Excerpt from When Love Hurts, Chapter 1
This excerpt is from the second edition.
Am I an “abused woman”?
Is it hard even to consider if you are being abused in your relationship? If it is a struggle even to ask the question, you are not alone. Many women find it hard to imagine that they are being abused by their partners. Part of the struggle has to do with the negative stereotype our culture has of “battered women” and “abusive men.” If neither you nor your partner fit the stereotype, it may be even harder to imagine that you’re actually being abused.
Women who are abused by their partners are like any other women. Some are professionals, some are homemakers, some are wealthy, some are poor. Women who experience abuse come from all racial and ethnic backgrounds.
In the same way, abusive men don’t fit the stereotype either. The stereotype is of men who are monstrous and volatile. It does not reflect that these men are often affectionate, charming and sociable. Some men even appear to be progressive in their attitudes about women.
The stereotype of an “abused woman” may prevent women from being able to describe or identify their experience. You may have struggled between your experience of abuse and the negative stereotype of an “abused woman.” We encourage you to pay attention to your experience rather than to the stereotype.