Chapter 3: The Bully

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He uses a particular tone of voice. This could be flat and cold or he could shout. He can sulk and terrify his partner because she does not know what he is thinking. He may whistle and hum.

He invades his partner’s personal space to intimidate her. He can lean over her or approach her from behind. He may come close to her face and rant or glare. He folds his arms, swings or taps his foot, drums his fingers or cracks his knuckles. He clenches his fists and fires questions at her without giving her a chance to answer.

As if that is not enough, he kicks the walls or furniture and selectively smashes things. These things are usually her prized personal possessions. He may sit in an aggressive manner, often thrusting his crotch, and can puff himself up to make himself look larger. He uses secret gestures, which only she will recognize as a threat because of her past experiences with him. For example, he may use facial tics and certain words, which she knows from past experience to be a threat. He often sends the children to bed (a clear warning of trouble to come).

He paces up and down. He bangs doors and slams things down on surfaces. He points. He makes sudden gestures and looks as though he is going to hit her, but stops just before making contact.

He drives too fast when his partner and the children are passengers. He cleans weapons, blocks exits and hurts pets. He goes out without saying when he will return or where he is going. Women are then left in fear, not knowing how he will behave when he returns.

These tactics can also be used in same sex relationships. Therefore the Dominator can be an abusive gay woman or an abusive gay man.

It is important to emphasise that the Bully is making the effort to use a sophisticated array of tactics. He is thinking clearly and he is completely in control of his emotions. He is not, therefore, angry.

What does the Bully believe which allows him to behave in this way?

It is worth reminding ourselves that the Bully sees his beliefs as facts of life. He has never questioned these beliefs. He believes that all the behaviours we have identified are not abusive but normal. He knows that it is OK to bully to get his own way. He knows that this behaviour is manly and that real men are tough. He knows that men who don’t bully are either gay or wimps. The Bully also believes that bullying works.