Harvey Newstrom (
Mon, 7 Jun 1999 19:00:10 -0400

Michael S. Lorrey <> wrote on Monday, June 07, 1999 5:31 pm: >
> I read a study once about abusive spouses that found that the blood
pressure of
> a specific personality type of abusers actually DROPS when the abuser is
> the victim. Anyone know the reference on this?

I don't have a reference, but I know what you are talking about. Most abusers feel a lack of control. When someone else infringes upon the space of the abuser, they feel extreme stress about their lack of control. They lash out violently at the source of the stress and try to control that person back. By intimidating the stressor and reversing their perceived lack of control, the stress overreaction is alleviated, and the abuser feels more relaxed and more in control. Learned behavior reinforces this reaction after repeated episodes, such that just beginning the abuse become relaxing.