Traits of the 'Demand Man'


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Category: Relationships 04 Jun 06


“I’m really scared of what he may do to me some day.”


“I feel so bad for him: he’s had a really hard life.”


These are quotes from women interviewed by Lundy Bancroft in his book ‘Why does he do that?’


Last week, I passed on Bancroft’s message to victims of domestic violence that contrary to the widely held view that abusers lose control because they are emotionally messed up, they are calculated men who systematically assault their partners’ self-esteem, disrespect them and undermine their independence in order to stay in control of relationships. In fact, abusive men are adept at keeping their victims off balance.


Bancroft introduces his chapter titled Types of Abusive Men convinced that “confusion has been part of the experience of every one of the hundreds of abused women I have spoken with.”


Bancroft states: “Whether because of the abusers manipulations, his popularity, or simply the mind-bending contrast between his professions of love and his vicious psychological or physical assaults, every abused woman finds herself fighting to make sense out of what is happening.”


Based on thousands of interviews, Bancroft has placed the types of abusive men into ten categories but adds they can also “turn kind and loving at any moment and stay in that mode for days, weeks, even months.”


  1. The Demand Man: It’s your job to do things for me, including take care of my responsibilities. If I’m unhappy about any aspect of my life, whether it has to do with our relationship or not, it’s your fault. I am above criticism. I am a very loving partner. You’re lucky to have me. You should not place demands on me at all. You should be grateful for whatever I choose to give.

  2. Mr. Right: You should be in awe of my intelligence and should look up to me. I know better than you do, even about what’s good for you. Your opinions aren’t worth listening to carefully or taking seriously. The fact that you sometimes disagree with me shows how sloppy your thinking is. If you would just accept that I know what’s right, our relationship would go much better. Your own life would go better, too. When you disagree with me about something, no matter how respectfully or meekly, that’s mistreatment of me. If I put you down for long enough, some day you’ll see I’m right. 

  3. The Water Torturer: You are crazy. You fly off the handle over nothing. I can easily convince other people that you’re the one who is messed up. As long as I’m calm, you can’t call anything I do abusive, no matter how cruel. I know exactly how to get under your skin.

  4. The Drill Sergeant: I need to control your every move or you will do it wrong. I know the exact way that everything should be done. You shouldn’t have anyone else-or anything else-in your life beside me. I am going to watch you like a hawk to keep you from developing strength or independence. I love you more than anyone in the world, but you disgust me.

  5. Mr Sensitive: I’m against the macho men, so I couldn’t be abusive. As long as I use a lot of psychobabble, no one is going to believe I am mistreating you. I can control you by analysing how your mind and emotions work, and what your issues are from childhood. I can get inside your head whether you want me there or not. Nothing in the world is more important than my feelings. Women should be grateful to me for not being like those other men. 

This series is not about male bashing. It’s about recognising destructive behaviour, changing it, getting out, and saving lives.


Next week from Bancroft: The Player, Rambo, The Victim, The Terrorist, The Mentally Ill or Addicted Abuser.


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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur