It's strange how often abused women tell you how loving their partner is. Stranger still is that it usually happens after they have talked about extraordinary threats, behaviour or violence to which he has subjected them.
Obviously, it's a denial mechanism, a way of whitewashing his character.
It's also about the hunger for love - a hunger that becomes greater with every abusive outburst. In part, it's about settling for crumbs ? and being grateful ? because you know that the square meal you need is not on offer. But that's not all it is.
Abusive men are generally most demonstrative after a temper tantrum or violent outburst. Once they've got their fury off their chest, they may feel remorse. Briefly. Or they may just worry that they might have 'blown it' this time. So they pull out the stops, putting on the best display of affection they can. The operative word here is display.
I have a little dog who is very loving. Nobody could ever accuse her of being loyal, but she sure is loving. What does that mean in practice? It means that she makes everyone she meets feel special and welcome in her world. She is a delightfully sunny tempered little creature. Especially those people who are terrified of dogs love her.
They love her because she is gentle, affectionate and safe. (The only savagery she ever exhibits is when she attacks the belt of my dressing gown.)
Now, if she were ever to show aggression and attack people's ankles - she really is small - she would not be a loving little dog who 'has these black moods'. She would be A Vicious Dog. (I pray she never will be.)
Abused women live their lives between a rock and a hard place. They feel they have to believe in their partner, because they no longer believe in themselves.
They end up living in a world turned on its head, where intolerable behaviour is excused by emotional incontinence. In this topsy-turvy world, having a black mood gives the abuser carte blanche to inflict it on those closest to him.
Recovery starts when abused women begin to judge their two-legged partner by the same standards that most rational people apply to their four-legged friends.
(C) 2005 Annie Kaszina
An NLP Practitioner and Women's Empowerment Coach, Annie specialises in helping women heal the trauma of the past, so they can enjoy the present and look forward to the future.