A small excerpt to frame this post and explain;
“Emotional abuse can make shadows of the most intelligent women,” she says. “Women in very senior positions at work will feel like frauds because they’ll come home and be treated so poorly.”
According to Don Hennessy of the Cork Marriage Counselling Centre and author of the book How He Gets into Her Head, the one thing all victims have in common is kindness. “They have to be the type of person willing to put another person’s needs before their own.”
The first thing Hennessy asks someone seeking support at the counselling centre is: are you being blamed for things in your relationship? “And the usual response is, ‘Yes, I’m blamed for everything.’ ”
He says abusers groom their partners to meet their needs from the start of a relationship. They usually have a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy and the ability to manipulate.
Something else abusers tend to be, according to Ryan, is charming. “Friends and family will say, ‘Wow, what an amazing partner.’ When everyone’s telling you he’s fantastic, you think he must be.”
So, you see, he isn’t the man he has presented himself as to everyone who knows him. It’s hard to describe how his traits present themselves, because it’s very covert. It was incredibly hard for me to even see what he was doing. It took me to leave to realise it. The distance had a huge part in highlighting things that were just normal for me, or too close to even focus on. Also, I’ve been with this man for 14 years. I’m 42 and I’ve known him since I was 16. We even dated for a little while back then, and he told me back then he loved me. Love and loyalty have ways of making you blind. Plus with him it was always me…my fault….so how could it have been him?
I look back now and I’m not even sure it was love on my part. I lost my father at a young age and my mother emotionally abandoned me pretty much right after that. It’s not surprising to me that I eventually fell for him, after he’s been the only person to really ever tell me they love me consistently. After all, love is what children crave most and there really wasn’t anyone else to give me that.
It started with poetry, romance and a feeling of relief that I had finally found someone who “got me” and would understand what I’m about. I was excited to have found someone I thought I could share that journey with. I mean I knew he was different to me, in many ways, but I couldn’t see any of them being an issue in the beginning.
The start of our relationship was intense and blinding and my world rotated around him. I , in fact, left my entire life behind on another continent to start a new life with him, So, I started with severe isolation within the relationship, this only made me hang on tighter to the one person I trusted and knew – HIM.
His friends became our friends and we lived our lives his way – this meant: nice restaurants, exciting social events, deluxe short breaks. It was an exciting life…never dull…very superficial…very materialistic, lacking in depth ..now that I reflect. Given I’m a pretty spiritual person and value authenticity over most things, it’s a hard fact to reconcile. How did I manage to live that way for so long? Being distracted by the constant chase for the newest most exciting thing to happen and eat and see certainly helped.
I mean it did eventually start to feel very empty….and this is where having a child came in. What better way to become a fulfilled person than to give life to something else….a part of you…that you would put first and would love no matter what it did or said. I never ever felt very maternal, but the moment I found out I was pregnant I felt a fierce protectiveness. That feeling hasn’t waned to this day. My connection with my child is intense. I take him in with every sense. Physical separation is painful, as I’m a super affectionate person. When we are together we are literally glued to each other. He wants and needs this physical connection with me, after all he was and still is a physical part of me.
Anyway, I digress. Where was I? Charming. Yes he is, he is easy to talk to. Women seem to gravitate towards him because he is well practiced at looking like he listens well. Maybe he actually did in the beginning, and just decided to stop after a while. It’s very clear to me now that my ex has had zero clue who I am as a person for many years now, and I certainly didn’t refrain from expressing myself in any way. As the years have gone on I’ve become much better at expressing how I feel and who I am. I credit good therapists and an introspective nature.
The bottom line is, well, he’s charming…..on first glance. Look a little closer….focus properly and it should become quite clear that there is no depth behind it…it’s self serving. It feeds his ego. Ultimately that’s why he hasn’t ever been single for very long….he needs another to feed on, to make himself feel bigger and better and superior.