Why are some women attracted to abusive men? By Donna.

FROM: Donna.

>> Why are some women attracted to abusive men?

Others on this echo have looked into this in more depth than I have, but I
do have a few thoughts/facts on the issue.  For one thing, most abusive
relationships don't start out violently abusive.  It's a lot easier to
excuse (and forgive) abusive language than it is to excuse physically
abusive behavior.  Matter of fact, lots of people don't recognize the
connection between the two.  (Bit of interest note: Last week's "Golden
Girls" had the resident man-magnet in a relationship with a man who was
verbally abusive, who showed no interest in her as a *person*.  When her
friend tried to talk her out of dating such an abusive man, Blanche
replied, "Really, Dorothy, he's not abusive.  Why, he's never raised a hand
to me, ever!  Besides, he apologizes for all those rotten things he says."
Blanche may be a television character, but this particular aspect of her
happens to be incredibly wide-spread in the Real World.)

Most of us, at one time or another, are guilty of being so wrapped up in
our work and/or our hobbies that we kinda ignore the people around us --
some people, however, are *always* ignoring the humanity of the people
around them.  Many of us have difficulty telling which category a
particular person fits into: is it verbal abuse, or is it just a human
failing?  By the time we discover that we're with an abusive person, we're
"hooked" on that person.... either we've fallen in love with the romantic
who's always apologizing for the abuse (who usually 'shows up' less and
less often as time goes by), or we've already married 'em and "leaving" has
become more complicated.  It's typically only AFTER the hook has been made
that the abuse turns physical.

There are some people who grew up feeling that they weren't worthy of nice
treatment by others (from abusive parents, usually, although other adults
in our lives can do it to us while we're still too young to know better
than to believe the adults in our lives).  These are the people who are
"attracted" to abusers, because abuse fits in with what they feel they
"deserve".  These are the people who are truly victims, because they've
never lived a non-victimized life -- ever.  (Personally, I would place
these people in the category of "mentally ill", which, if the law ever
agreed with me, would change how the law considers people who choose to
abuse these lifelong victims.  So long as they are *not* considered
mentally ill, we excuse their abusers because "the victims WANTED to be
abused", even though *these* victims never really had a choice in the
matter.  And it's that complete lack of choice from never even knowing that
a true choice exists which, for my money, justifies the "mentally ill"
label.)


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