When men go wrong
AT THE beginning of the affair he appears to be nice and full of fun and you feel good being around him. He makes you feel "chosen" and "special".
Once he feels the woman is hooked, he begins the destruction.
Asiphe Ndlela, an Illovo psychologist, says: "He starts with verbal abuse. The abuse is aimed at making women feel bad about themselves: you're stupid, ugly, barren, lazy, boring, fat, you can't do anything right."
She says after weeks or months of this indoctrination most women feel inadequate and begin to think the man is right.
Ndlela says among the theories that try to explain why certain men use violence against their partners are chemical dependency, economic hardship, family dysfunction, a lack of spirituality, poor communication skills, provocation by women and stress.
She says while these issues can be associated with the abuse and battering of women, they are not the causes.
"An abuser has a low self-esteem. He feels powerless and ineffective. Though he might appear to be successful he feels inadequate. He finds external excuses for his behaviour. He will blame his violence on having had a bad day, alcohol or drug use or anything that comes to mind."
She says the abuser might be charming and pleasant between acts of violence. There are early warning signs of abuse, including a bad temper, cruelty to animals, extreme jealousy, possessiveness, verbal abuse and-or unpredictability.
She says men who are weak, needy and who do not understand women are the type of guys who become stalkers or violent when a woman they care for does not act the way they want.
"A guy who becomes violent to a woman during an argument is afraid he won't get what he wants, won't be accepted or won't be loved.
"His fear of losing his girl or her love causes him to try to force what he wants with violence," Ndlela explains. "In reality not controlling his emotions or learning how to understand women will cause him to act in a way that guarantees that exactly what he fears most - losing his girl - will happen."
She says the main reason for abuse is power and control.
"Showing others that they have power over something is one of the main reasons why men hit women. Power is addictive. If the man feels he is powerless over things in his life, he might be compelled to create his own power."
She says having control over another human being is the main cause of this kinds of action.
"The man might not be able to control anyone else but he can surely control 'his' woman. He is making his statement far too clear. He is the head of the household and he decides what happens there. It doesn't stop at physical abuse.
"Control issues go much deeper than that. The man wants to control every aspect of the woman that he is abusing. He will often require her to wear certain types of clothing. He will also decide what they are having for dinner, among other things. There is no end to it when it comes to this issue.
Carly Brown, a relationship expert and gender activist, says many women who end up in abusive relationships as adults were abused as children, physically or emotionally. She says this includes neglect.
"The reason women get into abusive relationships is that they don't have a clear sense of what's healthy and what their needs are, and they tend to put others first.
"They don't really know what is involved in an emotionally satisfying relationship with a man, so they don't look for one." She says women in abusive relationships might also be accustomed to "putting up with" others in their lives or being people-pleasers.
So, how do we spot these men?
According to www.womanabuse.ca abusive men want quick involvement and commitment early in a relationship.
They seek control of a woman's thoughts, beliefs, and conduct, separate "their" women from friends and family, restrict all the victim's rights and freedoms and punish their women for challenging their authority. Some women think jealousy and abuse is proof of love.