When I posted about self help books a few days ago Dee commented with a self help that is now changing my life (THANK YOU DEE!) The book is called, “Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” by Lundy Bancroft (let’s call it WDHDT). Bancroft has worked with thousands of abusive men and their female partners and with this book he hopes to help women better understand their experience of abuse.
The emotional and psychological abuse I have experienced is no secret but I have downplayed the experience for many years. Reading Bancroft’s book is opening my eyes to perhaps the most important aspect in recovering from abuse and that is why. Why did this abuse happen to me? I feel the why is important because many women (if not all) are made to feel like the abuse they experience is their fault. This thinking needs to be undone because it is not true.
I’m struggling with two things while reading WDHDT: not seeing myself as an abuser and accepting that my partners were abusive and that it was not my fault. Bancroft makes special mention that individuals who have mental health issues and/or experienced trauma from past abuse have different motives for abusing and need a different type of treatment. I believe I would fall into this category. If I dished out any type of abuse to my partners it has been a trauma response. This is NOT an excuse for my poor and hurtful behaviour. I have gone to great lengths to keep my negative behaviours under control and to learn why I behave the way I do. While reading examples of abuse I am seeing similarities between the examples and my relationships. I keep having to quiet the voice that tells me “Well, I did this to make him mad,” or “If I had done this instead then he wouldn’t have yelled at me,” which is EXACTLY what abuse does to a person’s thoughts and what I need to stop thinking.
Side Note: Since entering my new relationship many of my undesirable behaviours have disappeared or are greatly limited. He understands how to speak to me and wants me to be happy. He is not abusive. This is what lets me know that majority of my negative and abusive behaviours were the result of being with abusive men.
It is upsetting to relate to the stories in this book. It’s painful to see how strongly I blame myself for what happened or how I make excuses for my partners. I do believe though that at the end of this journey I will feel better about my experiences with abuse and will be able to let go of the blame and pain.
I also want to share with all of you some important parts of the book. Maybe they will help you too.