A Cup of Coffee – Can a man really be abused?

Welcome back! Last week, we talked about Histrionic Personality Disorder. If you missed that blog and would like to catch up, click HERE.

This week, we are going to talk about men and domestic abuse. Now some will say that men cannot be abused. They are bigger, stronger, and dominate most relationships. I’m going to challenge that line of thinking.

Abuse comes in many different forms. Along with the regular lineup of verbal, financial, emotional, physical, and sexual, we also have alienation of children. Favorite pets can be taken in a divorce, men can be left homeless while the woman gets the home, and years of hard work resulting in retirement monies and pensions are divided leaving the man living a life he hadn’t planned on.

Now, I’m not here to debate who deserves what. I’m not here to say who gets what because why.

What I’m going to do is dispel the myth that men don’t get hurt.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has some sobering statistics.

  • 1 in 10 men experiences sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by
    an intimate partner during their lifetime with ‘Intimate Partner Violence-related impact’ such as being concerned for their safety, PTSD symptoms, injury, or needing victim services.
  • 1 in 20 male victims needs medical care
  • 1 in 9 male victims needs legal services.
  • 13.9% of men have experienced severe physical violence by an
    intimate partner during their lifetime
  • In 2018, partner violence accounted for 20% of all violent crime
  • 1 in 40 men in the United States are victims of rape or attempted rape during
    their lifetime.
  • 1 in 12 men has experienced contact with sexual violence by an intimate
    partner in their lifetime.
  • From 2016 through 2018 the number of rape/sexual assault victimizations in the United States
    increased 146%.
  • 6.4 million men in the United States have been stalked.
  • 1 in 50 men has experienced stalking by an intimate partner during their
  • 1 in 13 male murder victims is killed by intimate partners.

Why don’t men report abuse?

Psychology Today reports “For most of the men…they found that seeking help had a negative emotional impact. They found that most of the male victims reportedly experienced gender-stereotyped treatment from professionals and services and that seeking formal help frequently led to secondary victimization in the form of statements or behavior that could cause them further distress. In fact, seeking formal help itself had a negative impact on their well-being, aggravating their victimization.”

The article went on to say, “men do not seek assistance because of what they describe as ‘societal obstacles against men and lack of support.’ Obstacles mentioned include denialfear, shame and embarrassment, stigmatization.

A personal account

I interviewed a man who experienced domestic violence in the form of slapping, kicking, finger bending, yelling, and threats to take his children from him if he left. His partner also falsely reported that he abused her and created a paper trail that he couldn’t stop. He wishes to remain anonymous for the purposes of this blog.

Our relationship started out perfect, and when I say perfect, I mean she was just amazing. She treated me like nobody else had ever treated me and I naturally reciprocated. The abuse started after she had our children, and escalated from there. I could never make her happy.

She would ask me to do something simple, like go to the grocery store for her, but when I got home, she would start screaming at me for being gone too long. She’d accuse me of stopping at the bar or having a girl I was visiting. The truth was I couldn’t figure out where all the items were in the store and it just took me forever, but she wouldn’t hear that.

She would grab the groceries out of my hand in a rage and start throwing them on the floor, picking up the heavy stuff like canned goods and throwing them at my head. One day, she hit me square in the eye and I went to work with a shiner. I told the boys I got it in a bar fight and joked, ‘you should have seen the other guy’. I was humiliated, confused, scared, and most of all, afraid of leaving her because she threatened to take my children. In the end, that’s exactly what she did.”

Involving the children

Psychology Today defines “Parental alienation syndrome, a term coined in the 1980s by child psychiatrist Dr. Richard A. Gardner, as occurring when one parent attempts to turn the couple’s children against the other parent. A parent who is angry at the spouse or ex-spouse accomplishes this estrangement by painting a negative picture of the other parent via deprecating comments, blame, and false accusations shared with the children. They may also ‘hoard’ the kids, doing all they can to thwart the other parent from spending time with them. In my clinical practice, the alienating parent has most often been a mother who is turning the children against their dad.”

Symptoms of abuse

Help for battered men: if your spouse/significant other engages in the following behaviors, consider getting help.

  • Withhold approval, appreciation, or affection as punishment
  • Criticize, name call, or shout
  • Take away your car keys or money
  • Regularly threatened to leave or to make you leave
  • Threaten to hurt you or a family member
  • Punish or deprive your children when angry at you
  • Threaten to kidnap the children if you leave
  • Abuse or hurt your pets
  • Harass you about affairs your spouse imagines you are having
  • Manipulate you with lies and contradictions
  • Destroy furniture, punch holes in walls, break appliances
  • Wield a gun/knife in a threatening way
  • Hit, kick, shove, punch, bite, spit, or throw things when upset

Who to believe?

In this writer’s opinion, it is always important to take any allegations of abuse seriously, whether it’s a male or female reporting it. There are many, many professionals available to parse out what is happening in an abusive relationship.

If you are male and are being abused, please seek out help. Don’t keep telling yourself that nobody will believe you. You have a right to safety, you have a right to see your children, and you have a right to be heard. Help is available.

Speak with someone today.

National Domestic Violence HotlineHours: 24/7. Languages: English, Spanish, and 200+ through interpretation service

 Learn more 800-799-7233

As always, this blog is not a replacement for sound medical advice. I am not a doctor. Please make an appointment to see your healthcare provider and put a good plan in place that works for you and the needs of your body.

That’s all I have for you this week, dear reader. I’ll see you back here next Wednesday to share another cup of coffee. Until then, be good to yourself and each other.

Mind, Body, Spirit…Osteopathic Doctors treat the whole person, not just the ailment. Is your PCP a DO? Would you like to learn more about Osteopathic Physicians? Click HERE!


  1. I think this is too far of a swing. *With nothing else, I cannot see the following as a reason to seek help:

    Partner is withholding approval, appreciation, or affection as punishment

    if my partner acts the fool (not little stuff, big stuff) you can darn well be sure I will be withholding all 3 until we figure this out, and if it is seen by him as “punishment” instead of as a direct result of his actions, that’s a matter of perspective.

    Criticize or shout <— spouses, especially long term spouses, occasionally criticize each other. I am not talking callous or cruel criticism, but you aren’t differentiating either. Shouting/yelling is normal where I come from (NJ) and is not indicative of a problem marriage. We are loud.

    This is over the top for me regardless of which sex is acting. We aren’t all emotionless Stepford people. People argue without it being abuse. People withhold attention/affection because their partner was an a$$hat. People may yell when they get mad or even excited. It’s not always a sign of a slippery slope into abuse.

    30 years happily married

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