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How to Raise a Gentle Man

Sarah Chana Radcliffe M. ED., C. PSYCH.

We’ve all heard of divorces occurring due to abuse. But who are these abusers and how did they become such awful husbands? Can you ensure that your own son will not be abusive one day? Learn the strategies needed to raise gentle men.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Abusive tendencies are often blamed upon mental illness. However, only a small proportion of abusive men suffer from mental illness. Indeed, when mental health disorders are at the root of the problem, proper treatment sometimes provides a complete remedy.

But when there is no apparent “reason” for engaging in controlling, intimidating, abusive, and mind-destroying behaviors, the remedy is often much more elusive. Why would anyone act so cruelly?

In many cases, the root of such abusive behaviors in marriage is emotional vulnerability developed in a painful childhood. In fact, those whose deep insecurity leads them to experience frequent and rapid feelings of shame are most at risk.

This abusive man may have been bullied by parents, siblings, schoolmates, teachers, or others. Now he puffs himself up defensively, ruthlessly attacking a woman who accidentally or purposely bruises his fragile sense of self. Perhaps she forgot to do something for him or didn’t remember something he told her. Perhaps she wanted to do something her own way. Maybe she made an unkind remark or was impatient.

Whatever the threat to his sense of wellbeing, the young man responds with excessive rage. No one — certainly not his wife — will ever make him suffer again the humiliation and helplessness he felt when he was young. Naturally, his aggressive posture works very poorly in marriage, leading all too often to a traumatic divorce.

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