Whether it’s a heterosexual or same sex relationship – men abuse is more common than you would expect.
Most men, like myself, are unaware that they are, or have been, abused. Many men have selective memories. They remember the good times, the sex and the moments when their partner told them they were good at fixing doorknobs.
Men can be perfect whipping boys. Their greatest strength is endurance in the face of conflict and terror.
They learn, as children and adolescence, to push their bodies well beyond capacity in order to net a soccer ball, or, as men, drive hard into long hours at a desk even though their soul is screaming for reprieve. Tolerance runs sovereign over self-respect.
For most men to recall a time they were treated terribly, it may take more than throwing a shoe down memory lane. They just don’t think about being treated terribly, they think about how to fix something, or how to escape, but to recall and feel are the creeds of a foreign god.
Men are most at risk for abuse when they have grown up thinking they have to please in order to be loved, have drug addicted or alcoholic parents, or if they’ve been abandoned by a parent or guardian and think it’s their fault. They become people-pleasing puddles of mush, mashed at the stroke of a disapproving gaze. This false core wound provides ground for any Narcissistic or Borderline individual to come creeping into their midst, keen on exploiting that wound for all its riches.
Narcissists and Borderline personalities, or the skilled victim as I call them, are those who have received the same type of wounding as the people pleasers, perhaps more severe/abusive, but have responded and developed in a different way. They can be men or women. These types become the opposite of people pleasing. They are never able to apologize, are uber critical of other people and are masterful manipulators.
The skilled victim needs someone, a whipping boy, to trim their hedges and turn on the lights for them, and the whipping boy will comply, because that is how he achieves shallow acceptance, and his own version of false love.
Skilled victims are the most prone to abuse. These are some of the ways I, and other men I know, have experienced abuse.
The skilled victim will:
- Seduce him with all the sex he wants until he has committed; then remove sex, off and on, infinitum, in order to keep him where they want him. The man will always apologize thinking he has done something wrong to have such boons retracted. This is abuse. Get out.
- Develop impromptu “sicknesses” just before their man leaves to clear his head, spend time with friends, go on a solo adventure, or business trip. The expert victim will then shame him for leaving them in such a condition.
- Will verbally abuse him, castrate him with their words and challenge his manhood and self-care. Skilled victims hate seeing people take care of themselves, because it is not something they have ever been able to do, and, quite possibly, were punished for trying to do so. A skilled victim is incapable of compromise, vulnerability, or authenticity. Either you do what they want, or they will do whatever they can to label you as an abuser.
- Become an expert within the first few weeks around what the man will want to hear. They will build him up. He will be an emperor in his own skin. Once the skilled victim latches on, however, all of his strengths will, like a slow poisonous drip, be challenged and undermined, especially when they interfere with the victim’s need for self-soothing and attention.
- Talk endlessly of wanting to be together for lifetimes, how they can’t wait for them to grow old together, and in the next instant they snap fangs at you for packing a box wrong. The man will be split into idealizations and degradations. This is abuse. Leave the leaf of the praying mantis.