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122 Responses

  1. Dustin
    Dustin August 8, 2006 at 4:23 pm |

    What a prize she has there! I’ll give odds they’re divorced within 5 years.

  2. Kristen from MA
    Kristen from MA August 8, 2006 at 4:23 pm |

    as if the article wasn’t stomach-churning enough, check out this line from oneof the comments:

    but if the man could find a way to earn the same pay or save as his woman does there would be equalization.

    simply mind boggling

  3. Linnaeus
    Linnaeus August 8, 2006 at 4:46 pm |

    I’m one of those people who believes that very few things in the context of a relationship are unforgiveable or can’t be worked through. That would, however, require some feeling of remorse on the part of the responsible party, and this guy shows none of that.

  4. Nomie
    Nomie August 8, 2006 at 4:52 pm |

    *headdesk*

    *headdesk*

    *headdesk*

  5. Jeff in Texas
    Jeff in Texas August 8, 2006 at 4:56 pm |

    This dickhead cannot be for real.

  6. BeginningToWonder
    BeginningToWonder August 8, 2006 at 4:58 pm |

    Oh. My. Fucking. God. That just makes me sick. What a flaming asshole.

  7. June
    June August 8, 2006 at 5:08 pm |

    For her sake, let’s hope she divorces him in less than 5 years. Maybe this week.

  8. Lux Fiat
    Lux Fiat August 8, 2006 at 5:08 pm |

    My wife is older and more successful than I am, but the bedroom has always been the arena in which I have brought her down to earth.

    On tonight’s episode of Overcompensation Theater, Nirpal Dhaliwal stars in “I Wish I Could Quit You, Mommy.”

  9. piny
    piny August 8, 2006 at 5:11 pm |

    My wife is older and more successful than I am, but the bedroom has always been the arena in which I have brought her down to earth.

    This sounded like Dave Barry’s take on, “Do That to Me One More Time:” (paraphrase) “It seems kind of insulting. Like, ‘That’s it? You’re done?’”

    Yes, sex with your husband should always remind you that no one has everything.

  10. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 8, 2006 at 5:12 pm |

    This leech makes me wish I was a lesbian.

  11. ilyka
    ilyka August 8, 2006 at 5:18 pm |

    But she is an adult, and ultimately it is wholly her choice whether she wants to be with me or not – I cannot be anyone other than myself.

    Too bad “myself” equals “swaggering, clueless, stupefyingly egotistical asshole.”

    I hereby invoke the mantra of the spinster aunt at his wife: Dump him!

  12. Hugo
    Hugo August 8, 2006 at 5:18 pm |

    He’s a foolish self-centered jerk until this bit:

    Unfaithful as I’d been, I was not going to let her have me over a barrel for the rest of our marriage. I needed to keep a sense of self and not allow her to mire me in guilt and a desperate quest of forgiveness.

    There, he’s unintentionally insightful. His sense of self is apparently so fragile that, like a child denying he ate the cookie though there are crumbs on his face, he refuses to admit wrongdoing. If his sense of self is so fragile it can’t cope with healthy guilt, he’s truly an overgrown child.

  13. Steve
    Steve August 8, 2006 at 5:28 pm |

    The man is a pig, a pig, … but too many women support and encourage this behavior. Dry up his supply of willing women and he will be powerless. He is beyond redemption from without. As long as there are women who find this attractive no progress will ever be made. We should be focusing on his wife and asking

    ” what the hell are you thinking?”

  14. L.
    L. August 8, 2006 at 5:30 pm |

    Wow.

    See how his words work with two key words changed?

    “My HUSBAND is older and more successful than I am, but the bedroom has always been the arena in which I have brought HIM down to earth.”

    There are many people like him, of both genders, and if their partners choose to put up with them, for whatever reason, fine — but most of us would read something like that, and RUN.

  15. Dustin
    Dustin August 8, 2006 at 5:30 pm |

    This leech makes me wish I was a lesbian.

    This leech makes me wish **I** was a lesbian!

  16. Starfoxy
    Starfoxy August 8, 2006 at 5:31 pm |

    I know it’s awful for her (and technically for him too, cause he’s emarrassing himself) but I couldn’t stop giggling about how ludicrous the whole thing is.
    His wife has practically made herself into the poster girl for women who stay in crappy relationships because they have no self-esteem, and he’s convinced that she stays cause of how happy he makes her feel, to the point that he feels able to give other men advice on their relationships.

    Ahh, entitlement.

  17. Ginger
    Ginger August 8, 2006 at 5:33 pm |

    *facepalm*

    I have to agree with Steve. I cannot believe that there are women who choose to live with these louts. As my mother used to say, “There is no shortage of women with low self-esteem.”

    A woman may have a good job, good looks, good friends, good family…and yet feel a nagging sense of inadequacy that results in “relationships” like this one. I’ve seen it way too many times.

  18. Steve
    Steve August 8, 2006 at 5:33 pm |

    Not always the womans fault.

    But the woman is the key. I don’t care who’s fault it is. Of course you could just shoot the as$-hole…

    but I thought we were interested in non violent solutions

  19. Kat
    Kat August 8, 2006 at 5:40 pm |

    Not strong enough to leave his passive-aggressive ass, apparently.

    Leaving is a complex thing. She may be strong in many ways and still unable to leave for whatever reason. Lets hope she gets out of this clearly emotionally abusive relationship.

  20. ilyka
    ilyka August 8, 2006 at 5:40 pm |

    [ignores Steve]

    I just wanted to add that everything about this doth-protest-too-much article reminds me of a line from the Geto Boys:

    Real gangsta-ass n— don’t flex nuts,
    ‘Cause real gangsta-ass n— know they got ‘em

    Which is not to hold that song up as a shining example of feminism, because it sure isn’t. My point is only that real confident alpha males don’t have to reassure themselves and the world, over and over again, what real, confident, alphas they are. They don’t need to knock a woman down just to get a leg up.

  21. sophonisba
    sophonisba August 8, 2006 at 5:41 pm |

    But the woman is the key.

    Oh, go on. Explain how “the woman” is the key to a man’s actions. I’m interested.

  22. Tanooki Joe
    Tanooki Joe August 8, 2006 at 5:42 pm |

    Real men don’t pretend or even try to understand women. They simply love them for being the mysterious, capricious creatures that they are.

    I’ve found that the more adamantly a man asserts that he truly “loves women”, the fewer positive things he actually says about them.

    The female orgasm is the natural mechanism by which men assert dominion over women

    Because no woman has managed to achieve orgasm sans man, ever.

    Man, seems every time I visit Feministe this week, I end up hating humanity a little more.

  23. Hugo
    Hugo August 8, 2006 at 5:43 pm |

    Sophonisba and I don’t always agree, but we do here. The solution to this man’s asshole-dom lies in changing him, not the women around him. The whole “men only behave this way because women let them” is such a tiresome narrative. We can do better.

  24. fauxreal
    fauxreal August 8, 2006 at 5:52 pm |

    This article is sickening.

    How could any woman love this jerk? I don’t think I’ve ever read anything so repulsive in a mainstream newspaper.

    This sounds like it should be in one of those small, cheapie porno magazines the owner stocked at the bookstore where I worked with titles like “Family Secrets.” The only men who bought them were the ugliest, smelliest customers I’ve ever known.

  25. Ginger
    Ginger August 8, 2006 at 5:56 pm |

    The whole “men only behave this way because women let them” is such a tiresome narrative. We can do better.

    I agree Hugo, but from what I’ve seen, a man’s asshole-dom changes because his partner tells him to stop being a jerk or get out, and she backs up her words with actions. If she shuts up and puts up, then no change cometh.

    This type of action from the woman doesn’t make her responsible for the man’s behavior; it makes him take responsibility for his own actions, because he won’t like the consequences that he’ll face if he doesn’t.

    Of course, a great deal of this bargaining power comes from being financially secure, which this lout’s “warrior” wife definitely seems to be.

    I don’t know any warriors who take kindly to having their intimate sexual encounters put in a national newspaper.

  26. Nick Kiddle
    Nick Kiddle August 8, 2006 at 5:56 pm |

    *feels just that little bit better about being celibate*

  27. Ginger
    Ginger August 8, 2006 at 5:58 pm |

    LOL Nick.

    Let me just add, it’s a man’s responsibility to not be such a total asswipe in the first place.

  28. ilyka
    ilyka August 8, 2006 at 6:00 pm |

    One other reason I dislike “the woman is the key”-style arguments: Because that’s what guys like Dhaliwal are just waiting for you to say, at which point they’ll come back at you with, “Who’s the real feminist here? You, who infantilizes women by claiming they don’t know their own minds well enough to choose stud muffins like myself? Or me, who empowers women to make their own free choices about who to have orgasms with?”

    So it’s a non-starter, that one. Hugo’s right: We can do better.

  29. Sara
    Sara August 8, 2006 at 6:00 pm |

    The female orgasm is the natural mechanism by which men assert dominion over women.

    Mother Night, just when I figure out how to give myself an orgasm, I come to find that they aren’t even MINE anymore?

    *cries*

  30. Esme
    Esme August 8, 2006 at 6:17 pm |

    A man who is too in awe of his woman isn’t going to tear her blouse open and ravish her on the couch; he isn’t going to pull her hair and whisper profanities in her ear.

    You know, he has a point here. Men who respect women generally don’t rape their wives.

  31. Hugo
    Hugo August 8, 2006 at 6:17 pm |

    Ginger, I don’t think responsibility is a zero-sum game. Should this woman leave the idiot? Yeah, last Easter. I’ll agree with that.

    But in terms of bringing about a change in the behavior of men, we have to do better than encourage women to hold men accountable. We have to get men to get in other men’s faces, as it were — loudly and without compromise. The silence of other men is at least as troublesome as the acquiescence of his wife.

  32. Ginger
    Ginger August 8, 2006 at 6:28 pm |

    I agree Hugo, which is why I said that men have a responsibility not to be total asswipes. That being said, if a guy is an asswipe, and his girlfriend/wife responds by basically rolling over and playing dead, he’ll take his assholitude to a whole new level.

    I mean, look at this guy. He cheats on his wife, she’s angry and humiliated, but takes him back. He responds by making her tell him that he’s the boss while they’re fucking, and then printing an account of the entire episode in a newspaper!

    I agree completely that “We have to get men to get in other men’s faces” to change male behavior. But I, for one, am not going to sit around and wait for these kinds of men to get a clue. Kicking a guy like this to the curb works, just like standing up to bullying works. Even if the relationship ends, your own self esteem and sanity remain intact.

  33. Joe O
    Joe O August 8, 2006 at 6:34 pm |
  34. twf
    twf August 8, 2006 at 6:42 pm |

    PLEASE write something positive one of these days to balance out the evil evil people you keep linking to.

  35. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte August 8, 2006 at 6:46 pm |

    The man is a pig, a pig, … but too many women support and encourage this behavior. Dry up his supply of willing women and he will be powerless.

    I sure hope you don’t trot over to DV shelters. “Ma’am I know it sucks to have your face punched in, but it’s your fault for letting him do it.”

  36. sophonisba
    sophonisba August 8, 2006 at 6:47 pm |

    Joe O: Oh holy Christ. Oh Jesus jesus jesus god.

    Anyone who’s blaming this miserable, degraded, beaten-down woman for her husband’s worthlessness or anything besides her own unhappiness can officially bite me. Choice quotes:

    Is everyone else’s marriage like mine? I feel closer to colleagues at work. Even the security guard I crawl past every morning while clutching my latte looks more concerned for my wellbeing than my husband does….

    At what point, I wonder, do you know they actually like you, let alone love you?…

    I think I annoy him, to be honest. I ask him questions and he pretends not to hear me. I am watching telly and he turns over without a word. I get his back in bed. I had more sex when I was dating, which, considering my track record, must be grounds for divorce. The last time we did it was on Christmas Eve. Is he having an affair, or has he just gone off me, or both? I really don’t know, and I can’t bring myself to ask …

    And that is where we have left it, really. I still don’t know where I stand. Or whether or not he really loves me. All my friends don’t know why I put up with the situation. “You are so lovely,” they all pipe. “You will find someone else.” I bloody well won’t….

    I hope I haven’t ruined his life. He hasn’t ruined mine. I wanted to find out what it was like to have a man around and, at long last, I have. So, yes, it was worth it. Just about.

    On its own, this column would be enough to make you throw up or cry. Read next to her husbands cheery account of how much she loves the abuse, there are no words.

  37. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte August 8, 2006 at 6:50 pm |

    Agreed with Hugo and Ilyka. Apparently from the article, she used to not put up with it, and all he did was get angrier and angrier that she had a spine until he abused her into submission. Most women who get beaten do so after confronting (i.e. “not putting up with”) a man’s emotional abuse. You cannot manipulate people into good behavior. It is not her fault and telling her that it is might get her hit, since most batterers start off with emotional abuse and escalate to hitting when the victim resists him.

  38. twf
    twf August 8, 2006 at 6:51 pm |

    While the original article made me angry, the link from Joe O just made me sad. That poor woman needs someone who really cares about her and respects her! I have self-esteem issues also, but I have a husband who helps me address them, and shows me repeatedly that he unconditionally loves me, helping me heal. Liz Jones has a husband who treats her like shit and tells her she deserves it. I’m sad now. I wish there was something I could do for her.

  39. Ginger
    Ginger August 8, 2006 at 6:56 pm |

    All my friends don’t know why I put up with the situation. “You are so lovely,” they all pipe. “You will find someone else.” I bloody well won’t.

    Yes, she bloody well will, but first she has to dump this loser.

  40. Dustin
    Dustin August 8, 2006 at 6:56 pm |

    I wish there was something I could do for her.

    Buy her book.

    The issues these articles raise are real, but I’m not so sure the situation they describe is real. Both articles come out a month before her book is due to hit the stands? Erm…

    Or am I just too cynical?

  41. Wren
    Wren August 8, 2006 at 7:09 pm |

    Blech. This guy is sick-making. I can’t even formulate proper thoughts about it. What a deluded, egotistical, emotional fuckwit.

  42. sophonisba
    sophonisba August 8, 2006 at 7:14 pm |

    Or am I just too cynical?

    I think so, yes. I’d believe that his article was self-serving bullshit on its own, but not when read next to hers. She doesn’t seem like a good enough writer to counterfeit the depths of humiliation and misery she describes. If it was faked up for public titilation, I think there’d be a hint from her of tee hee, my husband’s a thoughtless jerk but so manly! But there’s no hint of it. His side of things is so detached from her reality, it’s frightening. I think her abjection is genuine.

  43. sophonisba
    sophonisba August 8, 2006 at 7:19 pm |

    I wish I could force every dipshit who blames women for men’s bad behavior, in this thread and the Tucker Max one, to read that Liz Jones article. No, she doesn’t take it because she likes it. She doesn’t take it because she’s wired to love bad boys. She takes it because she hates herself. It’s all right there in black and white.

  44. Dustin
    Dustin August 8, 2006 at 7:22 pm |

    Maybe, Soph — but I can’t help look at the title of her book, _Liz Jones Diary_, and think of that other diary by a woman named Jones about a masochistic woman who doesn’t stand up to men who treat her like crap… I’m not saying the whole thing is staged, but, I dunno, maybe not exactly as advertised?

  45. Ginger
    Ginger August 8, 2006 at 7:27 pm |

    She takes it because she hates herself.

    Right on. As my father taught me when I was little, “Human Nature 101 – if you don’t respect yourself, neither will anybody else.”

    I wish more fathers would tell their daughters that they’re worthy of being loved and treated well. That’s where the strength to toss a bona fide jerk comes from.

  46. Ginger
    Ginger August 8, 2006 at 7:28 pm |

    And I would like to add, those same fathers need to drill a sense of respect into their sons, as well; they can start by treating their own wives and girlfriends with love and respect. That gives a boy a healthy model to follow.

  47. Steve
    Steve August 8, 2006 at 7:31 pm |

    You people

    Sigh

    I said dry up his supply of women. I did not say it was the womens fault. Stop with the I am abusing women by saying this. If I were there I would like to beat him senseless but I know his wife would probably choose just that minute to be protective and stab me in the back. So Take the woman away. I don’t blame her I just want to remove her.

    If you want a man to handle it watch our back while we beat him into a bloody pulp. Meaning Watch our Back. But that is unlikely to happen. Soooo yes the woman is the key because other men don’t want to go to jail over this as$-wipe. And no, I know words will have no effect on this piece of human garbage. So don’t say ” go talk to him” I’ve put myself in these situations before and got blindsided for it. So yes the woman is the key.

  48. PLN
    PLN August 8, 2006 at 7:33 pm |

    Keep in mind, people, her article was dated August 2005, not 2006. Hers was possibly hyping her own book, but certainly not his.

    Incidentally, here we have an interview with the guy from a few months back, in April. It seems to date her discovering his infidelity to December, which means that her column, heartbreaking as it was, was written while she still didn’t yet know he’d cheated on her.

    Ugh, ugh, ugh.

  49. ilyka
    ilyka August 8, 2006 at 7:36 pm |

    Here’s cynical for you: All this thread needs now is for Raging Moderate to show up and complain that domestic abuse happens to men, too, and why can’t we talk about that, huh huh huh?

    Look, even if some details in her book have been tarted up to sell better–and I’m not granting that, given that it’s pure supposition, but pretend that I am for a second–even so, what the fuck does that say about what sort of material sells books in this, the year two-thousand-and-six? Nothing good, that’s what. Can I get a “You’ve come a long way, baby?”

  50. sophonisba
    sophonisba August 8, 2006 at 7:38 pm |

    So Take the woman away. I don’t blame her I just want to remove her.

    After all, she’s just furniture.

    If you want a man to handle it watch our back while we beat him into a bloody pulp.

    Assault and battery! Is there any problem it can’t solve?

  51. sophonisba
    sophonisba August 8, 2006 at 7:40 pm |

    _Liz Jones Diary_but I can’t help look at the title of her book, _Liz Jones Diary_, and think of that other diary by a woman named Jones

    Oh, but you’re supposed to think of that other book. Did you see her description of her wedding? She doesn’t have a good grasp on the difference between romantic fantasy and reality. She thinks of herself as that kind of woman, she’s someone who took Bridget Jones as a guide for living. She really doesn’t know how marriage and love are supposed to work outside of bad chicklit and Sex and the City reruns, so when she finds herself married to a sadistic abuser, she wonders if that’s just how reality is, when you tear off the veils.

    The saddest part is, she’s right when she says she might never find another man if she leaves this one, because the kind of man who would treat her with the kindness she needs probably wouldn’t be interested in someone that shallow. She’s really screwed.

  52. Kristi
    Kristi August 8, 2006 at 7:44 pm |

    I read this idiot’s article yesterday, and was sickened. Particularly by the part where he proved his manliness by sexing her up.

    Last Christmas, my wife threw me out after discovering I’d been cheating on her. On the night we got back together, I made strong, passionate love to her. Unfaithful as I’d been, I was not going to let her have me over a barrel for the rest of our marriage. I needed to keep a sense of self and not allow her to mire me in guilt and a desperate quest of forgiveness.

    I needed to let her know what she would be missing if we broke up for ever. I gave her a manful bravura performance that night, and at the height of her passion, I asked her: ‘Who’s the boss?’

    The question threw her. Initially she wouldn’t give me a reply, but I enticed it from her…

    Can you imagine a better way to kill an orgasm (supposedly a man’s secret weapon for keeping his woman in line)? I can’t. Even after cheating on her and hurting her deeply, his only concern is making sure that she stays in her place, and doesn’t think she can hold him to account for what he did.

    I wrote a rather eloquent comment to the original article, but for some reason it didn’t make it past their moderator….

  53. Steve
    Steve August 8, 2006 at 7:46 pm |

    Does anybody besides Ginger want solutions or do you just want to talk in circles.

    Talking in circles is fine but it gets nothing done and the problem gets bigger. So what do you do? What is your solution?

  54. Dustin
    Dustin August 8, 2006 at 7:47 pm |

    Keep in mind, people, her article was dated August 2005, not 2006. Hers was possibly hyping her own book, but certainly not his.

    OK, cynicism rescinded — you have sharper eyes than me, PLN. Of course, I’m hardly happier knowing it’s bona fide suffering, but at least I can rest my cynisoid glands for a while.

  55. Alex
    Alex August 8, 2006 at 7:49 pm |

    How bout both of them are just kind of messed up.
    He is obviously a huge asshole, and she should get rid of him.

    Thing is, his is mean spirited and amoral, so obviously no contest on the moral sense. However, she has made a concious and informed choice to stay with him, knowing he is a piece of shit, because she also knows this is probably the best she is going to get (her words, not mine).

    It breaks your heart.

    I mean, from the sounds of it, I am sure she could find someone who treated her like a human being, but maybe her standards are ‘too high’ on some other criteria and it is screening them out? I am only saying this because in her really sad essay she made it sound like she had a really hard time in the market.

    Can’t they both just be messed up? He is a pig and evil, and she is sad and should leave him. But the relationship isn’t 100% his fault, probably only like, say, 80%

  56. SarahS
    SarahS August 8, 2006 at 7:59 pm |

    Re Steve in 55, did you miss the solutions above? People were talking about teaching young women that they deserve men who are respectful and kind, not controlling and batshit crazy. And young men need to be taught to be respectful and kind, not controlling and batshit crazy. I think that is a good solution right there.

    As for these two, I don’t think there is any solution. I would hope she has some friends who will tell her that she is worth better, but I’m realistic to know he probably isolated her from those kinds of friends long ago. I don’t think there is anything anyone can do about these two but hope that she eventually has the strength to leave for good one day.

  57. Hazel Ston
    Hazel Ston August 8, 2006 at 8:06 pm |

    I love how assholes will take a grain of truth (women like self-assured confident men) and make a giantic sand castle of sexist, self-aggrandizing nonsense out of it.

    Sheesh!

  58. emjaybee
    emjaybee August 8, 2006 at 8:55 pm |

    Any decent newspaper would have refused to print this shit. Jesus H Christ on a stick. How many asshole wifebeaters are going to feel better about themselves now? If he’d written a column about how black people secretly adore being bullied by whites, would they publish that too?

    Goddamn.

  59. Steven H
    Steven H August 8, 2006 at 8:59 pm |

    I just want to throw into the mix that both of these writers are very well known in Britain. Both have written books (Liz is more successful; her husband writes fiction). They are recognized on sight. Which I’m sure just makes things worse.

    And it

    P.S. Why does “Steven” have to be such a common name? It bothers me every day.

  60. Steven H
    Steven H August 8, 2006 at 9:01 pm |

    Ignore the “And it,” please.

    And as for the commenters on the article, that’s the fucking Daily Mail for you.

  61. F-Words
    F-Words August 8, 2006 at 9:13 pm |

    Don’t throw me in that briar patch and “assert yo

    I say we encourage this meme to spread to all patriarchy-loving assholes everywhere: to really keep women down, get them off.

  62. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte August 8, 2006 at 9:32 pm |

    So, Steve, how do you suggest we enforce this boycott of abusive men? Attempts to start such a boycott only result in wails about how it’s not fair from men like yourself who are always tut-tutting feminists about how we supposedly can fix the problem of domestic abuse so quickly. But let’s be realistic. You are saying that unless we can withhold all female contact from men who abuse women, then women have only ourselves to blame for this. So how do we enforce the boycott? How do we manage to convince every woman out there not to accept abuse? How do we know who’s an abuser without a tagging system? How do we know who’s an abuser until he’s abused?

    I realize you think women are objects and we can just be repossessed if not paid for in emotional dollars, but unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way. We can’t have a boycott of abusers, call a recall of the pussy possessors who are with such men. So quit pretending that we’re refusing to enact your “simple” solution that is utterly impossible. If you only will allow for solutions you know damn well won’t work, it appears that you are happy for the problem to exist.

  63. Natalia
    Natalia August 8, 2006 at 9:33 pm |

    The Daily Mail is fucking crap. When Kate Atkinson won the Whitbread, they ran a huge headline that said,

    “40 YEAR OLD CHAMBERMAID WINS WHITBREAD,” complete with a snide little article on Atkinson’s financial struggles and age.

    Toss them in the garbage bin of history already…

  64. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte August 8, 2006 at 9:34 pm |

    Again, another reminder about abuse, for the people like Steve who are pretending they are offering real solutions for stopping it. Putting the responsibility with the victim often results in her beating/death. Standing up to emotional abuse often escalates it to physical abuse. The time you’re most likely to be killed by an abuser is when you leave. Leaving is necessary but is incredibly difficult to do without getting hurt. If a woman is not “ready”, that often means that she has not yet formulated a plan of escape that will minimize the chance of her abuser finding her and beating her.

  65. Natalia
    Natalia August 8, 2006 at 9:37 pm |

    They’re screening the comments and possibly weeding out a lot of the negative ones. I threw in my two pence, just to blow off steam.

  66. shannon
    shannon August 8, 2006 at 10:12 pm |

    You know, women boycotting abusers was only faintly plausible in the comic book Fool’s Gold, and that was in a small school with one’s belief suspended for comic book hijinks. The problem is that jerks seem nice at first, but then they escalate, and sometimes between the horrid behavior, they try to be ‘nice’ again, confusing all and sundry.

  67. Kat
    Kat August 8, 2006 at 10:40 pm |

    And that is where we have left it, really. I still don’t know where I stand. Or whether or not he really loves me. All my friends don’t know why I put up with the situation. “You are so lovely,” they all pipe. “You will find someone else.” I bloody well won’t….

    This has low self-esteem oozing from it. And as Amanda said, a woman must be “ready”. I doubt this woman is ready just yet. She thinks she needs Someone. She seems to realize that her current Someone is wrong for her, but as of now she still thinks Someone is better than Nobody despite his flaws.

    Fear of being alone is a huge hurdle for many women in an abusive relationship. What little self-esteem they have often comes from knowing that Someone loves them (even if that love is dysfunctional and abusive). And their partner usually drills that lesson into them, that if they were to leave Nobody would want them.

    She will need to embrace that she can do it on her own, without Someone, before she can begin to formulate a plan for escape. This is very, very hard for a woman who has been taught from an early age that she doesn’t deserve love and respect. Its a matter of relearning everything.

  68. My Identity is a List of Links
    My Identity is a List of Links August 8, 2006 at 10:56 pm |

    [...] omen…. And I for one welcome our new battery-powered overlords. (Hattery-tippery to [...]

  69. Lorelei
    Lorelei August 8, 2006 at 11:17 pm |

    You know what we could do, Steve?

    Well, one thing we could do is have a vigilante justice sort of thing going on and make a website listing abusive/rapist men who have not been arrested for their behavior so that other women know not to date them. We’d have to do that simply on the word of the woman.

    All of the men of the world rush out: ‘BUT WHAT ABOUT IF THE WOMAN’S LYING?!?!?! YOU’LL BE RUINING AN INNOCENT MAN’S LIFE!!!!!’

    …Another thing we could do is relax some of the limitations on prosecuting DV/rape cases.

    ‘BUT THEN IT’S THE WOMAN’S WORD AGAINST HIS AND THEN YOU’LL BE ABLE TO GO TO JAIL JUST FOR HAVING SEX WITH SOMEONE AND YOU’LL RUIN SOME INNOCENT MAN’S LIFE FOREVAAAH!!’

    Or we could just beat the shit out of men who are abusing their wives, court record or not.

    ‘BUT YOU’RE BEING A HYPOCRITE BECAUSE YOU SAY DV IS BAD BUT THEN YOU WANNA HANDICAP SOMEONE FOR DOING IT?! AND AGAIN, WHAT ABOUT MY IMAGINARY INNOCENT MAN!??!?!’

    ……….Nothing makes men happy about how to solve the domestic abuse problem except what we’re doing already: educating. And fuck’s sake, that’s taking a long time.

  70. Liz Henry
    Liz Henry August 8, 2006 at 11:35 pm |

    Can that even be real? Could it be satire? I’m having some trouble believing it.

  71. Mitaralu
    Mitaralu August 8, 2006 at 11:42 pm |

    No way should we put blame on women who are trapped in abusive relationships, or say, “If you’d just leave the jerk, there’d be no problem” — I think a lot of people aren’t aware of how terrifying those situations are and of just how dangerous it can be for the victim when they try to get out.

    However, women can definitely play a part in showing sexist/abusive men that there’s no place for their behavior. We should hammer the message into women that from the start, if a guy has abusive tendencies, stay far, far away and don’t accept a relationship with him — that such behavior is not “normal” masculinity, it’s a poison. Maybe that way a guy who thinks subjugating women is a-okay will over time get the message that the ‘you belong to me’ routine doesn’t go over so well with a potential girlfriend, and rethink his view of women; and even if he’s one of those abusive people who just don’t change, at least it would be more difficult for him to trap a woman into that cycle of abuse that’s so hard for her to escape from.

    However, as others have already pointed out, the burden of stopping domestic violence mainly rests on men. No matter how much we encourage women to be empowered and not tolerate abuse, there will always be that woman who’s trapped or afraid of what might happen to her if she leaves or just plain hasn’t gotten the message that she deserves better — and it’s not her fault. Though we need to educate women about domestic violence and how to protect themselves, we first and foremost have to speak directly to men: “You think it’s okay to scream at your girlfriend whenever she disagrees with you? You think it’s her job to read your mind and never make the tiniest mistake? You think you’re entitled to sex whenever you want, even if she doesn’t? You think it’s only natural that you, the man, are the boss and she the servant? Well, pal, you’re pretty damn sick.”

    Aaaand that was a long-winded post, but basically what I’m trying to say is that yes, it’s men’s responsibility to stop domestic abuse, and yes, it’s wrong to expect a woman in an abusive relationship to be in charge of “fixing” said relationship, but it’s not wrong to encourage women who are seeking relationships to look for warning signs and not put up with sexism, so that there’s less of a chance of getting into a dangerous relationship from the start. It’s not our job to stop domestic violence, but we can help send a clear message to Joe Arrogant Sexist Jerk With Abusive Tendencies that he shouldn’t expect any tolerance from women for such behavior.

  72. Liz Henry
    Liz Henry August 8, 2006 at 11:54 pm |

    Oh, nevermind… I just read some of her articles. I guess it’s real.

  73. Mitaralu
    Mitaralu August 8, 2006 at 11:54 pm |

    I feel stupid — I didn’t even think about the possibility that someone might seem nice pre-relationship and then turn out to be a jerk. So I guess my “don’t go into a relationship with a guy if he makes sexist/abusive comments” proposal only works with people who are openly jerks. >

  74. Lorelei
    Lorelei August 9, 2006 at 12:11 am |

    I feel stupid — I didn’t even think about the possibility that someone might seem nice pre-relationship and then turn out to be a jerk. So I guess my “don’t go into a relationship with a guy if he makes sexist/abusive comments” proposal only works with people who are openly jerks.

    Oh, ask about their exes. This is usually incredibly revealing. Abusive men tend to talk about how ‘nuts’ they were and insult them to the 10th degree. Granted, it’s possible that a man could’ve had one awful exgirlfriend… if he had one awful ex but speaks of the other ones rather pleasantly, then I’d give them the benefit of the doubt. But if they have multiple exes that they speak that way about, I wouldn’t risk that they just had ‘bad luck.’

    I understand that talking about exes is hard anyway, but I figure this way: I dated an abusive man and a non-abusive one. I WILL say to someone, ‘That boyfriend was an abusive sociopath to the point that I have PTSD now. I rather hate him.’ The other one, although we broke up on some really bizarre/somewhat bad terms, I’d probably say that I dated this guy, he was smart, well-spoken, treated me well, but we broke up because of this such circumstance. Maybe I’d mention some of his less finer points, but I’d speak of him rather positively.

    My abusive ex told me that basically all his exes were batshit insane bitches. Since I was really young, I just thought he’d had awful luck and felt bad for him. Oh boy… little did I know I was entering a world of pain.

  75. Lorelei
    Lorelei August 9, 2006 at 12:13 am |

    My abusive ex told me that basically all his exes were batshit insane bitches.

    I just wanted to add that I didn’t give that suggestion purely on my singular anecdotal evidence. Almost all my friends who’ve dated abusive men (and unfortunately, I’ve had many) report the same thing.

  76. Norah
    Norah August 9, 2006 at 1:26 am |

    I am a very difficult man to be with. I know I have caused my wife great pain and anxiety. But she is an adult, and ultimately it is wholly her choice whether she wants to be with me or not – I cannot be anyone other than myself.

    Translation: “I’m an asshole, and I’m always gonna be an asshole, and if she wants me, she’ll find a way to live with it.”

    So sad.

  77. arwen
    arwen August 9, 2006 at 2:12 am |

    This has GOT to be a joke.

  78. steve
    steve August 9, 2006 at 6:25 am |

    1. Being trteated like an object is a fact of life it happens all day long without you relaizing it. Just try flying on a commercial airline. You are a package to be delivered. I don’t mind being treated like an object because I don’t have illusions that I will be treated anyway else by orginizations. I only expect to get treated like a person from friends and intamates.

    2. As for being ready to leave I can see that. My bad on that one. But how does that go for the ” I have left but now I am going back” endless cycle of leave/return to abuse.

    3 As for educating the next generation from what I have seen we are doing a p*** poor job of it. A good example are the average Rap lyrics. I try to keep my daughter away form it but with school and such it is a losing battle. The only thing I can do is teach her to be rational before emotional and to attack this kind of behavior with full force. I have also shown her how quickly people will walk away and stop caring or not be there for you, even your friends will grow impatient trying to help. SO either don’t get into these situations or realize in the end we are all alone and have to rely on ourselves. No one else can complete what is missing in yourself.

  79. Lya Kahlo
    Lya Kahlo August 9, 2006 at 6:40 am |

    Wow. That’s an entire article of a worthless little boy throwing a temper tantrum of “I’m the boss”. I’m supposed to believe he’s so manly when he admits to being unfaithful, to usinn coercion during sex, to treating his wife like a door mat?

    I pity his wife. There are great men out there and she saddle up this waste of time.

  80. PerfectBlue
    PerfectBlue August 9, 2006 at 7:54 am |

    2. As for being ready to leave I can see that. My bad on that one. But how does that go for the ” I have left but now I am going back” endless cycle of leave/return to abuse.

    Because abuse is cyclic. With my abuser, I was so caught up in the patterns that I lived my entire life on his schedule, I couldn’t even work if the abuse swing started up because he’d call, and I’d have to rush home to settle him. Things are fine for a while. There are signs, but you don’t really look at them, because no one ever told you that those are signs he’s an abuser. No one ever told me to get a bead on how he talks about his exes, or that if his parents were phsycially abusive he might have screwy ideas about conflict resolution. Also, if you’re me, you’re 19 and invincible and this could never happen to you, you are not one of those women on Lifetime movies, you’re smart, you’ve got your head on straight, you don’t put up with crap from anyone. I was a musician and a full time student, I had a huge support network. I didn’t think he happened to women like me because all the abusers I had ever heard about were absolute unrepentant bastards who just treated their S/O’s worse than they would the family dog all the time. It wasn’t until after I was clawing my way out that someone finally explained abuse is cyclic, and that’s why MY boyfriend was a really loving, wonderful guy for a few precious minutes out of every day and my entire existence had become focused on doing everything I could to make him be that guy. And oh yes, it was my responsibility, because it was my fault–a message you seem happy to send other women in that situation, by the way. Everything would be okay, and then something would trigger a cycle. His triggers were legion, but it seemed like almost always it was me setting him off. While snooping through my things, he read an email I received from someone that sounded suspiciously romantic. The three hour fight that followed resulted in the smashing of my keyboard (another sign they ask you about, “does he break things, does he break YOUR things?” when they’re trying to pin down that you’re being abused). I mentioned a male friend in passing on the way to dinner. He shut down with stony silence and smoked through the meal, refusing to order anything. It was always something I was doing, you see? At the end of the argument, I would be sobbing, not understanding how it had happened in the first place, begging him to just stop fighting with me, and then, as I was packing to leave (not that I had anywhere to go, as my support system had entirely fallen apart), he’d change his mind. He was that guy again. He’d say he was slime. He didn’t deserve me. Would I give him another chance? He would do anything I asked. When that is the regular, normal pattern of every single argument you have, good guy-jerk-monster-good guy, it starts to become normal, you know that’s going to happen, even if you don’t know it consciously, and by the time you’re ready to pack up and go, you hardly know where you’ll go to. He’s been busy telling everyone who will listen how crazy you are and you’re trying to cover up how stupid you are to stay with him by defending him to everyone. Meanwhile his insecurity has made you cut off contact with most of your friends, maybe even your family too if they don’t approve of him. So even when you get away you’re way out of any comfort zone and probably with people who think you’ve lost your mind one way or another but are trying to be understanding. And when he calls, you know it’s over and you can go back and try REALLY hard this time not to set him off. Before it happened to me, I would have said, “That’s just crazy.” Because I didn’t know abuse was like that. But it wasn’t crazy. It didn’t happen to me because I’m irrational or stupid, although he told me that I was endlessly and because I had nowhere to go to gain any perspective anymore, after a long and arduous battle I began to believe it. It happened because nothing in my life, even being warned against abusive men, had prepared me for an abusive man. No one else around me knew what an abusive man was really like. They were like you and thought if I was in an abusive relationship, I was just a crazy, needy girl who couldn’t wrap her simple head around an easy thing like just leaving the bastard. You’re the crazy one if you think telling your daughter anything like what you’ve told the women in this forum is going to help her if she’s ever confronted with a guy like my ex. You need to read about abusive relationships and tell her what to look for and that no matter what you won’t judge her and you’ll be there for her if she ever needs to get out of a bad situation like that. I can say honestly that if my parents had done the same, I would have been better off, less insistent on masking the abuse because I was ashamed of it, and would have gotten out of it sooner because I would have had somewhere to go.

  81. Jasmine
    Jasmine August 9, 2006 at 8:22 am |

    “Women love abuse!”

    It just keeps coming back to that, doesn’t it? I remember reading Shaw’s epilogue to Pygmalion, where he basically writes, “I know you all want Eliza to marry Professor Higgins. That’s because you still believe that women love abuse. But you know what? THEY DON’T.”

    And 150 years later, we’ve still got assholery like this going on.

    As depressing as it is to read crap like this, I’m glad that you post it. I continually find myself thinking, “Is dating as dangerous as I think it is? Am I just being paranoid? Maybe it’s all nice and fluffy and I WILL NEVER END UP WITH AN ABUSER,” and then I read something like this that snaps me back to reality.

  82. Theriomorph
    Theriomorph August 9, 2006 at 8:31 am |

    ARRRGH. I like the early comment “headdesk headdesk headdesk” very much, and make the addendum “hot shower, lots of soap, scrub, hot shower, lots of soap, scrub.”

    The thing is, this kind of narcissistic sociopathology is rampant, and while it might be easy -and tempting – to dismiss this guy as a whackjob in the interest of preserving some faith in the human species, and/or dismissing this woman as having unusually low self-esteem, the fact is, they are us, or our friends, or our families, or our co-workers.

    A to-the-point point from violence prevention ed.: if a person called you a worthless, fat, undersirable, stupid piece of garbage, humiliated you in every eway they could, then punched you in the face on a first date, they’d never get a second date.

    Abusers don’t do this. The difference between an abuser and a person with lousy impulse control or an anger-management problem is that abusers use strategic, savvy manipulation and timing to break a person down and isolate them SO THAT their abuse becomes extremely difficult to leave and the abused person feels crazy and like it’s their own fault.

    They also find people and contexts that support their behavior, as this guy has.

    Not surprised this woman’s anorexic. Food is probably the only aspect of her experience day to day she CAN control.

    Hope she gets help.

  83. Nomie
    Nomie August 9, 2006 at 9:07 am |

    Theriomorph: hee, thanks. Agreed on the shower comment as well. Ew.

    1. Being trteated like an object is a fact of life it happens all day long without you relaizing it. Just try flying on a commercial airline. You are a package to be delivered. I don’t mind being treated like an object because I don’t have illusions that I will be treated anyway else by orginizations. I only expect to get treated like a person from friends and intamates.

    But the problem here is that this is her husband, possibly the most intimate of all intimates, treating her like some sort of blow-up doll to assuage his ego.

  84. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 9, 2006 at 10:32 am |

    The man is a pig, a pig, … but too many women support and encourage this behavior. Dry up his supply of willing women and he will be powerless. He is beyond redemption from without. As long as there are women who find this attractive no progress will ever be made. We should be focusing on his wife and asking

    Sure. As long as we can tell the guys who bitch and moan about the golddiggers, the nagging bitches, and the unfaithful women they’re with to STFU and look at why so many men go for women like this.

    Seriously. STFU about the nice guy syndrome. Because I’ve seen the same with men who only go for women who treat them like shit, but I never see any internet screeds about that.

    As far as abusive fuckwits like this loser, let’s get something straight: his wife’s self-esteem is in the toilet, and all the screeching about how it’s her responsibility (with the tacit and very implied idea that she must therefore deserve the abuse) doesn’t fucking help, okay? Abusers don’t wear signs on their foreheads, and oftentimes their partners (and their partners friends) will dismiss the niggling doubts they have with the usual “you’re overreacting” or “you’re not being fair.”

    Cut the shit and wake the fuck up.

  85. Kat
    Kat August 9, 2006 at 10:42 am |

    Another reason that abusers continue to abuse and victims return is that life in general is about maintaining status quo. You seek out that which you are familiar with.

    I grew up in an abusive household, and I can remember being at a friends house for a sleepover in high school and being dumbfounded by the serenity and peace in her house. It was so unfamiliar to me that it was painfully uncomfortable. At home, I would often sleep in my shoes so that if I had to get up and run I could. I can remember having hiding places in my house, and knowing alternate escape routes. We walked on eggshells most of the time trying not to trip triggers. In an abusive home, you are constantly vigilant, sleep with one eye open. But at her house, we had milk and cookies before everyone went to bed and hugged goodnight. And then they went to SLEEP. I had no idea how to function in that environment. It rocked my world, it was so surreal.

    I guess it was no big surprise that despite my desire to get away from the abuse of my childhood, I went and found it anyhow. For one thing, I had no idea what to avoid. What another woman might have seen as a red flag, I saw as familiar. Marrying an abusive guy seems like the last thing you would want to do being raised in an abusive household, but it puts you in familiar territory and its human nature to seek out the known quantity.

    Same thing with abusers, they almost get uncomfortable and antsy when things are going well. My abusive husband almost seemed to purposely create trouble just to get the cycle going again. It was his comfort level, he had been horribly abused as a child (to the point of disfigurement). You could almost see a sense of relief come over him when the abuse started, that he was in familiar territory. Very sad.

    It has taken me YEARS to figure out how to be comfortable with peace and quiet and calm and its still a daily lesson. I also know I’m no where near knowing how to choose a non-dysfunctional mate, so for now I am committed to not entering into a serious relationship.

  86. Lya Kahlo
    Lya Kahlo August 9, 2006 at 11:16 am |

    I read it again ( I know I’m a glutton for punishment sometimes ) and I have to echo the sentiment that how the FUCK can this guy see his wife as being happy he treats her this way? Is he somehow unaware that the people reading his misogynistic diatribe have also read some of his wife’s columns? How does anorexia come off as being happy to him? What a fucking loser.

  87. Raging Moderate
    Raging Moderate August 9, 2006 at 11:22 am |

    All this thread needs now is for Raging Moderate to show up and complain that domestic abuse happens to men, too, and why can’t we talk about that, huh huh huh?

    How’d I get dragged into this? Here I was just minding my own business….

    I think you’ll have a dickens of a time finding an instance where I ever made the “men are abused too” argument.

  88. Ginger
    Ginger August 9, 2006 at 12:43 pm |

    how the FUCK can this guy see his wife as being happy he treats her this way?

    He’s projecting; all he really cares about is his own happiness.

  89. holly
    holly August 9, 2006 at 12:54 pm |

    Seriously, to those who somehow hold her responsible for his behavior, do you think if all women disavowed him, he would somehow see the light and start considering women fully human? I doubt it. This guy was an entitled asshole before he met this woman and he will be an asshole after she leaves him. Even if no woman ever agrees to be in the same room with him, he will remain an asshole and he will still have a platform for his disturbing views about women and other men will continue to agree with him.

  90. Medicine Man
    Medicine Man August 9, 2006 at 6:18 pm |

    Oh, ask about their exes. This is usually incredibly revealing.

    That is a fantastic piece of advice, Lorelei. Oddly enough, this is also a useful tactic when interviewing someone for a job. I wonder how many interviewing strategies can be subtly adapted to threat evaluation in potential partners?

    Concerning the subject of this rather mundane turd of a human being — a clear example of how people will seize upon just about any rationale to justify their preferred behavior. “Hey, I’m just being myself! She’s a grown woman; she can take it or leave it.” How perfectly, typically nauseating. It took me a long time to learn these things, but to me three of the pillars of having a strong sense of self are: Don’t allow another person to dictate your own behavior. Don’t assign blame for your own behavior to another person. Don’t expect others to carry the entire burden of your own behavior. By my (not exacting) standards, this fool is a three time loser. He couldn’t hold his own vis a vis any woman with an undamaged ego.

    Also… and I dread the answers to these questions even as I ask them, but… every time a topic like this comes up at Feministe I see so many women who are able to speak with great, personal familiarity about abuse, due entirely to having lived through it. So I have to ask: Is the audience on a feminist blog more likely to include women with prior abusive relationships? Or is it just that women feel comfortable enough to talk about it here, and not elsewhere? Are “relationships” like this really this common? I’m not asking to be cute or to take cheap shots.

  91. twf
    twf August 9, 2006 at 6:34 pm |

    Also… and I dread the answers to these questions even as I ask them, but… every time a topic like this comes up at Feministe I see so many women who are able to speak with great, personal familiarity about abuse, due entirely to having lived through it. So I have to ask: Is the audience on a feminist blog more likely to include women with prior abusive relationships? Or is it just that women feel comfortable enough to talk about it here, and not elsewhere? Are “relationships” like this really this common? I’m not asking to be cute or to take cheap shots.

    While it’s possible that surviving abuse contributes towards becoming feminist and commenting at Feministe, my guess is that the prevalence here is similar to the prevalence in the world at large. See my recent blog entry on why you don’t know the prevalence of rape in the people you know. I imagine it also applies to abusive relationships.

  92. Ginger
    Ginger August 9, 2006 at 9:40 pm |

    Liz Jones really needs to read this article. An exerpt:

    This deep-seated insecurity and immaturity that results in and perpetuates the whole caveman attitude needs to be recognized and dealt with. As long as women and men continue to encourage and support immature childish male behavior (as is usually condoned by the phrase “boys will be boys”), then nothing is going to change. It’s not about wanting to take the fun out of living – you can have tons of fun and enjoy life without acting like a self-absorbed 5-year-old ass and/or being lead around by your dick.

    Ironically, it seems that these neanderthal types either seek out needy, clingy damaged women and then complain about them, or pick the ones that are utterly subservient and controllable. In any case, they try to find women that they can feel superior to in order to preserve their fragile egos. But as far as I am concerned, those men who only seek out weak and damaged women are just as weak and damaged themselves, and thusly ARE NOT MEN – they are boys. And those individuals who pressure their peers to participate in the same kind of damaged behavior are a cancer on the face of the rest of MANkind.

  93. Theriomorph
    Theriomorph August 9, 2006 at 10:57 pm |

    In response to Medicine Man: “Is the audience on a feminist blog more likely to include women with prior abusive relationships? Or is it just that women feel comfortable enough to talk about it here, and not elsewhere? Are “relationships” like this really this common? I’m not asking to be cute or to take cheap shots.”

    I think yes, yes, and yes.

    Reading a feminist blog is sanity-check for people who know the mainstream is crazy (and abusive) on issues of sex and gender.

    It is, on the whole, safer to talk about here – which doesn’t mean people don’t elsewhere, just that they know they are less likely to be completely flamed for doing so, or that if they are, someone will be likely to have their back.

    And incidence of this kind of abuse? Was a rape crisis counselor and violence prevention educator for some time, and learned from late 1990′s statistics collected by The Department of Justice (hardly an agency with a lefty-feminist agenda) that approximately 1 in 4 women have aleady been raped and/or battered by the time they’re eighteen, and they say the real number is probably more like 1 in 3.

    DOJ also says 1 in 7 men will be sexually assaulted over the course of his lifetime, usually in childhood or in jail, but that male reporting is so low it’s difficult to be precise: what they can say about men is that MEN rape them, not women, on the whole. 99.7 percent of reported rapes were by male rapists, if I remember the stat exactly.

    Which makes rape a men’s issue, not a women’s issue, as far as I’m concerned.

    Okay, they’re just numbers, statistical error blah blah. But it begins to give a general clue to what goes on, doesn’t it.

    Two long comments. What can I say, I’m doing it instead on banging my head on the desk or running out my hot water.

  94. Lorelei
    Lorelei August 9, 2006 at 11:34 pm |

    …every time a topic like this comes up at Feministe I see so many women who are able to speak with great, personal familiarity about abuse, due entirely to having lived through it. So I have to ask: Is the audience on a feminist blog more likely to include women with prior abusive relationships? Or is it just that women feel comfortable enough to talk about it here, and not elsewhere? Are “relationships” like this really this common? I’m not asking to be cute or to take cheap shots.

    Relationships like this are this common.

    I know that personally, I started reading feminist blogs after I got raped to find some sort of understanding as to why I was failed by society and men in this way. My first feminist blog was actually ginmar, and it felt amazing to read that people should quit telling women how to prevent rape. I was abused by my exboyfriend when I was fourteen. It was some pretty cold, calculated verbal/psychological abuse. He raped me when I was sixteen. Being sixteen and finding places online where not only would no-one flame you, or blame you, but also talk about how we can prevent such a thing in society?! I thought I was gonna die of relief and happiness.

    Theriomorph gave you some official statistics up there, but I can tell you that for me, I have give or take ten really close friends… eight of them have been abused in some way during their lives. All of them have an element of sexual abuse. Half of them have other forms of abuse (physical/mental/verbal) to go along with it. I think part of it is that my having this kind of group of friends is a statistical anomoly, but I think that it’s also that I know what happened to my friends because they know I won’t say anything to them like other ignorant assholes would (not saying you’re one! talking about just ignorant assholes here lol). But I think everyone has at least one friend/loved one who has been abused and/or raped. And just one seems like a longshot.

  95. lisa
    lisa August 10, 2006 at 12:49 am |

    Why did you go to so much effort here? It’s obviously just a joke article. Just laugh and move on. Well, I guess I am reading a blog called feministe.

    Besides, just as there are men with overinflated egos, I’m sure there do exist some women as easily manipulated and needy as his wife. If they want this guy, let them have him!

  96. Lux Fiat
    Lux Fiat August 10, 2006 at 2:45 am |

    Well, I guess I am reading a blog called feministe.

    Oh, I don’t know that I’d go so far as to call whatever you’re doing reading

  97. belledame222
    belledame222 August 10, 2006 at 4:39 am |

    This is like D.H. Lawrence after a blow to the head.

    With an anvil. From five stories.

  98. Lya Kahlo
    Lya Kahlo August 10, 2006 at 8:25 am |

    “Oh, I don’t know that I’d go so far as to call whatever you’re doing reading…”

    Bingo. Sounds more like trolling to me.

  99. bmc90
    bmc90 August 10, 2006 at 9:04 am |

    Perfect Blue has had the same experience as a lot of women who thought they were way to educated and with it to get into this situation. I would say to Ginger that there are actually some stats. out there suggesting that often its smart achieving women who become targets of these sociopaths because they need someone to attack who is a challenge. What people don’t realize is that especially most psycological/verbal abusers will be very well liked by a lot of people. You pay for leaving them by losing a lot of your friends, and often worse. My ex successfuly convinced my employer not to pay me a bonus for some work my company had done for him. It is made very clear that there will be dire consequences to leaving, and the very bad times will be interpersed with good. If the person is bi-polar, over time the lows get lower, and the up times are just more manic. Finally, you just spend all your time hoping that neither you nor anyone else will say anything that ruins the entire day, evening, weekend. One of my hints that thing were super messed up is I would DREAD anyone saying anything good about me in front of both of us, especially anything that had to to with professional accomplishment. That definitely meant a big lecture about what a big showboat I am and how my career is all I care about, even if I was absoultely mute during the whole thing (and this covnersation could be taking place as I was doing housework, too, without a hint of irony). I also started having major intense ideation about leaving immediately any time we were on vacation because then I never had a break from the lectures and browbeating. Yep – it’s all so familiar. And you really just want to shield your parents from it because it will be far too paintful to them to see you being treated that way.

  100. Weeze
    Weeze August 10, 2006 at 10:28 am |

    As someone who has also lived through this, I’d say another important component of an abusive relationship is “if you really loved me, you’d…” gambit. Surprisingly soon into my relationship with my ex, I was sure I didn’t love him, and wasn’t ever going to, but I had already put up with so much shit that, jesus, what did it say about me that I’d go through all that for someone I didn’t even love? Therefore, I must really love him. Secretly. Or something.

    I was amazed when I got out to find how unremarkable my situation was. This was almost fifteen years ago now, but reading these comments brings it all on back. Couldn’t stand me getting positive attention? Check. Controlled where I went and who I saw and what I spent? Check. Turned me against my friends and family and them against me? Check. The threats, the gaslighting, the eventual physical violence. (The spots of my blood on the floor that he carefully cleaned up during the fight, the way he punched me behind my hairline, where it wouldn’t show. Oh. You’ve done this before.)

    I remember the day when he started goose-stepping around the room in response to my apparently Nazi-like suggestion that he get a fucking job already. I remember looking up and thinking with a *ding* of crystal clarity: “This is a crazy person. Therefore I can leave.” I thank every god still willing to take my calls that one of my childhood friends and my parents came flying to get me the hell out the second I asked for help.

  101. Fat Doug Lover
    Fat Doug Lover August 10, 2006 at 10:34 am |

    Also… and I dread the answers to these questions even as I ask them, but… every time a topic like this comes up at Feministe I see so many women who are able to speak with great, personal familiarity about abuse, due entirely to having lived through it. So I have to ask: Is the audience on a feminist blog more likely to include women with prior abusive relationships? Or is it just that women feel comfortable enough to talk about it here, and not elsewhere? Are “relationships” like this really this common? I’m not asking to be cute or to take cheap shots.

    I think that feminists are just more open about it. Nearly half of women have been in an abusive relationship.

  102. Theriomorph
    Theriomorph August 10, 2006 at 11:49 am |

    “…there are actually some stats. out there suggesting that often its smart achieving women who become targets of these sociopaths because they need someone to attack who is a challenge”

    So true, so scary. All the education in the world about abuse doesn’t make people immune to it, either.

    Thanks to Feministe & everyone who has commented for this conversation.

  103. bmc90
    bmc90 August 10, 2006 at 11:57 am |

    Weeze, living with a psycological abuser is like going to a bullfight with someone who keeps tossing their wallet in the ring to see if you will go get it for them. If you won’t you don’t love them and don’t pass their test of being a worthwhile person. They keep throwing it further and further into the middle, and if you end up getting gored, they’ll tell people, we’ll she WAS crazy enough to go into a bull ring. It’s funny how people decry modern culture for celebrating victimhood because I find being a victim something I don’t want ANYONE to know about. It just makes you seem too pathetic.

  104. belledame222
    belledame222 August 10, 2006 at 12:40 pm |

    I’ve always liked the Heartless Bitches International “Emotional Manipulator Files,” myself.

    http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/manipulator/manip.shtml

  105. Kat
    Kat August 10, 2006 at 1:05 pm |

    bmc90 — the bullfight analogy was spot on! I’m going to use that one if you don’t mind. :)

  106. Ginger
    Ginger August 10, 2006 at 1:59 pm |

    I would say to Ginger that there are actually some stats. out there suggesting that often its smart achieving women who become targets of these sociopaths because they need someone to attack who is a challenge. What people don’t realize is that especially most psycological/verbal abusers will be very well liked by a lot of people. You pay for leaving them by losing a lot of your friends, and often worse.

    bmc90, believe me, I know this. My grandfather was an abuser, and a very handsome, popular, and charismatic man. My grandmother was a beautiful, smart, loving woman who was nearly beaten and choked to death several times. After she finally left him, he hid all of his assets so that she couldn’t support their three children, and had to take two jobs to make ends meet. He also came back to the house several times and put sugar in the gas tank of her car, so that it would break down on her way to work.

    This is why I take a hard-line stance on this issue; I’ve seen the damage that domestic violence does firsthand (my aunt was also in an abusive marriage, and a friend of mine is currently divorcing her emotionally abusive husband – who was starting to get physical). Having seen the pain and suffering that these men have caused, I have nothing but sympathy for those women, and derision for the men. It is not the women’s fault, but there comes a point where you have to pick up the clue phone and GET OUT, for your own mental and physical safety. Emotional abuse inevitably leads to physical abuse.

    You cannot control an abusive man, but you can control your own actions. If your partner routinely makes you feel bad about yourself, and you have people around you who really love you, who keep telling you that you can do better, that you don’t deserve such shitty treatment, then girlfriend, the clue phone is ringing off the hook. Pick it up.

  107. Medicine Man
    Medicine Man August 10, 2006 at 2:09 pm |

    Thanks for all the honest answers. I didn’t want to believe the 1-in-6 statistic, as it seemed apallingly high to me, so the 1-in-4 statistic is just downright depressing.

    Another question, asked without agenda or ulterior motive: Do you think the same patterns of abuse (sans the onset of physical violence) are common to emotionally abusive women as well?

  108. Medicine Man
    Medicine Man August 10, 2006 at 2:17 pm |

    Another question, asked without agenda or ulterior motive: Do you think the same patterns of abuse (sans the onset of physical violence) are common to emotionally abusive women as well?

    I should probably have attached a caveat to that question — yes, I realize that the lion’s share of domestic abuse is men battering women, physically and emotionally, and I’m not trying to divert the discussion away from that fact.

  109. Ginger
    Ginger August 10, 2006 at 2:21 pm |

    Medicine Man, whenever I’ve seen a physically or emotionally abusive woman, the abuse is being inflicted on the children. Human beings, of whatever gender, prey on those that they know to be weaker than they. That’s why you don’t often see women abusing men (although it does happen, in very rare cases). However, the old “it happens to men too” line is tired, and only serves to remove focus from the very common, and real, issue of violence against women.

    You might want to read this article. An exerpt:

    Abusers, physical or emotional, are abusive because of their own self-hate and internal issues – not because of anything their partner did. No amount of work or attempting to please will stop an abuser from abusing. They have to be willing to recognize and actually work on their own issues before they can stop inflicting cruelty on the people who love them. In many cases, they don’t even love their partners, because they can’t even love themselves, and don’t feel that they deserve love, even though they crave it. Abusers may genuinely feel bad that they committed another act of abuse, not because they have any real compassion for the person they hurt, but because they get angry at themselves for “screwing up” again. This drives them further into self-loathing, and further into a cycle of abusive behavior.

    It is common for men who are “called” on their abusive behavior to blame the woman, and claim SHE was the abuser. He may even point to his abusive childhood as proof that he is just an innocent victim. The truth of the matter is that abusers generally DO have a history of abuse stemming from their childhood, with emotionally abusive and/or physically abusive parents. However, it is important to note that though women can become abusers, MOST OFTEN (because of the way we are socialized and the power setups in society), if there has been no *successful* theraputic intervention, MEN from abusive families become “ABUSERS”, and WOMEN who grew up in abusive families become “Abuse VICTIMS”.

  110. bmc90
    bmc90 August 10, 2006 at 2:31 pm |

    Ginger, baby, that’s why I’m divorced. My ex’s fatal mistake was to make me think I was so crazy that I started therapy. The therapist eventually said she couldn’t do anything else to fix my marriage unless my husband would come in too. That’s when I realized a) he did not care about the marriage as much as I did, or he cared about staying in his current behavior pattern more, b) I had more guts because I was willing to let a professional tell me I had issues – he wasn’t.

    Kat, I want to say I may have extrapolated the bullfight thing from either a part of the first Dune book, so I have to give Frank Herbert his due. Or maybe something in a Dorothy Sayers novel.

  111. Medicine Man
    Medicine Man August 10, 2006 at 2:57 pm |

    However, the old “it happens to men too” line is tired, and only serves to remove focus from the very common, and real, issue of violence against women.

    I wonder if we cross-posted, Ginger? I agree. See post 111 for details.

    The reason I ask such a leading question in the first place: One thing I take from the numerous responses in this thread is that one should *not* shrug and say “Good thing that can’t happen to me because I have a ‘X’ (where X is a penis, education, support network, strong sense of self, etc.)”. I’m just sussing out what early warning signs could perhaps apply in reverse across the gender divide.

    Thank you for the article though. I’ll give it a read.

  112. Natalia
    Natalia August 10, 2006 at 3:51 pm |

    You know, recent comments on my site, are making me see this in a whole new light. It just makes me feel so hopeless for some people: they WILL not, CANNOT get it. Women are property to them, to be used at will.

    Asshole day? How about asshole era?

  113. Ginger
    Ginger August 10, 2006 at 4:03 pm |

    Medicine Man, I think we did.

    bmc90, from the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry. Good on you for finally saying, “enough”.

  114. Natalia
    Natalia August 10, 2006 at 5:03 pm |

    Gack! The bastards at the Daily Mail would not let my comment through! A plague on all their houses!

  115. Linnaeus
    Linnaeus August 10, 2006 at 5:44 pm |

    Ginger, that second article you linked to in particular was informative. Thanks.

    Though I will say, one issue I do have with articles like that is that it seems to me they often cast a very wide net such that the behaviors described are things that all of us have done at one time or another. So a person of genunine good will might read themselves into such articles and see themselves as possible abusers when they’re just imperfect people like everyone else. Or maybe that’s just me.

  116. bmc90
    bmc90 August 10, 2006 at 9:16 pm |

    Ginger, I only recite the sad facts that others might learn. If your spouse won’t go to counseling, go yourself and keep trying to make them go. If they won’t, that’s a big sign to get out.

    My current husband and I are both divorced and neither of our ex’s had any interest in trying counseling. We promised each other before this second marriage that either of us could initiate counseling any time and the other would cooperate. There are some super sadistic people who are actually good at manipulating the mental health profession, but in general I don’t think most sociopaths make promises like that and keep them. Too close to admitting you may be wrong about something some day.

    I am super lucky. No children to be harmed in the divorce and awesome new husband, so I can’t really tell my story out of bitterness. Lots of women never make it this far.

  117. lark
    lark August 11, 2006 at 3:00 pm |

    I would just like to mention that a man’s willingness to go to counseling is not necessarily a sign that he’s not an abuser.

    I was married to a man who routinely put me down, disparaged my friends and family, and hated any successes I might have at work. 5 years into this marriage, I told him that we went to marriage counseling or we split up. He agreed to go, and we went together for the next year, every week.

    But it just became another tool in his great big box of abusive shit. If we got into an argument and I tried to use the techniques we learned in counseling to resolve our differences, he’d tell me I wasn’t “doing it right.” He’d throw things I said in counseling back in my face weeks later, accuse me of making up things to tell the counselor, or that I was trying to “control him” and “make him change.”

    God help me, I realized later I was right…I *was* trying to make him change. I wanted him to be a nice person.

    People like this do exactly what they need to keep you around for a while longer. No more. And they’re certainly never going to have a great “epiphany” (although they’ll usually claim they have) and magically become a good person. That’s only for the movies.

  118. Medicine Man
    Medicine Man August 11, 2006 at 4:27 pm |

    I just got done reading the “Romeo is Bleeding” write up on Heartless-Bitches.com. Thank you again for the link, Ginger… now can I have a recommendation on how to deal with really, really, bad nausea? I recognized some of that behavior from a past acquaintance, one whom I had to sever ties with due to his emotional instability — go figure.

  119. belledame222
    belledame222 August 12, 2006 at 12:31 am |

    Here’s the thing about “it happens to men, too:”

    Yeah, probably abuse of adult men by adult women is relatively rare compared to the reverse (although if you factor in emotional abuse that -isn’t- physical, I think the numbers probably rise considerably).

    But as you say, women are far more likely to do it to kids.

    That includes boychildren.

    Who then grow up.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

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