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Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft
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Why Does He Do That? Quotes (showing 1-30 of 149)
“YOUR ABUSIVE PARTNER DOESN’T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH HIS ANGER; HE HAS A PROBLEM WITH YOUR ANGER.
One of the basic human rights he takes away from you is the right to be angry with him. No matter how badly he treats you, he believes that your voice shouldn’t rise and your blood shouldn’t boil. The privilege of rage is reserved for him alone. When your anger does jump out of you—as will happen to any abused woman from time to time—he is likely to try to jam it back down your throat as quickly as he can. Then he uses your anger against you to prove what an irrational person you are. Abuse can make you feel straitjacketed. You may develop physical or emotional reactions to swallowing your anger, such as depression, nightmares, emotional numbing, or eating and sleeping problems, which your partner may use as an excuse to belittle you further or make you feel crazy.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“The scars from mental cruelty can be as deep and long-lasting as wounds from punches or slaps but are often not as
obvious. In fact, even among women who have experienced violence from a partner, half or more report that the man’s emotional abuse is what is causing them the greatest harm.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“Has he ever trapped you in a room and not let you out?
Has he ever raised a fist as if he were going to hit you?
Has he ever thrown an object that hit you or nearly did?
Has he ever held you down or grabbed you to restrain you?
Has he ever shoved, poked, or grabbed you?
Has he ever threatened to hurt you?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then we can stop wondering whether he’ll ever be violent; he already has been.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“The abuser’s mood changes are especially perplexing. He can be a different person from day to day, or even from hour to hour. At times he is aggressive and intimidating, his tone harsh, insults spewing from his mouth, ridicule dripping from him like oil from a drum. When he’s in this mode, nothing she says seems to have any impact on him, except to make him even angrier. Her side of the argument counts for nothing in his eyes, and everything is her fault. He twists her words around so that she always ends up on the defensive. As so many partners of my clients have said to me, “I just can’t seem to do anything right.”
At other moments, he sounds wounded and lost, hungering for love and for someone to take care of him. When this side of him emerges, he appears open and ready to heal. He seems to let down his guard, his hard exterior softens, and he may take on the quality of a hurt child, difficult and frustrating but lovable. Looking at him in this deflated state, his partner has trouble imagining that the abuser inside of him will ever be back. The beast that takes him over at other times looks completely unrelated to the tender person she now sees. Sooner or later, though, the shadow comes back over him, as if it had a life of its own. Weeks of peace may go by, but eventually she finds herself under assault once again. Then her head spins with the arduous effort of untangling the many threads of his character, until she begins to wonder whether she is the one whose head isn’t quite right.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“An abuser can seem emotionally needy. You can get caught in a trap of catering to him, trying to fill a bottomless pit. But he’s not so much needy as entitled, so no matter how much you give him, it will never be enough. He will just keep coming up with more demands because he believes his needs are your responsibility, until you feel drained down to nothing.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“The abusive man’s high entitlement leads him to have unfair and unreasonable expectations, so that the relationship revolves around his demands. His attitude is: “You owe me.” For each ounce he gives, he wants a pound in return. He wants his partner to devote herself fully to catering to him, even if it means that her own needs—or her children’s—get neglected. You can pour all your energy into keeping your partner content, but if he has this mind-set, he’ll never be satisfied for long. And he will keep feeling that you are controlling him, because he doesn’t believe that you should set any limits on his conduct or insist that he meet his responsibilities.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“The woman knows from living with the abusive man that there are no simple answers. Friends say: “He’s mean.” But she knows many ways in which he has been good to her. Friends say: “He treats you that way because he can get away with it. I would never let someone treat me that way.” But she knows that the times when she puts her foot down the most firmly, he responds by becoming his angriest and most intimidating. When she stands up to him, he makes her pay for it—sooner or later. Friends say: “Leave him.” But she knows it won’t be that easy. He will promise to change. He’ll get friends and relatives to feel sorry for him and pressure her to give him another chance. He’ll get severely depressed, causing her to worry whether he’ll be all right. And, depending on what style of abuser he is, she may know that he will become dangerous when she tries to leave him. She may even be concerned that he will try to take her children away from her, as some abusers do.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“The symptoms of abuse are there, and the woman usually sees them: the escalating frequency of put-downs. Early generosity turning more and more to selfishness. Verbal explosions when he is irritated or when he doesn’t get his way. Her grievances constantly turned around on her, so that everything is her own fault. His growing attitude that he knows what is good for her better than she does. And, in many relationships, a mounting sense of fear or intimidation. But the woman also sees that her partner is a human being who can be caring and affectionate at times, and she loves him. She wants to figure out why he gets so upset, so that she can help him break his pattern of ups and downs. She gets drawn into the complexities of his inner world, trying to uncover clues, moving pieces around in an attempt to solve an elaborate puzzle.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“IN ONE IMPORTANT WAY, an abusive man works like a magician: His tricks largely rely on getting you to look off in the wrong direction, distracting your attention so that you won’t notice where the real action is. He draws you into focusing on the turbulent world of his feelings to keep your eyes turned away from the true cause of his abusiveness, which lies in how he thinks. He leads you into a convoluted maze, making your relationship with him a labyrinth of twists and turns. He wants you to puzzle over him, to try to figure him out, as though he were a wonderful but broken machine for which you need only to find and fix the malfunctioning parts to bring it roaring to its full potential. His desire, though he may not admit it even to himself, is that you wrack your brain in this way so that you won’t notice the patterns and logic of his behavior, the consciousness behind the craziness.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“Physical aggression by a man toward his partner is abuse, even if it happens only once. If he raises a fist; punches a hole in the wall; throws things at you; blocks your way; restrains you; grabs, pushes, or pokes you; or threatens to hurt you, that’s physical abuse. He is creating fear and using your need for physical freedom and safety as a way to control you.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“One of the obstacles to recognizing chronic mistreatment in relationships is that most abusive men simply don’t seem like abusers. They have many good qualities, including times of kindness, warmth, and humor, especially in the early period of a relationship. An abuser’s friends may think the world of him. He may have a successful work life and have no problems with drugs or alcohol. He may simply not fit anyone’s image of a cruel or intimidating person. So when a woman feels her relationship spinning out of control, it is unlikely to occur to her that her partner is an abuser.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“It is fine to commiserate with a man about his bad experience with a previous partner, but the instant he uses her as an excuse to mistreat you, stop believing anything he tells you about that relationship and instead recognize it as a sign that he has problems with relating to women.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“The central attitudes driving the Water Torturer are:
You are crazy. You fly off the handle over nothing.
I can easily convince other people that you’re the one who is messed up.
As long as I’m calm, you can’t call anything I do abusive, no matter how cruel.
I know exactly how to get under your skin.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“Objectification is a critical reason why an abuser tends to get worse over time. As his conscience adapts to one level of cruelty—or violence—he builds to the next. By depersonalizing his partner, the abuser protects himself from the natural human emotions of guilt and empathy, so that he can sleep at night with a clear conscience. He distances himself so far from her humanity that her feelings no longer count, or simply cease to exist. These walls tend to grow over time, so that after a few years in a relationship my clients can reach a point where they feel no more guilt over degrading or threatening their partners than you or I would feel after angrily kicking a stone in the driveway.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“Abuse and respect are diametric opposites: You do not respect someone whom you abuse, and you do not abuse someone whom you respect.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“The central attitudes driving Mr. Right are:
You should be in awe of my intelligence and should look up to me intellectually. I know better than you do, even about what’s good for you.
Your opinions aren’t worth listening to carefully or taking seriously.
The fact that you sometimes disagree with me shows how sloppy your thinking is.
If you would just accept that I know what’s right, our relationship would go much better. Your own life would go better, too.
When you disagree with me about something, no matter how respectfully or meekly, that’s mistreatment of me.
If I put you down for long enough, some day you’ll see.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“To make matters worse, everyone she talks to has a different opinion about the nature of his problem and what she should do about it. Her clergyperson may tell her, “Love heals all difficulties. Give him your heart fully, and he will find the spirit of God.” Her therapist speaks a different language, saying, “He triggers strong reactions in you because he reminds you of your father, and you set things off in him because of his relationship with his mother. You each need to work on not pushing each other’s buttons.” A recovering alcoholic friend tells her, “He’s a rage addict. He controls you because he is terrified of his own fears. You need to get him into a twelve-step program.” Her brother may say to her, “He’s a good guy. I know he loses his temper with you sometimes—he does have a short fuse—but you’re no prize yourself with that mouth of yours. You two need to work it out, for the good of the children.” And then, to crown her increasing confusion, she may hear from her mother, or her child’s schoolteacher, or her best friend: “He’s mean and crazy, and he’ll never change. All he wants is to hurt you. Leave him now before he does something even worse.” All of these people are trying to help, and they are all talking about the same abuser. But he looks different from each angle of view.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“In the 1890s, when Freud was in the dawn of his career, he was struck by how many of his female patients were revealing childhood incest victimization to him. Freud concluded that child sexual abuse was one of the major causes of emotional disturbances in adult women and wrote a brilliant and humane paper called “The Aetiology of Hysteria.” However, rather than receiving acclaim from his colleagues for his ground-breaking insights, Freud met with scorn. He was ridiculed for believing that men of excellent reputation (most of his patients came from upstanding homes) could be perpetrators of incest.
Within a few years, Freud buckled under this heavy pressure and recanted his conclusions. In their place he proposed the “Oedipus complex,” which became the foundation of modern psychology. According to this theory any young girl actually desires sexual contact with her father, because she wants to compete with her mother to be the most special person in his life. Freud used this construct to conclude that the episodes of incestuous abuse his clients had revealed to him had never taken place; they were simply fantasies of events the women had wished for when they were children and that the women had come to believe were real. This construct started a hundred-year history in the mental health field of blaming victims for the abuse perpetrated on them and outright discrediting of women’s and children’s reports of mistreatment by men.
Once abuse was denied in this way, the stage was set for some psychologists to take the view that any violent or sexually exploitative behaviors that couldn’t be denied—because they were simply too obvious—should be considered mutually caused. Psychological literature is thus full of descriptions of young children who “seduce” adults into sexual encounters and of women whose “provocative” behavior causes men to become violent or sexually assaultive toward them.
I wish I could say that these theories have long since lost their influence, but I can’t. A psychologist who is currently one of the most influential professionals nationally in the field of custody disputes writes that women provoke men’s violence by “resisting their control” or by “attempting to leave.” She promotes the Oedipus complex theory, including the claim that girls wish for sexual contact with their fathers. In her writing she makes the observation that young girls are often involved in “mutually seductive” relationships with their violent fathers, and it is on the basis of such “research” that some courts have set their protocols. The Freudian legacy thus remains strong.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“When a man starts my program, he often says, “I am here because I lose control of myself sometimes. I need to get a better grip.” I always correct him: "Your problem is not that you lose control of yourself, it’s that you take control of your partner. In order to change, you don’t need to gain control over yourself, you need to let go of control of her.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“HOW CAN I TELL IF A MAN I’M SEEING WILL BECOME ABUSIVE?

• He speaks disrespectfully about his former partners.
• He is disrespectful toward you.
• He does favors for you that you don’t want or puts on such a show of generosity that it makes you uncomfortable.
• He is controlling.
• He is possessive.
• Nothing is ever his fault.
• He is self-centered.
• He abuses drugs or alcohol.
• He pressures you for sex.
• He gets serious too quickly about the relationship.
• He intimidates you when he’s angry.
• He has double standards.
• He has negative attitudes toward women.
• He treats you differently around other people.
• He appears to be attracted to vulnerability.
No single one of the warning signs above is a sure sign of an abusive man, with the exception of physical intimidation. Many nonabusive men may exhibit a umber of these behaviors to a limited degree. What, then, should a woman do to protect herself from having a relationship turn abusive?
Although there is no foolproof solution, the best plan is:
1. Make it clear to him as soon as possible which behaviors or attitudes are unacceptable to you and that you cannot be in a relationship with him if they continue.
2. If it happens again, stop seeing him for a substantial period of time. Don’t keep seeing him with the warning that this time you “really mean it,” because he will probably interpret that to mean that you don’t.
3. If it happens a third time, or if he switches to other behaviors that are warning flags, chances are great that he has an abuse problem. If you give him too many chances, you are likely to regret it later.
Finally, be aware that as an abuser begins his slide into abuse, he believes that you are the one who is changing. His perceptions work this way because he feels so justified in his actions that he can’t imagine the problem might be with him. All he notices is that you don’t seem to be living up to his image of the perfect, all-giving, deferential woman.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
tags: abuse
“It is important to note that research has shown that men who have abusive mothers do not tend to develop especially negative attitudes toward females, but men who have abusive fathers do; the disrespect that abusive men show their female partners and their daughters is often absorbed by their sons.
So while a small number of abusive men do hate women, the great majority exhibit a more subtle—though often quite pervasive—sense of superiority or contempt toward females, and some don’t show any obvious signs of problems with women at all until they are in a serious relationship.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“Disrespect also can take the form of idealizing you and putting you on a pedestal as a perfect woman or goddess, perhaps treating you like a piece of fine china. The man who worships you in this way is not seeing you; he is seeing his fantasy, and when you fail to live up to that image he may turn nasty. So there may not be much difference between the man who talks down to you and the one who elevates you; both are displaying a failure to respect you as a real human being and bode ill.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“When a man’s face contorts in bitterness and hatred, he looks a little insane. When his mood changes from elated to assaultive in the time it takes to turn around, his mental stability seems open to question. When he accuses his partner of plotting to harm him, he seems paranoid. It is no wonder that the partner of an abusive man would come to suspect that he was mentally ill.
Yet the great majority of my clients over the years have been psychologically “normal.” Their minds work logically; they understand cause and effect; they don’t hallucinate. Their perceptions of most life circumstances are reasonably accurate. They get good reports at work; they do well in school or training programs; and no one other than their partners—and children—thinks that there is anything wrong with them. Their value system is unhealthy, not their psychology.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“ABUSIVE MEN COME in every personality type, arise from good childhoods and bad ones, are macho men or gentle, “liberated” men. No psychological test can distinguish an abusive man from a respectful one. Abusiveness is not a product of a man’s emotional injuries or of deficits in his skills. In reality, abuse springs from a man’s early cultural training, his key male role models, and his peer influences. In other words, abuse is a problem of values, not of psychology. When someone challenges an abuser’s attitudes and beliefs, he tends to reveal the contemptuous and insulting personality that normally stays hidden, reserved for private attacks on his partner. An abuser tries to keep everybody—his partner, his therapist, his friends and relatives—focused on how he feels, so that they won’t focus on how he thinks, perhaps because on some level he is aware that if you grasp the true nature of his problem, you will begin to escape his domination.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“But whether you stay or go, the critical decision you can make is to stop letting your partner distort the lens of your life, always forcing his way into the
center of the picture. You deserve to have your life be about you; you are worth it.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“THE MYTHS ABOUT ABUSERS
1. He was abused as a child.
2. His previous partner hurt him.
3. He abuses those he loves the most.
4. He holds in his feelings too much.
5. He has an aggressive personality.
6. He loses control.
7. He is too angry.
8. He is mentally ill.
9. He hates women.
10. He is afraid of intimacy and abandonment.
11. He has low self-esteem.
12. His boss mistreats him.
13. He has poor skills in communication and conflict resolution.
14. There are as many abusive women as abusive men.
15. His abusiveness is as bad for him as for his partner.
16. He is a victim of racism.
17. He abuses alcohol or drugs.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“There certainly are some women who treat their male partners badly, berating them, calling them names, attempting to control them. The negative impact on these men’s lives can be considerable. But do we see men whose self-esteem is gradually destroyed through this process? Do we see men whose progress in school or in their careers grinds to a halt because of the constant criticism and undermining? Where are the men whose partners are forcing them to have unwanted sex? Where are the men who are fleeing to shelters in fear for their lives? How about the ones who try to get to a phone to call for help, but the women block their way or cut the line? The reason we don’t generally see these men is simple: They’re rare.
I don’t question how embarrassing it would be for a man to come forward and admit that a woman is abusing him. But don’t underestimate how humiliated a woman feels when she reveals abuse; women crave dignity just as much as men do. If shame stopped people from coming forward, no one would tell.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“As I have explained in earlier chapters, abusiveness has little to do with psychological problems and everything to do with values and beliefs. Where do a boy’s values about partner relationships come from? The sources are many. The most important ones include the family he grows up in, his neighborhood, the television he watches and books he reads, jokes he hears, messages that he receives from the toys he is given, and his most influential adult role models. His role models are important not just for which behaviors they exhibit to the boy but also for which values they teach him in words and what expectations they instill in him for the future. In sum, a boy’s values develop from the full range of his experiences within his culture.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“The sense of ownership is one reason why abuse tends to get worse as relationships get more serious. The more history and commitment that develop in the couple, the more the abuser comes to think of his partner as a prized object. Possessiveness is at the core of the abuser’s mindset, the spring from which all the other streams spout; on some level he feels that he owns you and therefore has the right to treat you as he sees fit.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
“THE ABUSER’S PROBLEM IS NOT THAT HE RESPONDS INAPPROPRIATELY TO CONFLICT. HIS ABUSIVENESS IS OPERATING PRIOR TO THE CONFLICT: IT USUALLY CREATES THE CONFLICT, AND IT DETERMINES THE SHAPE THE CONFLICT TAKES.”
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

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