Right off the bat: we’re going to be talking about abusive relationships. This is a subject that can be touchy for some people, so proceed with all caution.
So with all that said:
I write a lot about men behaving badly. In fact, I’m regularly accused – with some accuracy – of being much harder on men than I am on women. This is because, frankly, I want men to be better. I want masculinity to be something positive, not something toxic that mistakes violence for power, anger for strength, sex for value.
Sometimes that means talking about things men are doing wrong, so they can recognize it and do better.
Sometimes it means teaching men how to help themselves… even when the world tells them that they can’t.
Which is why I want to talk about a subject we don’t hear much about: when men find themselves trapped in abusive relationships.
In a lot of ways, men are frequently invisible victims of relationship abuse. When we think of abusive relationships, we often default to the idea of a woman as the victim with a man as the perpetrator. Rarely do we imagine men as the victims. To do so is almost comical – literally. The image of the angry housewife – usually fat and unattractive – waiting for at home for her milquetoast husband with curlers in her hair and a rolling pin, ready to dispense retributory violence for some slight, has been around for generations.
But despite the jokes and cartoons about “henpecked husbands”, more men than many would expect are trapped in abusive relationships. It spans the gamut of ages and ethnicities, of sexual orientations and gender identities.
So today I want to shed some light on the subject – as well as talk about how to recognize an abusive relationship and how to leave one.