Monday, June 20, 2011

The wages of female anger...

Image courtesy
Since I wrote the previous post, I have been speaking with a friend, a fellow writer, whose experience of his own mother (step mother actually) is in a word, horrific. As a result of what was a damaging and life-altering experience with her, he has engaged in substantial research into women and violence and the statistical occurrence of violence by women toward spouses and offspring. And, by the sounds of it, he has also spent most of his adult lifetime trying to recover from really appalling mental abuse.

He admits readily to having a deep-seated distrust of women, which I absolutely understand, as I have struggled my entire life with the same mistrust. Only in the last five years (I am nearly 50) have I had female friends who I trust and they are very, very few even now.

For many reasons, we labour under the misguided belief that women are compassionate and gentle and that they always love their children and seek to help and nurture. That is the mythology. The reality is that some 51% of women and acted out against their loved ones - spouses and very often children. This must not be confused with discipline, where it relates to children, or as normal disagreements, where it relates to spouses.

As he put it (and I do not want in any way to diminish the experience of women who are battered, a man may slap a woman out of anger; she, however (says my friend) may react by stabbing him with a hidden paring knife. She may, under the guise of correcting and disciplining her children, engage in pounding them, hitting them with objects, verbally abusing them, ignoring them, abandoning them, or killing them.

His experience and mine of our respective mothers have some disturbing similarities - many, similarities - all boiling down to two angry women who are neither aware of or attached to their anger but who inflicted it on their children - and in my case, on a spouse. The myth is that such women are rare. The reality is that possibly 50% of mothers are angry and abusive.

Men may at times be brutal and there is no excuse for brutality towards spouses and children, but women have a far more insidious means of abusing that combines the physical (because spanking never hurt anyone, right?) and the psychological (.... words will never hurt me....) that leaves deep, deep scars.

Some brief research here