Two Types of Physically Abusive Husbands
Two Types of Physically Abusive
By J. Bailey Molineux, Ph.D.
Men who physically abuse their wives are not alike, according to Neil Jacobson,
Ph.D. and John Gottman, Ph.D., authors of the book, When Men Batter Women(Simon
and Schuster, 1998). In their research, Drs. Gottman and Jacobson found there
were two types of batterers which they called Cobras and Pit Bulls.
These psychologists examined sixty three battering
couples and compared them with other couples who were unhappily married but
not violent. After their initial study, they interviewed the same couples two
Two factors which made a batterer especially dangerous
were spousal rape and alcohol or drug addiction. Surprisingly, only 6 percent
of batterers faced legal consequences for their behavior because many of their
wives were afraid to report abuse, often for good reason, or didn't realize
what their husbands were doing was a crime.
Twenty percent of the batterers Jacobson and Gottman
studied were Cobras. Although the smaller group, they were the most dangerous.
Thirty eight percent of them had threatened their wives with guns or knives
compared to only 4 percent of Pit Bulls.
Most Cobras - about 90% - were anti-social personality
disorders, the type of men who are selfish, without guilt or empathy and often
criminals. They were usually aggressive outside the home also, in contrast to
Pit Bulls who were violent only with their wives.
Cobras were not strongly attached to their wives.
They preferred to be left alone most of the time, occasionally wanting their
wives for sex, money or someone to get high with.
Pit Bulls, by contrast, were insecure and excessively
dependent upon their wives. They were needy, empty people who desired love but
feared abandonment. Unfortunately, they acted in ways which prevented them from
getting their needs met.
Physical abuse was designed to control batters'
wives but for different reasons for the two types. Cobras controlled their wives
so as not to be controlled themselves; Pit Bulls controlled their wives so as
not to be abandoned.
In their two year follow-up, Jacobson and Gottman
found that half of the wives of Pit Bulls had divorced their husbands but none
of the Cobras' wives had left for two reasons. It was initially more dangerous
to leave a Cobra because he was more violent. Also, Pit Bulls were harder to
live with because their insecurity and dependency made them constantly controlling
and checking on their wives.
If it was more difficult to leave a Cobra at first,
it became easier with the passage of time. Not being strongly bonded to their
wives, Cobras soon detached from them and usually found another partner.
By contrast, it was easier to leave a Pitt Bull
in the short run but more difficult in the long run. Because of his excessive
dependency on his wife, the Pit Bull was less willing to let go. As a result,
he was more likely to stalk his wife after the divorce.
The wives finally left their Pit Bull husbands
when they realized the abuse was not going to stop without the involvement of
the criminal justice system and mandatory counseling which is not effective
with Cobras. Whenever a wife finally does leave her physically abusive husband,
Drs. Jacobson and Gottman advise that it is imperative she gets professional
help to develop a plan to leave as safely as possible and to recover from the
trauma she has suffered.
About the Author: J. Bailey Molineux, a psychologist
with Adult and Child Counseling, has incorporated many of his articles in a
Isn't Easy, Isbn 1587410419, sold through bookstores everywhere or available
directly from Selfhelpbooks.com.
Copyright 2002, J. Bailey Molineux and Selfhelpbooks.com, all rights reserved.
This article may be reprinted but must include authors copyright and website