Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Abuse is not....A side effect of steroids (or other drugs or alcohol)

 When I first left my husband I felt like the lovely guy I had married had “turned into” a monster. And I blamed the steroids he took for this. I was angry, really angry. Still hopelessly in love with him and wanting to excuse his behaviour and see the good in him I contacted his dealer and publically told him on facebook that  he was to blame for the abuse I’d suffered.

But over time, as memory blanks have been filled in I have realised this isn’t strictly true. I can remember being scared of my husband long before he started to take steroids. I ‘left’ him several times for pushing me, for punching out walls. I remember making excuses for finger sized bruises on my arm all long before 
                                                                                      he took steroids. 

I’ve also read lots of books about the early warning signs of an abusive man, about how he will seek to establish control right from the start of the relationship and I can see these signs from day one. This shows that he was always the way he is now. It also shows that his abuse is down to his attitudes and his desire to control me rather than the side effect of a drug. My husband would have been abusive even if he had never taken steroids.

I’m not sure how much the violence would have escalated from the pushing and shoving without the steroids though. My first memory of my husband really hurting me was when he first put me in a choke hold and this coincides with the time he started taking steroids. The violence and aggression definitely worsened when he started taking steroids. But it was violence that was already present.

My husband used to say “steroids don’t make someone violent but if you’re a dick before you take them they’ll make you even more of a dick” I agree with him. Thing is he didn’t seem to realise he was “a dick” before he took steroids; I don’t think many people do see themselves this way.  My husband’s steroid use heightened his aggression and increased the violence. However without them he’d still be abusive. Whether he was taking a drug that made him feel aggressive or not he still knew right from wrong, and I know plenty of people who use steroids and manage not to be violent.

Men who chose to abuse do so because of their beliefs and their attitudes. Mainly these men feel entitled to certain things, to a certain lifestyle and when they don’t get those things they also feel entitled to behave abusively.  Therefore whether his particular demon is steroids, recreational drugs,  or alcohol it’s not the chemicals which make him abusive, it’s his attitudes. The chemicals merely reduce his inhibitions so he is more likely to choose not to exert the same control over his behaviour, but sooner or later, because of his entitled attitude he won’t bother to reign himself in anyway whether under the influence or not.

I don’t think it is possible for my husband to learn to stop being aggressive and violent whilst he is taking a drug that increases these attributes. However, for most men to address their abusive behaviours it takes more than changing the chemicals they are pumping into their body, it takes a complete re-wiring of their attitudes, and whilst this re-wiring isn’t going to happen whilst taking steroids, stopping his drug use alone won’t fix him.

Being an alcoholic, or a junkie, or a juiced up on ‘roids is not an excuse for abuse and neither will abuse stop if he ‘cleans up his act’ 

Please check out the rest of the Abuse is not series by clicking on the tab at the top of this post

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments and encouragement.