So, how could you have…?

05 Jun 2012

So, how could you have spotted him, had you been that way minded?  Let’s count the ways:

First, as mentioned last week, intuition raised the red flag. 


Second, there was something about his social persona that you didn’t quite like.  Was he a bit boastful?  A bit self-centred?  Self-opinionated?  Did he thrill, almost embarrassingly, to the sound of his own voice? Did he ‘flash the cash’ and give you the message that if you were a good girl, and played your cards right, he might share the goodies with you?  

Did you take him on trust?  Did a mutual friend – or acquaintance – tell you he was a nice guy.  Not that they’d had an intimate relationship with him, of course.  But, with their possibly limited psychological penetration, and the limited exposure they’d had to him, ITHO he seemed like a regular guy.  Besides, who are they to judge?  Are their standards your standards?  

(We’ve already talked about setting the bar too low.  How far off the ground was your ‘bar’ when you met him?  A quick rule of thumb is this: your ‘bar’ is set about as far off the ground as your self-esteem is from rock bottom.)  

 Third, he overrode your feelings.  Lots of women tell me that on an early date – most commonly the first – an abuser will tell you what you ‘have to‘ eat, or drink.  He may spend his whole life eating at that restaurant, or indulging in whatever activity he decides you ‘have to’ do.  And he may be right about how good that experience is.  But he’s not respecting your feelings and opinion, and that’s WRONG 

 Fourth, he overstepped your boundaries, in at least one way.  He may have demanded too much intimacy too quickly, or he may have made negative comments about someone, or something in your life.  Or else, he may have…    

 Fifth, manipulated you into some kind of compliance.  My first date with my future wasband was truly disastrous: we went out on a boat trip with friends in January, in the UK.  The boat was a floating orange box, we ‘cruised’ through some of the roughest areas of London with guard dogs snarling at us all along the bank, and it was agonizingly cold.

But the very best thing was this: the future wasband took one look at the coat I was wearing and said: “You can’t wear that here”, and took it away me for ‘safekeeping’.  I disagreed, he insisted, and I froze my backside off.  That was, in a sense, a test: he’d established he could impose his will on me successfully, against my better judgement.  That made me a suitable candidate for a long-term relationship.  

 Sixth  He may be charm itself with you.  If he is, it might feel just too perfect, or a little false  Most likely, he will be less charming towards the people he doesn’t need to impress. He could be contemptuous towards waiting staff, or leer at other women, or react furiously to other drivers on the road, or tell you stories about his intolerance of fools- and most of the world are fools, compared to him…      

 Seventh  He’s a tad controlling, or domineering, or jealous.  Jealous people justify their unfounded jealousy by saying it’s inspired by love.  That’s simply not true.  It’s inspired by their negative, insecure, and fundamentally resentful view of the world.  


 Eighth He trots out his Victim story.   ‘Any time, any place, anywhere’, he’ll slap that Poor Me cap back on his head, and tell you how much he‘s suffered.  We’ve talked about that before.  He fell for ‘hard bitches’ who treated him badly, or he had a difficult childhood; or both.  Either way, he claims first dibs on compassion and holding centre stage in the relationship.  

Is that all?  

No, but it’s a good start.

How much of it resonated with you?  

Next week, we’ll go on to explore how and why this man connected so deeply with you.


Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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