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Why Does He Do That?

Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

By Lundy Bancroft
15-minute read
Audio available
Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft

Why Does He Do That? (2003) reveals the psychology behind abusive men. Drawing on his experience as a counselor to male abusers, author Lundy Bancroft explains the nature of abusive thinking, the early warning signs of abuse, and the steps women can take to free themselves from an abusive relationship.

  • Anyone who feels trapped in an abusive relationship
  • Mothers considering leaving their abusive partner
  • People who suspect a friend or family member is being abused

Lundy Bancroft has worked in the fields of abuse, trauma, and recovery for over 25 years. In addition to working with abusive men as a counselor, Bancroft has served as a custody evaluator and child abuse investigator. He’s also the author of five books, including When Dad Hurts Mom (2005) and The Batterer as Parent (2013), which examine the impact of domestic violence on families. 

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Why Does He Do That?

Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

By Lundy Bancroft
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft
Synopsis

Why Does He Do That? (2003) reveals the psychology behind abusive men. Drawing on his experience as a counselor to male abusers, author Lundy Bancroft explains the nature of abusive thinking, the early warning signs of abuse, and the steps women can take to free themselves from an abusive relationship.

Key idea 1 of 9

Men can exhibit abusive behavior in multiple ways.

When Kristen first met Maury, he seemed like the man of her dreams. He was charming, funny, smart, and, best of all, he was crazy about her.

But after they moved in together, things started to change. Maury began to accuse Kristen of being self-centered, overweight, and lazy. He also seemed to want to have sex less often.

Things got worse when they had a baby together. Maury’s moods would change in a flash. One moment, he’d be kind and loving; the next, he’d be cruel and unforgiving. 

The worst part of it all? Kristen blamed herself for not living up to what Maury needed.

The key message here is: Men can exhibit abusive behavior in multiple ways.

Male abusers exhibit a spectrum of behaviors. Some abusers are what the author calls physical batterers. These men seek to inflict physical damage on their partner.

This style of abuse is more common than you might think: The American Medical Association has reported that one in three women will be a victim of violence by a husband or boyfriend in her lifetime. In the United States, statistics show that two to four million women are assaulted by their partner each year.

Then there’s emotional abuse. This includes verbal assaults, humiliation, sexual coercion, and psychological manipulation. These behaviors can be just as damaging as physical violence. In fact, many abuse survivors that the author has worked with have told him that emotional abuse caused them the greatest harm. 

Just think of Maury. He never physically harmed Kristen. But his anger, his unstable behavior, and his cruel insults were enough to inflict real psychological damage. 

And the damage can be substantial. Statistics show that the emotional effects of partner violence contribute to a quarter of female suicide attempts in the US. Partner abuse is also the primary cause of substance abuse in adult women. 

Of course, the categories of physical abuse and emotional abuse aren’t entirely clean-cut. For example, physically abusive men are usually also verbally abusive to their partners. And manipulative and controlling men tend to use physical intimidation, too. 

As a counselor, the author has worked with many abusive men. According to him, abusive behaviors often stem from the same source. Abusive men seek power; they desire control. They delight in making themselves seem superior to their partners. 

In the following blinks, we’ll take a deeper look at how abusive thinking works. And we’ll explore the reasons why some men grow up to be abusers. 

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