Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men — Lundy Bancroft video presentation
As many of you know we highly recommend Lundy Bancroft’s seven part series titled “Domestic Violence in Popular Culture” (here is a link to our post that provides a YouTube link to each part). So we were excited when we recently found another YouTube video by Lundy Bancroft that is also excellent. We have put it on our Resources page under Video and Audio, but this presentation is so good we wanted to bring it to the attention of our readers.
Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men — Lundy Bancroft video presentation. This presentation is longer than the DV in Popular Culture series, as it is about two hours in length — but it will be two hours well-spent. Note: if you wish to skip the introduction and just watch from where Lundy begins talking, go to here (2:50 in the video).
In this presentation, Lundy discusses many aspects of abuse, abusive men, and victims. We have transcribed parts of it to give you an idea of what to expect. So consider this your personal ‘trailer’. Please quote & share the links, if you can safely do so.
- Can men who batter change? “Yes; the great majority can change. And the great majority don’t. And the reason they don’t is not because they can’t, but because they’ve figured out that they don’t really have to.” (12:46 in the video)
- Domestic abusers are little tyrants — they exercise totalitarianism in the home
“I came increasingly to perceive a home where there is a batterer as a little TYRANNY. A little chunk of totalitarianism. When we look closely at a home where there is a batterer [abuser] we find the key elements that are present in any oppressive system. . . somebody’s benefiting, and there are other people who are being silenced, who are not being heard. . . and there is always PROPAGANDA involved. . . ” (15:35 in the video)
- Domestic abuse is not, at core, a psychologically driven problem.
“It is, at core, a CULTURALLY driven problem. Batterers, psychologically speaking — from the point of view of their mental health, how their emotional worlds work, how much they express their emotions, how much they suffer pain, how distorted their perceptions are — do not distinctly differ from non-battering men, on average.
“They are also not dramatically different from non-battering men in their skills. Researchers have measured their conflict resolution skills, their assertiveness skills, their communication skills, and they test about the same as non-battering men. . .
“When we look at their family of origin experiences, we do not find batterers having dramatically higher rates of having been abused as children. We DO find them having higher rates of come from homes where they saw their mother being abused. . . “What IS it about growing up in a home where you mother has been battered that specifically leads to so many boys growing up to become battering men? . . . The level of trauma is not significant. It is the extent to which the boy has taken on the batterer’s mentality. . . For example: Has the boy come to believe that his mother was to blame? Has the boy come to believe that females are inferior? Has he come to believe that women are endless full-time servants?” (19:03 in the video)
- Abuse is culturally driven: it is learned and confirmed by socialisation.
“When I say domestic abuse of women is culturally driven, I don’t mean that it’s driven by a particular culture. I mean that batterers learn battering and come to use those behaviours, and believe in their right to use those behaviors, through their socialisation process, through becoming part of their culture. “Yes a lot of them learn abuse from dad or step-dad, although fewer than half come from homes where they mother was abused. [But] they learn it through all the ways that you learn about your culture: religious values that they are taught, the basic cultural values that they learn from their family and their culture, from television and video games, what men should be like, what women should be like, who has the right to make rules, who has the right to impose punishment, who has the obligation to obey.” (34:00 in the video)
- Women who get targeted by abusers are no different from other women
“Women who are abused by their partners are just like other women. Research shows only one thing about the characteristics of women: if a woman is being abused, she tends to stay in the abuse longer if she grew up in a home where her mother was abused.” (49:15 in the video)
- Abusers deliberately and consciously choose their tactics of abuse.
When two DV intervention workers, a male and a female, trial-workshopped a skit of a man abusing his wife to an audience of batterers in their Batterers Behavior Change Group, the men in the group got very excited and started telling the male worker what he should be doing to more effectively take control of the woman! In their excitement to give feedback on the skit, the men were forgetting to portray themselves as not responsible for their actions [“Hey, when I pushed her, I had no idea what came over me! I just snapped!”] In their enthusiasm to help the skit be more effective, the men dropped their masks and revealed how much they intentionally and consciously chose their tactics of abuse. (55:04 in the video)
- Abusers unjustly accuse their victims of ‘nagging’
“When the abuser says ‘she nags me’ he means ‘she presses me to meet my responsibilities.’ ” (1:04:04 in the video)
- When abusers start reforming, they often backslide because they don’t like losing their privileges
“I have a lot of experience of working with abusers who looked like they were starting to change — and then backslide. When you ask them why, it comes out that they backslide because in some way their privileges were slipping.” (1:09:29 in the video)
At the end of the lecture (starting 1:26:55) there is a Q&A session in which Lundy responds to these questions:
1) What red flags should young women watch out for?
2) How do abusers tend to respond when their victims draw the line?
Lundy gives some examples an abuser’s responses to a victim when she says, “I’m not going to take this from you”, “I’m leaving you.”
3) Is there a psychological test that will distinguish a battering man from a non-battering man?
“There is no psychological test that exists that will distinguish a battering man from a non-battering man. Battering is not a psychological problem, it’s a problem of learned behavior, values and attitudes. Psychological testing by the Family Court in a domestic violence case is a MISTAKE: it is not going to tell you anything relevant about whether the allegations of abuse are true of false, or if they are true (because they are almost always true) are they really serious or less serious, how risky is this particular man for this child. What the court should be doing is appointing a good INVESTIGATOR to investigate the evidence, not a clinical mental health evaluator. It is completely inappropriate to use mental health evaluation to determine who should have custody, and yet it’s used that way all the time.”
(1:34:12 in the video)
4) What can I do to lessen the effects of my abuser on our child(ren)?
(1:36:00 in the video)
5) Theory versus Reality in the Family Courts.
Lundy talks about the situation in the USA; in his opinion the attitudes of GALs (Guardians at Litem) are often appalling. Lundy says we need a huge grassroots movement to protest this and to bring about social and legislative change so that protective parents are helped to protect their children, not treated like vermin for trying to protect their children. (1:42:16 in the video)
UPDATE: we have just discovered another YouTube lecture by Lundy, in which he talks a lot more about mobilizing grassroots movements and being activists to protest about the injustices that are being done by the courts to abused women and their children:
And finally, we want to make you aware of Lundy’s new book, Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That?: Encouragement for Women involved with Angry and Controlling Men [*Affiliate link]. Its release date was April 7, 2015. Lundy has this to say about his new book:
I decided to write a book of short pieces — daily readings — because abusive men create such tension and chaos that it could be difficult for women to find a chance to read a book in peace. Digesting long sections of text can be impossible for a woman when her partner demands constant catering and doesn’t allow her to ever focus on herself.
The new book contains 365 entries, each of which takes just five or ten minutes to read. Each day the reader focuses on just one principle and works with it mentally through the day. I offer her a short sentence that summarizes each piece, so that she can repeat those words to herself as she processes what she has read.
Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That will also be valuable for advocates, as it wends its way through the myriad issues that abused women have to take on in their daily lives.
***IMPORTANT NOTE: While we endorse Lundy’s writings about the dynamics of domestic abuse, we do not recommend anyone attend the ‘healing retreats’ Lundy Bancroft offers or become involved in his ‘Peak Living Network.’ See our post, ACFJ Does Not Recommend Lundy Bancroft’s Retreats or His New Peak Living Network for more about our concerns.