Volatile anger and abusive behavior are always destructive in a relationship and always contribute to a Joss of trust, respect, and intimacy. They are never helpful in problem solving or conflict resolution. Both men and women can be abusive in relationships. Abusive behavior, as it is defined in this handout, occurs in many relationships at some point. Abuse by cither partner is not okay. However, the gender of the person who is abusive can make a significant difference in the ongoing impact of abusive actions, especially when a consistent pattern of abuse exists in the relationship. Although abusive behavior can occur between any two people, in the large majority of cases, men in heterosexual relationships are more able and more likely to use methodical and systematic physical force to maintain control in a relationship. Even when men do experience physical abuse by their partners, they are less likely to feel the intense fear, humiliation, and intimidation or to suffer the severity of physical damage that women do. Because of basic differences in musculature and socialization, women generally cannot compete with men once a physical conflict has begun. Men are, on the whole, more likely to be able to dominate a relationship through the use of physical force than are women.