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WHEN HE CLAIMS IT NEVER HAPPENED/ Lundy Bancroft -Based on an entry from “Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That: Encouragement for Women Involved With Angry and Controlling Men”

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One of the most crazy-making acts by abusive men is when they outright deny major things they have done to you. Hundreds of women have told me of times where the abusive man has asserted angrily, right to her face, that he never said those horrible things to her, or that he didn’t hit her, or that he didn’t do other terrible forms of abuse to her that she can remember perfectly well. Sometimes he even turns the tables and asserts that she was the one who did those things to him, or claims that she is simply making up his other acts of abuse or violence.

If this has been done to you, you probably end up going through some times of wondering if the abuse is all just in your head. But it’s not! You aren’t imagining things! Denying his acts right to your face is a very common tactic used by abusers, and it’s a serious form of psychological assault. Hang on to your sanity by keeping faith in your knowledge of what’s real.
Lundy Bancroft

[Based on an entry from “Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That: Encouragement for Women Involved With Angry and Controlling Men” (Berkley Books)]


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It happens a lot more often than you might think: The woman’s own family, and sometimes some of her closest friends, end up rejecting her and buddying up to the abusive man. The horror of this experience leaves her feeling like she’s been hit by a train. How can her own people side with someone who has been so mean and destructive to her??

I’ve noticed a few reasons why these twisted alliances form. First, abusive men tend to be slick operators, and they know how to be super convincing. They also know how to read people and play to what they want to hear. I had a case, for example, where the man never went to church, but when he found out that his partner’s family was upset that she wasn’t going to church herself, he suddenly started to go to church every Sunday, and started telling her family how worried he was about her distancing herself from her faith. He didn’t actually care at all; he just knew that by presenting himself as religious, he would deepen the wedge between her and her family and get them on his side.

There other factors. Society in general tends to see it as the woman’s responsibility to make relationships work, so friends and family can be quick to blame her when things are crumbling. Another issue is that her family may include some abusive people, and those people are very quick to side with an abusive man over his victim even if they’re related to her. And finally, abuse is such a widespread problem in our society that people are afraid to look at it; so it’s easier to just blame the victim.

We all need to be aware that the woman whose own loved ones have sided with the source of cruelty needs extra love, support, and understanding from the rest of us. And if you are one of the women that this has happened to, here are some things to keep in mind:
1) You are not as alone as you feel like you are, and you can find other women who have had the same thing happen to them.
2) Just because everyone around you is acting crazy, that doesn’t mean that you are crazy — you’re not.
3) It’s extra important to work on breaking your isolation, by such efforts as attending a support group for abused women, making new friends, or starting new activities.
4) The pain of having your loved ones side against you — which hurts like hell — will get less over time, even though right now that may be hard to imagine..
5) You will eventually work your way into a healthy and renewed life, with people around you who share your values and treat you well.

Lundy’s new book is “Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That: Encouragement for Women Involved With Angry and Controlling Men.” It takes you, one day at a time, through a year-long process for getting strong and safe, despite your partner’s efforts to tear you down. It was released on April 7th.

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