Men in Abusive Relationships- In conversation with Rohini Rajeev


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This is part two of our interview with Rohini. Click here to read the first part.

  • How trapped are men about speaking up due to social stigma and image? Do you think men take it as their role (either to stay quiet or be abusive) because they don’t know any better (as in doing what they have seen/learnt as children)?\


The hardest part for men in abusive relationships is admitting that they are in one. For various reasons men prefer to keep their suffering under wraps…
Listed below are some reasons why they continue being in one:

  • Embarrassment
  • Confusion
  • The fear of being falsely accused or being blamed in turn if they do come out, due to lack of legal clarity in such cases.
  • Guilt and self-beating at their presumed failure in choosing a life partner.
  • Being manipulated by their partner into believing that the abuse they face is really their fault.
  • Fear of public shaming or open mockery by friends and family who may not believe them or understand why they cannot retaliate.
  • Or When they fear that their dear ones will face the wrath of their retaliation or self – defense if they ever do retaliate.

    Men in abusive relationships are constantly accused by their mates of being unfaithful and need to keep proving their innocence. They get humiliated and belittled in front of their friends and their accomplishments are often under-valued. Their partners repeatedly tell them that they are failures and also lead the man to believe that the former’s abusive behaviour is really their fault! They also deny sex and intimacy as a form of control.
    Abusive partners almost always bring the family of the man into the picture. They accuse the family of lies and deceit, and blame them for driving the couple apart; and as a result try and isolate the man from his intimate family circle.


While physical abuse by men involves the use of bare hands and physical strength to intimidate and induce fear among their partners, women perpetrators try to compensate their own physical discrepancies by using dangerous tools like knives and catch their victims off guard with an intent to maim or severely injure them.

Since the legal system is not really pro-men when it comes to emotional and physical abuse, men do not easily take the step to move out or even retaliate when assaulted for they know that their fear of this getting back fired at them is very real!

An Important first step to handle partner abuse, irrespective of whether the victim is female or male is:
Keeping a secret ‘proof’ record with photographs of bruises with time and date, if possible use modern devices that enable you to record a conversation/fight, maintain a diary of daily events and the losses that he/she has incurred in his/her life due to this abusive relationship. If possible, Take the help of a trustworthy 3rd party like a Therapist, a Lawyer friend etc.


  • How much does couple counselling help? 

Couples counselling can be very effective if both partners in the relationship are willing to take full responsibility for their actions, admit that their relationship is failing and are willing to work on the issues together with the Therapist.
However, when there is abuse involved in a relationship, the abusive partner will try his/her best to manipulate the therapy session, refuse to take blame or responsibility for their behaviour/actions.

If the Therapist continues to emphasis on the point, “Take responsibility if you want your relationship to work”, in the session, the abusive partner will most likely get defensive and refuse to attend further sessions.
In my personal opinion, Couples counselling does not work in abusive relationships from a reconciliation point of view.
But it’s important to understand that Individual counselling of the victim will definitely help them regain their lost self-esteem, give them the confidence to handle their life better, provide them with support and understanding, thus, slowly but certainly helping them re-construct their destroyed self-worth and rebuild their life.