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International Men’s Health Week 2024, which runs from June 10-16, marks the 30th  anniversary of this important commemoration. Originating in the United States in 1994 – thanks to a Joint Resolution in the U.S. Senate (spearheaded by Senator Bob Dole) and the U.S. House (advanced by Congressman Bill Richardson)  – the Week has grown into a significant global initiative. Initially linked to Father’s Day, it now has a worldwide presence, observed in countries including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, and New Zealand. Additionally, this commemoration provides a great opportunity to highlight men’s health issues, organize engaging activities, and advocate for improvements in health policy and practice, making men’s health an international priority.

Addressing Toxic Abusive Relationships (TAR) Among Men Worldwide

In observance of International Men’s Health Week, we are excited to announce a pivotal webinar entitled Men! Have You Stepped in TAR? presented by Dr. Jamie Huysman, Founder of TAR Network™

This essential event will take place at 10:00 AM EDT on Thursday, June 13, 2024.To book a FREE place on this unique webinar, please register on Zoom Link Here – https://events.tarnetwork.org/ev/c/70136426/tar-men-webinar

Webinar Highlights:

  • Understanding TAR —  despite measures to address issues like coercive control, emotional abuse, and parental alienation, the number of men suffering from TAR is underreported and misunderstood. This webinar will shine a light on this critical issue.
  • Expert Insights – Dr. Jamie Huysman, with his extensive experience and deep understanding of TAR complexities, will provide valuable insights and practical advice for men dealing with these challenges.
  • Promoting Health and Well-Being – the webinar will emphasize the importance of preventable health problems, healthy lifestyles, and early detection and treatment of diseases and mental health issues among men.
  • 2024’s Theme is Know Your Numbers – this year’s theme stresses the importance for policymakers, health professionals, and men to be aware of key health statistics, set health targets, and know where to find supportive services.

Dr. Huysman shares, “This webinar is crucial to address the silent suffering of many men globally. By bringing attention to TAR, we aim to provide the necessary support and resources to help men lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.”

When Men are the Victims

When it comes to acknowledging abuse in a relationship, most people imagine the survivor as female. It is unusual for men to report psychological, emotional, or physical abuse in relationships – for obvious reasons – but it’s far more common than reported. This abuse often goes unnoticed, is severe, and creates long-lasting problems.

If you’re a man experiencing abuse, you’re probably feeling alone, isolated, and maybe ashamed of your circumstances. But you are not alone. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), one in four men (25%) will experience some form of physical abuse in a relationship during their lifetime. This figure is also too low, especially when all forms of abuse are considered.

Gender stereotypes still exist. We’re trained to think it unlikely that a man – who’s physically dominant and maybe more aggressive – could be abused by a partner. But male abuse survivors are more common than you might realize, and the abuse methods can vary greatly. Many men don’t talk about being victims of abuse because our patriarchal society has taught them that they are somehow less masculine if they have been victimized.

In Canada, criminologists report that spousal abuse by gender occurs in equal numbers. Canadian men report being victims of spousal violence with the same frequency as women, but women are far more likely to be subject to severe forms of family violence, according to a Statistics Canada study.

Invisible Victims

But how can something as serious as abuse in a relationship be overlooked? If a man is being abused, wouldn’t we know it? Wouldn’t we see it? Probably not, because among men abuse is a bit like a dirty little secret. People, especially the men who are living with it, don’t talk about it – even if they realize it’s happening.

As a society, we’re accustomed to hearing about women being abused by men. Unfortunately, history has given us ample reason to see this as an unpleasant but real possibility. But a woman controlling or abusing a man? This must mean the man is weak and easily manipulated, right? No, not at all. This impression often keeps men from opening up about their abuse and seeking help when they need it.

Assuming that a man recognizes that he’s being abused, he’s likely to resist such an admission. For a man, abuse by his significant other can be emasculating – he can be made to feel that he’s not a real man. He may develop psychological constructs – patterns of behavior or thought to help him minimize and explain away the abuse.

Men may also have a narrower definition of what constitutes abuse in a relationship. Abuse isn’t always just physical. But if you ask a man if he’s experiencing abuse, he may immediately assume you’re asking if he’s being hit by his partner. It’s far more likely that the man experiencing abuse is dealing with emotional, psychological, verbal, or even sexual abuse.

Many men will overlook any form of abuse that isn’t overtly physical and fail to recognize (or admit) what’s happening to them. This blind spot means we fail to notice how much more common abuse among men is than we want to believe.

Abuse Tactics

Manipulation by female partners. Society teaches – rightfully so – that men should never use their physical advantage over women aggressively. An abusive woman might exploit this restraint by giving in to her own anger or manipulative instincts and become verbally or emotionally abusive toward her partner, fully aware that he will not physically retaliate. Women may also employ sexual coercion – that take the forms of withholding sex, promising sex or sexual acts, or sexual flirtation – as weapons to control or outright hurt him. Men may not recognize this manipulation as a form of abuse – but using anything as a means of controlling your partner, including sex, is certainly abuse.

Psychological abuse. Women may employ psychological abuse tactics including demeaning the man in their life, undermining their partner’s confidence, or causing the man to feel isolated and dependent. An abusive female partner may…

  • socially cut off her partner from friends and normal activities,
  • interfere in family relationships,
  • make unfounded accusations of infidelity,
  • constantly monitor calls, texts, and social media, or
  • exert financial control, and manipulate or undermine her partner.

Parental alienation. A man’s children may be used against him. Some women may well exert their influence over the children to manipulate and alienate them against the father. They may threaten a father’s access to his children or expose character flaws or behaviors to his children that will turn them against him. This constitutes abusive behavior toward both the father and the children who are caught in the middle.

If men hesitate to talk about it, seem to not recognize it, and there are no physical signs like bruises or broken bones – how can you tell if a man is being abused in his relationship? Look for these indicators (one or more)…

  • Changes in personality – distinct changes in personality in anyone should raise a red flag. It doesn’t always mean abuse, but something is going on. A change in personality –an outgoing person withdraws or a responsible, steady man acts in angry, wild, or irresponsible ways – could signal abuse.
  • Being anxious or fearful about his partner’s response – being regularly and overly concerned or anxious about how your partner will respond to you isn’t healthy. It may be a sign of fear that failure to please will result in punitive or abusive measures. This is true for both men and women and can result in communication breakdown.
  • Overly apologetic – a person experiencing abuse may become accustomed to unnecessarily apologizing or overexplaining their behavior.
  • He needs to check in with his partner repeatedly – along with fear of his partner’s responses may come the need to check in with his partner constantly. If you find that a man’s partner is checking up on him or has trained him to check in more often than seems reasonable, it may be a sign of abuse.
  • He seems depressed – in men, depression can manifest as anger, or the sadness can be more chronic than a despondent mood.
  • Low self-esteem – one effect of abuse that’s consistent among men and women is diminished self-esteem. Becoming unsure of himself in an area where he once was confident may signal that he’s been an overlooked survivor of toxic abuse.
  • Alcohol or substance use – men are prone to using alcohol or other substances as a method of self-medicating. Managing emotions and escaping becomes important – drinking more than usual, picking up a cigarette or cannabis smoking habit – consider these warning signs that something may be off.

This is in no way a comprehensive red flag list, but they are some of the most prevalent signals. If you notice these in yourself or a man you love, it’s time to act.

Stopping the Abuse

Putting a stop to abuse in any relationship is difficult and complicated. It would be nice if it were as easy as just saying “stop” or leaving, but it’s not. Ending abuse is also not easily accomplished alone. People in abusive relationships – male, female, or gender-neutral – find that the support of family, friends, and mental health professionals can help them make the needed changes.

It can be done! We all know that the first step in healing is the hardest. Admitting the abuse exists can definitely be difficult for a man. Once this step is cleared, change can begin. TAR Men and TAR Network™ are here to help people improve their lives, break free from toxic abusive relationships, reclaim their lost identity, improve their well-being, and reconnect with their alienated children one step at a time. It provides men with resources on how to start living their life to the fullest, free of toxicity.

Join us on Thursday, June 13th at 10:00 AM EDT for 

Men! Have You Stepped in TAR?

To book a FREE place on this unique webinar, please register on Zoom Link Here – https://events.tarnetwork.org/ev/c/70136426/tar-men-webinar

Don’t miss this opportunity to gain knowledge and tools to effectively address TAR and improve your overall health and well-being. For more information, visit the International Men’s Health Week website.

Join us in this global effort to improve men’s health and raise awareness about the issues men face. Let’s step forward together and make a difference.

 

Author

TAR Network™ is a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to bringing worldwide awareness and treatment to those whose emotional reality has been distorted by narcissistic abuse. The mission of TAR Network is to support men, women, the LGBTQ+ community, tweens & teens, families, parents who are alienated from their children, workers, and caregivers going through or emerging from TAR. With subject matter experts, affiliates, organizations with supportive resources, and our individual donor community our programs will help you out of the fog and into the light. TAR Network is currently developing several innovative projects: TAR Tales – a safe place to share your truth TAR Centers – a safe place to get vital CPTSD treatment TAR Anon – a safe and nonjudgmental worldwide support network. There is strength in numbers. We’ve all suffered from trauma and abuse at the hands of someone close. Please join us in this worldwide effort toward recovery.

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