Men usually are blamed for abuse because of modern gender stereotypes. Women are perceived as the weaker, gentler sex, whereas men are perceived as being stronger and having natural tendencies toward violence. These stereotypes are false.
It is true, however, than women tend to abuse men differently than men abuse women. Women generally favor emotional abuse tactics, making the abuse much more difficult to detect.
Examples of the ways women perpetrate emotional abuse include:
• Extreme mood swings
• Constant anger or displeasure
• Withholding sex
• Name calling
• Public humiliation
Women rarely inflict physical abuse in the same way as men. However, it can still happen. Examples of the ways women perpetrate physical abuse include:
• Withholding Personal Finances
• Destroying possessions
• Striking out with fists or feet
• Using weapons, such as guns or knives
Women frequently are excused for these behaviors. Some excuses include “she was abused when she was younger”; “she experienced severe emotional trauma”; or “it’s just hormones.”
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.