• Robin Parry

What Attracts Abusive Men

As a grouping are abused women more empathic and trusting than those who are not snared by abusive partners? Most probably they are, because an empathic and forgiving nature is a big drawcard to an abuser looking for a life partner. Of course ‘love is blind’, in the beginning at least, but it is more than that because other women are not so easily drawn into the abuser’s web. They don’t like it when he treats them badly even if he does apologise later because they’re neither interested nor tolerant of excuses. They walk away early instead of giving him another chance. The feeling is probably mutual because an abuser needs a loving, forgiving, generous and understanding partner not someone who can be as unbending as he is.

Accept the fact that your better qualities – the ones that make you such a nice friend and partner are also your Achilles’ heel. An abuser is drawn to them like a moth to flame except that you will be the one who is scorched in the process. You can change what you do without changing your essential self. You may need to do this in circumstances where you are being taken for granted, attacked verbally or physically and find yourself putting in a huge effort for a poor or worsening outcome.

Most of us have experienced one-sided friendships where we find ourselves putting in most of the effort in maintaining the relationship. Eventually we jack up and stop making the effort and either the relationship peters out or the friend steps up. It is a matter of stopping doing what you generally do.

If a partner is treating your badly through words, deeds or actions stop trying to understand him. Stop listening to his excuses. Instead ‘expect him to change’ his behaviour. Hold on to what he has done to you and resist his attempts to shift responsibility to you. He is probably a master at shifting blame and especially good at getting you to doubt yourself. It takes practice to step back and see how he does this. Try to focus on what he has done, not what he says and curb your empathy.

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