Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Case of the Beaten-Down Boyfriend

It’s an old story, but one suspects that it’s not outdated. Coming to us from Carolyn Hax’s column of  8=-8-2004, it paints a portrait of a modern relationship. Not a marriage, thank God, but a relationship involving a couple in Arkansas.

Strikingly, or perhaps not, it’s another role-reversal relationship. A thoroughly modern relationship… where the man is weak and beaten down by his girlfriend. She is trying to gain complete control over him by systematically cutting him off from all of his friends and family. It’s a common practice. We see it far too often. What is strange about this case is that it’s the woman who is exercising her power by destroying her boyfriend's relationships. Stranger still is the fact that this beaten-down hulk of a man is going along with it.

Did you think that modern culture had thoroughly emasculated men? If you did not, read this:

I love my girlfriend — although she says I never say it enough. I have always been faithful, but occasionally I will get a call from exes with whom I have remained friends. Most of the time, I don't even pick up the phone. Afterward, my girlfriend lets me have it for allowing them to call. She says they are not respecting her by calling. I have introduced her to a few of these girls. We argue for hours on this.

She has even made comments about my parents calling and bothering us; they would call once a week but now don't because they know she doesn't like it. She doesn't like my friends to send emails, either. I have told her these people mean nothing to me but friendships and she is whom I want to be with.

— Isolated in Arkansas

Why, pray tell, does he still want to be with her? For the money. For the great sex. Because he has been so completely abused that he is numb to abuse. Anyway, Hax diagnoses the problem correctly:

So which is it — the bottomless arguing, the jealousy, the lambasting for innocent behavior or the alienation of everyone else you care about that makes her so lovable?

Good point. What exactly makes her so lovable?

Hax continues: this man is a victim of abuse. It’s a cold hard truth, best served cold:

You aren’t a doting boyfriend; you’re an abuse victim. You can both dress it up as love, devotion, respect or some other romantic gesture so that you’ll feel obliged to comply, but what she’s demanding of you is servitude to her emotional problems.

Hax advises him to walk away. Undoubtedly, he does not do it because he is afraid of her. Is she violent and dangerous? It’s surely possible. So Hax offers up a help line for this abused heap of male protoplasm:

But when everyone who touches your life offends your girlfriend, and when every offense brings a demand that you sever an emotional tie, and when so many ties have been severed that she’s the only one you have left, it’s no longer a bunch of trees — it’s a forest. Walk away. Call 800-799-SAFE if you have trouble making it out.

One wonders whether this abuse victim still has any friends. If he does, why have none of them taken his side? Why are his parents going along with this regimen?And one wonders whether his friends still respect him. If they do, it speaks ill of them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I see a potential murder-suicide here. At some point, he may strike back with lethal force. If he's really much larger than his partner, one rage-filled punch could do it. Then he'll be guilt-ridden, he'll do himself in. Or he'll kill himself to show the world who the real black hat was -- and to punish all the people who left him hanging.

And then this case will be used to call for more protection from "abusive" men