• Robin Parry

Are you a perpetrator of domestic violence?

For some men it is especially confronting to realise that they have been engaging in behaviours that are abusive and relationship destroying.

“I’m better than my old man,” says one man. “He was a right old bastard, knocking Mum around and punching into us. I’ve never hit my wife.”

That may be true but does he treat his wife as an equal or as someone who needs to be managed? One can ‘inherit’ a masculinity that sees women as inferior, a belief system that leads to control, abuse and marital unhappiness. But attitudes can change and so can behaviours. Below are some questions to ask yourself to see whether or not you are abusing your partner.

Do you criticise and mock your partner?

Do you tell her what to do?

Do you expect her to keep you happy?

Are you heavy-handed when she won’t do what you want?

Do you blame her when things go wrong?

Do you control the money and monitor her expenditures?

Do you badmouth her family and friends?

Do you badmouth her behind her back?

Are you often overwhelmed with anger and lash out?

Do you force her to do things that she doesn’t want to do?

Do you expect her to soldier on when she is sick or overwhelmed?

Do you ignore her when she’s upset?

Do you refuse to speak to her is she disagrees with her.

Do you expect her to keep your abusive behaviours secret?

If you have answered Yes to any or many of the above you are abusing your partner and damaging your relationship. Seek help. Join a Men’s Group that focuses on skills development - changing attitudes and behaviours. Change is slow but if you want a fulfilling relationship it is worth the investment, not just for you but also for your partner and children and for future generations of your family.

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