One Man’s Story of Being an Abuser

This is a really good look at abuse from a perpetrator’s perspective. It is a true story and I’ve copied a lot of it here. I shortened it a little, so if you want to, you can read the whole thing at


By Viegas

You do not need to bleed to be humiliated and abused.

Experts define family violence as, “forcing someone to do something that they don’t want to do, be that by physical violence and threats of violence or by psychological, mental, sexual and economic abuse.”

I am a violent person.

Like many abusers, I never hurt anyone physically and therefore the very idea that I was an abuser seemed ridiculous, but it’s true. I caused great psychological harm to my former family. I didn’t need to swing a fist to hurt people. Angry rages, finger pointing and cursing were my tactics of choice.

Most abusers have a hard time looking in the mirror. People refer to violence as a physical act. When we think of domestic and family abuse we picture swollen arms and bruised faces, but we give a pass to angry rages, fits of screaming and passive aggression.

Abusers start their justifications with, “I never hurt anyone physically, and that means everything else is just fine.” I know because I did exactly that…

I was angry and frustrated. I felt powerless and wanted to gain control of my life, of my deteriorating family. So what did I do? I started abusing the people I loved most. It was a slippery slope. The arguing, the finger pointing, the screaming, the angry silences-they became more frequent and more thunderous.

The irony of it—I really didn’t think it was my fault. I blamed my wife. I blamed her bad behavior, her lack of respect, her ability to push my buttons with just a look or turn-of-phrase. She wasn’t saying what I needed to hear. She wasn’t acting the way I needed her to act. She didn’t love me the way I needed to be loved. She didn’t trust or respect me, and the fact that I’d go into a rage, that I’d scream and curse, well, she deserved it. She provoked me. The more I hated myself, the more I believed it was her fault. My twisted mind easily passed-the-buck and I told myself, “The bitch is responsible.”

She came home from work one day and explained that she wanted me to investigate an organization called Men Stopping Violence (MSV). I was humiliated. Me? Violent? I only shout, call you names, I’ve never hit you.

It was only a few days later when I woke up and finally couldn’t face myself anymore. I hated the person I’d become. I no longer trusted or respected myself, how in the world could I expect anyone else to trust, respect or love me? She was right. I needed help. I decided to call MSV.

Remember, she may say and do things that upset and challenge you, but she can’t make you attack her. The only person who can make you do that is you. The only person who can stop you is you.”- Men Stopping Violence

MSV was in fact created by people like me to curb violence against women.

Our support group had people from all walks of life: blue collar, corporate executives, fire fighters and people assigned by the courts. At first I felt out of place, like an interloper. There were men, the ones that immediately jump to your mind’s eye when we talk about domestic violence-the ones who punched their wives, kept their partners hostage by not allowing them to leave their homes, isolated them from friends and family and who withheld money. There were also men like me; men who beat their wives with words.

I didn’t understand violence. I couldn’t have defined it until I joined MSV. With their help and support I finally began to understand what I had become, and I discovered there was a road back to self respect, if I was willing to walk it.