Hi Sugar,

Please don’t get swayed by his auntie.

This is textbook perpetrator behaviour : when they know they have burnt their bridges with you, they then go to someone who they think you will listen to but will be likely to also fall for their sob story: these people are their ‘flying monkeys.’

The amount of women on here who have written that their abuser has done exactly the same. Either this, or abusers ( denying any guilt and blaming you) try to befriend your friends and family and turn them against you!!

Listen to your gut. Believe what we are saying: he is abusive, and there is no excusing what he has done. Proof of his manipulative personality is that he is getting a ‘messenger’ to do his dirty work.

He really isa to g according to a pattern. I would recommend doing a Pattern Changing or Freedom course, offered hopefully by your local services. There, you will be sat in a room with other lovely women who will say that their abuser sounds exactly like yours.

Except, Sugar, the physical violence within your relationship is severe, maybe more severe than some.

Where you might want to turn next is to ring Women’s Aid and tell them your situation, and they should refer you to local help, with real, living supportive people.

The National Centre for Domestic Violence can help you with issues such as your rights, and an injunction if this is needed later on.

I forgot to say earlier that the next step for you needs to be ‘No Contact.’ I know this seems unrealistic and impossible to many women, but it was my salvation, and it is possible. It is the only way that you will begin the journey of rediscovering your peace, your self-esteem and confidence, and begin to find yourself again. It happens slowly, with support, but when you do find her, it is like seeing an old friend that you haven’t seen for years.

Just after my marriage ended, I read what I thought were trite comments on websites, saying ‘You need to love yourself first before you can be in a healthy relationship’ or ‘you need to be your own best friend.’

But this is in fact what happens. You need to allow yourself to go through the process- the pain, the tears, the fear, the agony- and don’t go too near people who are judgemental and unsupportive (it is imperative to surround yourself with supportive people at this time who support your plan of action ( for example, distance yourself from his auntie ), but through time and support and putting barriers in place ( the No Contact rule ) you will find a strength you never knew you had, and through fighting for what you know is right you will discover your courage.

It is a huge cliche, but you really will become a stronger person for it. More resilient and less rules by fear. Abusers make us fear the world. We don’t need to.

I think some people who have suffered abuse become hard and untrusting. I really aim to not be this, to not lose my empathy for people and my trust in the existence of good in the world. I really hope that I will now not be the people-pleaser that I always was, letting people trample all over me, but that I will be able to be more assertive and carry on helping people affected by abuse and signposting them to help!

The negative side of our experience is that we have been harmed and that we have had our rose-tinted spectacles taken away, and have had to learn how some people on this world are capable of horrendous cruelty towards others. The positive side is that, through our suffering, we also become aware that there is more strength and courage in some people than we ever imagined, and true goodness in some. The good side is even better than we imagined! And we discover, like the lion from the Wiz of Oz, that even though other people told us and we told ourselves that we were weak, lacking in strength and courage, that in fact we had courage hiding away inside all along.

Katie Love, thanks for your message.

It is so easy, when we are abused, to believe we were abused because we are the people we are. Like we are lacking in value, that there is something wrong with us. It is heartbreaking, but at the same time comforting, to see how abusers all act the same, according to a pattern. It makes us realise that the abuse is truly because abusers are programmed a certain way. That would have been- and will be- like that with any other woman.

My ‘perp- radar’ is quite active nowadays- I can spot a perpetrator a mile off ( I hope!). They all act according to the ways outlined in the Pattern Changing programme.

I had some close contact with an abuser ( a family member ) during the Xmas period. I was able to witness quite a few of their negative traits because this person got upset about something. I realised how this person was a carbon copy of my ex : inflexible, not being able to cope with not being centre of attention, abusive to partner, able to switch the charm on in a second when the audience changed, controlling of children, treating children and partner as slaves and mere extensions of themselves, interpreting harmless actions of others as huge slights to themselves, having to ‘punish’ people in order to regain their sense of power and composure, anti and prejudiced against everything ( church, race, sexuality ), covetous with money, giving shabby gifts ( usually their own cast-offs) but expecting great gifts in return, or showing obvious disappointment and ingratitude at gifts received, or even the failure to give gifts ; the rage that was far beyond what the situation warranted, etc..

They all act the same. For whatever reason, these people are unable to properly love others- not just in a romantic relationship, but in a parental, friendship or public relationship. Their concern for themselves and their need to always be ‘taking’ from others gets in the way. They can’t have a proper relationship, because they don’t see others as equals: they tell themselves that, despite their perceived faults, they are better than others and that their behaviour should be excused and their superiority recognised. They can’t bear to not believe that they are amazing and important. Other people are, to them, a means to an end. You won’t get an abuser valuing you for virtues such as being a good mum, daughter or sister, having a social conscience, raising money for charity, treating pets lovingly, having altruism and love for other people, etc. These things ( which normal people value, and which we imagine the man in our life would value) in fact irritate and anger them, firstly because these things aren’t focused upon them , and secondly because they know they don’t possess such qualities themselves, and they hate you for being good, because they want to be better than you and admired by you- how dare you highlight their faults by being good!

Abusers will value you for putting them first, cutting off other people, acting as their support act, helping them maintain their good public image, allowing them to treat you like rubbish when their need to abuse appears ; they will value you for keeping quiet, for being submissive, for treating them like a God, even though they don’t deserve it ( you should, apparently, put up with their abuse, if you love them like you professed you did).

Katie Love, my own personal view is ( post-abuse ) is that there are a lot of damaged people or people who were born nasty out there, unfortunately, but there are also people out there like us, who only ever had good intentions and hate hurting other people, and don’t want to control people. Some of these nice people are men, some of whom may have even be abused by a woman. Finding a truly kind person who we can trust enough to be in a long term relationship with isn’t as easy as we maybe first thought, because it involves seeing past the initial honeymoon phase, or cyclical, charm and seeing how these people behave in different situations, how they react under stress, how they treat other people, etc. It involves taking things slowly, not allowing ourselves to be manipulated, being alert to the red flags of perp behaviour, not thinking too well of people until they have proved it!

Sorry if I have gone on!


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