Understanding The Problem



Bad male behavior centers on power and control*

These examples of power and control lead to bad male behavior. They take different forms, depending on the age of the person involved. They include all age groups: adult, youth, and child.

Psychological Abuse

  • MENTAL and ATTITUDINAL: Believing one is superior and entitled. Being controlling, prejudicial, self-serving and intolerant of another person or their beliefs and values.
  • “GASLIGHTING”: Denial and blaming another for bad behavior.
  • DISRESPECT: Any and all of the above that diminishes the other person.
  • ALTERED STATES: Contributing use and denial of alcohol and other mind altering substances, refusal to seek treatment, fostering mutual substance abuse.
  • MALE PRIVILEGE: Subservient treatment, unilateral decision making, dictating the behavior and the role of another. Biases based on sex, race, religion, politics or ethnicity.
  • ISSUES OF MORALITY: Lying, cheating, stealing, or corruption.

Verbal Abuse

  • VERBAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE: Attacking a person with vocalized statements of criticisms, demands, threats, and consequences. Demeaning statements, name calling, playing mind games and making someone feel guilty or bad about themselves. Raising one’s voice, yelling, or making humiliating remarks.
  • DENIAL AND BLAME: Not taking responsibility, denying bad behaviors, making excuses, blaming the other person as the cause.

Economical Abuse

  • ECONOMIC MANIPULATION: Withholding or controlling finances. Preventing and interfering with attempts to work. Hiding finances and shared family income.
  • CRIMINIAL BUSINESS AND LEGAL BEHAVIORS: Embezzling, Fraud, Extortion, Bribery, Tax Evasion, Insider Trading, or Perjury.

Social Abuse

  • SOCIAL MANIPULATION: Preventing friendships and interfering with outside relationships including family. Dictating with whom one can relate. Acting suspicious and jealous.
  • USE OF CHILDREN AND OTHERS: Putting children in the middle, taking sides, withholding access, threatening to harm, using extended family or others in similar ways.

Physical Abuse

  • PHYSICAL BEHAVIORS: Shoving, hitting, restraining, and choking. The use of weapons, throwing items, smashing belongings, the destruction of property and pet abuse.
  • DESTRUCTION OF NATURE: Damage or destructive acts against nature, animals, wildlife, plants, the earth and/or environment.

Sexual Abuse

  • SEXUAL ABUSE: Forced or coerced sex when unwanted. Physical harm during sex. Using unprotected sex when unwanted. The use of sexually degrading name calling. Having sex with or in front of others.

* Adapted in part from The Power and Control and Equality Wheel of the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project


Steven Pinker created a taxonomy of violence* that includes five types:

  • Practical or Predatory: Seeking a specific goal or self-protection
  • Dominance: Seeking control and influence
  • Revenge: Settling a score or seeking retribution
  • Sadism: Inflecting pain and suffering
  • Ideological: Destructive behavior based on beliefs

*Adapted from part 4 of The Better Angels of our Nature by Steven Pinker 2013.




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