What is Abuse? — The Basics I

There has to be a platform for the disrespect that fosters abuse.  By that, I mean there has to be a foundation upon which disrespect is built.  Keeping in mind abuse is rooted in disrespect, what are the basic attitudinal motivators of abuse?  What attitudes are behind abusive behavior? What makes an abuser better than or superior to his victims? 

Abusers can be men or women.  While I generally use the male gender for ease and consistency, abusers can come in either gender.  In this text, I will explore reasons for a woman to become an abuser, in addition to reasons for male abuse. 

A woman may base her superiority on several misconceptions.  First, a woman may have a basic disrespect for men.  A woman may be disrespectful of men because she had a father she perceived as weak, a father who was absent and therefore weak, negative experiences with men during her life, or previous abuse by men.  Sometimes it can be based in a sense of sexual superiority to men and the belief that men are nothing more than their most basic sexual desires which a woman can manipulate and use to control them.   A woman may be disrespectful of other women because she feels they allow themselves to be put into a weaker position, or perhaps she observed her mother allowing herself to be abused.  She may feel women subjugate themselves under archaic stereotypes and deserve what they get.  She may believe that women are, in fact, the stronger and more intelligent sex. 

A man or woman may be disrespectful of children for several reasons.  Children are often seen as being inherently bad if they are believed to be born with a sinful nature that must be disciplined out of them.  (More about this elsewhere eventually, but in brief, a sin nature does not equal inherent badness that must be punished.)  Children are also seen as “less” because they don’t have the experience to act like adults or the knowledge to reason as adults.  Disrespect of children is extremely common because of this attitude, even among people who wouldn’t dream of overtly abusing their children. 

A man may be disrespectful of his wife because he believes he is the authority of the home, he believes his wife should submit to him and serve his needs, or because he believes women are inherently weaker and need a man to guide them.  A man may also believe that women in general are weaker and less intelligent than men.   

A man may also feel that his wife is not what she appeared before they were married.  It is not uncommon for a man to pursue a woman he idolizes in some way – because of her beauty, her intelligence, her money, her position, her career, her family, etc.  But once he marries her he begins to see her normalcy – or her weaknesses in his eyes.  Maybe she isn’t as good a cook or housekeeper as he expected, maybe she leaves her wet towels on the bathroom floor and squeezes the toothpaste tube in the middle.  All these little normal things equal a person who isn’t as exceptional as he thought before he married her.  So he loses respect for her and not only begins to see himself as superior but may also feel cheated or that others are looking down on him for his “mistaken” choice in a mate. 

Any person in a position of authority – whether in a work environment, church environment, political environment, etc. – may feel superior to those positionally under him or her.  A person in authority may believe their position gives them rights to use their position and the people around them to gratify their needs or to accomplish their personal agendas.


One Response

  1. From experience: a man feels inferior, therefore, insecure toward his wife (feels he married out of his league, regardless of how much she reasssures him) and tries to compensate by “keeping her in line” (and even others who cross his path in a nonintimate way) . Sad, but true.

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