Abused Husbands

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  • #1001381

    Silent one: Abusive behavior most definitely stems from insecurity. Low self esteem [as you claim you feel] is not necessarily insecurity. Aggressive behavior is solely generated from feelings of insecurity, as it gives with it feeling of security upon acting aggressive. (Nazi behavior was also generated from feelings of insecurity.)

    The only eitzah to rectify this phenomenon, is that people who are aggressive should be made to recognize that their behavior is abnormal, and they need to address their insecurity through therapy. I believe that if all these people would go for individual therapy before they get married, then they will become totally healed and lead healthy marriages.

    #1001382

    Health
    Participant

    TBT – “When obviously flawed studies are made, there is usually an agenda at hand.”

    Yea, and the name of the agenda is Feminism or Woman’s Lib!

    Many men are abused; I didn’t even realize I was until many years into the marriage.

    #1001383

    MDG
    Participant

    SilentOne,

    I was talking with Rabbi Dr Abraham J Twerski a number of years ago. He told me that low self esteem manifests itself in two ways (using Peanuts characters):

    Charlie Brown – who has low self esteem and shows it at face value.

    Lucy – who has low self esteem and uses the hard/mean outer shell to mask it

    I think that the Lucy’s look for the Charlie Brown’s. And I think that (most of) the Charlie Brown’s may not be looking for Lucy’s, but they don’t reject them outright and get stuck in the relationship. Some may actually be looking for it.

    #1001384

    SilentOne
    Member

    Lomed Mkol Adam: Insecurity (whether it’s the same as low self esteem or not is debatable) may be a contributing factor in triggering abusive behavior, but I’ll bet that there are hundreds if not thousands insecure (Yiddishe) people who are not the slightest bit abusive. To become abusive, there must be a very rotten core of Middos Raos (character flaws) in their proverbial closet, where they can be kept very well hidden until after the Chasunah. What to do about this? See my earlier remarks from HaRav Chatzkel Levenstain ZT”L – working through one’s Middos via assidous Mussar learning, is a good start (with the help of a Rov/Rebbitzen).

    Re therapy – many people are not aware or willing to face their flaws before marriage and would not classify themselves (nor would their friends) as aggressive, and so, according to your plan (very commendable though), they would never go for therapy prior to marriage, only to have unrefined (poor) Middos come out of their proverbial closet when things become not so much fun in marriage. Then they resort to abusive (or somewhat abusive) behavior against their spouse. So sending only “aggressive” ones to pre-marital therapy, is at best a small Yeshuah. We need to encourage our Chinuch Mosdos and individual mentors to help teens and pre-marital young adults really work on their hidden flaws (Middos Raos) through Mussar. No doubt that people could benefit from a healthy dose of therapy (although I am not certain if they should go for therapy when they start dating and/or bring their Chosson/Kallah into therapy after engagement, or even before they start dating) to help them really work out their hidden flawed Middos. I am sure this is oversimplification, but it is a start to tackle a nasty problem that every parent fears their child might be victimized by after the Chasunah.

    #1001385

    (Nazi behavior was also generated from feelings of insecurity.)

    Its not the place, but I do take issue with that. Eisov wanted to kill Yaakov, not only due to insecurity? same with Amolaik right after the splitting of the sea. etc etc throughout history. The idea may have its truth, but it runs a lot deeper

    #1001386

    Silent One: Many/most people contain within them some feelings of insecurity, however we are discussing here people that experience deep and severe levels of insecure feelings. If the insecurity is deep and severe, then it will obviously trigger extreme behavior in order to placate those feelings.

    I was just saying that theoretically the only real solution is that these people address their insecurity through therapy and their behavior would then be modified. Of course I understand that the execution of this solution is extremely difficult [if not impossible] on a practical level.

    #1001387

    SilentOne
    Member

    Lomed Mkol Adam: You and I could argue from “Heint Biz Morgin” on whether there exists a meaningful correlation between deep-seated insecurity and emotionally abusive behavior to spouses (I doubt a clear correlation exists), but we would still make zero headway in solving this community problem. For if my hypothesis is correct, even in very secure people, there exists underlying Middos Raos, which (in my opinion) is one of the key causal factors of emotionally abusive behavior. Examples of such Middos Raos may be selfishness (i.e. unable to see beyond our own needs), arrogance (i.e. thinking I am always right, so the other person must be at fault) and also a lack of Emunah in Hashem that He sees and knows all and can take care of all our needs if only we engage in acceptable behaviors Bein Adom L’Chaveiro. Take for example – what would drive a spouse to say to the other, in front of others, that he/she is unable to do anything right – it is a feeling of entitlement that I can say what I want when I want to, I deserve to get what I want when I want it, and I am totally not responsible for the crushing effect on the other’s feelings. This derives from a combination of arrogance, selfishness and the lack of belief that Hashem can help make it all work out. Very little of these Middos Raos have anything to do with insecurity.

    I maintain that very focused and modeled behavior clinics must be presented in Mosdos Chinuch to show what is acceptable behavior and what is not. And this must be reinforced by Limud Mussar which teaches people how to “attack” and refine deep-seated Middos Raos. What we really need is to hear from Rabbonim who counsel and listen to people who are going through this.

    #1001388

    mw13
    Participant

    Silent One:

    You said it. An abusive person is a person who has developed their bad middos instead of their good ones. We must put the mussar and self-improvement back into our chinuch.

    As a side point, I believe part of the reason there are more abusive spouses today is due to the modern technology (internet, ipods, etc) of our times. This technology exposes many (if not most) of our boys to highly inappropriate materials that tend to have the attitude that women are to be treated as things, not people. Once a man has this atitude implanted within him, it’s very, very hard to get it out. This problem is far widespread than most believe, and I believe it is a primary cause of the rising abuse/divorce rates.

    #1001389

    Silent One: Someone who possesses selfishness or/and arrogance definitely make it difficult for someone to have a good relationship them. However, these character traits do not induce abusive behavior, so therefore it is still possible to maintain a relationship with them, as unpleasant as it may be sometimes. Arrogance and selfishness originate from a lack of discipline and self understanding of social relationships. You may classify it as Middos Raos, but it definitely can’t be associated with abusive behavior-meaning intentionally putting down another person for the sole purpose of feeling themselves self confident. Only real abusive behavior is devastating to a marriage as it makes life unbearable for the spouse, and it stems solely from deep seated insecurity [and not from lack of discipline]. The solution therefore is to directly address the insecurity which is inducing this behavior. I don’t think regular Mussar classes are sufficient to address such serious behavior problems; only individual therapy which is specifically designed to deal with these cases would be the real solution.

    #1001390

    Silent One: Someone who possesses selfishness or/and arrogance definitely make it difficult for someone else to have a good relationship with them. However, these character traits do not induce abusive behavior, so therefore it is still possible to maintain a relationship with them, as unpleasant as it may be sometimes.

    Arrogance and selfishness originate from a lack of discipline and self understanding of social relationships. You may classify it as Middos Raos, but it definitely can’t be associated with abusive behavior-meaning intentionally putting down another person for the sole purpose of feeling themselves self confident.

    Only real abusive behavior is devastating to a marriage as it makes life unbearable for the spouse, and it stems solely from deep seated insecurity [and not from lack of discipline]. The logical solution therefore is to directly address the insecurity which is inducing this behavior. I don’t think regular Mussar classes are sufficient to address such serious behavior problems. Only individual therapy which is specifically designed to deal with these cases would be the real solution.

    #1001392

    SilentOne
    Member

    Lomed Mkol Adam: We should put our dispute into the hands of a Rov or a Frum therapist who could give their professional opinion. Our back-and-forth friendly banter will provide no positive results to the Tzibbur. Rav Chatzkel Levenstain ZT”L makes a strong arguement that Middos Raos can lead people to do the worst of behavior, (and I add that “intentionally putting down another person for the sole purpose of feeling themselves self confident” is well within the boundaries of what Rav Chatzkel discusses). Clearly you are correct that many people will benefit from therapy and this could enable them to become much better spouses, but to ignore the impact of Middos development and the contribution of poor Middos development on abusive spousal behavior is equivalent to me, to throwing out the a full Chelek of the Shulchan Aruch.

    #1001393

    Silent One: I agree with you that Mussar classes will definitely help modify the behavior of someone who has tendencies to be abusive. Still, in severe cases it seems that Mussar classes are just not sufficient to change these people’s behavior. The only solution for these real abusive mentally ill people is for them to get professional help from a frum therapist. I’m not cha”v throwing out any halacha of S”A, to the contrary, I’m saying that some people just don’t connect to what S”A/Mussar sefarim are saying. I’m just as upset as you are about this phenomenon; it’s really heartbreaking to know about all the violence that’s out there and that nothing is being done to address this problem on a community level.

    #1001394

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Mussar s meant for those who want to better themselves, to know how to go about it. I don’t know of any Baal Midos Ra’os who became convinced through Mussar Sefarim that he must change. When he witnesses the contrast between himself and a normal person, that can sometimes trigger a desire to change. An astute Mashgi’ach or Rosh Yeshiva can personally work on such a person. It is more so the job of the parents to pick it out and try to correct it.

    The Yeshiva is a place to learn Torah, it is not a clinic. Nor is the Yeshiva a replacement for good parenting. If anything should be done about such behaviors, it should be in the direction of educating parents how to deal with situations and behaviors. Perhaps you want to organize classes or give out books, or dedicate an hour on Talkline Communications for parenting methods.

    #1001397

    Haleivi: I agree with you that a Yeshiva is a place to learn Torah and it’s not structured to cater to these kind of problems. However, your suggestion that parents should pick out the problem on their own, is hardly realistic since in most cases these problems actually originate from the home, through having one abusive parent which they learned to copy their behavior from.

    #1001398

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    That’s a very good point, Lomed. At least you know to look out for those cases.

    #1001399

    yswo
    Member

    All husbands are abused!

    Seriously I see lots of people and how they interact with their spouses and the ones who get along best it is where the husband is constantly helping his wife. I also know personal details about many people and it is the same story. I might not like it, but I find I am much happier when I give into my wife and help here even if I have my own personal errands to attend to, it leads to less fighting, and more joy.

    #1001400

    tuted
    Member

    I posted to this room but apparently it was edited out.

    edited again

    #1001401

    aries2756
    Participant

    Anyone on the shidduch scene or in an abusive relationship should read Rabbi Abraham Twerski, MD’s book “The Shame Borne in Silence: Spouse Abuse in the Jewish Community”.

    This applies to physical, emotional or other abuses.

    #1001402

    Lost1970
    Member

    Being an abused husband and getting no sympathy from community is very very bad experience. Being an adult controlled by his parents for decades is also a very stressful experience — unlike a teenager he will have no sympathy from society. Given that being frum is very difficult, the situation for an observant Jew is much worse.

    Under such conditions many people will break.

    #1001403

    1st timer
    Participant

    The book by Lisa Twerski, I’m so confused, am I being abused, is also a very excellent source for abused spouses

    #1001404

    Health
    Participant

    Lost1970 – I’ve done both. First, I was abused by my parents and then I was abused by my wife. And now, after the nursing home, I’m living at my parents’ house and being abused here!

    #1001407

    Lost1970
    Member

    I hope everything turns out OK.

    In any case for a man with severe disability like my autism (Asperger’s Syndrome) marriage is an impossibility. For most people marriage means a great blessing rather then abuse. But for an autistic the best option is to live alone.

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