“ These factors indicate and unhealthy relationship and could lead to an unsafe situation. These relationships are not limited to physical violence and rarely begin with physical abuse. Do you recognise 3 or more of the following behaviours in your partner? You maybe involved in a potentially dangerous relationship. Don’t be ashamed – Don’t stay silent. Tell someone and get help!”
Coming across this on Pinterest today, I decided to check out how many of the points would relate to me. I wondered if indeed, there were three or more of these behaviours from my (ex) husband *Steve. As the image was rather small, I broke it down to make it easier to read. This is what I found…
1. Intensity ~ Excessive charm, lying to cover up insecurity, needing to win over your friends and family immediately, over the top gestures that seem too much too soon, bombarding you with numerous texts and emails in a short time, behaving obsessively, insisting that you get serious immediately.
- Steve’s public displays were outrageously fake so people would believe he was a charming man – to include myself to begin with. For example, he proposed to me in Germany one night, outside a Gothic church in the snow on one knee. It was so beautiful. We had only been dating for four weeks. (See “How We Met And The Military Ball“).
- He insisted that I get my friends and family to add him on a number of social networks straight away – even though he hadn’t met them. He even went as far as to go behind my back and request some of them himself. Starting to call my mother “mom” (only to me though), he kept telling me that my mother was his mother too. Also, he did not want me to tell them about how badly he was treating me, as he did not want them to turn against him.
- Told me on numerous occasions that he treated his previous partners with so much respect and love. He even talked about how one in particular, would let him waste his money buying her air tickets three times to go see him in Germany, but she never showed. Funny that, because I ended up paying for all my own flights to go see him, even though he promised to give me back the money and he never did.
- Would say his family was against him and he never knew the reason why. Especially his own mother whom he detests.
2. Jealousy ~ Responding irrationally when you interact with other people, becoming angry when you speak to the opposite sex, persistently accusing you of flirting and/or cheating, resenting your time with your friends and family or demanding to know private details of your life.
- Steve would absolutely loathe me talking to other people. He was always paranoid that I would talking bad about him, even if it were a complete stranger whom I was just saying “Hi” to. Whilst in the US, I would say hello to random people, as I had done in the UK, because it’s polite and is simply the way I am. My British accent would start conversations (Americans love it 🙂 !), so he’d drag me away or, more often than not, turn the conversation around on to him. How? “She’s my wife. The accent is cute until it starts nagging me”.
- If a guy/guys were looking at me, he would twirl me around like I was some sort of trophy, or throw his arm around me, pulling me closer to him, to let them know I was his property. Of course, I hated both.
- He wanted me to give up my family and friends as he was my family, and I was his. We were enough for each other. When our son came along, according to him, our family was complete. We didn’t need anyone else. I refused. Lucky thing I did, because these are the same people I’ve had to turn to after finally leaving him. (See “Paying For His Car And More Lies“).
- Although weird to some, my (first) ex husband *Matt and I remained good friends. Steve demanded I sever ties with him. Again, I refused. Why should I? We divorced because of his interfering mother after an eleven year relationship, of which we were married for three.It was very clear that were were not getting back together. It would be Matt who ended up collecting me from the airport when I returned to the UK last year March and purchasing clothes for my son.
3. Control ~ Telling you what to wear, how to fix your hair, when to speak or what to think, showing up uninvited at your home/school/job, checking your cell phone, emails, Facebook, going through your belongings, following you, sexually coercing you or making you feel bad about yourself.
- Eventually, Steve would tell me I didn’t need any new clothes. Instead, he would give me his hand-me-down male clothes to wear.
- He would tell me to grow my hair as he preferred long hair. He hates wigs, weaves, extensions and women who shaved off their hair.
- He wanted me to agree with everything he said, therefore, telling me what to think. This included wanting us to jointly dislike people! I mean, how ridiculous is that?
- I explained in a previous post, that he put a tracker on my phone. He also went through my Facebook account on my phone, and un-friended the friends I had made in the Army.
- He would call me frigid, because I did not want him to touch me sexually or otherwise. Steve also raped me during my pregnancy, then had the audacity to say I was the controlling one. (See “Married Or Not, No Means No“).
4. Isolation ~ Insisting you only spend time with him or her, making you emotionally or psychologically dependent, preventing you from seeing your family or friends, or from going to school or work.
- Whatever I wanted to do, had to be done with him. Even when we had a huge fight, and all I wanted to do was go for a walk to cool off! (See “Well Hello Mr. Crazy“).
- As explained in the second point, he wanted me to give up my family and friends. Even the friends I had made in the US from the Army, was a no-no. I was not allowed to go out with them because according to him, they weren’t true true friends. He only spoke to them because they were his work colleagues.
- Steve made sure that where we lived was isolated. I honestly couldn’t get about unless I drove… but there was only one car. The one that I had to save financially, but could only drive with his permission. However, he had the one car between us all the time. Well, that was me trapped…
5. Sabotage ~ Making you miss work, school, an interview, test or competition by starting a fight, having a meltdown, or getting sick, breaking up with you or hiding your keys, wallet, text books or phone, stealing your belongings.
- With the time difference being one hour ahead when he was in Germany, he would make one hell of a fuss about me keeping him up late. However, when that changed due to him being relocated to Savannah, GA, he was five hours behind me. Even with me having to leave home at 05:30 so I could be on the filming set on time, he would curse me because I needed to try to get some sleep! Bearing in mind, some shoots can be as along as 16 hours, and I would be working random hours a number of days in a row. He’d even go as far as to say he would commit suicide if I didn’t contact him when I go home, because it would mean that I didn’t care about him.
- I would tell him we were over because I couldn’t take the way he treated me, begging me to take him back and threatening suicide if I didn’t. As soon as I did, on some occasions, he would then say were were over. I agreed, so he would have a full on rage-attack at me, telling me I needed to fight for him/fight for us. Here we go again… (See “He Wanted Me To Keep Quite About His Behaviour“).
- He would always be hiding my purse, phone and laptop. He hated that I would communicate with my family and friends via Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype and email. He even hid my UK cell/mobile phone that I brought out there.
- There is one occasion that sticks out the most at this moment in time. When I went to the Christmas Military Ball, money went missing from my purse that only he and myself had access to. I asked him whether or not he had taken it, but of course he denied it.
6. Criticism ~ Calling you overweight, ugly, stupid or crazy, ridiculing your beliefs, ambitions or friends, telling you he or she is the only one who really cares about you, brainwashing you to feel worthless.
- Steve would call me ugly all the time during my pregnancy onwards. He also called me “crazy” to his ‘friends’. (See “Abusing Me Whilst Pregnant, He Started To Call Me Ugly“).
- He would always tell me he was the only one who cares about me, and that I had no idea how much he loved me, so much so, it hurt and scared him.
- Made me feel worthless, by taunting me for not having a job because I was pregnant, after I gave up my life in the UK to be with him in the US.
7. Blame ~ Making you feel guilty and responsible for his or her behaviour, blaming the world or you for his or her problems, emotional manipulation, saying “this is you fault”.
- In a nutshell, everything was my fault! His past problems were his family’s fault. When I came along, his family must have had some relief from some of the bullshit! (See “Emotional And Mental Abuse“).
8. Anger ~ Overreacting to small problems, frequently losing control, violent outbursts, having severe mood swings, drinking or partying excessively when upset, making threats, picking fights, having a history of violent behaviour, and making you feel afraid.
- Steve would always overreact to something. He made everything bigger than they ever needed to be.
- He ‘grew’ more out of control when I fell pregnant. From taking the locks off the door, to taking food away from me.
- Violent outbursts included trying to suffocate me with a pillow during and after my pregnancy, to trying to strangle me until I nearly passed out. (See “Physical Abuse – Part One” and “Physical Abuse – Part Two“).
- He had so many mood swings, he was worse than a woman during her ‘time of the month’. So unpredictable. He was just awful.
- Threatened me, telling me he wanted to kill me and that towards the end of the relationship, he fantasized about it.
- From a young age, he was abusing animals. He also punch his sister so hard, almost breaking her jaw. He was just eleven years old.
- He tried his best to make me feel afraid. Admittedly, it worked for a little while.
Eight out of eight?! I think it’s fair to say that Steve is a living, walking nightmare!
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(*Not their real names)