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Gift giving can be manipulative

– Posted in: Intimate partner abuse Male perpetrators Why does he do it

Speakoutloud.net gift giving manipulative Clare Murphy PhD_4Today I read this article about the very problematic issue of male perpetrators of domestic violence (including psychological abuse and coercive control) giving gifts as a means of trying to ameliorate their partner and trying to increase the chances that she will stay with him and meet his controlling commands. My research with women shows that gift giving can occur as a stalking tactic and separation abuse — it can be very confusing for the woman, and onlookers do not understand why women feel upset. The article says:

Socially, we are taught that gifts are selfless, thoughtful and virtuous expressions of love, friendship or respect. We are also taught that a gift is a “get out of trouble” card. And the more expensive or rare or sentimental the gift, the more forgiveness it can barter ……

How many women might instinctively soften after a quarrel if their husband or boyfriend brought home a shiny necklace or stylish watch the next day? How many would take the gift without an explicit admission of guilt? And would that be wrong? The tricky part of this equation is that gifts can be really nice to get. A gift is a tangible object that says, “I was thinking about you.” But it doesn’t mean “I acknowledge, understand and take responsibility for what I’ve done.”…..

[Peter Hovman] said that the stereotype of the anti-social manipulator with the feeble cow-towed spouse isn’t necessarily the norm. Confident, successful women can also be victims. Perhaps because they tend to attract even more confident and successful men. The kind of men that even your friends have a hard time believing would hurt you…….

“Friends don’t often understand how significant domestic violence can be,” explained Ellen Reed, an executive director at Lydia’s House, which provides transitional housing and counseling for battered women.

She said that friends might see a charming, attractive, generous guy, but the woman in the relationship needs to ask herself if she’s afraid of him.

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  • Amy 15 February 2016, 8:58 pm

    Get out of these relationships, but be careful! This type of person believes he/she owns you. They will do anything to manipulate you back. I left my abusive ex and he put a false restraining order against me; he used this to tear my children away from their only true caretaker and used the judicial and police systems against me to steal primary custody. Also, psychological abuse can turn into physical abuse, because they wear you down to the point of feeling completely defenseless. This is a man who ended up physically hurting all of us too. He has threatned my children to never show love for me, but on the seldom occasion we are together, I can tell they still do; however they definitely suffer from the psychological ramifications of this entire situation. So do I. I am in a healthy relationship, yet I had to flee and stay 1000 miles away. I, to this day, refuse presents, flowers, jewelery from my current husband and he respects my wishtes. So please! . . Get out of this relationship, but get your ducks in a row first. Women’s groups are designed to help in these situations. Don’t get regular lawyers and psycholgists. They, along with friends and family, can be turned against you and to hurt you. Please turn my bad experience into a successful experience for you and learn from what I didn’t know.

  • Lisa 14 October 2015, 10:29 am

    Wow…I’ve lived this, but not really recognized it. Last Christmas my husband gave me a gift in front of all his family. A moderately expensive item that I had been wanting. A week after Christmas he returned it without telling me. Several months later when I went to use the gift because we finally had snow, I found out he had returned it and blamed it on financial hardship which of course is MY fault.

  • Tina 18 May 2011, 6:41 am

    I’ve been in what I thought was a “relationship” for the last three years with a man who psychologically abused me . . . I’m trying to recover but due to the lack of understanding from friends, family, authorities and mental health professionals I’ve withdrawn from almost everything and everyone. My fear is that my Perpetrator will return and offer me that understanding to lift my spirits long enough for him to get whatever it is he is wanting . .. usually money …. a meal …. or sex. As always as soon as he gets what he wants he will leave or start tormenting me with his little comments and lies to confuse me . . . Usually the gifts are the last resort when none of his other tactics work to suck me back into his twisted world. They are not expensive gifts .. . but they are clever gifts. He knows me and he knows me well . . . why does he know me . . . because it gives him the advantage. He is a smart man and he has been able to do this to not only me but to another woman at the very same time for the last three years. Neither one of us knew till just last week. If you believe you are being psychologically abused or manipulated in any way or even suspect it . . be careful of what you reveal about yourself because it can and will be used against you.