Signs of an Abuser
Desi Women: What Were They Thinking?
The phrase washing dirty linen in the public is used by communities and families to maintain status quo on an issue that is not acceptable or is oppressive to some members. Gone are the days when washing dirty linen in public meant a private matter exposed to neighbors or those in the vicinity but these days this phrase has acquired new heights. Those involved in interpersonal squabbles rush to media instead to law enforcement and courts for intervention. Media channels kill two birds with one stone by acting as mediators by bringing in so called experts (read any one with a private practice or some credentials basically you have never heard about) and the warring parties to the table and raking moola at the same time. Recently two incidents drew Desi Girl’s attention. Realities TV fame Rahul Mahajan and his already known antics and another TV actress Sehrish Ali. There are many other similar incidents that do not get media attention go unreported one such incident is click to read.
The current wife experienced the same outcome that the first wife reported and sought divorce for. In between another lady reported similar abusive outcome in a short relationship. There appears to be an established pattern in Mr. Mahajan’s intimate relationship that women intimately associated to him have ignored or are not able to decipher. Sehrish, the young actress is dealing with similar issues with a man who not only publically assaulted her but also went out to media with the details of intimate SMSs they exchanged. What were these women thinking? Yeh, the initial euphoria of romance and hormones induces a sort of reality blindness. Also abuse begins gradually in a very systematic way where the intermingling of love and abuse is hard to separate.
Desi Girl wonders if media responsibility is limited to reporting or it goes beyond to raise awareness about preventive measures about the reported issues. I guess when visual media provides titillation in the name of information it should also extend information about gender issues and gender violence. None of the channels or print media have deemed it appropriate to research and report how such incidents can be prevented.
Overdose of bollywood romance (plus Mills & Boons) and desi wisdom have established classic signs of an abuser as pure love. Be it middle aged Kishore Kumar acting as college student and chasing Vaijantimala or some recent lovelorn hero. Research has shown abusers display distinct personality traits. If one is observant they can easily identify signs of an abuser. Some of the readers will be quick to say even women exhibit these signs. That is true, abuse is a learned behavior. But most statements here will use pronoun “he’ in cognition to the fact all incidents mentioned in this post are of male to female aggression.
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Here are classic signs of an abuser:
Pushes for Quick Involvement:
Soon after meeting he starts talking about exclusive commitment and wants to take the relationship to next level be it physical intimacy or engagement or not seeing other people. In case of Mahajan, agreed he was on the show exclusively for marriage but both of them could have asked for more time to know each other than be surprised after marriage.
Excessively possessive; calls constantly; crashes on you; is always suspicious either you are looking at someone or someone is looking at you. He feels insecure all the time. Mahajan insisted in the middle of the night his wife tell him who sent her an SMS. If it was urgent she would have told him but he could not wait because he was jealous and insecure.
Calls you constantly and too much or asks too many questions and cross questions about your day such as, where were you? Who was with you? Why did it take so much time etc? If you named a person you were with he may even call them to confirm if you are telling the truth. He may monitor your phone calls, may visit your work unexpectedly Don’t be surprised if he keep a tab on your car/scooter mileage. Makes most of the decisions in the relationship, you don’t voice your opinion because you are afraid of upsetting him.
Another dimension of control is manipulation. Often abusers in the beginning of the relationship are readily available to meet all your fancies. They’ll go far and beyond to meet your expectations in a way that you’ll feel obligated to meet their requests.
Wants you too meet all his needs be it of affection or releasing anger. You should be perfect woman, ideal wife, girlfriend etc.
Prevents you from meeting your family and friends or people who do not approve of him. He accuses your supporters or his detractors as “trouble makers,” or “causing trouble in the relationship.” Checks or insists on checking your purse, diary, phone. Prevents you from meeting your friends. All this doesn’t have to be direct.It can be done very lovingly like, “I want to spend all my time with you,” “I feel lost when you are not around.” “I miss you when you go away.” It is a way of controlling your every wake moment and isolating you from people. He can even go to an extent to jeopardize your job by delaying you from reporting on time, showing up at your work, calling you too many times at work. If this continues either you’ll quit or you’ll be fired.
Blame it on the World:
The angry young man of 70s and 80s is still around. Every thing wrong is someone’s fault. You made me angry by not following what I said. He cut me on the road that made me loose my temper. It is always someone’s fault.
You can Save Me or I Die:
Never takes responsibility for his actions and behavior. You made me angry, you made me do X. I am unhappy because you won’t do X for me. I am sulking because you did not agree with me. It is your job to keep me calm and happy. Devdas is drunk and dying of cirrhosis because Paro won’t forgive him. To save him from cruel death is her job.
Every thing is about the abuser. He/she is easily insulted, feels hurt a about minor things. People are looking at me. I know what you are thinking. Rants about divine injustice meted out to him, as if the whole world is after him/her. The universe is out to get him.
His relationship be it with his parents and siblings are pretty dramatic regular fights, pouting and make up.
Cruelty to Animals and Children:
Yells at, beats or kills animals. Expects little children to perform beyond their age. May tease children to such an extent that they start crying. 65% abusers who beat their partner will also abuse children.
Is rude and abusive to those with less power than him/her. Feels entitled to the services of those with less power and prestige. May yell at beggar; be rude to waiter or porter. Look out for these signs they can blow away a very polished exterior.
Uses foul language, curses, degrades, calls names, and says cruel and mean things.
Rigid Gender Roles:
Believes in stereotypical gender roles, expectations and entitlements. Example, house keeping is a woman’s job; if a man helps he is doing her a favor. Man is the head of the household etc.
Unexplained Mood Swings:
Switches from sweet nothings to violent verbal berating or physical violence. Breaks things and plays rough while still talking sweet nothings. In all desi languages there is a saying “his/her anger is like boiling milk,” it is a way of endorsing and minimizing abusive behavior. Someone just released their pent up anger at another person for no reason or someone just released their displaced anger on a wrong person. After a release they are normal and the recipient is dealing with the after effects and confusion.
Reluctantly admits battering previous partner but blames it on her for instigating him. “She made me do it.” Mr. Mahajan has classic history of partner battering. Had Ms Ganguly paid attention she could have saved the heartache. Past behavior is the mirror of future behavior. It is very hard for abusers to keep up the façade, sooner or later their true colors show. Yes, people can change only if they take responsibility of their behavior and realize there is a problem. None had happened here.
Makes Threats of Violence:
Threatens to use force if you do not submit to his demands. “I’ll beat you.” Then immediately denies it. “I was just joking.” “Do X or I’ll kill my self.” “If you try to leave I’ll kill you or I’ll spread rumors about you.” In a way he’ll blackmail you. You are affraid of his threats because you know he is capable of executing them. You are afraid of breaking up the relationship. May be you do not know how to break up.
Violent Sexual Fantasies:
Playful use of force during sex. Finds rape exciting. Throws or pins you down during sex.
It takes 8 to 9 times before a woman can actually leave her abuser. She keeps trying to make things work out until she finally realizes she can do no more or else she’ll loose her sanity or her life.
An average middle class dating scene will some thing like this click to read…
Read How Abuse Begins…
Desi Girl is repeating and cross referencing previous work. She’ll keep doing it until very reader is thorough on what is abuse and how to identify it :)
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