Batterers, Abandonment, and Love Addiction: Jimmy’s Story

I am reblogging one of the most-liked posts on this blog, “Batterers, Abandonment, and Love Addiction: Jimmy’s Story.” The excerpt comes from one of the leading texts on masculinity and mental health authored by Terrence Real, Ph.D., “I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression.” I have always found the text immensely powerful, both for aiding in my personal journey in wrestling with masculinity as well as providing rich interviews and analysis with men that illustrate how gender socialization negatively impacts men and the people around them. I hope others find this excerpt helpful as I do.

Sociological Fragments

Jimmy, like most of the male batterers I have encountered, suffered from both forms of addictive intoxication: the need for merger with an abundant other and the need to wrestle nature, as represented by his wife, into submission. Shirley helped me see the connection between the two forms of intoxication in a couple’s therapy session when she offered a suggestion.

“If you really want to be of use to somebody,” Shirley proposes, folding out the wrinkles of her fashionable miniskirt, “what you should do is write yourself up some little grant, you know, some little research project, and figure out what happens to guys when their girlfriends spend time on the phone. I never met a man yet who didn’t get berserk when I was on the phone for more than ten minutes.”

Jimmy sputters, “Hey, listen. The baby was crying. I’m trying to get your attention. You’re…

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