A Word For the men physically abused by their wives

Violence is never an acceptable form of expression, whether it comes from a man or a woman. It is usually more difficult for men to admit that they are at the receiving end of abuse from their spouse since this does not conform to societal stereotypes. In the recent decades however, there has been a rise in the number of instances of husbands being physically abused by their wives.

I appreciate that you have never hit her back, as this would have only made matters worse. Your feeling helpless is a natural response to the way you are being treated in this relationship. Her reaction is unacceptable and you should not hold yourself responsible for not being able to 'control' it.

My suggestion is, try to speak to your wife when she has cooled down to try to understand her motivation for resorting to violence. Many times, listening to your partner patiently and making a genuine effort to understand what they want goes a long way in reducing their anger. It may also be the case that the things she wants are unreasonable or out of reach. Emphasise on the fact that though you have sympathy for what she is going through, but you cannot tolerate physical violence.

Both of you can try to identify the things that make her angry and violent, and then figure out whether these can be avoided or changed in any way. Mutually agree upon what is acceptable within your relationship and what isn't. It is always more beneficial to have this conversation in the presence of a qualified relationship counsellor. Your counsellor will be able to look at your situation objectively and enable you to communicate your concerns in a safe and confidential environment. Your wife might be more willing to see a professional if you suggest working on the relationship rather than asking her to 'get fixed' or 'change'. Professional advice about anger management and healthier ways of coping with anger outbursts will also be useful.

I don't know if you have children, but if you do, it is all the more essential for you to seek counselling right away as witnessing violence between parents has a long-lasting negative impact on kids. If your wife is unwilling to seek therapy, you can start with individual counselling sessions for yourself. These will help you to regain your confidence and manage her outbursts in a more assertive manner. Once she sees how you are benefiting from counselling, she might be motivated to try it too.

Aditi is a Counsellor
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