Emotional abuse, physical abuse and verbal abuse happen to men. While it is more discussed and reported that women are victim of domestic violence and abuse, men are as well. Abused men are often under reported because of the shame of and embarrassment they feel as well as the discrimination they are likely to receive at reporting abuse because “they are big strong man.”
Many people believe it is not possible for men to be abused by women because they are bigger and stronger. These modern gender stereotypes make it hard for men to speak out or seek help. But in fact, according to helpguide.org, a nonprofit think tank, approximately one in three abuse victims are male. That is a very startlingly high number.
Female to male abuse takes on a slightly different appearance to male to female abuse. Women tend to be more emotionally or psychologically abusive with violence coming later and not always a vicious as male to female abuse. Emotional abuse is not visible, like a bruise, but it is very damaging to the person.
What is Emotional Abuse Against A Man
Emotional abuse is any behavior that is designed to control another person through the use of fear, humiliation, verbal or physical assaults. It can include verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics like intimidation, manipulation, and refusal to ever be pleased.
Emotional abuse is like brainwashing in that it systematically wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in his perceptions, and self-concept. Whether it be by constant berating and belittling, by intimidation, or under the guise of “guidance” or teaching, the results are similar. Eventually, the recipient loses all sense of self and all remnants of personal value. One of the ways the abusers does this is to cut the man off from his relationship outside of her and to restrict input that contradicts the abusers.
Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be longer-lasting than physical ones. With emotional abuse, the insults, insinuations, criticism and accusations slowly eat away at the victim’s self-esteem until he is incapable of judging the situation realistically. He has become so beaten down emotionally that he blames himself for the abuse. His self-esteem is so low that he clings to the abuser.
Emotional abuse victims can become so convinced that they are worthless that they believe that no one else could want them. They stay in abusive situations because they believe they have nowhere else to go. Their ultimate fear is being all alone.
Following are types of emotional abuse:
Examples of the ways women perpetrate emotional abuse include:
· Extreme mood swings
· Constant anger or displeasure
· Controlling the finances and how you spend money
· Constantly calling, smsing you, abused men may receive up to 30 sms in 1 hour alone
· Tracking your whereabouts with GPS applications or devices
· Withholding sex
· Name calling
· Public humiliation
· Cutting you off from friends and family
Emotional abuse may be even more intense if the woman you are with has a personality disorder known as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). BPD is often misdiagnosed as depression, Bi-Polar Disorder or anger management issues. So your partner may never have received a diagnosis. People without this very serious personality disorder will also do these behaviors, but those with BDP do them at a very significant and high intensity. People can be abusive whether they have BPD or not.
Categories of Emotional Abuse
DOMINATION: Someone wants to control your every action. They have to have their own way, and will resort to threats to get it. When you allow someone else to dominate you, you can lose respect for yourself.
VERBAL ASSAULTS: berating, belittling, criticizing, name calling, screaming, threatening, excessive blaming, and using sarcasm and humiliation. Blowing your flaws out of proportion and making fun of you in front of others. Over time, this type of abuse erodes your sense of self confidence and self-worth.
ABUSIVE EXPECTATIONS: The other person places unreasonable demands on you and wants you to put everything else aside to tend to their needs. It could be a demand for constant attention, frequent sex, or a requirement that you spend all your free time with the person. But no matter how much you give, it’s never enough. You are subjected to constant criticism, and you are constantly berated because you don’t fulfill all this person’s needs.
EMOTIONAL BLACKMAIL: The other person plays on your fear, guilt, compassion, values, or other “hot buttons” to get what they want. This could include threats to end the relationship, the “cold shoulder,” or use other fear tactics to control you.
UNPREDICTABLE RESPONSES: Drastic mood changes or sudden emotional outbursts (This is part of the definition of BPD). Whenever someone in your life reacts very differently at different times to the same behavior from you, tells you one thing one day and the opposite the next, or likes something you do one day and hates it the next, you are being abused with unpredictable responses.
This behavior is damaging because it puts you always on edge. You’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and you can never know what’s expected of you. You must remain hypervigilant, waiting for the other person’s next outburst or change of mood.
GASLIGHTING: The other person may deny that certain events occurred or that certain things were said. You know differently. The other person may deny your perceptions, memory and very sanity. (If a borderline has been disassociating, they may indeed remember reality differently than you do.
Dissociation is the state in which, on some level or another, one becomes somewhat removed from “reality,” whether this be daydreaming, performing actions without being fully connected to their performance (“running on automatic”), or other, more disconnected actions. It is the opposite of “association” and involves the lack of association, usually of one’s identity, with the rest of the world.
CONSTANT CHAOS: The other person may deliberately start arguments and be in constant conflict with others. The person may be “addicted to drama” since it creates excitement.
These type of emotional abuse are often common for women that are diagnosed or not diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. For more about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), see
If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, you will need to learn how to take care of yourself. You will need to learn how to stop rescuing, to set your personal limits and boundaries, and how to be assertive.
Types of Physical Abuse Women due to Men
· Harming Pets
· Often women will abuse the child, threaten the child in front of the man or even threaten to kill the child along with herself. The child receives the abusive in front of the man or will see the physical abuse of the child later on. The child is used to get at the man and get him to comply with the female abuser.
· Destroying possessions
· Striking out with fists or feet
· Using weapons such as knives, guns
· Throwing objects at the man
The woman who uses physical abuse will often justify or explain it away that she is “hormonal” or that YOU caused her to do this, or that it’s your fault because you upset her or that she was abused when she was younger. In reality, a person is always responsible for his or her behavior and there is never any justification for violence, emotional or physical.
Cycle of Abuse
· Your abuser threatens violence.
· Your abuser strikes you.
· Your abuser apologizes, promises to change and offers gifts.
· The cycle repeats itself.
Children and abuse
· Domestic violence affects children, even if they’re just witnesses. If you have children, remember that exposure to domestic violence puts them at risk of developmental problems, psychiatric disorders, problems at school, aggressive behavior and low self-esteem. You might worry that seeking help could further endanger you and your children, or that it might break up your family. Fathers might fear that abusive partners will try to take their children away from them. However, getting help is the best way to protect your children — and yourself.
Symptoms a Man suffers when being Abused
Even if a man does not sustain serious (or even physical) injuries from these abusive episodes, the damage manifests itself in other ways.
· Abused men are more likely to linger at work or after-work activities because they don’t want to go home.
· When asked how the relationship is going, he will hide the truth, saying, “It’s going great.” He doesn’t want to appear weak, or if the abusive partner is present, he doesn’t want to incite another episode of abuse.
· Excessive reading, watching TV, or playing video games becomes his way of escaping reality. He also may turn to substance abuse, especially alcohol.
· Abused men demonstrate unwillingness to trust, low self-esteem, emotional numbness, or depression. In severe cases, this can lead to suicidal thoughts.
· Suicidal thoughts may stimulate a sudden interest in reckless behavior. This can be as casual as reckless driving or walking into the road without looking. Or it can be a fascination with extreme sports such as mountain biking, bungee jumping, and other thrills in which death would be considered accidental.
· Sometimes, the stress will manifest itself physically with vague physical symptoms like insomnia, fatigue, indigestion, and headaches.
If you are believe you are in abusive relationship it is important to decide you want to do something. Often the most dangerous time for a man is when he decides he wants to leave. This may be something you keep quite.
You may want to meet with a mental health counsellor to get help to build an exit plan for leaving the marriage. You may want to seek legal advice on what your options especially if you have children.
If you need support to help evaluate your situations and options, counselling can be a safe place to evaluate what is going on. Please contact us for more information.