Thursday Thought — Lundy Bancroft’s new book: Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That?
For the purposes of this book, when I refer to a “controlling partner” or an “abusive man,” I mean one who repeatedly makes you feel devalued. He may do this through verbal abuse and mental cruelty; through pressuring, hurting, or humiliating you sexually; through controlling the money; through cheating on you or giving lots of flirtatious attention to other women so that you feel like less; by focusing only on his own needs and ignoring yours (emotionally, sexually, financially, or in other ways); by using coldness and withdrawal when he doesn’t get his way; by turning you into a servant; by chronically ignoring his responsibilities so that you are stuck taking care of things; or through violence and threats. Devaluation and domination take many different forms.
A man who uses these behaviors is usually out to control the woman he’s involved with; but even when that’s not his intention, it still has that effect. So rather than trying to puzzle out whether he means to control you or not, I encourage you to focus on whether his behavior ends up having a controlling effect on you. As I discuss later, your partner is responsible for the effects of his actions, not just his intentions. A woman can come out feeling as devalued by a partner who pays no attention to her as by a partner who monitors every move she makes and criticizes her relentlessly.
This quote is from Lundy Bancroft’s new book: Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That?: Encouragement for Women Involved with Angry and Controlling Men [*Affiliate link] and is an example of the insight and encouragement it contains. Lundy says this 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.