Love and Violence: Gender Paradoxes in Volatile Attachments


  • The authors, listed above in alphabetical order, have contributed equally to the ideas presented in this article and to writing drafts of the original sections. Virginia Goldner synthesized this material and wrote the final draft. Partial funding for this project has been made possible by Jean Stein, through a grant from the Doris Jones Stein Foundation.


This article presents a multidimensional, theoretical model for the understanding of relationships in which men are violent toward women. It argues that abusive relationships exemplify, in extremis, the stereotypical gender arrangements that structure intimacy between men and women generally. Moreover, it proposes that paradoxical gender injunctions create insoluble relationship dilemmas that can explode in violence. A multifaceted approach to treatment, which incorporates feminist and systemic ideas and techniques, is described.