When a man has some unhealthy relationship patterns to begin with, the last thing he needs is to discover philosophies that actually back up the destructive aspects of how he thinks. Take a guy who is somewhat selfish and disrespectful to begin with, then add in a big dose of really negative influences, and you have a recipe for disaster. And the sad reality is that there are websites, books, and even organizations out there that encourage men to be at their worst rather than at their best when it comes to relating to women.
Some of these groups come under the heading of what is known as “Men’s Rights” or “Father’s Rights” groups. Their writings spread the message that women are trying to control or humiliate men, or are mostly focused on taking men’s money. They also tend to promote the idea that women who want to keep primary custody of their children after divorce are evil. The irony is that we live in a country that has refused to pass an amendment to the constitution to guarantee equal rights for women; yet some men are still out there claiming that women have too many rights and that men don’t have enough.
Other groups don’t use the language of “rights”, but promote abusive thinking by talking about the “natural” roles of men and women. These groups teach, for example, that men are biologically programmed to be the ones making the key decisions, and that women are just naturally the followers of men’s leadership. These philosophies sometimes teach that men and women are just too different to have really close relationships.
Human personalities and preference are obviously not determined by biology. There are women who love to watch football and men who would much rather be dancing. There are women who hold in all their feelings and men who burst into tears freely. No one has the right to tell anyone what they “naturally” are or must be; one of the greatest joys of human life is having the freedom to decide for ourselves what our identities and styles will be.
If you see your partner coming under the influence of a philosophy that is harming your relationship, take some steps to research it. Look underneath the surface of what he is telling you about his new belief system. If he starts to attend workshops or read books that seem to be worsening rather than improving how he treats you, try to use the Internet to make contact with other women who have been hurt by these philosophies. The clearer you can be about what he is getting into, the more you’ll be prepared to defend yourself.
Thank you for the excellent post. For women and men who have been psychically damaged by the "men's rights" rhetoric that is heavily promoted on the internet and elsewhere, I would recommend, in addition to your writings, the work of Chris Hedges and Viktor Malarek.ReplyDelete
Can someone give me advice what to do when you have lost your loving parents and your husband the ABUSER'S mother actually supports his abusive ways and is more abusive toward youDelete
For a lighter touch, there is a very entertaining website called Manboobz, run by David Futrelle http://manboobz.com/ReplyDelete
I found recently some classics can have a negative effect. My husband has been reading the The Prince by Machiavelli. He has underlined passages on how to control and dominate others. I am concerned his thinking is already to far gone to work on being a constructive part of this family. That book reinforces and adds to his negative ideas and destructive ways.ReplyDelete
In my family, two brothers carry on the tradition of trying to control through domination and the threat of violence. One of them appears to consider himself a 'machievellian' genius of some kind. A few years ago he made his siblings a present of the ancient Chinese text The Art of War as well. Unfortunately these classics are among the books that abusive males are turning to in their attempt to take back control, as they see it, from the dangerous females (I am dangerous because I have some psychological insight into the cycle of abuse in our family, and they don't and are not interested in gaining any).Delete
He reads The Art of War extensively also. He purchased several to give to his friends. Wow! It still amazes me how abusers think their ways are unique and superior, but when you find out what other abusers are saying and doing it is lamely similar, sometimes word for word and book for book.Delete
No kidding, it's not about being an original thinker is it?Delete
Hey Lundy, your post caught the attention of David Futrelle, who Lady Socialista alluded to above- http://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2014/05/06/domestic-violence-expert-lundy-bancroft-mens-rights-philosophies-make-angry-and-controlling-men-even-worse/ReplyDelete
Check out his blog- I think you'd like it.
P.S.- Really enjoyed your book.
Thanks for this post. I will link to it on my blog. Manboobz did a wonderful post about it that brought me here. What would be your recommendations to the men you describe?ReplyDelete
This post is right on target. My father abused me with the backup philosophy being the old testament translated literally and only including verses which demean, diminish and control women and children. Wish you could have been there to savevme from 18 years of terrorzing and brainwashing constant demeaning hy my father but I believe that was my personal path to liberation and freedom, fighting for the powerful person inside that I am and always was and by which he was Terribly threatened even as a toddler because I was so outspoken. My mother chooses to remain with him after 54 years and continues to be demeaned. I am worth so much more and once I got away I chastised and belittled him and I never went back. He is nothing but a pathetic coward unable to face a life force stronger than his recogizing it and trying to destroy me. Well he got his and I gavevit to him. Last time I spoke to him I screamed that he was a douchebag. Now he's terrified to talk to me. Selfish and spoiled, narcissistic and falsely believing he was entitled to be treated bette than anyone else, especially me. I was a baby a little girl; I should have been cherished as he beautiful intelligent bineing I was and my mothr should have cared for me more than wanting to be in aelationship with a dumbass wackjob who believed himself to be a lot more than he actually is which is a very small man.ReplyDelete
The idea of patriarchy is that the father is the head of the household and family. That has been the dominant idea for thousands of years. But In very ancient peoples matriarchy was practiced. The mother was respected and made the decisions, and men were just for procreation.Delete
It's really not helpful to imagine 'matriarchy', whether ancient or modern, as being a viable alternative to the misogyny which is so prevalent today. What is needed is a better understanding of the system oppresses all people and is creating fertile ground for violence against women as a way for men to deal with their frustrations.Delete
Tatiana, your experience does sound very similar to mine. My mother learned from her abusive parents, and she believed it was her job to protect our dad no matter how badly he behaved. It has also taken me most of my life to gain my self-respect back, and I still struggle with it. I have a lot of anger about the wasted opportunities I was not able to cultivate because I was so damaged inside. Understanding that my mother was raised in an environment in which such spiritual liberation was not even considered an option, makes it no less sad but helps with dissipating my anger and making the most of the opportunities my life still holds.Delete
Indiana's Shame Teardrops for Katelynn What happened?: Petition that demands Justice for katelynn http://www.gopetition.com/online/5918.html Indiana's Shame Teardrops for Katelynn: My little one is being abused by a father and his new wReplyDelete
Hi Lundy, I've been reading your book "Why Does He Do That" and wondering if it's appropriate to recommend to my angry and controlling boyfriend? The book gave me what I needed to stand up to him and say no more. He's very unhappy about it, predictably, and I don't think he'd read it but I feel I should at least point him in the direction of what I believe was wrong with our relationship. If it's not appropriate, do you have a suggestion for a book that would be? Thank you.ReplyDelete
Lundy has another book, Should I Stay or Should I Go?. On its website it has resources to print that are for the abuser that will help them if they want to change. http://www.shouldistayorshouldigo.net/bonusmaterials.htmlDelete
I don't think my husband got past the first paragraph, but there are a few men that will. Besides Lundy's book another great resource for me has been http://www.narcissismcured.com/ Her husband did change, but even if spouse/boyfriend doesn't that website has a lot of insight on changes we can make to limit and stop abuse to ourselves.
MRA sites giving an abuser support for his beliefs is the least of it. My ex learned how to set me up for arrest from a Men’s Rights Group website. Ex attacked me several hours after I told him I wanted a divorce. I called police, he then smoothly lied to them, while I was pretty hysterical. I ended up being arrested. He employed the police and court system to control me further. I will never trust the police or the courts again.ReplyDelete
Shining Moon, what you have described happens often. He drove you to your 'hysterical' behavior, in the face of his 'calm, cool and collected' act was deliberately set up to make you look bad in front of the police. If you expressed any anger at him, or slapped or even touched him, it would have been further ammunition for him to use against you. In my case I was attacked in front of my nephews, and was accused of traumatizing them.Delete