are the men who this article absolutely does not relate to…

        I wonder if he was ever considered a psychopath. Seems like it to me.

  • rebecca

    Hi Renee,

    I have read some of your articles and you have some good points but I’m disappointed in your recent article. I started reading your ‘corrected’ article on abuse and I couldn’t read the rest. I am absolutely SHOCKED! Female abuse of men RARELY happens and when it does it is NOT the same as male abuse towards women. “But the truth is, women abuse men just as much as men abuse women. Perhaps not as much physical abuse as mental and emotional abuse. We as a society don’t tend to focus on mental and emotional abuse simply because the bruises and scars of emotional abuse are not as obvious and easy to notice.” – what planet are you on? You have a responsibility to get your facts straight. Male abusive of women is extremely complex and you are continuing the myth that somehow women are to blame.

    I am living in the UK and the government is seriously intervening in this epidemic of intimate partner violence because it is men who perpetrate more often and use a higher level of violence and abusive tactics. Not only have I worked 3 years in the USA in DV refuges but I sadly experienced an abusive relationship a year ago. I was with him for a year before I got out, but it took me 18 months to recover. I am a strong, independent, fun, intelligent woman and I did not ask or deserve what he did. I stuck up for myself, battled on. I didn’t even realise I was in a DV relationship because of the tactics he used. I stood up for myself and he used excessive violence against me. I had him prosecuted for what he did. But I feel terribly sorry for the women who find themselves in this situation and don’t have the resources and support network I have. Even then it could be a lonely and terrifying experience. You have a responsibility to publish truthful posts. IF you are going to bring up the widespread issue of abuse then do it with some intelligence, and knowledge. You’ve done women a disservice.

    I will not be reading anything written by you again.

    • amal

      @Rebecca, I live in the UK as well, and 70% of domestic abuse allegations have no evidence, and men are put in prison in these cases. 45% of violence in the homes is women attacking men. It’s now become acceptable in Western society for a woman to hit a man, and even (lo and behold) cut his private part for something she deems betrayal. However, when a husband stops his wife from beating the children using force he’s put in prison for hitting his wife. There are everyday cases where a mother is recorded by social services for abusing a child verbally or physically, and to top this up, 90% of child abuse is committed by women. These are government statistics in the West, and include the UK. According to homeless charities, most suicides are committed by men after their divorce, due to abuse from their partners in a form or another, usually after separation or divorces. In the West, a woman is being taught not to take any responsibility, whether you like it or not, and men are demonised for pretty much anything. And women who still believe men have the upper hand in society are those still mentally living in the 80s-90s. I deviated from the conversation a little but you seem to be deluded, you should have a look at the MGTOWS (as deluded as those stupid feminists) but that should give you a clue as to how men feel, and how far they’re willing to go (sadly) to respond to what they go through. And a reader more or less isn’t going to affect Renee’s quality of articles, and analysis, so off you go. A woman who’s fed up of women wanting to be responsibility free.

    • Mia

      Rebecca,

      Onestly, I don’t think you realise the way you are.

      You say you didn’t not ask for it, but stayd 18 months.

      You say that it happend because of the tactiks he used, but than agian you say that it was excessive violence against you.

      what yu are describing is to me just what Renee is saing – you are numb.

      If you where open to your fillngs, you would recognize the ‘excessive violence against you’ at once. And would leave STRAIT AWAY.

      You say: ‘I stuck up for myself, battled on’.

      By doing what?

      Showing him he is wrong? Arguing? Tring to change him so he would not heart you?

      The best way to batel on with the abeser – is to leave hem.

      But you staid for 18 months!

      Stop blaming everyone for what happend.

      And take responsobility for staing!

      You point fingers at everyone, but not yourself.

      ‘It was not me who could not see it what was happening, it was his tactiks.’

      Yes he is a jerk! Ashol!

      But stop blaming him and the rest of the world for staing 18 months with the jerk.

      And that is exatly what Renee is saing – take responsobility for you own actions.

      And only you is responsibel for staing and not looking for help, and the man is not responsibel for you actions.

      (Renee, sorry, Iam not english – would you correct my spelling when neded, please)

    • Maia

      Rebecca, you say that the situation is infinitely more complex than how Renee presents it, but in actuality, you are the one painting all domestic and emotional abuse with a wide brush. You are basically saying: men are the only abusers, men are awful, no woman ever knows what’s coming or can stop it, etc. etc. and once in a while that is the true situation. Re: facts – I did not see one citation in your post, or one accurate statistic. You were scared, horrified, and offended by this article because you’re still baffled by your own psyche, why you stayed as long as you did, and you can’t see your way clear from that. Fair enough. I get it. But lambasting someone else’s insightful article on the stake of political correctness (and don’t we all love that one) isn’t going to help anything. Political correctness only really seeks to obscure the truth.

      Is abuse awful? YES!!! Renee never said anything else. And yes, when you grow up with abuse it can take a long time to recognize the pattern and break it, as an adult – if you ever do. I was badly abused as a little girl, watched my mom get abused by two husbands…and now, as a grown woman, I had the good sense to choose a wonderful man but not the good sense to treat myself the way I deserved in this relationship. Abuse is what’s familiar to me, and although the man I chose is not an abuser, I have subtly given him all the power of approval, all the power of EVERYTHING over me. And he tries to hand it back repeatedly, until it’s too much. If he were a different man, might he act on it? Perhaps. Would he be responsible for that? Yes. Am I responsible for my own twisted power dynamic, even though it was handed to me at a young age? YES. Am I now, at nearly thirty years of age and almost losing this good man, finally coming to a practical realization of that? Yes. Once I feel that power within myself, and have that – even if I lose this man, I will not be setting myself up for abusive situations anymore. Even if a man talks sweetly and ‘grooms’ you, it will be obvious to your intuition and your innate sense of self-respect that something is very wrong, and you won’t fall into that trap.

      It is indeed more complex than YOU are making it out to be, Rebecca, and I feel that if you let yourself drop the defenses, you would see that. I’m sorry you went through what you did – no one deserves it. But we are all adults, and adults do look at what they’re doing to contribute to the situations they’re in, no matter how heinous the behaviors of others.

    • Joan

      I just want to say that yes women can be abusive. I can only be friends with just a very few because most women I know will drive me crazy. Just last week, a woman acquaintance we know asked me why I don’t do this or don’t do that(various masculine activities). Then she said, “Oh, its because you don’t want to break a fingernail, ha ha ha. And the ha ha ha came straight in my face.

      That’s just one example. I get that a lot. How the heck is that not abusive? Most of them I know are. They do this with their men too, got to have him whipped.

      Maybe I’m just venting today. Can’t get over it 🙁

  • Adele

    Hey Renee… I like this re-write. It better explains what vulnerability is. Because of the way I was raised, I started off womanhood with a low level of vulnerability and a predominance of masculine energy. Even though appearance-wise, I look and sound feminine. I had an abusive boyfriend at 21…then by 24 I met a decent guy….but I still was “hiding” parts of myself. At 26, I was sexually assaulted. After that it was the hardest years of my life…many relationships didn’t work out. Social life, personal life, and self-esteem was in shambles. I was not fully present with men in relationships. I could not let my guard down….so the more masculine men that I dated never wanted to commit. I numbed myself with food and alcohol. Finally, after much soul-searching, reading, researching and frustration, I decided to go on a fast. Consuming no solid foods, no alcohol, or beverages….except for water with lemon. The famed Master Cleanse diet. My goal is 14 days. I am on day 7. All I can say is, without the distractions that I used to escape reality….my true emotions have erupted to be seen and felt. It is amazing. I was finally able to tell a man from my past who “mistreated” me, exactly how I felt, and that he was messing with the wrong woman. For any woman who is struggling to find and feel her true feelings, I highly recommend fasting and even prayer. But FASTING has been so helpful to me, to expose the lies that I tell myself, the thoughts that keep me bound, and remove the dependence that I had on food and liquor to alleviate my pain. I am forced to feel the feelings of loneliness, anger and heartache. I needed a serious intervention and this was it. I believe anyone can experience these benefits and make major changes in their life.

    • Thank You Adele, great comment. And having done a fast myself, I agree that it’s a fantastic way to expose the stuff we hide to ourselves every day. Well done.

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