A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Thursday Thought — Lundy Bancroft’s new book: Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That?

For the purposes of this book, when I refer to a “controlling partner” or an “abusive man,” I mean one who repeatedly makes you feel devalued.  He may do this through verbal abuse and mental cruelty; through pressuring, hurting, or humiliating you sexually; through controlling the money; through cheating on you or giving lots of flirtatious attention to other women so that you feel like less; by focusing only on his own needs and ignoring yours (emotionally, sexually, financially, or in other ways); by using coldness and withdrawal when he doesn’t get his way; by turning you into a servant; by chronically ignoring his responsibilities so that you are stuck taking care of things; or through violence and threats.  Devaluation and domination take many different forms.

A man who uses these behaviors is usually out to control the woman he’s involved with; but even when that’s not his intention, it still has that effect.  So rather than trying to puzzle out whether he means to control you or not, I encourage you to focus on whether his behavior ends up having a controlling effect on you.  As I discuss later, your partner is responsible for the effects of his actions, not just his intentions.  A woman can come out feeling as devalued by a partner who pays no attention to her as by a partner who monitors every move she makes and criticizes her relentlessly. 

This quote is from Lundy Bancroft’s new book: Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That?: Encouragement for Women Involved with Angry and Controlling Men [*affiliate link] and is an example of the insight and encouragement it contains.  Lundy says this about his new book:

I decided to write a book of short pieces — daily readings — because abusive men create such tension and chaos that it could be difficult for women to find a chance to read a book in peace.  Digesting long sections of text can be impossible for a woman when her partner demands constant catering and doesn’t allow her to ever focus on herself.

The new book contains 365 entires, each of which takes just five or ten minutes to read.  Each day the reader focuses on just one principle and works with it mentally through the day.  I offer her a short sentence that summarizes each piece, so that she can repeat those words to herself as she processes what she has read.

Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That will also be valuable for advocates, as it wends its way through the myriad issues that abused women have to take on in their daily lives.

***IMPORTANT NOTE:  While we endorse Lundy’s writings about the dynamics of domestic abuse, we do not recommend anyone attend the ‘healing retreats’ Lundy Bancroft offers or become involved in his ‘Peak Living Network.’ See our post, ACFJ Does Not Recommend Lundy Bancroft’s Retreats or His New Peak Living Network for more about our concerns. 

*Affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link. 

9 Comments

  1. Reaching for the prize

    I just love this book. The first time I picked it up, it opened to the page about teaching kids that it is ok to have emotions and be angry…and how to do it. And, this was just what I needed at the time. So I had to buy it.

    I also appreciated hearing that people are responsible for the effects of their behavior not just their intentions. My a-h constantly talks about it not being his intention that we are hurt by what he does. Even told the judge, “yes I did all that but it wasn’t my intention.” Judge said, “if you want to fight it, due to the seriousness of the allegations, you can’t do mediation but it has to be a jury trial.” Constantly shifting the blame to us because we didn’t understand his intention. He decided not to pursue trial.

  2. StrongerNow

    This makes me cry. It perfectly describes my life before I got free.

  3. I love Lundy’s work, because he truly understands abuse in all it’s forms and facets and so clearly communicates what they are. His writings provide a plethora of validation.

  4. Still Reforming

    Lundy demonstrates uncommonly heard truth and wisdom (outside of this website and a few others). My husband was very crafty and didn’t explode much. He also employed more lies, manipulation and withdrawal than outright demeaning words. He did have a way of twisting things, but ultimately, his goals and mine with respect to the relationship were obviously not the same. It was my mistake to have lived 20 years presuming that we were on the same page when we weren’t even in the same library.

    What I like about what Lundy wrote is that the effects are the same – no matter the tactics employed – and that that fact alone is to be respected and validated.

    • having lived 20 years presuming that we were on the same page when we weren’t even in the same library.

      Love this!

  5. outofzion

    Prayers and good thoughts. Been in this process for several years, after a multi-decade marriage. He went crazy with addictions….. he got kicked out of house by a judge for his abuse of us. Massive financial abuse. He has defaulted on child support. I have an advanced degree qualifiation and am studing for another degree in a different discipline. I am Praying for JUSTICE!!!

    It is so very hard to Leave an ABUSER…..

    God Bless.

    (Eds note: commment greatly edited to disidentify commenter. )

    • Dear outofzion, as you will see I have heavily edited your comment to remove identifying details.
      I also edited your screen name to make it consistent with the screen name you’ve used before on this blog.

      I understand you were venting when you wrote this comment. Venting is something we all need to do sometimes, but I do want to caution you to be careful with what you say and what you give as your screen name, as our moderating process may not be foolproof — our moderators can make mistakes because we are all human and we all get tired sometimes!

      You might like to review our New Users Info page, to remind yourself how to guard your safety while commenting on this blog.

      kind regards from Barb 🙂

  6. renamar

    Thank you for this post. The abuse I suffered in my marriage was primarily emotional and sometimes I am tempted to question if it was really bad enough for me to have left. Yet when I left I was emotionally and physically a wreck and on the verge of a breakdown. My saving grace has been how hard I sought God and waited for His clear leading and direction for every step I took.

    Anyway, my point is that this post as well as something Barbara said in one of her posts yesterday about emotional abuse (I can’t remember exactly what she said and don’t have the time to find it right now) is very validating to me and very instructive. You talk about the fog and the confusion a lot and you really do help clear the fog and bring clarity. I’ll have to read some of Lundy’s work soon. So many people suffer in these situations and there is so little help, as you so frequently point out. Thanks for what you do. May God continue to bless your ministry as well as heal and enable many of us to comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received.

  7. M&M

    So rather than trying to puzzle out whether he means to control you or not, I encourage you to focus on whether his behavior ends up having a controlling effect on you.

    That is encouraging in any relationship-whether abusive or normal. Whether the control is 100% or 1% your feelings are still validated.

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