|Mary Jo Fay, RN, M...||
Greetings, Savvy Singles,
It’s almost the weekend once again and I have a few updates for you ...
1. DR. JENN’S TOPIC WILL BE DRAMA FREE DATING!
2. DUMB, NAIIVE, OR JUST VULNERABLE?
3. WHEN WOMEN ARE THE ABUSERS
1. NEXT MEETUP WITH DR. JENN
Yep - she’s working on the details now, but Dr. Jenn will join us at our next regular Dating, Mating, and Relating Meetup on TUES, Nov. 5 to discuss DRAMA FREE DATING! And as you know, when she stops by, we pack the place! (There are already 20 signed up without knowing what the topic is!)
So, go here to RSVP now and mark your calendars... http://www.meetup.com/singles-1560/
2. DUMB, NAIIVE, OR JUST VULNERABLE?
I saw this on AOL today and just had to throw it out to you. As many of you know, my new novel involves a relationship begun on Craigslist and this REAL story is absolutely stranger than fiction and almost cost this woman her life. Watch this quick video:
Then tell me whether you think she was dumb, naiive, or just vulnerable.
3. WHEN WOMEN ARE THE ABUSERS
Wow - did my inbox fill up after the last Meetup where I taught you all about narcissistic relationships! And yes, I will have more books at the next meetup in case you were trying to buy one after I ran out.
In the meantime, however, I wanted to share with you an article I wrote about WOMEN ABUSERS a while back, especially since so many men approached me after, asking about that topic. So here you go ...
Recognizing Women Abusers
Copyright by Mary Jo Fay
The usual picture of the abuse victim from newspapers to the big screen is most commonly a woman. Stereotypically, a small, weak, low socioeconomic woman at that. Someone who can’t defend herself and has been taken advantage of by a brut … a cad … a villainous man… like the monster of a man in the movie “Sleeping With the Enemy,” with Julia Roberts. (Although, I dare say, Julia’s role broke a bit of the stereotype itself, as she was married to a very wealthy and respected member of the community whose friends would never have dreamed of his abusive behavior behind closed doors.)
Yes, women have been abused, (physically, sexually, and emotionally) by men for centuries. And yet women can also be the abusers. Would you recognize one? They don’t all deliver cuts and bruises, and thus, may remain unnoticed by most. Yet the injuries they inflict can do more damage than the casual observer may notice.
In fact, women oftentimes can wreck about as much havoc on those in their environment as their male counterparts. Some are even clever actors who can morph from June Cleaver to Cruella De Ville in a moment’s notice.
They are vindictive wives, caustic bosses, name-calling mothers and grandmothers, condescending friends, and nightmare employees.
They come in all walks of life, all socio-economic groups, ages, and races. And they can deviously trap their hostages in a living hell from which they may not know how to escape.
What do abusive women look like?
Well, they can use the exact methodology as the men do. They can use physical punishment, beating and/or torturing children or anyone less capable than they are (aging parents?) They can demand or withhold sex, using it as a weapon, or can cheat on their spouses without apparent conscience. They can name-call to the point where the victim is left feeling vile, unimportant, and as though they don’t even exist. They can ignore and deliver the “silent treatment” as punishment for perceived wrongs. They can even hold all the purse strings, not allowing their husbands or family members to have so much as their own allowance. And they can prohibit their “loved ones” from even interacting with friends and extended family.
Want some real examples?
The mother of a 5 year old boy who taught her son total emotional confusion and lead him to a life filled with anxiety, due to her early treatment of him … Some days she would call him up to her lap to watch her TV shows with her when he came home from school, and yet other days she would reach out and slap him in the face unexpectedly and without warning. He never knew which mother to expect and after years of her roller coaster behaviors he still has a hard time trusting women.
The wife of a devoted husband who thought that she was the best thing that ever came into his life. While she didn’t appear to have much of a sexual appetite with him, he later found out that she had been having affairs with 5 different men during their marriage, then accused him of being the one to destroy their relationship.
The woman who never takes responsibility for any of the situations in her life and blames everyone else for all the negative things that befall her.
The 94 year old mother of her senior citizen son who is still calling him demeaning names to this day. His ongoing attempts to win his mother’s approval (even after all these years), has left him always feeling like a failure at most things he tries and wondering why she believes he is such a loser.
The wife of a man she so verbally and emotionally abused (a high ranking military doctor), that when she was hospitalized for a blood clot in her leg, he attempted to inject household poison into her IV line, later claiming that he “snapped” after years of the emotionally abusive environment in which he had lived. (He spent 18 months in Leavenworth.)
The mother who constantly tells her grown daughter in front of her grandchild, that she wishes she’d had an abortion instead of giving birth to her. That the daughter is, in fact, the worst excuse of a mother she’s ever seen. (Now there’s the pot calling the kettle black!)
The woman who never has a kind thing to say about anyone and yet is quick to offer criticism to all in her path.
The female boss who throws a temper tantrum because her name is misspelled on her name tag at the newcomer’s management meeting. Who strikes terror in the hearts of her employees whenever she walks into their departments, as no one knows where her vile anger and words will strike next.
The woman who “forgets” to give birthday or Christmas presents to her “loved ones,” yet expects substantial gifts and attention lavished on her when her birthday and other holidays roll around.
The radical religious grandmother who is raising her “bastard” grandchild and because her interpretation of her religion tells her that he is “unclean and wicked,” forces enemas upon him every day of his life, leaving him with lifetime issues relating to his sexuality and his personal value.
The wife of a man who she constantly belittles about everything he does, from how he dresses, to how much money he makes, to how he makes love, or even bathes the children.
The female employee who makes everyone feel as though they must “walk on eggshells” around her, as she treats everyone with her “silent treatment” all shift, refusing to engage in conversation, or even acknowledge anyone else’s presence or value but her own.
The mother who teaches her children to be shameful for any misbehavior they might experience, and then proceeds to remind them of their shameful selves as long as possible, only ensuring the development of their low self-esteem.
The condescending adult sister who loves to tell her grown siblings how they are terrible parents, undermines everything they do with their kids, and then attempts to “guilt trip” them about why they don’t visit her more often.
The mother of a 12 year old child who “punished” her daughter for misbehaving by submerging her in a tub of scalding water. The child needed hospitalization and skin grafts.
Reading the Victim Signs
Yes, women can be incredibly caustic abusers. And because society more generally expects women to be the victims, we may miss reading the telltale signs that the people who are subjected to these women on a day-to-day basis are slowly having their very souls chipped away bit by bit.
They may show signs of depression, anxiety, gastro-intestinal symptoms, insomnia, or a variety of other symptoms as a result of the chronic stress they live under. Unfortunately, they may not recognize that it is this emotional war zone they live in which may be at the root of these problems.
Helping Male Victims
When women are the victims of abuse, they may be open to discussing their feelings and situation with others. They solicit information from their female friends or therapists to help find clarity and understanding in situations that may leave them feeling lost, confused, or in pain. Although many women still seem to stay “stuck” in abusive relationships (for many reasons), at least it seems to be more the norm that they still share their situations, and their pain with someone they can connect with.
With men, however, coping skills are often quite different. Men don’t often chat over coffee about their relationships and many simply don’t easily share their feelings with a well-meaning therapist.
Of course in our macho culture, admitting that one’s wife is a husband abuser just doesn’t make a man a “man’s man” either. Admitting this situation to male counterparts (or others) may seem like emotional suicide to some.
In addition, since the majority of support groups for these type of victims tend to be comprised of mostly females, men might not feel at ease (or in some cases welcomed), as some female members may feel uncomfortable with any male presence in their midst.
Thus, males who are trapped in these abusive nightmares may find it even more difficult to explain their situations and safely extricate themselves from it, than do the women victims.
Educating men about the intricacies of these abusive, narcissistic individuals and specifically, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, may be the first line of defense for many who are walking in the dark, questioning their own sanity.
Knowledge is power. Enlightening male clients and friends to the wealth of knowledge available regarding this phenomenon may be their first step towards determining their future course and plans. Realizing that they are not going crazy and that they are not the only ones who feel lost and alone as the victim of abuse, can give many the first keys to unlocking the doors to their emotional freedom.
Educating our communities and getting the media to recognize and talk about the fact that abuse does not just involve the typical male brute, but can also include the stealth, covert manipulations of the female of the species as well might just make the difference for so many who feel trapped in the nightmare.
Finally, helping men realize that they are not alone in their confusion, depression, and emotional roller coaster ride living or working with a narcissistic female, can allow the formation of new paths to healing. It may give them new knowledge upon which they can make conscious choices for change.
In addition, it may lead many to better understand that abusive women can be pathological and may cause vast destruction to those in their path … including children who generally have no say in their situations.
So the next time you see on TV or in film, those wickedly funny women (like the character Jane Fonda played in the movie, “Monster-in Law”), don’t laugh so hard. These women are as real as the men we see in mug shots and in the news each and every day … but too many times we just don’t see them through their pearls and lace.
Have a good weekend, everybody.
As always - if you have comments or questions, feel free to get in touch with me.
Mary Jo Fay