Reality? The reality is that no one is willing to draw a line in the sand. Nobody is willing to say that the law is the law. And if you break it, you will be prosecuted; win, lose or draw. Ben Stone, Law and Order
Build a wall and build it high.
The Manipulative Man, 2006
Arrogant men are an annoyance. Narcissistic men and Womanizers turn our lives into a challenging game with no winner, as we attempt to stay ahead of their scheming, self-indulgent behavior. Beyond annoyance and challenge, we enter the darker side of human nature--violence. Hostile men would crush our spirits and redefine "who we are" as "who we should be." Their view of relationships is dominance driven and idiosyncratic. Manipulation is not confined to the clever and illusory. Intimidation is a crude, primitive form of manipulation employed by men who must control and dominate, much as other men must breathe.
In most cases, these men will not change and they certainly won't change to please you. Our goals must then be revised to accommodate this new circumstance (violence). Then, our new goals become (1) to avoid pain and injury and (2) to gain independence from the violent male. If you believe it is easy to leave a violent man, you have been given incredibly inaccurate and dangerous information. Women in strongly aggressive relationships are more at risk when they attempt to leave or after they leave.
Intimidation is a ploy. Human beings are purposeful and intimidation has a purpose. It is used to get one's way without the inconvenience of considering fairness, intimacy, subtle persuasion (which is time consuming), good and evil, and the rights of others. A violent person (or one who threatens violence) probably adopted this manner of behaving because he witnessed it, was a victim of it, or perhaps he has faulty wiring. Intimidation is relatively quick, it frequently works, and it makes the intimidator feel powerful and in control. Since intimidation does have rewards, the intimidator may be reluctant to try something gentler and more humane. Some personality types will choose to be violent when annoyed until they are too old or infirm to react physically. Be assured, attempts to avoid annoying the intimidators are destined to fail. Intimidators' rules are written in sand and they shift with the swiftness of desert winds.
Information from the Texas Council on Family Violence defines abuse as "physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone." As you can see, battering has many faces and numerous ways to cause pain.
Early Life: The Bully
It appears that violent men may have been bullying boys. The Center for Disease Control has targeted bullying as a health hazard. They describe bulling as "a wide variety of behaviors, but all involve a person or a group repeatedly trying to harm someone who is weaker or more vulnerable." Their literature states that there are 5.7 million teenagers in this country and approximately 30 percent of them are involved in bullying as a perpetrator or a victim. This behavior becomes less prevalent as the young teenagers mature or it can become a lifelong pattern. Teen gang members certainly fall into this category.
Stan Davis, author of, Stop Bullying Now, agrees that bullying is not the exception; it is the rule at many schools.
Playground observation research finds:
* One incident of bullying every seven minutes
* Adult intervention in 4 percent of incidents
* Peer intervention in 11 percent of incidents
Physical bullying is defined as touching another student to create fear, to get one's way, or to feel powerful, or using physical strength in any act of aggression. Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking, biting, slapping, shoving, choking, and punching. Verbal bullying can include threatening, starting rumors, teasing, degrading and cruel jokes, extortion, stealing of money and possessions and exclusion from the peer group. Though the years bullying has progressed from stealing a child's lunch to defaming them on Facebook.
Victims are adversely affected by bullying; they may become anxious, fearful and resist attending school. Victims may become more isolated, which can lead to depression. In extreme cases, the victim may become so depressed that he or she considers suicide an appropriate solution. Feelings of self-worth can also be negatively affected. Residual issues may exist many years after the bullying stops.
This information from, A School Based Anti-Violence Program, a manual for families who have children in the criminal justice system tells us more about schoolyard intimidations (Suderman & Jaffee, 1996).
* Studies in several countries have consistently shown that at least 15 percent of students in schools are involved
* About 9 percent are victims
* About 7 percent bully others repeatedly
* More students in younger grades are victimized
* Boys are more likely to be bullies than girls
This study data are easy to understand. The students most likely to be bullied are smaller or younger than the bully. Bullying isn't based on courage; it is based on cowardice. If we explore domestic violence, school violence and prison violence it is almost exclusively the strong exploiting the weak (due to size, age, gender or number). The following data from recent research tell us which variables are commonly found in the bully versus bullied interaction: The following statements are frequently accurate, however, here are always exceptions:
* Bullies are male
* Bullies are physically stronger than their victims
* Bullies are impulsive and confident
* Bullies may come from homes where aggression is accepted
* Victims are isolated
* Victims are not assertive
* Victims are shy and timid
* Victims do not report to school officials (perhaps fearing retribution)
* Victims are less skilled and weaker than the bully
Bullies Burn Bridges
It is good to know that bullying behavior becomes less prevalent as children age. Bullying drops by about two-thirds from elementary to middle school. I was in elementary school and living in Pensacola when I encountered my first bully. I can't remember her name, but I do remember she was enormous (or so it seemed to me). Fortunately, I told my mother and that was the end of the bullying.
Bullies should remember that children grow up. the child who was smaller than everyone else in elementary school may be a beefy weightlifter later in middle school. I once knew a bully named, let's say, Butch, who routinely tortured his young cousin, Keith. The "little" cousin is now six-foot-four, 260 pounds, and a cop. Bullies burn bridges that they may need one day.
They are impulsive. They don't consider long-term consequences. the same can be said of abusive men. they wonder, strangely enough, why they are emotionally disconnected. If an abuser is not alone, it is often because the woman in his life fears him. How very sad.
Justice and the Picture of a Bully
Picture this for a moment: Butch is speeding along in his decrepit pickup truck (doing 60 in a 35 mile-an-hour zone), when he sees blues lights flashing in his rear view mirror and hears the ear-piercing wail of a siren. With unsteady hands, he pushes his beer can under the seat, where it spills on the carpet. He straps on his seat belt and pulls over.
A mammoth cop slowly unfolds himself, one huge limb at a time, out of the squad car. All Butch can see is yards of midnight blue uniform and dark shades. Butch is already rehearsing his story. He jumps and jerks to his right when the cop taps on the passenger side window. Butch's smile turns sickly when the officer removes his shades and Butch looks into unsympathetic brown eyes. Yes, you guessed it--Officer Keith. The speeding Butch story was just that--a story. It never happened, but it made you feel a part of the irony of justice didn't it? This is a justice that does not always happen in the real world. Though, it is fun to think about. The plight of bullies leaves many of us cold, as we emotionally recall the schoolyard bullies of our youth. Do you remember your first experience with aggression? Women who suffered from intimidation as children are more likely to accept aggression in adult relationships.
Support anti-bully programs in your area. You can start with http://www.pacer.org/bullying/ You may just save a woman from experiencing abuse later.
In working with adult women who were traumatized as children, I have discovered that creating an alternative story such as the Tommy story has an empowering effect.
Learn more about his and how to counter adult aggression in the Manipulative Man.