Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

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.

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Weekly Struggle
Shoshana Friedman Cover text: promise big and deliver what we promise
Only Through You
Rabbi Moshe Grylak A response to last week’s letter, “Waiting in Passaic”
Are You Making a Kiddush Hashem?
Yonoson Rosenblum In communal affairs, “one bad apple…” often applies
Chance of a Lifetime
Eytan Kobre I identify with the urge to shout, “No, don’t do it!”
Work / Life Solutions with Bunim Laskin
Moe Mernick "You only get every day once"
Seeking a Truly Meaningful Blessing
Dovid Zaidman We want to get married. Help us want to date
Shivah Meditations
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Equivalence between two such polar opposites is puzzling
Magnet Moment
Jacob L. Freedman Everyone’s fighting a battle we know nothing about
Secrets and Surprises
Riki Goldstein Top-secret suits Eli Gerstner just fine
Blasts of Warmth
Riki Goldstein Keeping the chuppah music upbeat in low temperatures
Behind the Scenes
Faigy Peritzman The intrinsic value of each mitzvah
Good Vision
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Good or bad, nice or not? What you see is what you get
Day of Peace
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz On Shabbos we celebrate peace within and without