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How Did You Brainwash Me?

When people ask, “Why do women stay in abusive relationships?” the answers are often too simple. There could be financial reasons, but if the abusive spouse died, would the victim wonder if they could support themselves to the point of doing nothing to advance their employability? (No.) There are the children to consider, but if the abusive spouse died, would the victim insist on finding a replacement right away? (No.)

Although finances and children are reasons victims cite for staying, one true reason they stay is a deeply implanted fear that they cannot make it in the world alone. My abuser implanted this fear so deeply in my mind that instead of recognizing the abuse in my relationship, I instead prayed that he would die. I consciously acknowledged the fact that he made my life hell, but the thought that I could divorce him remained outside my realm of consciousness. Abuse causes illness of the mind and body, and brainwashing sets both illnesses in motion.

What is Brainwashing?

Merriam-Webster’s concise encyclopedia states that brainwashing is a

“Systematic effort to destroy an individual’s former loyalties and beliefs and to substitute loyalty to a new ideology or power… The techniques of brainwashing usually involve isolation from former associates and sources of information; an exacting regimen calling for absolute obedience and humility; strong social pressures and rewards for cooperation; physical and psychological punishments for noncooperation, including social ostracism and criticism, deprivation of food, sleep, and social contacts, bondage, and torture; and constant reinforcement….”

I could have asked, “What is Domestic Abuse” and posted the same definition.

Brainwashing Works Best On A Special Type of Victim

Brainwashing is commonplace in abusive relationships. The abuser doesn't have to study mind-control in school to know how to use it in life. Watch out for this!Sandra L. Brown, M.A. says in her book Women Who Love Psychopaths that the best victims for brainwashing are women who are:

  • perfectionists, and/or
  • hold themselves to high standards, and/or
  • persistent, and/or
  • resourceful, and/or
  • goal-directed, and/or
  • self-sacrificing, and/or
  • previous victims of abuse or neglect, and/or
  • experience dependence, vulnerability, or incompetency issues.

If you are in an abusive relationship and do not recognize yourself in the first five or six bullet points, think back to the beginning of your relationship. Do you recognize aspects of who you were?

How Abusers Use Brainwashing Techniques Naturally

According to Ms. Brown’s book, abusers do not feel the way we normally think of what it means to feel. Due to childhood abuse or perhaps mental disorder, many if not most abusers detach from their feelings at an early age. Instead of feeling, they observe how other people behave, and then mimic those behaviors appropriately. In this way, abusers become expert behaviorists without taking a step inside a classroom.

They know what works and what doesn’t work to manipulate you to do what they want. And because they’ve detached from their feelings, abusers do not feel guilt for their manipulative actions. This is probably why abusers cannot take responsibility for what they’ve done to you or admit they abuse you (with lasting regret). They do not comprehend that any wrong took place and may think that your fear and tears are merely a show designed to manipulate them, and baby, they ain’t fallin’ for it.

In short, abuser’s use brainwashing techniques naturally because “the set-up” is all they know.

Lifton’s Brainwashing Technique

Robert J. Lifton was an early psychologist who studied mind-control and brainwashing. He broke the brainwashing technique down into the following categories. I’m going to change the descriptions to align with domestic abuse. (See the original list at ChangingMinds.org.)

Assault on identity

The abuser attacks the victim’s self-identity by making statements that define the victim, eventually causing the victim to break down and doubt their own perceptions of who they are. ( i.e. “You’re not good with money” “You are a slut!”)

Guilt

Arguments in which the abuser expresses hurt or discontent leads the victim to feel guilty (these complaints may be completely fabricated or loosely based on fact). Eventually, these arguments cause the victim to break down and feel guilt and shame for almost everything they do and come to feel they deserve punishment.

Self-betrayal

“When the person is forced to denounce friends and family, it both destroys their sense of identity and reinforces feelings of guilt. This helps to separates them from their past, building the ground for a new personality to be built” (quoted straight from Changing Minds because I couldn’t say it any better – a.k.a. isolation)

Breaking point

The breaking point is best defined by it’s symptoms: Depression, crying jags, a nervous breakdown or panic attacks, vague overwhelming fear or explicit fears of dying or loved ones dying. Unconsciously, victims begin losing their sense of “who they are” and experience the fear of “total annihilation of the self”.

Leniency

Just when the victim can’t take it anymore, the abuser offers a small kindness. The victim feels a deep sense of gratitude (more gratitude than is justified by the abuser’s act). Does it feel like a honeymoon? Yep.

The compulsion to confess

The victim may feel a compulsion to offer up an act of kindness to the abuser, as if the pain the victim caused the abuser is anywhere near the pain the abuser caused the victim. The victim, knowing that nothing would make the abuser happier than to agree with the negative statements made early on, may “confess” to being exactly as the abuser said they were (“You’re right, I did act like a slut by wearing that dress” “Please take over all the bank accounts – I don’t understand money”)

The channeling of guilt

The victim’s overwhelming sense of guilt and shame combined with the assaults on their identity and unsubstantiated accusations cause major confusion. In time, the victim feels that everything they do is “wrong” and “I can’t do anything right!” After the victim enters this state of confusion, the abuser can redirect the victim’s guilt toward anything the victim thinks, feels, or does. This causes the victim to wonder if everything they were taught or learned previously was “bad” and that maybe the abuser’s take on life in general is “good”.

Reeducation: logical dishonoring

The victim thinks, “Hey – if I am such a mess because of what I was taught, then it’s not my fault that I’m so messed up!” The victim finds relief for their guilt by thinking such thoughts, so they “confess” to their abuser more of the “stupid” beliefs they hold but now want to rid themselves of. In this way, the victim begins to deny their own identity and willingly take on portions of the identity the abuser wants them to have.

Progress and harmony

As the victim empties herself of previous beliefs, the hole left inside of her acts like a vacuum, sucking in the abuser’s ideas of good/bad and right/wrong. The abuse eases because the abuser sees less of “her” in her and more of “him” in her. The victim receives a pleasurable response in his lack of abuse. There’s not more love, just less abuse.

Final confession and rebirth

Typically, the above steps will recur repetitively in the abusive relationship. “Final confession and rebirth” cannot be reached until the victim is completely and totally brainwashed to be exactly who the abuser wished. This is the point of no return.

You are reading this. You are not at the point of no return.

You can find Kellie Jo Holly on her website, Amazon Authors, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

*Both women and men could be abusers or victims, so do not take my pronoun choices as an implication that one gender abuses and the other is victimized.

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123 Responses to How Did You Brainwash Me?

  1. Barbara says:

    I cried as I read the article, as well as many of the comments here, because I’ve been married for over 34 years now, and I am almost ready to break away. I’ve tried three times before, even ending up in court once before deciding to stay for couples/individual counseling. It didn’t’ work. I have lost any sense of who I am, yet I know she’s still in there somewhere. On top of that, whenever I am emotionally/mentally abused and get angry about it, I am accused of being “an angry woman,” or a person with an anger problem who needs help. I don’t go overboard when I’m mad, either. I simply express my feelings as positively and respectfully as I can, or walk away and come back later when I am more composed. Life is a living hell. I know I’m not perfect, but I have changed for the better over the years. People who know me will tell me I’m not an angry person at all, and in fact, I can be too nice. Thanks so much for this article. I feel like a fog has been lifted. God bless.

  2. rachel says:

    I am strong. I stand strong against him. All I just read, I recognize. I’ve left so many times. We went from Oklahoma to California. He called demanded by the courts the kids and I return. I would have never come back. I am trapped. I have been strategically making plans to leave. Saving money, slowly moving out. One box at a time. It’s getting worse. He put his hands around my throat and pretended to squeeze. I need out. I can’t find anywhere to go. I read articles like this often to keep my strength up. Also to remind me of who and how he chooses to behave.

  3. Marie says:

    I have been in a relationship for five years now, I read this article because my boyfriend and I are going through a major ordeal. I still find myself more concerned about his well being and how he is doing than my own children or my own. I am currently separated from him and I am thinking how did I become this way and why. I know he has brainwashed me throughout the time we have been together and every step in the process described above fits my life perfectly! I trying to stay strong and this article has helped me realize the hold he has on my concious and sub concious, and the effort he has taken to keep me under his control! I’m so overwhelmed with feelings of failure, and confusion. I am just taking it day by day.

  4. mary says:

    I have the same experience. Unfortunately he was a minister in Iran and was very powerful. Now he is teaching in the university now. He was an abuser. He used to make relationships with women and girl..
    Every time, I said anythings about his relationships with women and girls or I wanted to see his cellphone, he shouted on me and leave me for several times..
    He was in my life for 18 months and during this time, I was very stressful..Each time I complained about any things, he told me: You don’t have any things to loose…

  5. Robert says:

    Thank you

  6. Erika says:

    I cannot take it anymore… almost 10 years of verbal abuse. .everytime I tried to leave he threatens me with something.. I don’t know what to do….

  7. Call the NDVH or chat with a representative at http://thehotline.org. Tell them about his threats, tell them you can’t take it anymore, and tell them you don’t know what to do. They will advise you, and I suggest you follow that advice. That’s what you do.

  8. Irene says:

    Inam hoping someone reads this, I am 8 years in. The the first 5 I had no clue what was going on, I thought I was going crazy, thought I was all these horrible things he said I was, confused and broken I almost had a nervous breakdown. He never hits me, doesn’t even really have to yell. Silent treatment, dosas appointing looks, passive aggressive jabs, constantly telling that I’m bad, selfish, bad with money, too sensitive too forgetful the list goes on. I left n I don’t any idea why I thought it would be different to come back. I’m an idiot, it’s happening all over again. I’m so sick of it yet all I do is feel guilt, over everything. I spend 10 bucks and I’m made to feel like a useless person over it. I work I have always worked.why can’t I just cut him off completely, why . Also when telling others my issues with him , it always sounds as if I’m crazy as if mb I am the bad one

  9. Abusers are adept at making you feel like “the bad one.” They are expert blamers and manipulators. I suggest you start building a support system so you can run what he says to you past a sympathetic pair of ears. Someone to validate that you are NOT the crazy one and to say, “OMG – I can’t believe he said that to you. You know he’s an idiot, right?” This validation of what you think and feel is very important to regaining your focus on the truth of your situation. Right now, you’re focused on what he says is the truth, but he has no problem distorting your perception and lying to you.

    You can start with the NDVH (http://thehotline.org) and build out from there. Don’t enlist his family or friends in your support network because what you’re doing or saying will get back to him. Attend groups, call hotlines, speak to your family doctor and get a therapist. If one of your friends takes his side right now, that person is ignorant of domestic abuse and should not be in this support network. Be choosy.

    You fear of “sounding crazy” or “like the bad one” is partially based on the fact that abuse makes you feel as if you can no longer communicate rationally with others. The problem is that you CAN communicate with the right people – people who understand and can help. For example, you do not sound crazy to me at all. In fact, I know there are a hundred other little things that happen to you that you didn’t include in your comment. It’s a big ball of lies made up by your abuser to make you feel weak. But you are not weak. You are capable, responsible, level-headed and completely sane.

    Visit the NDVH and start putting together a support system of domestic violence survivors, domestic violence support organizations, a DV support group or two, trusted (and educated about abuse) friends and family, perhaps an attorney if legal issues concern you, your family doctor, a therapist, … whoever you can think of to support you, validate you, and help you get back on track.

  10. Melissa says:

    I have left my abuser a month now it hasn’t been easy lots of self doubt, confusion, what if he really does love me, what if he has really changed this time?! I was with him only a year and 8 months but long enough to get me to point where I was going to have a nervous break down! I lost my children , my family , my friends he def had me in iosolatiin and would daily break me down. Thank God I held on to my job through this that was the last thing he was trying to get me to lose n he was working hard on that! One of my co-workers is one of my dearest friends and now has given me a roof over my head until I get on my feet! That man had me brain washed and I didn’t even realize how bad it was until I read this because even now sadly I feel guilt about leaving him and his pain! He had hit me, called me slut ( and many other choice words), made me think that everything I knew or thought I was was wrong, he would give me daily lectures of what I did wrong and could do better , would tell me if I only did this or that I would have him and his heart forever, he would talk to other women on IG or Twitter , he made me choose him or my children , he would text me all day at work telling that I am cheating that I was probably doing oral pleasures on men at work , he forced me to watch porn while giving him oral pleasure, he would hit me during sex ! The list goes on and on ! I am so thankful I have made it out! Alive !!!!

  11. rachel says:

    To all of you I want to say something. You can and deserve to be happy. You deserve to have a good life, to have yourself back. Abuser’s strip you of your identity and I know because I spent 6 years with an abuser. My ex-husband was subtle in the beginning in 2009 and it ended in 2014. I had concussions, broken capillaries, so much sexual, physical and emotional trauma by that point it’s ridiculous. When I came home to him hurting my 3 year old son I hit the breaking point. I had reached out to the local family justice center but i kept tittering on the fence until that night. It wasn’t easy but I want you all to know right now that it wasn’t just hard but it was possible. I got my CPO and got out. Go and talk to someone, document and get out because life without them may sound hard right now but IT IS THE BEST. You are worthy of happiness, you are worry of a good life with good people in it. Never give up, take a deep breathe and go after it. There is so much help out there for you. Break the silence, break the cycle. I love you all, I have been there and you know what?! You are a strong person and you can do this!

  12. Kenya says:

    This actually made me cry. I see a lot of people who have had worse situations than me, I never was physically abused or never have I had to see my ex again. But I was exposed to this exact thing at a very young age. The worst part is that my ex dumped me, I did not do anything to get out of that relationship. To this day I feel some shame when I remember that I let him control me so easily. And some anger, because I would have had my whole life thrown away had he not left me, because there was no way I was leaving him. Hell, for half a year after he was gone, I had constant paranoia that my current partner, or really any other person, would do the same thing to me and I wouldn’t realize it. To anyone who is a victim of this, I want to let you know that there is nothing wrong with you. I know that deep down inside I knew he was messing up my life. Find someone to confide in, hide it from your abusive partner if necessary. Just do anything to get out of it. Because it literally destroys your life. I almost lost all of my friends and family, and I would not wish the regret and shame of that on my worst enemy. And remember, not everyone is like that, and the people that are are easy to spot after you know what to look for.

  13. Ella says:

    I am leaving my husband of 12 years because I don’t want my children to grow up believing that anyone should be treated the way I have allowed myself to be treated, but I am struggling right now. We’ve been apart 5 months and for the most part he’s been hostile, threatening but this past week he’s been friendly, acting like a normal person and creeping back into my space. Seeing him act normal and seeing my son want to spend time with him makes me feel like I’m crazy. I start thinking maybe it wasn’t as bad as I think, maybe I could live with it, maybe I’m overly sensitive. I think about what he’s done, smashing my things, yelling, swearing at me, putting me down, cheating, telling me I imagined or exaggerated those things….but I can’t seem to get mad and I don’t understand. I feel guilty for the lawsuit I am about to file and think maybe I shouldn’t do it, maybe he can co parent and be my friend, even though I know it’s not true. I feel so confused. I know rationally what he’s done but when he behaves nicely, it’s almost worse than when he’s mean and saying he wishes I was dead. How can I stop myself from having these doubts? What is wrong with me?

  14. lyndsay says:

    I can relate. i am married, we have two daughters. i am a stay at home mom, with no money. thank god i have my mom & church community bc i am leaving today! im sitting here crying. i was doubting myself earler. thinking maybe i shouldnt leave, maybe its me not him, or its not that bad. i think that bc the way ppl look at me when i reach out to them for help. I am amazed im even researching abuse bc i know i am battered, torchered, & beat down to nothing. I love myself & my girls dont need to see the abuse & fighting & me crying for no apparent reason at all (that they can c). so my eldest i fear will not be happy leaving with Mommy today & i pray in a short time i can start to feel normal again & be able to live in the moment with my daughters. your información on abuse is spot on. ive read some new things from you i haven’t seen elsewhere which helped me válida te why im picking up & leaving my marriage of 13 years. im worthy of love & respect.
    I must go & not feel an inches of sorrow for him losing his family. lord please give me strength!

  15. Lol says:

    I suffered at the hands of an abusive partner in exactly the ways described in the article. It lasted only 18 months but in that time he managed to convince me to leave my husband for him and set up a new life. At first it was exciting and it seemed like I finally met someone who understood me and wanted the same things from life. Once I was wholly committed and there was no turning back he began the control and the secret drinking problem slowly began to be apparent to me. It ended with 2 violent drunk incidents (him not me) which made me realise I had to get out for my own safety and my kids and also his. He was abusive to his son and extremely jealous of my youngest and I also worried for their safety. 2 days after the second violent outburst he went to bed drunk and got up and left at 5:30 am the next day. That was the last time I saw him. He was found hanging in a hotel room 2 days later. A sad ending but it released me from an unspeakable hell that I could not find a way out of. Now I have a new partner who is the most amazing person but I find it difficult to believe that he loves me and am very insecure. I feel so damaged and I just want to be normal again.

  16. Annie says:

    I’m not sure what I feel anymore at this point. My boyfriend And I have been together for eight years. If I don’t like something he either gets mad or ignores me if I do not agree with him. There are things in life I enjoy doing and maybe I’m wrong but it’d be nice if he would do the things I enjoy sometimes but instead if I ask he rolls his eyes or sighs or even gets mad at me. So I don’t ask him anymore to do things with me because I don’t like feeling like I’m a loser over it. He yells at me all the time. I tried telling him it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong I don’t deserve to be yelled at bit then he said that he had a right to be mad at me and it was ok to yell at me. I’m not working right now because I’m in school full time and he always tells me if I don’t like him yelling that the door is there and I can leave anytime and also that he lays all the rent but I have taken student loans out to help offset the cost of living expenses this year and pay bills also. He tells me I’m being a bitch all the time when I don’t want to agree with him but I do it anyway so I don’t have to be ignored and yelled at. I’m at a point where I feel like I’m becoming crazy and that I’m starting to lash out at him. This isn’t who I am I’m not an angry person I’m not mean I’m not like this. I don’t understand why I feel this way. He totally disregards how I feel and constantly tells me I’m doing things wrong and will always make his faults tiny and blow mine up. I want to visit my family together but he says no and expects to visit his by not mine. He banned my best friend from my home. He yells and screams and tells people personal things in public or to his family and humiliates me. He says he doesn’t feel embarrassed so he doesn’t care but I tried to tell him that I care and it hurts me but he really doesn’t care. I feel so alone. I stay inside more because when he yells our neighbors can hear because we live in an apartment and I’m ashamed to go outside. I have two more semesters in school left and I feel it’s best to plan to leave when I finish my degree and start working next summer. I’m almost finished. Im going back to work this summer to save money for movin out. Our lease ends next July and I’d like to leave when he isn’t home and without a trace of where to contact me. I just want to leave and be on my own for a while just me and my daughter she’s 11 (not his). He doesn’t hit me but the emotional abuse is wearing me down to a point where I’m scared I won’t come back from it.

  17. Prabhu R says:

    My mind fully distrub

  18. Anonymous says:

    I was married for 13months but at 6 months the warning signs emerged. The mask my husband wore slipped to reveal his true colours. I was told ‘you’re nothing but a fxxxing victim’ if ever I protested or tears rolled down my face. I learned to cry in the shower. One argument arose 1week before marriage- it had started three months before and I felt had been resolved. It had not. The basis? I wanted to take 6months of maternity leave which would have been self financed(and was social norm in my workplace). He did not want me to be around the house hence his objection. I am so glad i took charge of birth control.The first time he grabbed me by throat i made allowances and my compassion rose to the occasion. His father had died 6months before, his mother was ill- i turned the other cheek. 6 months later he started to ‘role play’ with his boss’s daughter- his version and the pride in managing to manipulate her did not rest well with me. So I interviewed her when the chance arose-I believed her version. My husband had got her involved in a game without informing her of the rules, to test out clairvoyant theory that ‘he would have a happy life but his wife would be sad as he would cheat on her’ When the rules were made known to her she rejected him, he then took this out on me the night before the most important job interview of my life. I was grabbed by the throat for the second time, verbally abused and mind games in context of above then progressed to usage of married dating websites, porn, and excessive marihuana consumption. Control, manipulation, trying to make you feel insecure when you are strong and deserve better. I got the job of my dreams and what happened? ‘you are nothing but the fxxxing product of society’ I earned 4times his salary, he could not cope. How pitiful and pathetic.These men are insecure, justify events after they happen to show themselves in a favourable light, spin tales to confuse you. Form an escape strategy NOW. They don’t change. Talk to a few people in confidence but above all rise above it. You are not on this earth to be submissive to a cruel dictator who changes the goal posts/is self appointed judge and jury. Previous behaviour determines future tendencies people!!!! To return to them thinking they will change is deluded. They see this as a further indication that they got away with it, and will do it gain. My husband admitted this in front of a fellow health care professional and still pleads not guilty. Pre trial approaches and he will find a loop hole, but if a polygraph test is requested I will pass this. Stand up for yourself. Respect yourself. You deserve much better than they are or could be or ever will be. I am now 7 months out of this marriage, yes there are odd tears as you remember the good times, but take off the rose tinted spectacles and remember in vivid detail the bad times. It has a somewhat diluting effect and will stop you returning in to the arms of a control freak and manipulator. To do so teaches your children an awful truth- mummy tolerated this and so should I!The manipulator’s low self esteem is not your problem. Their addictions are their issues. Teach them by your exit that they don’t control you, that their bad behaviour is not acceptable. You are not their doormat for them to wipe their feet on. Your strength reveals their weakness. I am now happier and at peace on my own, looking forward to the future and once I get the divorce(waiting as he uses this as the last controlling factor) it will be the biggest relief of my life. Extricate yourself while you still can. They NEVER change. If this helps one woman somewhere in the world tonight, it will all be worthwhile and not in vain.

  19. Sodei says:

    I have been living nightmare for all of the almost 12 years that I have been married. He definitely brainwashed me because I was already an easy target. My father was an alcoholic and abused my mother, me and my sister both physically and emotionally. I remember being quite young and trying to pull him of my mother, that in turn would enrage him further and he would turn his assaults on me. I remember us begging mommy to leave, but she never did. She remained by his side until his death a few years ago. Not surprisingly, I followed in my mother footsteps, it seems that I have been primed to be with abusive men. I’ve been in three relationships with abusive men. But this marriage now almost made me lose my mind. I have a teen daughter from a previous relationship and she has also witnessed the physical abuse,verbal and emotional. I also have two autistic boys from this marriage, I am a stay at home mom, and boy has it been awful. I took beat downs when I was pregnant with both boys in my third trimester for fighting back and trying to protect myself, and almost a lamp to my skull. But I find the emotional abuse to be the worst…I’ve had enough. I don’t have any money of my own and I’ve lost all my confidence to take care of my kids and I but I am still leaving because I see the effects it had on my daughter. She became suicidal and had to spend two weeks in the children psychic ward because he began to turn his emotional abuse towards her…But not never again. She and I have joined forces and we are standing up to him. We support each other. I’ve reached out for help but friends donor believe us, they believe his act. So now I am seeking outside help. Thank you for validating what I’ve known deep down.

  20. Cathy says:

    I have been married for 24 years. When I got married I had a 6 year old daughter from a previous marriage. A year after I remarried we too had a daughter. My husband was a manipulator. He made me believe all kinds of things so I would feel sorry for him. I am very compassionate and he took full advantage of that. All through the marriage he played the woe is me card and I fell for it. In 2006 he was found to have a motor neuron disorder
    He did not seem to be that bad but read articles on the Internet about it and took on these symptoms. I don’t know what to believe.
    He has been manipulating me with his disease for over 10 years now. I did everything for him but he could still do the things he really wanted to do. He was verbal abuser, he would make me and the girls feel guilty all the time. They could not stand him but I would make excuses for his behavior. Nine months ago our 23 year old daughter who graduated collage became pregnant. It was consensual but she was not actually with the boy. He became furious and ask her how she could do that to him. She had ruined her image. He began telling his therapist that she was raped. I guess he wanted sympathy. My daughter found out and was devastated. He tried to cover up the lie by saying they made it up and tried to have one of the therapist fired because she would not back up his story. That was the final straw. I was not going to let him make a hard situation even harder so my daughter and I moved out. It was so hard and still his because of his disabilty, and I continue to feel quilty. My grandson is beautiful, my daughter is becoming successful in her job but I still feel quilty because he brainwashed me all those years.i have talked to over 30 people we know and everyone of them are so glad I left and tell me I did the right thing, but it still hurts. I wonder if I will ever get over the guilt.

  21. Nikki says:

    I have had much experience on this very subject and it wasn’t until I read this article that I really begin to understand exactly what kind of relationship I had been involved in and how lucky I was to have escaped so quickly. Back in 1994 when I graduated from high school I had met a guy from that school who I thought was absolutely amazing. My parents and my friends immediately did not like him. I ignored anything and everything that could have been a warning sign. Back then I was barely 17 going on 18 and I was a vivacious, well educated, and extremely talented young woman who was ready to conquer the world. No one was allowed to tell me no and I always had something to prove. As I look back at that time I realize now that it only took 6 months for me to become completely immersed in my relationship until I begin to lose myself. Every single aspect of my relationship reflects the article on this site. I managed to push my family and my friends completely away. I was not allowed to use the phone unless he was in the room and he could hear my conversation. When I did make new friends I was only allowed to spend five to 10 minutes at their house and then returned home promptly. If I did not return within an allotted amount of time he would come and get me. Anytime I went to the grocery store after arriving within 10 minutes my name would be paged on the overhead and I would have to go to customer service only for him to ask me when I was supposed to be home. I never did tell him where I was going or which grocery store I was going to he would just call around until he found me. At the time I only thought of this as a major annoyance but looking back now I realize that it was all apart of his controlling. I wasn’t allowed to have a job and he liked the fact that I was dependent on him and his income even though it wasn’t a lot. He cconvinced me that I was crazy. He lied about everything you can think of but because my mind was in a different place back then, I bought into a lot of it. No one believed me when I complained so I stayed with him because many people encouraged me to find fault within myself first and because we had two children I felt like I could not live life on my own. Then something amazing happened. He cheated on me. I found out and my mind snapped out of a huge fog. I was elated because this meant that I now had a reason to be rid of him. I got a job, paid for a small apartment and left. I threw his whole world upside down! He pretended to cry, have feelings and begged me to stay. But somewhere along the line I found my old strength. It was as if my mind was out of the fog and I knew that I never did need him to begin with. The end was in 1999.
    Since then he continues his same pattern with numerous women. I have received phone calls from various ex-lovers or wives of his recounting their own relationships with him. I have turned into a sort of beacon of hope and validation that they are not crazy. He has 7 total children from three ex-wives, and he has numerous lovers all over the country. He has profiles on various dating sites and cheating is easy for him because he is in the military. He has broken up women’s marriages and he never leaves one woman without having another two or three standing by. He proposes to all of them and even buys them rings. He talks with them about having more children. I have not seen him since 1999, and I have always been cordial with him. He had no idea I knew about anything in regards to his life until the very last girl he was with spred his business all over social media and then contacted me. He truly is some piece of work.

  22. Kayla says:

    Worst feeling when this person is your mother. How do you break away from your family claiming they abused you when they convince everyone else and nearly yourself that you’re just making things up, taking them out of proportion etc..

  23. Unfortunately, your family isn’t interested in helping you heal the trauma of abuse. It won’t do any good to talk to family or the family friends who believe them. I know it hurts, but you need a support system of people who DO believe you.

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