Dr. Deepti Priya 

Psychologist and Author

Masculinity turning into misogynist is a crisis

Copyright © Deepti Priya 2021

The year gone by is when many cases of domestic abuse has been reported. When lockdown was imposed to combat the pandemic, many men stayed at home and imposed their various demands over women.

n India prevalence of domestic violence has only gone up since few years. One of the most under talked and hidden kind of abuse is the psychological abuse.

While physical violence still exists and reported too, but psychological abuses, particularly the form of manipulation always existed but hardly ever reported or talked widely. In the cases of psychological abuse, one is not hit physically, yet, it has same damaging effects on the well-being of the victim. Women face psychological abuse in vast majority, it will not be an exaggeration to say that almost every third home at least one woman is a victim of psychological abuse.

Women are controlled by men in some or the other ways, some places women surrender themselves, at other places they try to manage it, only in some instances they assert. Often it is found that women turn up to support misogynistic thought process which even they disliked once, all this happens unknowingly as they have been lovingly manipulated and have lost the touch of reality. This is the reason why it keeps propagating from generations to generations, and reality never changes. The psychological abuse is found everywhere, in all demographic conditions – Nuclear family, joint family, working women, non-working women, urban population, rural population, economically rich to economically challenged etc. When women assert themselves, often it results in physical violence or separation. When they keep managing the situation they are forced with different levels and degrees of manipulation/abuses until they surrender.

While working with many women and men who are undergoing emotional disturbances, it is evident that men now-a-days control their wives in a much smarter way. They take credit of being a modern supportive husband when wives do anything good. On the other hand, they blame their wives for everything that goes wrong in the relationship or even life itself. They keep teaching their wives how to talk, behave and live. They often demean the ladies in front of their friends by saying - “Please ignore her, she’s from a small town”, they repeatedly mock her, “is it?”, “I don’t know, may be if you say so”, "Oh! you are so sensitive". They perpetually devalue wife's opinions, feelings and ignore their accomplishments. Whatever comes from husband’s support is only what is appreciated, all else is neglected. Husband with misogynist traits (strongly prejudiced against women) often threaten, yell, or withdraw in anger and angry silence if wife displeases him. Such husband keeps wife off balanced, confused and sometimes they also try to keep distance to show how important they are. They will spend more time with friends, at office or in their businesses. These are tactics to punish and gaslight the wife.

Some of the common statements I’ve heard in the counselling sessions from women in relationships with misogynists are:

  • “I supported him, tolerated his misdeeds, bad mannerisms as I felt he was stressed at work, but when he achieved something, he said I did nothing for him. I felt betrayed, he’s so ungrateful.”
  • “I stopped talking and meeting my friends because it became humiliating how he behaved with me.”
  • “I felt attractive about myself, until he started suggesting me to look like someone in advertisement/ he started body shaming/asked me to watch discomforting videos to get intimate.”
  • “Me and my child were talking, without knowing the topic my husband started throwing tantrums”
  • “My husband yelled at me in a shopping mall”
  • “I am scared, when my husband is at home, I’m unsure what he will do the next moment”
  • “My husband keeps taunting me for the way I dress”
  • “My husband is supportive; he’s stuck with his Orthodox family”
  • “Hey! it’s not his fault, his family is conservative”
  • “If I demand time, he threatens me to leave his job”
  • “He loves me a lot but has anger issues. It’s my problem I am not able to accept.”
  • “His intentions are good, but he insults me even in front of others.”
  • “He mocks me that I’m moody”
  • “May be I’m very demanding”

Research says approximately 80% women suffers domestic abuse. Issue is that most women never talked about it to anyone. While trust deficit and illiteracy are reasons of it, but predominant reason is co-dependency. Talking or expressing about it means more violence or even fear of separation. So largely women end-up in sacrificing, which eventually results in them turning into cold mothers and later an abusive mother-in-law. There is a cycle of abuse which continues and largely women are not able to come out of it. Those who challenged it or tries to exit the abusive environment with the help of law-enforcement agencies, often end-up being trolled/face social challenges instead of living a healthy life. In the words of Doctor Loretta Trickett of Nottingham Trent University, “I don’t think the boys who do it will realize the impact of what they do.” When women stop or resist being blamed or disrespected, men take it as an insult and start using women’s resistance against them. They instigate, provoke, or use women’s revolt to blame them and prove ‘wife’ only guilty and claiming their own selves as victims. A misogynist husband will do everything that is discomforting for his wife. Later uses his wife’s reactions against her.

It is important to understand that for being threatening or abusive, physical violence is not required. Mental torture by ignoring woman’s existence, denial of his own mistakes, blame shifting, being disrespectful to wife’s choices, yelling, threatening, etc., are enough to create same pain in the woman he intends.

Author Adam Jukes said “can’t tell you the number of men I’ve worked with who have been violent or nasty who end up crying, begging for forgiveness this is terribly complex, turning the perpetrator into the victim but that dependency is at the root of masculinity and, of course, dependency cuts into the heart of masculinity. It subverts it.”     

Another research published in Landscape, issue 01, 2016, Australia’s National Research organization for women’s Safety states.

“Perpetrators may engage in abusive behaviors that manipulate the environment, so that children view their mother in a less than favorable light. Messages to children (relayed by their father) that the mother is unfit to parent and to blame for the abuse, attempts to undermine the mother-child relationship.”

A misogynist father always blames mother for bad parenting or any of the miss-happening around. They keep mentally abusing the mothers and top it off by shifting blame of their own actions. It is easier for them to say, “before your mood changes” instead of saying “before I make a mistake/abuse you."

One of the biggest reasons of a male child turning into a misogynist is cold mother. A mother who has been psychologically abused by her spouse. The male child learns that the only way to control a woman is by abusing or torturing her. By disrespecting her and her accomplishments. One learns that he must always be better and a controller to show woman her place, an illusioned place that is lower than any of the male around her. Male child learns that his father’s way is the best way to deal with life. Hence, he starts parroting the patriarchal thoughts induced by his father. Belittling mothers and her decisions, being physically threatening, breaking things at home, throwing away food, staring, showing fingers or starving, sometimes driving insanely, or withdrawing himself in angry silence are also tactics used to demonstrate power to keep women under their control. They are less appreciative and more of a problem finder.

“Abusive partners are reported to highlight the mother’s faults in parenting, make false accusations to authorities regarding her intentions to her children and would prolong and/ emotional distress for mothers and children. Abusive fathers in this study were not interested in the child, rather they were more interested in using children strategic lead to gain control of women or turn circumstances to their advantage.” (Bhandari et al. 2014)

Signs to look if you are with a misogynist.

  1. You have started to think about separation
  2. You are worried about your child’s future
  3. You are confused about yourself
  4. Standing up for yourself feels dangerous, as he uses your words/reactions against you
  5. You have started feeling that you are going insane
  6. You have started behaving in a manner you never endorsed yourself
  7. Whenever you speak the truth, you are denied by saying “he never did it”
  8. You have started hating him
  9. You feel embarrassed about yourself
  10. You are losing trust in humankind especially, the males


If any three of the above are true, then you have already encountered a misogynist; it could be anyone a spouse, father, son, brother or any relative. Sussan Forward and Adam Jukes share a common belief that it is childhood experiences, having a misogynist father and relationship with mother that affect the male psyche. A thought process is instilled in male children which cause them to think that they can have everything as they desire, also they can have it all the way they aspire and it’s easy to forgive and forget their misdeeds. The misogynist wants woman to be always providing. Women are supposed to stay silent and never have a breakdown. If at all woman has a breakdown, she is-

  • Threatened
  • Verbally attacked
  • Criticized
  • Taunted
  • Denied
  • Manipulated to take blames of mistakes misogynist did.

Ladies are supposed to notice only the good side of a man, read their mind or impress them and to be a tower strength, at the same time she herself has to always remain invisible, as all good credentials goes to the man. They also pretend to be the bigger person of having accepted a flawed woman. On the other hand, the ladies keep blaming themselves of being flawed; “if only I was a good cook, my husband wouldn’t throw food in the bin”, “if only I was educated enough my husband wouldn’t feel embarrassed to introduce me to his colleagues”, “if only he was at peace at home, he wouldn’t keep himself engaged with his friends”, “I’m not so good looking yet my husband loves me”. It becomes difficult for a woman to stand for herself. It becomes next to impossible to accept the fact that, it is ‘he' who is flawed by not giving enough respect to the woman who has been by his side. Women are more inclined to think that they are demanding, on the other hand, men like to name call a woman as “demanding” if they ask for genuine respect.

Male children who has witnessed the following are more prone to become a woman hater and perpetrators.

  • Men/Women mocking other men who does domestic work or help their partners.
  • Men/Women mocking other men who spends quality time with family
  • Men/Women mocking other men or criticizing them for having healthy boundaries to reduce stress at work
  • Men who have received less warmth from their mothers in their childhood
  • Male child who has been given over attention by his mother in his childhood
  • Male child who has witnessed mother’s finances being controlled by father
  • Male child who has observed father chasing success and grandiosity
  • Male child who has witnessed his mother being disregarded by father and other relatives
  • Male child who has been a comforter to his mother
  • Male child whose mistakes have been hidden by parents (institutionalized child)
  • Child who has learnt a stigma that woman’s identity is created by her partner
  • Comparison between siblings induces competition, rivalry, chasing success and hatred to get approval from parents, after growing up they start seeking approval from society and authority figures
  • Preference of male child induces superficial sense of importance in male children inducing hatred and demeaning women in their adult life

What to do -

First, stop thinking that you are going insane. You are perfectly alright. It’s ok to cry, it’s ok if you behave in any different manner. The way you behaved was because of the misogynist around you. You aren't moody, you were traumatized. Accept the fact that it is not you who is going insane, it was circumstances which provoked you. You are right about your rights. You aren’t very demanding when you are demanding respect, it is essential for every individual. Indulge into some creative habits. Try finding your support group. If required meet a counsellor. Go for group therapy, you will find out you aren't alone, there are many going through the same problem. See what will be safe for you and your children. Do not compromise with your safety. Accept what needs to be, adjust where you can. Last but not the least, it’s only you who knows the best for yourself. Nobody else can make or suggest you better than what you can think of. It’s your life, you are the only person who knows what you are going through.

Can a misogynist change-

Only until a man is a child, he does not have control over what he learns from his parents, society, or media. Once he has grown up into an adult, he is aware of all his actions and behaviors. If he improves or not is totally his choice. Changing oneself and evolving is an individual task. It is a personal responsibility. Most importantly, improving one’s parenting style for growing children will help in reducing number of misogynists in future.


About Author

Deepti Priya (PhD in Psychology), started her career with National Institute of Public Co-operation and Child Development as a Clinical Psychologist. Later she started working as a freelancer in the field of psychology, assessments, psychotherapy, and energy healing. She is an author of three books, in addition she has contributed for two additional books with a chapter in each. Her most recent book is a collection of Hindi poems named “Vimoh”, this discusses on psycho-analytical aspects of human behavior and metaphors in the epic Mahabharata.


Go Back


Blog Search