Male victims of domestic violence do, indeed, exist. The real numbers are unknown and the reason for this are many and varied.
There is often a stigma for a male to come forward and admit he has been abused. Men are supposed to be, well, manly, and dominant. Women are supposed to be the weak ones.
On top of this many male victims are afraid they will not be believed. It is generally held that in domestic violence situations the man is typically the aggressor. Many male victims are afraid to speak up because they think they will be blamed for their partners violence, they may lose their children or simply that their complaints won't be taken seriously.
Another significant factor here is that many men, in fact, many victims, don't actually realize that they are in an abusive situation. I will explain more about this later.
However, if you're reading this I assume that you already know that there is something wrong in your relationship and that you're looking for confirmation of such as well as information about what to do. With that in mind, let's have a look at what happens when one person controls another in a relationship and there is a severe power imbalance.
While this article is not specifically about children, many of the ideas still apply to children and, of course, because children are brought up in such an environment there are typically added complications.
For ease of writing, I'm going to specifically talk about intimate relationships and the same dynamics occur in same-sex relationships as in heterosexual ones.
Very briefly, at the start of an abusive relationship the controlling partner will very often be on their best behaviour. In fact, they present themselves as the ideal partner for the victim. They come across as funny, entertaining, caring, kind and considerate. The victim often believes that they have met the perfect partner. They very quickly fall head over heels in love and of course, it then makes sense to get involved in a relationship and even go on to buy a house together, have children et cetera.
When the manipulator recognizes that they have a certain level of commitment from the victim, then the controlling behaviour kicks in. All the initial unconditional love starts to become conditional. The manipulator lets it be known, in many ways, sometimes subtle and sometimes not so subtle, what they expect from the victim. Because the victim is having such a nice time in the relationship, they don't think very much of these initial rules. It's a case of, "if she doesn't like me doing this, or saying that, it's no big deal. I can easily change to keep her happy."
However, over time all these little changes add up to something significant. The manipulator is controlling the victims thinking, beliefs, perceptions, emotions and behavior. The victim often does not realise how much they have changed. Family and friends though, often make comments about not recognizing the victim any longer, or how much they have changed, or how little time they get to spend with the victim any more.
Basically, the victim has undergone a personality change at the hands of the manipulator. They have had a false personality, a pseudo-personality, imposed upon them. This description is a very nice way of understanding what happens to male victims of domestic violence (and, of course, to female and child victims, too).This pseudo-personality never completely destroys the real personality but it does repress and dominate it. The pseudo-personality is programmed to be dependent on the manipulator. It is programmed to believe the manipulator, to trust the manipulator and to look after the manipulator. The pseudo-personality is also very afraid of the manipulator.
For example, if the victim does not follow the instructions of the manipulator, the victim is often made to feel that the relationship is in jeopardy. Remember that the victim is very dependent on the manipulator and cannot imagine a future without the manipulator. Therefore, this threat of losing the relationship is a very powerful motivator for the victim to do as they are told. They desperately want to keep the relationship. I know it's sounds ridiculous, that the victim is all the time trying to appease an abuser, but this is exactly what happens in mind control situations.
The pseudo-personality, believing that this woman loves you, the inability to think rationally and the very nature of mind control makes it very difficult for the victims to recognise that they are actually in a psychologically abusive situation. You can read more about the signs of a controlling relationship here.
In domestic violence situations where the abuser is controlling for the sake of controlling, there are often many threats. The abuser not just threatens to leave, but may threaten to take the children, reveal private information of the victim to others, threatens punishments, threatens to destroy the victim's life and may even threaten to kill the victim. It is very common that the male victims of domestic violence don't actually realize how much fear they are living under until they have the opportunity to distance themselves from the situation in some way.
The second important factor here is that guilt is also a major weapon used by abusers. The victim is made to feel guilty about all sorts of things, their friends and family, their job, the idea that they are not earning enough money, their hobbies, their past, their thoughts, feelings and actions. The abusers can actually be quite creative in finding ways to make their victim feel guilty.
With fear and guilt you can control anybody. Governments have been doing it to their populations for centuries.
The pseudo-personality also helps to explain the craziness that male victims of domestic violence often experience. People in such situations often have a lot of internal conflicts. One day they love their wife, the next they wish she would just die. They want to leave the relationship but the thought of leaving fills them with dread. They want to take care of this woman in their life and at the same time they are internally very angry and frustrated at her. This seems to be no way to find a solution to these conflicts and the victim has lots of, "Part of me wants this, and part of me wants the opposite."
Think of it this way. The real personality doesn't like the bad treatment and wants to leave. The pseudo-personality is programmed to need the abuser and is programmed to stay. The real personality sees the bad aspects of the abusive woman and the pseudo-personality is programmed to ignore those and put attention on the good stuff, if there is any good stuff!
The pseudo-personality is constantly being reinforced by the abuser so it dominates the real personality. The real personality wants the horror show to end but is incapable of doing anything about it. A person may know that there is something wrong and that they need to get out but somehow they end up staying, sometimes for years. Such a person comes to believe that there is something wrong with themselves, or that they don't deserve to be happy in this life, or they have to settle for second best and so on.
While this pseudo-personality is in place, there is no way to resolve these internal conflicts because the pseudopersonality was put in place for the benefit of the abuser, not for the benefit of the victim.
Now, I'm not saying that abusers think in terms of pseudo-personalities, but the pseudo-personality is a description of what happens to a victim of mind control such that we have a way to understand and explain what happens to a person who is subject to this practically invisible, psychological force.
I have mentioned already that some people control for the sake of controlling. Their relationships are based on coercion and exploitation. Many people don't understand this. Therefore they consider that lots of controlling people do so because they are anxious, insecure, have had a bad childhood and so on. One study of people who were court-ordered into therapy for anger issues in the family courts demonstrated that 80% of these people actually had a personality disorder. In other words, they are psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists.
Now if you are dealing with a psychopath or a narcissist you really need to know what you're up against. This is definitely a different ballpark than somebody who is somewhat strict or has run-of-the-mill relationship issues.
These people have no emotions. They do not feel remorse, shame, guilt, love, fear, embarrassment and so on. What does this mean? Well, it means that it doesn't matter what they do, they never feel bad about it. Let that sink in for a moment.
They can be as cruel as it gets, and it does not upset them.
People often think that a psychopath is a serial killer or a serial rapist. It is the lack of emotion that allows the psychopath to do these things. Now, the vast majority psychopath are not serial killers. They live in society and they manage to hide themselves most of the time. Some of your neighbours, work colleagues and even family and friends may be psychopaths. But if you don't know what you're looking for then you won't know when to apply that label. Many psychopaths and sociopaths don't know they are psychopaths because they don't know what a psychopath is. They know they are different but they just don't call themselves psychopaths.
Very briefly, right now what you need to understand about these people is that:
The first thing to do is to learn. You need to understand what you're dealing with. Treating these people using the usual polite rules of society will mean that you are in for a hammering.
You need to learn about mind control. You need to learn about the motivations of psychopaths and narcissists.
In particular, you need to learn how they are controlling you. You need to understand the techniques, how the techniques are being used against you and how your behaviour, thoughts and emotions are being controlled. (I know, I know, nobody wants to think that they are being controlled at such a level.)
Understanding these things mean that the techniques lose their effects on you, that brain fog disappears and you can begin to think critically and rationally once more.
The pseudo-personality is also trained to be loyal to, and to defend, the abuser. It's very likely that you have not told many people about how bad things have been in your situation. A combination of the programming as well as fear of retaliation have been used against you to make you keep your mouth shut. You may also feel that you are betraying her by speaking out. However, now that you are beginning to recognize what's going on, it's important that you do talk to other people. Not your partner, of course, but people you can trust.
It's also very likely that you've also been made to feel that if there are any problems not only is it your fault but you should be able to fix them on your own. This is part of the isolation of the victim in psychologically abusive situations. You need to get help. I know that's not easy and it feels bad even thinking about it but the fact is, however much you think you can manage on your own, it's much easier with outside help.
Obviously, this is a major undertaking and it's often best done with the help of an expert.
If there children involved they will also need help understanding the reality of their situation and getting rid of their pseudo-personality.
One more thing... no matter how alone or isolated you feel, you are not the first male victim of domestic violence and you certainly won't be the last. There are lots of others who have sorted their lives out. You can, too.
Would you like to talk to someone about your situation?
If you think you are or have been in a cult or a destructive relationship, or a friend or family member might be in a cult and you want to talk to someone, send me a message on the Contact page and we can arrange to talk. All communication will be treated in the strictest confidence.
You have the theory but how do you actually apply it? This book spells it out...
Do you think that you might be in an abusive relationship? Are you realizing that the group you are in may be a cult?
Do you think you are being taken advantage of emotionally, physically, sexually or financially in your relationship? Do you want to leave but you can't seem to get away?