When we hear about “domestic abuse,” we almost always picture a man beating up his girlfriend/wife.
Usually we’ll include a disclaimer like, “Abuse isn’t always physical!” But, even still, we tend to assume the psychological/emotional abuser is a man, while his victim is a helpless female…
However, if abuse doesn’t have to be physical (and it doesn’t)–then it’s inexcusable how little documenation exists about female Domestic Abusers.
Where men are more likely to use their fists, women use emotional manipulation to control those around them. The lack of clear, specific case studies of female abusers can make it difficult for their victims to identify the problem and seek help.
That’s why the work being done by Erin Pizzey (and her peers) is extremely important. Her book “The Emotional Terrorist and the Violence Prone” is one of the few studies willing to acknowledge that women are guilty of domestic abuse just as often as men…
To quote Pizzey:
“In my experience, men also are capable of behaving as family terrorists but male violence tends to be more physical and explosive. We have had thousands of international studies about male violence but there is very little about why or how women are violent. There seems to be a blanket of silence over the huge figures of violence expressed by women. Because family terrorism is a tactic largely used by women and my work in the domestic violence field is largely with women, I address this problem discussing only my work with women.”
Anyone who has ever been abused by a woman may never have read anything like that before! The “blanket of silence” may have caused you to feel like you’re the only one in the world being used and manipulated by an unhealthy female.
If that quote both surprises and relieves you, keep reading! Ms. Pizzey helpfully outlines some very specific examples of what female Domestic Abuse looks like:
“Any person suffering an unhappy family situation, or the dissolution of a relationship, will feel some pain and desperation. But a relatively well-balanced person will be… also sensitive, in some degree, to the suffering of the other family members.
Not so the emotional terrorist.
To the family terrorist, there is only one wronged, one sufferer, only one person in pain, and this person is the terrorist herself. The terrorist has no empathy and feels only her own pain…
Because conscience consists so largely of the awareness of other people’s feelings as well as of one’s own, the emotional terrorist’s behavior often can be described to be virtually without conscience. In this lack of conscience lies the dangerous potential of the true terrorist.
An additional factor, making the terrorist so dangerous, is…the terrorist believes herself to be unstoppable. Unbound by the constraints or conscience or empathy, she believes that no cost is too great to pay toward the achievement of her goal.
The terrorist, and the terrorist’s actions, know no bounds. Intent only to achieve the goal (perhaps “hell-bent” is the most accurate descriptive phrase) the terrorist will take such measures as: stalking a spouse or ex-spouse, physically assaulting the spouse or the spouse’s new partners, telephoning all mutual friends and business associates of the spouse in an effort to ruin the spouse’s reputation, pressing fabricated criminal charges against the spouse (including alleged battery and child molestation), staging intentionally unsuccessful suicide attempts for the purpose of manipulation, snatching children from the spouse’s care and custody, vandalizing the spouse’s property, murdering the spouse and/or the children as an act of revenge.”
In reading this description, I hope it makes sense why I’m so concerned by our current culture, which often encourages women to “get angry.” (I wrote about it here. )
I’m concerned about Feminist activists telling women to tap into their rage, because I have seen the destructive power female emotional abuse can have.
Recently I wrote a conversation between “Younger Me” and “Today Me” because I know I started down the path of Emotional Domestic Terrorism myself, and I wanted to help other young ladies recognize the warning signs.
I have been repeating the idea that “Women Fart, Too” (over and over, in different ways), because I think it’s a shame how few people are talking about what Erin Pizzey is talking about:
“In a recent case, a Mr. Roberts described to me how, during his marriage, he and his children faced a daily onslaught of verbal abuse from his wife.
Mrs. Roberts was also physically violent to the children.
Now that he has asked for a divorce, she is making use of every weapon in her arsenal. In the children’s presence, she has used drugs and drunk alcohol to the point of extreme intoxication. She has staged several unsuccessful suicide attempts in front of the children, threatened over the telephone to ‘do something stupid,’ promised to kill Mr. Roberts new partner, and assured Mr. Roberts that when she has finished with him he will not have a penny to his name. To Mr. Roberts, all of this behavior seemed perfectly usual.
After all, he had witnessed this sort of commotion for thirteen years of their marriage. When I suggested to him, ‘What you endured is emotional terrorism,’ he suddenly and for the first time was able to see his situation clearly. Now, he realized, his wife’s behavior was neither appropriate nor acceptable. No, this was not the treatment that every man should expect from his wife, either in or out of marriage. No, he does not want his children to be subjected to such extreme behavior any longer.”
There are so many good quotes in this article–especially if you are the spouse or child of an emotionally abusive woman.
“Because a terrorist is prepared to behave without bounds, usually encouraged by feminist therapists who insist that their clients suffer from ‘low self-esteem,’ pragmatic measures must be taken to define clearly the boundaries of acceptable behavior.
The guiding principle, as in the handling of political terrorists, must be: “There is no negotiating with terrorists.” Endless telephone calls, conversations, confrontation, gestures of appeasement, and efforts to placate the terrorist’s demands, all serve to reinforce the terrorist’s belief that she is accomplishing something. Only determined resolution in the face of terrorism shows the terrorist that her power is limited.
Furthermore, reassurances, ‘ego boosts,’ and consolations are lamentably counterproductive. Mrs. Roberts soon found for herself a feminist therapist staunchly supporting the erroneous belief ‘All feelings (and therefore behaviors) are valid.’ She was told by this therapist that she has a right to feel and to behave in any manner she chooses, in callous disregard for the devastation inflicted upon the children. Such reassurances serve only to fortify the terrorist’s already pathological, solipsistic, and eternally self-justifying perspective.”
These are the only messages our feminist culture wants to give to women… And, the more a woman cries or rages or threatens suicide, the MORE we double down on this strategy of “loving them more” (because they presumably “don’t love themselves enough.”)
How’s that working for us?
It scares the crap out of me that we’re fueling this evil cycle with abusive women by giving them the power they crave.
I wonder: when will we stop negotiating with terrorists?