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Old 07-29-2005, 08:49 PM
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Default How to tell if he is an Emotional Abuser

Emotional abusers are very insidious - some of them are much harder to spot than others, because they mingle their abuse in between acts of generosity, and often employ emotionally manipulative tactics, and passive-aggressive behavior. Not all emotional abusers overtly belittle and verbally harangue their partners - some are much more perfidious and as such, their partners may not realize that the source of their distress and an unease over the relationship has been coming from abuse for quite some time. The longer a woman remains under the grip of an emotional abuser, the more she will start to question herself, her actions and her beliefs. It is the abuser's goal to make her believe that she deserves his cruelty and that only through her actions can she make it stop. It is his intent to get her to feel that she is the cause of any relationship problems, and that his (abusive) behavior is simply a response to her, and therefore acceptable. It is true, that only through her actions can she make it stop - she must have the courage to leave the relationship and avoid further contact with the abuser.

Abusers, physical or emotional, are abusive because of their own self-hate and internal issues - not because of anything their partner did. No amount of work or attempting to please will stop an abuser from abusing. They have to be willing to recognize and actually work on their own issues before they can stop inflicting cruelty on the people who love them. In many cases, they don't even love their partners, because they can't even love themselves, and don't feel that they deserve love, even though they crave it. Abusers may genuinely feel bad that they committed another act of abuse, not because they have any real compassion for the person they hurt, but because they get angry at themselves for "screwing up" again. This drives them further into self-loathing, and further into a cycle of abusive behavior.

It is common for men who are "called" on their abusive behavior to blame the woman, and claim SHE was the abuser. He may even point to his abusive childhood as proof that he is just an innocent victim. The truth of the matter is that abusers generally DO have a history of abuse stemming from their childhood, with emotionally abusive and/or physically abusive parents. However, it is important to note that though women can become abusers, MOST OFTEN (because of the way we are socialized and the power setups in society), if there has been no *successful* theraputic intervention, MEN from abusive families become "ABUSERS", and WOMEN who grew up in abusive families become "Abuse VICTIMS".

Like the alcoholic, an abuser must admit his behavior to himself and others, and seek help. Unfortunately, not all therapy works, and not all people who go into therapy are ready or willing to do the personal work necessary to get better and eliminate their destructive patterns. As such, abusers are not safe people - even after they enter therapy. It can take years of therapy to unravel and undo the damage and self-hate that has driven someone to abuse. During that time, the abuser may actually get worse before his behavior improves, if it changes at all. It is quite common for deeply disturbed people who enter therapy to initially use the therapy to project their problems on everyone else and point out the character flaws of those around them, rather than face their own internal demons. Until they can be honest with themselves and the therapist, the therapy will accomplish nothing. For a person who has spent a lifetime of lying and hating themselves, honesty does not come easily.

More disturbingly, some abusers can and DO go into therapy as a ploy - to make it LOOK like they are actually working on their own behavior, and accepting responsibility for their actions, when, in fact, the real motive is to arm themselves with distortions of the therapist's words and tools, in an effort to heighten and increase the psychological warfare. The bottom line, is that you can't trust an abuser, the same way you can't trust the married man who is having an affair and keeps promising to leave his wife.

The more subtle forms of emotional abuse can be the hardest to escape from, because the gaps between the loving, caring behavior and the emotional cruelty can span several weeks or months. However, someone who is nice and caring, and helpful for 2 or 3 months at a time, but then deliberately does or says something very emotionally devastating and cruel to a partner is no better than someone who does the same nice things but then PUNCHES his partner once every few months. The pain, the insecurity, the uncertainty, and the heartache are the same. The bruises and the welts are on the inside instead of the outside, and they take far longer to heal. While someone may be emotionally blindsided by major episodes of emotional cruelty, and may even recognize it as abuse, abused partners often "overlook" the subtle everyday criticisms, "chain yanking", and emotional blackmail that are woven into the fabric of their relationship, accepting (or denying) it as just part of a "relationship". Unfortunately, it's part of a very UNHEALTHY relationship.

It can leave the woman wondering if the pain is worth the good times, and even wondering if this is as good as it gets? What if there isn't anything better? When he distorts the past and blames you for the relationship problems, you may even feel like you are going crazy, and he will certainly do everything he can to imply that you ARE. The truth is, there IS something better. You don't have to put up with a relationship where you are treated poorly, with disrespect, or emotional cruelty, no matter how infrequent those acts are. And of course, when you do get upset, the abuser will infer that you are overreacting, or "too sensitive", so it adds to the confusion and hurt that you may feel.



What are the signs and symptoms of Emotional Abuse?

A common misconception is that emotional abuse has to take the form of a partner yelling over every little thing, belittling or constantly criticizing a partner. Other forms of emotional abuse, can however, be just as damaging, and far less overt. They can include being disrespectful, discourteous, rude, condescending, patronizing, critical, judgemental, "joking" insults, lying, repeatedly "forgetting" promises and agreements, betrayal of trust, "setting you up", and "revising" history.

To outsiders, abusers often appear as decent, successful, sensitive, calm and nondescript. To their families, they are often controlling, self-absorbed, hypercritical, compulsive, childish and mean-spirited. Most of abusers are actually BOTH. It is the disparity between the one they love and the one that harms them that keeps the woman confused. He may intersperse episodes of abuse with words of love, telling her that she is "the best thing that has ever happened" to him, and that he wants to start treating her that way, confusing her further. She keeps hoping that if she does enough, if she gives enough, he will stop hurting her and the loving, caring side of him will prevail. Unfortunately, this is a fallacy that often keeps the woman in the relationship for far too long. Ask yourself: Do you have a drawer full of "apology" jewellery, or a closet full of "apology" clothes?

One of the most difficult things about identifying and leaving someone who is a psychological and emotional abuser, is that the REALLY successful abusers are highly intelligent and hide their abuse incredibly well. They may have shelves of filled with psychology books; many are well-read and very well spoken. They know how to twist and manipulate language and people. They present an exterior of calm, rational self-control, when in reality, they have no internal control of their own pain and chaotic self-hate, so they try to control others, and drive others to LOSE control. If an abuser can cause YOU to lose control, it proves how healthy HE is, so he can say, explicitly, or implicitly (it's amazing how sighs, and rolling of the eyes can accomplish as much as words), "There you go again, losing it, crying and yelling. I'm not the one who needs therapy, *you* are." Unfortunately, if an outsider sees the abuse at all, all they see is an outburst from you, NOT the abuse that triggered it. It may make you feel as if you have had all your lifelines withdrawn, as if you are going crazy, because nobody believes you that this charming, "nice", helpful, successful man could be so incredibly psychologically cruel and deliberately hurtful.

Abusers play the pushme-pull-you game threatening to withdraw their affections, dropping statements out of the blue intended to destabilize. This has the effect of making their partners insecure and uncertain, but that plays right into the abuser's hand as he then can accuse the partner of being "too needy". Ploys such as casually talking about how he's thinking of taking a job in another city are one such example of destabilizing talk. In this kind of case, it doesn't start with any discussion of your relationship, or what might happen to it - he talks only of the cool job opportunity, with no recognition of the impact it might have on you, your relationship, or your family.

An emotional abuser may make fun of his partner, or make subtle or not-so-subtle disparaging remarks about her while with other friends, and encourage the friends to make disparaging remarks. He will then be sure to tell her about the jokes they made and act surprised when she doesn't find them "funny". He may even tell her that she is overreacting and that it was "all in fun" and that no harm was meant by the "joking".

Not all emotional abusers criticize their partners directly - sometimes it can be as simple as constantly criticizing how someone keeps a kitchen, or complaining about the mess in the house, or continuous grumbling about the laundry, or complaining about the noise and mess the kids make. He will make her think it is her job to keep him happy, and imply that household things are contributing to his unhappiness and bad temper.

An emotional abuser will seem to encourage his partner to grow, to develop new skills and expand her horizons, but then will do things to impede or prevent that progress. He will mope and sigh about how little time she has for him now that she is working more or taking that course, or back in school. Or, he will "encourage" her to advance herself, but refuse to provide any additional assistance around the house/family to ease her workload, effectively making it impossible for her to take that course or job. If he DOES provide assistance, he will let her know how HARD it is for him, and how MUCH he is doing for her, every step of the way... he will play the "sad puppy" to the hilt, trying to get her to feel guilty for the burdens she has put on him.

An Emotional abuser will try to make his partner responsible for his happiness. Either through direct comments, or indirect implications, the abuser will let his partner know that he is not happy, that it is somehow her fault, and that she must fix it. The problem is, no matter what she does, it will never be enough, and it won't ultimately make him happy.

The abuser may take this behavior to an extreme, insisting that he is the best partner or relationship she will ever have, the only one who can truly love her (despite all her faults!), and that if she doesn't live up to his expectations, he will leave the relationship. Since abuse is really about control, the abuser knows he can have the upper hand in the relationship if he can keep her uncertain and insecure.



Emotional abusers overcompensate for their self-hate with a warped kind of narcissism. They genuinely believe that YOU SHOULD know how they feel, and know what to do to make them happy. AND that you should be willing to do those things without having to be asked or told. They believe that they DESERVE to be treated better, to be put first, to be given preferential treatment. He will expect you to read his mind. He lives by the "if you really loved me, you'd KNOW how I feel" game, and of course will punish you for not being telepathic. If confronted with the unreasonable nature of this behavior, the abuser will blame his partner for his lack of communication - it will always be her fault that he couldn't tell her what he needed or wanted. He will project HIS behavior on her, and insist that he couldn't talk to her about what was bothering him because she was too intense, or critical, or angry, or judgemental, or needy. Don't buy it. Those are HIS issues. Not yours.

And speaking of narcissism, the emotional abuser will be envious and resentful if YOU get more attention than HE does in a social setting. He will likely punish you for it by one of any number of techniques: ignoring you, sulking, disappearing for hours, flirting heavily with someone else, or leaving the party or function without notifying you.

Emotional abusers expect the rest of the household to live by their waking, sleeping and eating schedules. If his schedule is interrupted or disturbed, or if the partner chooses not to follow the same patterns, the abuser feels justified in "punishing" the offender. This can include the full battery of emotional abuse and passive-aggressive tactics - because in the abuser's mind, the partner or household member "deserves" it for not caring enough about him to live by his schedules and activity calendar.



Emotional abusers may use punishment tactics like leaving (without a word to you), a party or function that you both went to. They will have socially plausible, pathos-laden excuses for their unannounced departure, like they couldn't find you, or they were tired and wanted to go home. However, the REAL reason they left without a word, was to punish you; to wind you up, to get you worried about them, and ultimately, to have you feel guilty for not paying enough attention to them. When you confront an abuser on the concept of COURTESY around these sorts of things, the abuser will either apologize weakly, (but the damage has been done), or insist that your distress over his behavior is overreacting.

Emotional abusers will remind you of your flaws under the guise of trying to be "helpful" or sensitive. He may make comments like, "You seem unhappy with your body" - even though you have made no comments about your body image or otherwise, or "You are running late again - you never can get anywhere on time", or "There doesn't seem to be much point in planning things with you." All are comments intended to unbalance and remind you of what he perceives to be your weaknesses.

Emotional abusers will try to isolate you from family and friends. There are several tactics that may be employed. If he can't manipulate your friends, he will either find reasons to denigrate them or will be "uninterested" in doing things with you AND your friends. He may find them "boring". You may find yourself caught in a double-bind where he "encourages" you to go out with *your* friends, refusing any invitation to participate, but then mopes that you never spend enough time with HIM. Over time, you may find yourself isolated from your friends by virtue of the demands on your time that he makes. You may also find him VERY upset if he finds out that you have been talking to a close friend or family member about him and/or your relationship with him - especially if that person is likely to tell you he's behaving like an ass.

One emotional abuser went so far as to "set up" his wife so that she would isolate herself. He did it by "reminding" her of her "shyness", and how socially backward she was. He did this under the guise of "being sensitive" to her and the areas she "needed to work on". Then he would offer to "help" her by suggesting she come along to a party or social function with him. Prior to the function he would again "help" her by briefing her on people attending the party, so that she could "have something to talk about" with them. As part of his tactic, he told his wife distortions or half-truths so that she would make social faux-pas at the function. If she ever questioned him, he would insist that SHE must have heard him wrong, and it must have been HER nervousness that made her forget or screw up. The man was a "pillar of the community", so to his friends, she looked like a bumbling (and even insensitive) fool, and they "couldn't figure out why a man like him was with a woman like HER." Combined with his subtle denigration of her friends and family, she gradually isolated herself by not attending social functions, and cutting off relationships with her support network.

Instead of "lying" to a partner, an emotional abuser may "forget" significant promises he made to his partner - especially if forgetting that promise will hurt her. He may also "forget" things so that he can let her know that things that are important to her are NOT important to him. This tactic can take the form of making a special dinner for her, containing shrimp when he has known for years that she is allergic to shellfish, so she can't eat it, or buying a feather comforter for their bed, when he knows she is allergic to feathers. He will claim that his lapse was due to "forgetting", when in fact, it was a passive-aggressive ploy to trick the partner into believing he was doing "something nice", get her hopes up, and then bring her down with the fact that she could not enjoy this "gift" of his after all... It is a passive-aggressive slap-in-the-face.

Emotional abusers expect more from their partners than they are willing to put into a relationship. The problem is, no matter how much the partner gives, it will never be enough, and the abuser will expect more - because the relationship isn't about love for the abuser, it's about control.

The more independent a partner becomes, the more abusive the abuser will be, because he sees he is losing control of his partner.

Emotional abusers expect to be forgiven for their "mistakes" (otherwise known as abuse) but are unable to forgive their partners for legitimate mistakes - and will continue to "punish" their partners for those mistakes, long after apologies and restitution have been made.

Emotional abusers expect their partners to change for them. Unfortunately, the changes the partner makes will never be enough - the abuser will always want more.

The abuser says it's not completely his fault, or she pushes his buttons, or that something she did triggered him to do or say something hurtful or damaging to her.

Emotional abuse can take the form of him insisting that she isn't spending enough time with him, forcing her to "prove her love" by booking extra time and adjusting her life and her schedule around him, so that he can then reject any suggestions she has for activities, and act disinterested when they do have time together.

When she tries to make plans with him, the abuser will remind her in a condescending way of how poor she is at planning and how he doesn't believe that the plans will work out. Over time, comments like this insidiously undermine her self-confidence, by telling repeatedly that she is untrustworthy. Her untrustworthiness becomes yet another excuse for him to "punish" her with abusive language or actions.

Another emotional abuse tactic is to reject activities that she suggests and then do them with other people - letting her know that he is doing them with other people - establishing control and implying that she is not worthy of doing the activities with him, but other people are.

An emotional abuser will often use condescension as an effective tool in manipulating and hurting his partner. In expressing his own internal anger, he targets his partner. But because she has done nothing to "deserve" his anger at this point (or any point!), he may be rude, brutally inconsiderate, condescending, patronizing, or even use the "silent treatment" to get her upset or angry. When his partner gets upset, and an argument ensues, he can then express his anger at her, and blame the fact that she "got angry" at him, for the whole argument - even though HE started it. Don't let him convince you that your anger at his disrespect and emotional cruelty, is somehow wrong or abusive to him. That is part of his control and escalating cycle of abuse technique.

As part of this "control" technique, the abuser may "set up" his partner, pushing as many buttons as possible to get the partner to lose control by breaking down in tears or getting angry or yelling. If you raise your voice, he will insist that YOU are the abuser. Don't buy it, and don't believe it. While there might be better ways to handle the situation, (more easily enacted if you weren't emotionally involved with this person), chances are that he has inflicted so much psychological warfare that you have been backed into an emotional corner, and are reacting in self-defense. Emotional reactions in self-defense to an abusive situation do NOT make YOU an "abuser".

One of the more subtle but effective ways an abuser can "wind" his partner up is by invalidating/rejecting/showing no compassion for the feelings of his partner - especially in conjunction with a deliberate act of malice that was designed to upset or hurt the partner. He will claim the act was either "accidental" or intended to help the partner. He will try to tell his partner that it is NOT OK to feel angry or hurt or upset by his actions - or that if she DOES feel those things, her "feelings are her own" - that he has no responsibility towards repairing any emotional damage he may have caused. As part of this tactic he may pay lip-service to personal responsibility by saying he "takes responsibility" for his actions, but then make no offer to do anything about the resulting emotional pain, or say that there is nothing he can do to repair the damage or make restitution. If she tries to get him to do anything to make restitution he will use the word "blame" as if it is a dirty word, and accuse her of trying to lay "blame" on him for his actions. This is the functional equivalent of someone using a board to "fan" you and when he "accidentally" hits you over the head, telling you that he was just trying to HELP and that if you feel PAIN, well, your feelings are your own, and he can't be responsible for YOUR feelings, and there is nothing HE can do about it now... Non-abusers who genuinely ACCIDENTALLY hurt a loved one's feelings, do not refuse to nurture those feelings - they help repair the emotional damage, and they don't repeatedly make the same "mistakes" over and over with their partners.

The flip side of this, of course, is that emotional abusers want to reap the emotional rewards for being nice and doing "good" things for their partners - they want the affirmation, appreciation and attention they feel they deserve when they do something positive for a partner.

The truth about responsibility for one's feelings is that if you love and trust someone - if you open your heart to the love and caring, you also open it to the potential for hurt. Yes, in the strictest sense of the word, no one can make you feel anything - you choose to let them affect you for good or bad. But very few people, (except perhaps those with borderline personality disorder), can be completely "unfeeling" when dealing with someone they care deeply for. Most people are unable to open their hearts up completely to love and be able to "let" only good things affect their feelings and not the bad. To disconnect yourself from feeling hurt and pain is to disconnect yourself from feeling love and joy. When you open your heart to someone, you are granting them your trust as well as your love. You are trusting them to respect and honor your love. If someone abuses you by violating your trust, you are not wrong for trusting - THEY are wrong for breaking that trust and using it to hurt you.

Emotional abusers have huge double standards. What is ok for them, is NOT ok for their partners. I.e. THEY are allowed to get angry - their partners are not.

Abusers will blame their partner for "allowing" or encouraging them to be abusive. In as much as a refusal to capitulate can trigger an abusive attack, any sign of "guilty" feelings or weakness in a partner is like blood in the water for sharks, when it comes to abusers. Of course, according to the abuser, it is up to the woman not to provide him with the temptation to abuse, by changing HER behavior.

If caught in a lie or exposed in a situation where he can't immediately manipulate his partner into taking the rap, he may try to go for the sympathy ploy, in an attempt deflect the situation away from his bad behavior. For example, one abuser caught in the middle of a lie, blamed his lie on "bad memory", almost started crying, and began bemoaning what he would do if his memory was going, because his whole job depended on being able to remember lots of details. All of a sudden, the situation turned from him being caught in a lie, to his partner being expected to feel sorry for him because of his "bad memory"... Other deflection techniques he may use when his behavior is exposed, are:

-to bring up stories of childhood/parental abuse (watch these, they are the same old stories each time, and if you listen closely, you may see that his behaviors closely match those childhood abuse patterns...)
-to bring up troubles and things bothering him at work
-to bring up his hurt and "pain" over something YOU did ages ago, and have long-since paid for.
-"missing" a grown child who has left the home, or children he abandoned and his former partner "won't let him" visit (big wonder why...).
If you DO manage to get an abuser to a relationship counsellor, (something many abusers will insist you two don't need - he'll insist that you "can work things out yourselves..."), the abuser will work to ensure that the counsellor sees HIM as the mistreated partner, or at the very least, that his behaviors are one-time incidents rooted in just cause. These kinds of emotional abusers are often highly intelligent and manipulative. They will manipulate and lie to the counsellor, pinning the onus back on YOU to change your behavior for HIM. You may find it very frustrating and difficult. Even if he can't avoid having his trust-breaking behavior exposed, he may find a way to manipulate the situation so that his "reasons" for breaking trust were because of YOUR inability to meet his needs. Beware. Sometimes counsellors buy into that stuff, and you end up getting a double-whammy.

Emotional abusers will hide their abuse in acts that they can claim were done to "try and help" their partner. For example, taking a partner's kids away camping for the weekend, ostensibly, "to give her some time off", but without phoning and checking with her first, "forgetting" she had made plans with them already, and deliberately making sure the kids didn't have time to pack up and be properly equipped. This is designed to get her upset, but have it look like, on the surface, he was "just trying to be helpful and she got upset at me." Similarly, an abuser might do some of your laundry "as a favor" to you, without your asking, and then shrink or stain your clothes. When you get upset about the fact that not only did he do this without asking, but it caused damage, an abuser will imply that your anger is invalid and unwarranted, that you are ungrateful, (he was just trying to help!), and that there is nothing he can do about it now. The abuser learns and goes for the most sensitive "buttons" on his partner, so that he can get a response out of her. The abuser seeks ways to violate her boundaries through calculated "acts of kindess", and may resort to using her children, her personal belongings, her friends, or her personal space as tools.

In addition to favors which cause damage, the emotional abuser may do legitimately helpful "favors" for his partner, but again, ones that the partner never asked for. The problem is that the abuser never gives freely or unconditionally. He expects some kind of recompense in return, often without stating what that expectation is. This then gives him another opportunity to feel justified in punishing his partner when she doesn't live up to his unstated expectations of gratitude and reciprocation. When his partner stands up for herself, you may hear him using phrases like, "everything I did, I did for her", and "after all I did for her, THIS is how she treats me!". Abusers will often complain (especially to others outside the relationship) about how unappreciated they are/were, and how they gave and gave and gave, and got so little in return...

Another destabilizing tactic that the abuser may use is to reneg on a committment, or on a stated belief, catching you off-guard, possibly even putting you in a position where he can accuse you of "hurting" him because you didn't know his beliefs/principles/goals had changed. He will use the excuse that he "changed his mind" as a tool for keeping you off-balance. If you question his about-face, he will accuse you of not allowing him the right to change his mind. While people legitimately DO change their minds about things, abusers will do it often, and without warning, with maximum rug-yanking effect for their partners.

Emotional abusers will use the "mind change" tactic to set a partner up in a no-win situation. No matter what the partner does, the abuser will find a way to find fault with it - if the cat craps on his bed and she doesn't clean it up, she is uncaring and selfish. If she DOES clean it up, then she was invading his personal space.

Emotional abusers encourage their partners to do "self-indulgent" things that the abuser will later resent them for. It may be as simple as encouraging her to go out dancing with her friends, or to go visit her mother, or it may be as serious as encouraging her to take a job or go back to school. In many cases, his "encouragement" is part of the "if she really loves me" test - if she does what he encourages her to do, she is diverting her attention from him, and he will feel justified in hurting her as a result.

Once someone starts to detach from an abuser and refuses to play the games, he may go for the sympathy ploy. If his partner doesn't capitulate and refuses to pander to his emotional blackmail, she will be accused of being cold and heartless, in the hopes that THIS escalation of emotional blackmail will hurt her further.

Emotional abusers often display different personalities to other people in their lives - watch for a completely changed demeanor, behavior, body language and even tone of voice, when they are at work, or with a circle of friends. The abuser may claim that this is just different "facets" of his personality, but in fact, it is a warning sign that he puts on different personnas to suit the situation, and you will never know which one is the REAL person. It belies huge insecurities - the way children try to act like the crowd they are with in order to be accepted - and is an indication of the emotional immaturity of the typical abuser.

Emotional abusers, like physical abusers, can be exceedingly charming -that's why it's so hard for the victim of abuse - their friends only see the charming side, and don't see the discourtesy, lies, meanness, condescension and rudeness that happens inside the relationship.

Because abuse is about power and control, the abuser will often try to become "buddies" or friends with his partner's closest friends. If her female friends are attracted to him at all, he may even try to prey on that, so that if she has a conflict or a problem with him, she doesn't have a close supportive friend to turn to. Abusers will use things like stories of childhood abuse or trauma, lost friends or the death of relatives to get her friends to feel sorry for him. He will play up the "sensitive guy" role. If he can cozy up to her best friend, the friend will feel caught in the middle - which is exactly what the abuser wants - to cut off his partner from external support. If he can, he may even flirt heavily with her friends, have an affair with one of her friends, or become pals with one or more of her former friends as another way to hurt and attempt to shame her. As much as possible, he will perpetrate this behavior in front of his partner, so that he is exhibiting his control - going for maximum hurt to her through a blatant display of compassionless disrespect.

The emotional abuser often plays pushme-pullyou. He will indicate that his interest in his partner is waning, and when she begins to start separating from him, he will become attentive and interested again. He may even use sex as a weapon against her - by telling her that she isn't paying enough attention to him, spending enough time with him, or isn't initiating sex enough, but then will reject her advances when she tries to initiate.

Abusers are completely self-centered. They blame other people and seldom take responsibility for their own actions.

Abusers are self-righteous. They find ways to justify their behavior. As a result, he always focuses on her problems, and insists that she change to make the relationship better.

Emotional abusers hate apologizing - and if they DO apologize, they will only do the same thing again. They know this, and will even try to make it seem like any expectation of an apology is really an attempt to "blame" them. (Again, "blame" being that dirty word). For example, "You just want me to say I'm sorry and promise I'll never do it again, so that when I screw up again, you can point a finger and blame me and get angry with me and say, "See? You did it again and you promised you wouldn't!"" This is called "projection" - abusers do it all the time. They project THEIR issues onto their partner, and try to make it their partner's problem. They make it sound like the partner's is somehow wrong or attempting to set them up for "blame", for wanting some sign of compassion and remorse, and an indication of willingness to work on the behavior problem.

If you do get an apology out of an abuser, it is a quick-fix, not a long-term solution, because they will do the same behavior over again - that is why they are often so resistant to apologizing and saying that they will work on the behavior - because they KNOW they will repeat it at another time.

Abusers may, early in the relationship, in a moment of "opening up", tell you of their abusive or manipulative nature. At the time you may think that this is some kind of indication of a willingness to work on their past problems, or that somehow it will be different for you. In fact, what they are looking for is absolution in advance for behavior they will later inflict on you. They may even go so far as to say, "I told you this is how I am."

Emotional abusers often grow OLD without growing UP. They are emotionally stunted and immature. Emotional abusers are self-preoccupied, and demonstrate a passive-aggressive interpersonal style.



Emotional abusers may do seemingly loving, kind and considerate things, that actually convey a subtle message that you aren't "perfect", that you aren't quite good enough. For example, it may seem very sweet that he rubs cream into your hands before bed, but then you remember that he also didn't like you touching him if your hands were the least bit dry or rough - it "hurt" his skin, so you always had to have hand cream to make your hands soft before you touched him. Sadly, the REAL message behind the seemingly loving act of rubbing cream in your hands is that you aren't perfect, you aren't living up to his needs and expectations, NOT that he loves you... In their own subversive way, these "messages", couched in "loving" acts, eat away and erode your sense of self-worth.

Emotional abusers deny that they have any problems and/or project their problems onto their partner, often accusing their partners of abuse - especially AFTER the partner has woken up and called the abuser on his behavior. At this point he will be sure to tell as many *mutual* friends as will listen, that she is controlling and abusive to him, in an attempt to further undermine any support she might get.

In order to gain sympathy, the abuser will share convincing stories of his burdens, including stories of how he was abused as a child, or how he witnessed his mother being assaulted by his father.

An emotional abuser demonstrates little capacity to appreciate the perspective of another person when his own interests are at stake. Emotional abusers often flip between being a martyr and a self-absorbed asshole - there is no middle ground, and they use the martyrdom as an excuse for their behavior when they are in self-absorbed asshole mode ("I was just doing something for *me*. I'm tired of you making me feel bad about myself."). However, that "something" often winds up breaking a relationship agreement, a promise, or involves him being condescending, ignoring, or rude.

An emotional abuser sees himself as a blameless victim, and denies his own provocative behavior, even going so far as to bemoan the fact that a partner left him, or threw him out, "after all the things I did for her"... The emotional abuser will play up the "pathos" in an attempt to garner sympathy, all the while, continuing to stalk his ex, making jokes about things he could do to upset her, and invading her personal space and boundaries at social functions.

Like physical abusers, emotional abusers will often stalk their former partners. The stalker's objective is often to control her through cultivating fear rather than making direct or specific threats, or confronting the her. Sometimes this stalking can take the form of simply moving into the same neighborhood as a former partner, and letting her know, through friends, where he is living. His move into her neighborhood will be "justified" by him for some specious reason, but the reality is, he can't let go and is still trying to control her and inflict pain on her after the relationship is over. This is a subtle form of terrorism, because abuse victims are often very emotionally (if not physically) afraid of their abusers once they wake up. She will know that she might run into him at the local convenience store, gas station, supermarket, or on a walk. He is, in effect, pissing on her boundaries (something abusers have no respect for) and trying to make them his own. He may even begin dating someone who lives very close to her, so that he has an excuse to go by her house, or park his car nearby.

Ex-partners of abusers will often express fear of their abuser, and will have no desire to be anywhere near the abuser. On the other hand, the abuser may try to appear as if he is calm, rational, and still supportive of his ex-partner, despite the fact that he will also express the opinion that he believes she is quite unstable. He will make statements such as saying that he "bears her no ill-will", etc., but then will show no respect for her boundaries or her requests for him to stay away from her. The abuser will still inquire with friends as to how she is doing, implying that his inquiry is because he cares about her - he does care - about retaining those last vestiges of control, even after the breakup. What he really wants to know is if she is suffering or doing badly, because that feeds his sick ego. He feels best when he puts other people in as much pain as he is in.

People in relationships have conflicts. But there is a right way and a wrong way to resolve them, and no matter what the other person does, no matter what a person's "issues" are, abuse is the wrong way. Emotional cruelty and abuse are choices. A man can choose to be abusive or choose to be non-abusive; he can choose to be honest and straightforward, or passive-aggressive and covert, and no matter how hard a man tries to blame his partner, there is no justification for abuse.

If you are a victim of emotional abuse, you have to wake up to the fact that this person *does not love you* and probably hasn't loved you for a very long time, if ever. Because the truth of the matter is, someone who can be emotionally cruel, malicious, and compassionless with people who have given him their love and their trust, is so absorbed in self-hate that he is incapable of loving himself, much less anyone else. What the abuser feels is obsession, not love.

If you find that you are having to explain the basics of respect and courtesy to a partner - if you are finding that he just DOESN'T SEEM TO GET IT, when you try to explain why his behavior or actions were disrespectful - run far and run fast. People who are capable of maintaining and contributing to a loving, supportive, healthy relationship, DON'T need to constantly have the concepts of respect, compassion, and consideration explained to them.

Just because he admits his behavior (and WATCH - some abusers are VERY good at acknowledging they did something without apologizing, or admitting there was anything WRONG with the behavior.), does NOT mean he is willing to change it, that he will not repeat the behavior, nor that he even believes he did anything unacceptable, hurtful or wrong. DO NOT take admission of an act as a sign of integrity, acceptance of responsibility, a show of remorse, or an indication of genuine caring, unless you see EXPLICIT behavior that demonstrates it.

It is NOT wrong, or unhealthy to want someone to love and care about you and care for you, and to want to reciprocate. It is only through this kind of openness that we can acheive true intimacy with another individual. And two emotionally healthy people, CAN do this without becoming co-dependent. Unfortunately, abusers violate the trust that this kind of relationship requires, and are incapable of true intimacy. They want you to be dependent. People who ARE capable of genuinely loving you in a healthy and safe way, DON'T WANT TO HURT YOU, and do not DELIBERATELY DO THINGS TO HURT YOU. They don't play on your insecurities and they don't wage psychological warfare on you. They don't blame YOU for all the relationship problems, and they don't fabricate problems just so you can be the scapegoat.

People who love you will treat you with respect, consideration, courtesty, honesty and compassion. If you are with someone who matches the abusive behavior in this article, get help. The sooner you wake up to the fact that the relationship is unhealthy, and move on, the sooner your life will improve.

Remember: Safe People are people who draw you closer to who you were meant to be spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. They encourage you to be your most loving, growing self.
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Old 07-29-2005, 08:59 PM
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This was a good post. It was great of you to take the time to write all of it and make sure it is available for anyone who wonders if they are being abused or not.
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Old 07-29-2005, 09:05 PM
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Thank you , I have to admit that I needed it for myself as well and I did not want to insult or hurt anyone but since I have had questions about my own situation it just felt natural to post
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Old 07-29-2005, 09:07 PM
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  1. There is no use in trying to be honest with an emotional manipulator. You make a statement and it will be turned around. Example: I am really angry that you forgot my birthday. Response - "It makes me feel sad that you would think I would forget your birthday, I should have told you of the great personal stress I am facing at the moment - but you see I didnít want to trouble you. You are right I should have put all this pain (donít be surprised to see real tears at this point) aside and focused on your birthday. Sorry." Even as you are hearing the words you get the creeped out sensation that they really do NOT mean they are sorry at all - but since theyíve said the words youíre pretty much left with nothing more to say. Either that or you suddenly find yourself babysitting their angst!! Under all circumstances if you feel this angle is being played - donít capitulate! Do not care take - do not accept an apology that feels like bull****. If it feels like bull**** - it probably is. Rule number one - if dealing with an emotional blackmailer TRUST your gut. TRUST your senses. Once an emotional manipulator finds a successful maneuver - itís added to their hit list and youíll be fed a steady diet of this ****.
  2. An emotional manipulator is the picture of a willing helper. If you ask them to do something they will almost always agree - that is IF they didnít volunteer to do it first. Then when you say, "ok thanks" - they make a bunch of heavy sighs, or other non verbal signs that let you know they donít really want to do whatever said thing happens to be. When you tell them it doesnít seem like they want to do whatever - they will turn it around and try to make it seem like OF COURSE they wanted to and how unreasonable you are. This is a form of crazy making - which is something emotional manipulators are very good at. Rule number two - If an emotional manipulator said YES - make them accountable for it. Do NOT buy into the sighs and subtleties - if they donít want to do it - make them tell you it up front - or just put on the walk-man headphones and run a bath and leave them to their theater.
  3. Crazy making - saying one thing and later assuring you they did not say it.If you find yourself in a relationship where you figure you should start keeping a log of whatís been said because you are beginning to question your own sanity --You are experiencing emotional manipulation. An emotional manipulator is an expert in turning things around, rationalizing, justifying and explaining things away. They can lie so smoothly that you can sit looking at black and theyíll call it white - and argue so persuasively that you begin to doubt your very senses. Over a period of time this is so insidious and eroding it can literally alter your sense of reality. WARNING: Emotional Manipulation is VERY Dangerous! It is very disconcerting for an emotional manipulator if you begin carrying a pad of paper and a pen and making notations during conversations. Feel free to let them know you just are feeling so "forgetful" these days that you want to record their words for posterityís sake. The damndest thing about this is that having to do such a thing is a clear example for why you should be seriously thinking about removing yourself from range in the first place. If youíre toting a notebook to safeguard yourself - that olí bull**** meter should be flashing steady by now!
  4. Guilt. Emotional manipulators are excellent guilt mongers. They can make you feel guilty for speaking up or not speaking up, for being emotional or not being emotional enough, for giving and caring, or for not giving and caring enough. Any thing is fair game and open to guilt with an emotional manipulator. Emotional manipulators seldom express their needs or desires openly - they get what they want through emotional manipulation. Guilt is not the only form of this but it is a potent one. Most of us are pretty conditioned to do whatever is necessary to reduce our feelings of guilt. Another powerful emotion that is used is sympathy. An emotional manipulator is a great victim. They inspire a profound sense of needing to support, care for and nurture. Emotional Manipulators seldom fight their own fights or do their own dirty work. The crazy thing is that when you do it for them (which they will never ask directly for), they may just turn around and say they certainly didnít want or expect you to do anything! Try to make a point of not fighting other peopleís battles, or doing their dirty work for them. A great line is "I have every confidence in your ability to work this out on your own" - check out the response and note the bull**** meter once again.
  5. Emotional manipulators fight dirty. They donít deal with things directly. They will talk around behind your back and eventually put others in the position of telling you what they would not say themselves. They are passive aggressive, meaning they find subtle ways of letting you know they are not happy little campers. Theyíll tell you what they think you want to hear and then do a bunch of jerk off **** to undermine it. Example: "Of course I want you to go back to school honey and you know Iíll support you." Then exam night you are sitting at the table and poker buddies show up, the kids are crying the t.v. blasting and the dog needs walking - all the while "Sweetie" is sitting on their ass looking at you blankly. Dare you call them on such behavior you are likely to hear, "well you canít expect life to just stop because you have an exam can you honey?" Cry, scream or choke Ďem - only the last will have any long-term benefits and itíll probably wind your butt in jail.
  6. If you have a headache an emotional manipulator will have a brain tumor! No matter what your situation is the emotional manipulator has probably been there or is there now - but only ten times worse. Itís hard after a period of time to feel emotionally connected to an emotional manipulator because they have a way of de-railing conversations and putting the spotlight back on themselves. If you call them on this behavior they will likely become deeply wounded or very petulant and call you selfish - or claim that it is you who are always in the spotlight. The thing is that even tho you know this is not the case you are left with the impossible task of proving it. Donít bother - TRUST your gut and walk away!
  7. Emotional manipulators somehow have the ability to impact the emotional climate of those around them. When an emotional manipulator is sad or angry the very room thrums with it - it brings a deep instinctual response to find someway to equalize the emotional climate and the quickest route is by making the emotional manipulator feel better - fixing whatever is broken for them. Stick with this type of loser for too long and you will be so enmeshed and co-dependent you will forget you even have needs - let alone that you have just as much right to have your needs met.
  8. Emotional manipulators have no sense of accountability. They take no responsibility for themselves or their behavior - it is always about what everyone else has "done to them". One of the easiest ways to spot an emotional manipulator is that they often attempt to establish intimacy through the early sharing of deeply personal information that is generally of the "hook-you-in-and-make-you-sorry-for-me" variety. Initially you may perceive this type of person as very sensitive, emotionally open and maybe a little vulnerable. Believe me when I say that an emotional manipulator is about as vulnerable as a rabid pit bull, and there will always be a problem or a crisis to overcome.
Some would say it is possible with time, a great deal of honesty and communication to work through emotional manipulation. Personally I think life is short and precious - the only worthwhile thing to do when confronted with an emotionally manipulative person is to BROOM THEIR ASS TO THE CURB! A Relationship with emotionally manipulative person is similar to re-exposing yourself over and over and over to a highly toxic and potentially fatal virus. Each brush with it reduces your immunity and weakens your defenses. It can take more time for someone that has been in an emotionally manipulative relationship (READ: ABUSE) to recover than it does for someone that leaves a physically abusive one. At least you can name that punch that hit you. Emotional abuse is subtle. It is insidious. It is dangerous. If you are in it - walk away and never look back. Make it a rule!
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Old 07-29-2005, 09:24 PM
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WOW.....I am going to print all of this for my daughter. She just ended a relationship with an emotional abuser. He pushed her so far she was on the verge of suicide. She knew she needed help and checked herself into the hospital. She got out a week ago Friday and took time off from work and went to my dad's house to get away for awhile. Her "abuser" just got out in March. I think he may be going back. He lives in the world of "me, my and more." When she left Friday night, she kissed him on the cheek told him she loved him but it was good bye. He came over to get some of his stuff yesterday. He called at 12:34 AM asking for her. I told him she wasn't here and he said "oh why can't I remember that?" Well if he would stay off the drugs he might be able to. He looked at me and said "You know I love her." I said she loves you too, but you can't keep living like that. His PO called me last Friday. His boss called today....he didn't show up for work. I am afraid he is going to show back up here and I will call the police on him. I watched him totally destroy my daughter and stayed out of it because she asked me to. I won't do it again.
Thank you so much for posting this. I could go through each paragraph and point out "Matt" in it.
Now when my daughter gets back tomorrow I believe it will be long enough to pack the rest of her belongings and move out of this town. She is afraid of him and told me she will not live in the same town he is in. She was born and raised her, 19 years old and her life was slipping away. I am a mother filled with so much anger and hatred. At least when she goes back to my dad's she will be safe and I know he won't get to her.

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Old 07-29-2005, 09:33 PM
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You Think That You Are So Special...

Edited by Tavia
written by e_gen("yahoo.com","Annesthesia666","Annesthesia")Annesthesia
(In memory of the machinations of a borderline controller, with condolences to all the other women who came before (and will come after), and once thought THEY were special too...) updated Sept, 2001

. . . that it won't happen to you. He'll be different with you.

You two have a "connection," a rapport that he didn't have with his ex. You have more things in common, similar personalities. He's pointed out all the ways that you two are so alike - it's just uncanny. You are so lucky to have met him at this point in your life. He says that he really appreciates you for who you are - and he's the first person to really do that, isn't he? Sure, he said the same things to *her* when he got together with her (and then grew to hate so many things about her), but it's different with you. He couldn't possibly be operating from scripts anymore. And it's so nice to finally have someone YOU can lean on, isn't it? It's hard being on your own, building a career, managing a household, and doing it all yourself. All of a sudden, here's this guy offering to help in ways that no one ever did. Knowing all the things you have been longing for and wanting in a partner. He couldn't possibly be hooking into your heart-felt desires and hurt places and pretending to be the answer, because he knows that's where you are vulnerable. He couldn't be pretending to like the things you like, and want the things you want, and be the person you have been looking for, because it's part of his patterns. Just because he did that with the women that came before you, doesn't mean he's doing that with you. He's really sincere this time.

He's told you all his deep dark secrets (at least, all the ones he thinks can win him sympathy and attention). He's acknowledged how he behaved badly in the past (even though it was brought out by who he was with). You two must have a very special connection for him to be so open and "honest". And he seems to be remorseful, so that must mean he won't do that kind of thing again, right? Not with you. You're special. So what if he told his ex the same kinds of deep, dark secrets, opened up in the same way? So what if he exhibited the same kind of remorse for things he did to partners before HER? So what if he told her all the same sob stories and pretended to be working on his **** with her? So what if he lied to his therapist and others? He really means it this time, with you.

He says things are going to be different with YOU. Even though he SAYS he accepts responsibility for his actions, he also says that it was really things in HER that brought out his bad behavior. He's not going to be like that with YOU. Sure, he said the same things to HER, but this time he'll be different, because he's told you how YOU are different from her. (So what if he's told other people how you remind him of HER? That doesn't mean he's following the same old patterns, targetting the same types of women. That doesn't mean that he'll be turn abusive with YOU at some point...) He's such a sweet, wonderful, helpful guy, it MUST have been something in HER that caused him to act badly, right?

So what if he was busy cutting her down behind her back with their mutual friends while he was telling her she was the "best thing that ever happened to him", and that he had "never loved anyone as much as he loved her"? That doesn't mean he still has the capacity to be manipulative and dishonest and cruel. He was just confused, the poor man. And besides, he won't be like that anymore, with the right woman to love him and dote on him. She just didn't give him the kind of attention he really needed. But YOU will. So he'd NEVER do that to YOU.

So what if it was less than a year after breaking off with his ex before he got together with you? It's not like an abuser should spend a few years in therapy, and work on his stuff before getting involved in another intimate relationship, right? I mean, after over 4 decades abuse and being an abuser, he can get himself fixed up enough to stop harming others in a just few months, with the right woman to rescue, er, "help" him.

And those stories of how his ex-wife emotionally abandoned him... He's just had it so ROUGH all his life! He told you how she didn't even try to keep the marriage together or say that she wanted to try to salvage their relationship when he said he wanted to separate. She was just so unfeeling! The poor man - here he was trying so HARD and all - seeing a counsellor and everything! It couldn't possibly be that SHE was so emotionally beaten down by his behavior that she was RELIEVED when he wanted to leave... He couldn't have been emotionally abusive and dishonest with HER too! If his ex-wife didn't trust him, it had nothing to do with HIM and his behavior - it must have been HER issues.

So what if he USED YOU to break a trust with a woman he was already seeing? It's not like they were actually *partners* or anything! She was just convenient for hurting his ex (he set her up really nicely to do that a couple of times), getting attention, an ego stroke, and occasional sex while he was waiting for the *right* woman to show up. Since you came along, he doesn't need her anymore. He's got YOU to feed his ego. And breaking her trust was a convenient way to ensure that he wouldn't have to bother with her anymore and could focus on YOU. He did it so carefully too. (He knows that it's the series of "gentle" cuts that leave the most stinking wounds.) That way, SHE would be the one saying she didn't want to have anything to do with HIM, and he could blame HER for why they can't still be friends. Isn't he clever? What a creative way to get rid of someone when they are no longer useful!

And if this most recent woman doesn't want to see him anymore or even be friends with him, it must be because she is jealous of the wonderful relationship you and HE have! It must be because he dumped her for you, and she's just not big enough to accept that. It couldn't possibly have anything to do with the WAY he did things or tried to blame HER for his behavior. It couldn't have anything to do with him LYING to her and using her, and having a hidden agenda of expectations that he told her she just wasn't living up to. Nope. That would be his old M.O. playing out again, and he was a changed man by the time he met you. So it couldn't be THAT.

Besides, even if she deeply cared about him, he didn't have the same deep feelings for her, so that makes it ok to have sex with you, before talking to HER about it, right? He was just so TAKEN with you! Doesn't that just make you feel all . . . oh, I don't know - SPECIAL? She just wasn't long term partner material, and he made that clear to her anyway. If she knew he didn't have the same feelings, and was willing to continue to be used by him because she had fallen in love with him, who was HE to turn down that kind of attention and strokes? It's not like he had any responsibility to not take advantage of someone who was emotionally vulnerable or anything. And he broke things off with her eventually. He just didn't tell her about you and the sex stuff right away because he wanted to *protect* her from getting hurt. What a GREAT guy! See, he really did have amazing consideration for HER feelings! Withholding information isn't the same as LYING or anything. That's not dishonest, right? It couldn't possibly be that he was deliberately stringing her along until he was sure YOU were hooked. No. He's too sweet and charming and nice for that. He was just CONFUSED about his feelings, that's all. Besides, it's not like you two had UNPROTECTED sex before he told her about you, so that he could use you (the way he used HER) to break THAT trust as well... Even if he's BROKEN A SACRED TRUST THIS SAME WAY, SEVERAL TIMES BEFORE (with other partners and lovers), he wouldn't be repeating the same old abuse patterns with you.

You're special.

And even if he WAS being dishonest at the start of your relationship, he lied to someone ELSE. It's not like he was dishonest with YOU (that you know of, yet), so that makes it OK, right? (So what if ms-non-partner-material thought the same thing, and excused him, the first time she found out he was dishonest with her? This time, he will be different, because he really LOVES you.)

Of course, he told you how his last sex partner said she didn't think it would last between you two (when he broke it off with her)... but he couldn't be using THAT as a ploy to hook you further (wanting to prove her wrong). So what if he used exactly the same line on each new mark in the past, telling the next one in line that the previous one didn't believe the two of you could last? He wouldn't be using LINES and PLOYS and subtle MANIPULATION on YOU...

Even if in his past, he DID say,
"Some of the problems I bring about by vamping, pumping up the emotional content of a situation. Of course that's easy to do with a new friend. I have a stock of techniques and behaviors, tested. I'm also inventive ... so I pick up new techniques fairly quickly...

It's just I'd rather enjoy the "romance". It comes naturally to me. I enjoy doing it. It's also a head trip for me, with my poor self esteem, to have someone so taken with me. I like the first results, the joyous feelings, the elation, the euphoria, just not where it leads."

... he couldn't possibly still have been doing that with her, or even YOU. He has REAL, deep feelings for you. You've even seen him cry and show his vulnerable side. That MUST mean he's sincere, right? He couldn't possibly be using YOU for an ego stroke. Not the man YOU know.

He's just so caring and sensitive and considerate. He's so sweet, rubbing cream into your hands and feet at night, sending you little cards, reading to you in the afternoon, doing all those romantic things. He really does seem too good to be true - cooking, cleaning, intelligent, literate, creative, affectionate. So what if he was like that for the first year or so with her too... before the subtle patterns of abuse started to creep in? So what if all that "wonderful" behavior shifted until he was telling her he loved her one day and then telling others how horrible she was behind her back the next? He wouldn't do that to you too, down the road. She must have brought it out in him. He couldn't possibly be playing the same game over and over again, with you as the next target. All those wonderful things he has done - all the romantic things, all the ways he has helped out and called, and done things for you, they couldn't all be just scripts. "Stock Techniques" for hooking. No. This time, he's sincere. This time he'll be different, with you.

So what if he has been incapable of honesty and integrity all his life? So what if he actually admitted to his ex (just about the time you two met): "I am afraid of truth-tellers. I have so many lies in my past and present. The truth burns." That couldn't mean that he was telling lies to YOU. After all, he was so HONEST about his dishonesty so THAT'S got to count for something... It must mean he realizes his mistakes and won't make the same ones again, right? The fact that he acknowledges things is so CONVINCING. If he acknowledges it, then he couldn't possibly STILL do those sorts of things. Sure, sure. He had HER convinced too. But he couldn't possibly be STILL lying to YOU. You're special.

So what if two of the other women he was involved with wound up in the psychiatric ward? So what if he "helped" a vulnerable friend by encouraging her to break her marriage vows, exacerbating her marital problems, and then abandoning her when she asked if he could be there for her? He needed an ego stroke and she was conveniently there and conveniently vulnerable from a death in the family. So what if he undermined his ex's support network and used a mentally ill woman's attraction to him to try and hurt her further? So what if he used and hurt a dying woman so that he could feel needed and in control? He was just being HELPFUL to all those women. Maybe he LIED to them, sometimes, but that was only to PROTECT the fragile little dears. He's SUCH a sensitive guy, you see. He couldn't POSSIBLY have been USING people for ego strokes.

So what if he used and was abusive to his life-partner's children in order to get back at his her? Hurting and using kids is excusable, right? (After all, she must have deserved it. THEY must have deserved it. Right? Because he really DOES love kids... or at least, that's what he has said...) The guy YOU know could never be like that. And... well... even if he WAS, he's obviously changed. He's undergone a miraculous transformation in just one year. He's just shed ALL those abusive patterns and become a NEW man. He's going to be completely different, with you.



Yeah, sure, he might have done those kinds of things in the past, but the past is the past, right? It doesn't have any danger of repeating itself with you. Just because all those other women were "damaged", doesn't mean that he will someday be telling people how damaged YOU are... Not YOU. You're SPECIAL.

His love for you is so strong and your connection to each other is so different (at least, that's what he has told you, and you know you can trust him, right?), he wouldn't EVER do anything deliberately hurtful or malicious to YOU. He wouldn't undermine YOUR support network and use your friends to hurt YOU. He'd never make snide remarks about YOU behind your back and then make sure you found out about it. No no no. SHE must have brought that out in him. But you, you're special.

Besides, he's been in therapy. That must mean he's sincere, right? He wouldn't possibly be using the whole "therapy" thing as a cover-up to make himself look better because his reputation got damaged after the fiasco with his ex. He couldn't possibly be using contrition, and the "I feel so bad about myself"-line to get sympathy and support! He couldn't possibly be looking for a person to hook into that is in a different town so that she has less likelihood of finding out his past. He couldn't possibly be going after women who have a strong sense of personal responsibility because he knows how to manipulate that to try and get them to feel responsible for HIS sick feelings. He couldn't possibly be seeking out active, intelligent, dedicated women, so that he can PUNISH them when they don't direct all that energy to HIM. Just because he has engaged in such manipulative behavior in the past doesn't mean he would be doing that NOW. Not with YOU. You're SPECIAL.

He's so contrite and sincere about "working on his issues", he couldn't possibly be lying about that. Just because he has a history pathological lying to himself and others, doesn't mean he'll be that way with you. Besides, if he has deceived himself so completely that HE doesn't know it's a lie, then he can't be held accountable for it, right? He can always claim that he doesn't have good "memory" for things in the past. But don't worry. He won't use that sort of deception and evasion with YOU. You're special.

The poor guy just made bad choices before (you). Sure he made mistakes, but if most of his ex(s) don't want to have anything to do with him, and some now think he is mentally ill, it must be because THEY are unstable - I mean, look at how amazing and kind and charming he is with you... He couldn't possibly have been like that with them TOO... He wouldn't be using stock romance "lines" on YOU.

This time, it's REALLY love. You're Special.

Sure, he did a *few* things in his past that were unkind, but he needs to be forgiven for HIS behavior, (after all, she drove him to it), but HER mistakes and reactions to his abuse, were unforgivable. But things will be different with you. He won't think YOUR mistakes are unforgivable. He won't apply a double-standard to YOU. He won't expect YOU to be perfect and subtlely criticize you when you don't measure up to his standards. You're the one who is going to change his life. And, of course, you keep your kitchen immaculate, so he'll have no reason to criticize THAT.

And speaking of unforgivable, of COURSE he can't forgive her for doing things that *hurt* him (he's so deeply sensitive, you see) - but he couldn't possibly have lied about the things he said she did. He couldn't possibly have "set up" situations so he could cry foul... He wouldn't have ENCOURAGED her to do things so he could later claim that he was hurt by her... And, well, even if he DID, maybe do that, he certainly won't do it with YOU. You're too special for that. Any time he tells you he's happy for you and he encourages you to do something, he'll REALLY mean it, with YOU. He won't create a revisionist fantasy of your past so that he can insist you did things to hurt him as a justification for his cruelty to you. He won't secretly resent you for not devoting all your time to him. Even if he DID do that with her, he won't do it with you. Especially after he makes all those sacrifices and moves in with you. He won't secretly be dependent on YOU for all his attention. He won't be more demanding of you and your time and resent you when you don't give it all to him. Not THIS time. You're SPECIAL.

He's such a nice guy, he won't "help" you (especially unsolicited) and then have an unstated hidden agenda like he did with all the others. He's going to claim his right to be "selfish" now, because he's been so USED from all the excessive GIVING he did in the past that nobody really appreciated. The poor guy. He's never taken time to be selfish in the past - not even when he was sitting alone in his room, sucking off his hurts, or using other people. That wasn't selfish - that was just "acting out". But he's better now. Don't worry. He won't use his new-found right to be "selfish" against YOU. No. He really is a changed man, with you. With you he will give unconditionally.

It's no WONDER he behaved so badly! Look at how his ex was always hurting him, oppressing him with her refusal to live her life solely for him, expecting him to be honest with his feelings and actions, when he just wasn't ready. And besides, he just can't handle confrontation, you know? And like, she's just so SCARY when she's upset (it's just so unbeCOMing when women display any anger!) that he HAD to act that way. She actually raised her voice at times! Can you imagine? He had this abusive childhood, so nobody else is allowed to have anger except HIM. Because, like, he can't DEAL with it, and he shouldn't be expected to! He couldn't possibly have been projecting HIS issues on her so that someone else could have his anger FOR him, or so that he could get angry with someone other than himself! He couldn't possibly have been DELIBERATELY hitting all her hot buttons to hurt and upset her so he could lay blame. And, well, even if he DID do that for years, he won't do it anymore, with you.

And if somehow you accidentally do things that "trigger" his old abuse patterns, he'll be so sweet in telling you how you are doing things that remind him of her, so that YOU can change YOUR behavior. After all, you wouldn't want him to start acting abusive again because of something YOU did.

And you don't have to worry about that, because you'll never get upset with him, and you'll never challenge him to be honest or to accept responsibility for his actions. SHE did that, and it was "controlling," but it'll be different with you, because you know better. And you won't need to worry about calling him on his behavior anyway, because he'll NEVER lie to YOU. He'll always be completely honest and upfront with you. He won't have to "forget" any promises he made to YOU. If he is inconsiderate, it won't be DELIBERATE, with you. If he lied to her or anyone else, it was because they drove him to it. With you, he won't withhold information, or distort the truth. He won't break fundamental relationship agreements with YOU. He won't HAVE to, because you'll be right there validating him 24/7, supporting him and telling him how he's so CLEVER and BRAVE to have escaped such a horrible relationship, and how wonderful it is that he is working so HARD to overcome his terrible past!

And it's a good thing he's not going to do any of those things he might have done in the past, because then you won't have to worry about forgiving him. You see, she REPEATEDLY forgave him for the lies and the accidentally-on-purpose "mistakes", and all that did was make him feel bad about himself - that she could forgive and he couldn't. Wasn't that AWFUL of her to make him feel so bad that way? So she DESERVED to be punished even more. And she should NEVER have shown any guilt when he manipulated her. It just caused him to hurt her more. He told her it was "like blood in the water for sharks" for him. She should have known better. YOU know better. But then, he won't be manipulative and passive-aggressive with YOU.

He'll be different with you. You're SPECIAL.

And sure he made her work at the relationship when he wasn't really trying, but that wasn't being dishonest - he just didn't know what he really wanted, so that made it OK to put the burden of the relationship responsibility on her. Sure he admitted that he wanted her to make him the first priority in HER life, but he wasn't willing to afford her the same consideration. But that wasn't one of his patterns. He won't do that with YOU. Besides, he admitted his dishonest behavior after they broke up, so that makes it ok. It erases everything. His slate's clean. He even said he was sorry, months later, so that shows how sincere he was. He couldn't possibly still have been interlacing the apology with blame. He's not STILL acting manipulative and projecting issues.... and well, if he is, he's only doing that with HER because of their history - he wouldn't do that with YOU.

And it's so sweet how he still talks about how much he cared for his ex, how much he did for her out of love. Sometimes, he even talks fondly of his treasured memories of her, of how she "helped" him (when she wasn't hurting him, the witch) - that must mean he's a deep, sensitive guy, right? Maybe you can even "help" him to forgive her and heal from his terrible past... Just like SHE thought she could "help" him...

And besides, he did so many NICE things for her and all those other women. That should count for SOMETHING, right? It's not like he was emotionally abusive or manipulative ALL the time. So it kind of cancels things out, right? It's not like he HIT anyone or anything. At least the things he did didn't leave any VISIBLE marks. Besides, he probably just made honest mistakes, that's all. He couldn't have actually got off on seeing them hurt and crying. He wouldn't have LAUGHED condescendingly in someone's face while she was crying. Not the man YOU are involved with. HE certainly doesn't remember doing anything like that - and HIS memory is inviolate.

Even if he HAS been emotionally abusive and dishonest with others, he's going to be different with you. Especially after you two move intogether. It IS especially hard on him having a long-distance relationship. He wouldn't be talking about how hard it is to keep up the intensity and connectedness over such a distance. He wouldn't be implying that the relationship might not last if you don't move in together... He wouldn't have some kind of hidden agenda around that. He wouldn't be trying to subtley manipulate you, and get you worried about losing him, like he did with the others. He just REALLY CARES for you, and really wants the two of you to be together.

He's told you how different he feels with YOU. How different he IS with you. How healing your love is. How much he NEEDS you. What a wonderful person he thinks you are. How important you are in his life. How much he values and appreciates you, and misses you when you are not together. How amazingly transformed he feels now that he has finally met someone as SPECIAL as YOU.

So what if he told her the same things? He really MEANS it this time, with you.

He's a changed person, (this time, for REAL) with you. You're special.

You don't need to talk to any of his ex's to find out what he was REALLY like, because the past is the past, right? You couldn't possibly learn anything from their experiences, because he's not going to be like that anymore. It couldn't possibly be that they have anything valid to say. Besides, you trust him to tell you the WHOLE TRUTH about his past (as far as he can "remember" it), right?

And he's such a sensitive, caring guy, he REALLY does wish he and his ex could be FRIENDS now. Even though he NEVER ONCE called her or emailed her and said, "Listen, I don't want it to end like this. Can we please talk?" (Even when he was still living downstairs. Even when she was in tears, begging him to *please* leave. NEVER ONCE.) SHE is the one to blame for all the bad feelings. It was HER responsibility to rectify things with HIM. And he can't understand why she would have NO desire to have any contact with him, NO desire to have anything to do with him - after all he did for her, after what they had. After all, SHE is the one who did unforgivable things. He's so uncomfortable around her now, because of how much she hurt him. He wouldn't STILL be projecting HIS issues on her, and implying that they are HER issues... After all, he's a changed man.

But you don't have to worry. He won't PUBLICLY divulge YOUR insecurities or deeply intimate things you told him in confidence - he won't betray your trust - like he did with her. No matter what happens between you and him, you'll ALWAYS BE FRIENDS. You and he will always be able to work things out. So what if he said EXACTLY THE SAME THING TO HER (and all the others) too? It'll be different with you. You're special.

He won't wait a year or two before he starts in on YOU. He won't then use his knowledge of YOUR insecurities and emotional hot buttons to deliberately hurt YOU. He won't start using psychological warfare to couch his deliberately hurtful actions in social plausibility with YOU. He won't flirt with your close friends and use any attraction they might have to him, against YOU. NO. He won't tell you that you just weren't meeting his needs or living up to his expectations. He won't expect you to read his mind. He won't try to make it look like YOU are the reason he is unhappy, and YOU are the cause of your relationship problems. He won't set you up to get upset with him so that YOU are the one who breaks it off with him, (or you get so angry with him that he HAS to break it off with YOU) and HE looks like a martyr (AGAIN). So what if he made all the same promises to her? Just because he was following some of his old patterns when he got involved with you, doesn't mean he's going to follow through on the rest of them. He's CHANGED now.

You're special. Just like SHE was when he was with HER. Just like they ALL thought they were.

He's so sensitive and compassionate, he couldn't have talked coldly to them about killing animals or wanting to break someone's legs. No. Not the man YOU know. He's different with YOU.

And when he starts telling you how much he MISSES his adult son, it won't be to deflect, and distract you from being upset with him because he has just said or done something really inconsiderate or unkind. It won't be to evoke sympathy from you and get you thinking what a wonderful, caring parent he is. Just because he lived less than a mile away from his son and hardly ever SAW him doesn't mean that the "missing" monologue is for attention and redirection.

He's so nice right now, so supportive. So what if he was that way with her too at the beginning? He won't revert back to his headgames of praising and encouraging one minute and subtlely criticizing how you keep the house, the way you do things, things you say, in the next. He wouldn't yank YOUR chain like that.

He's so attentive right now, so interested in everything you say and do! He won't turn around one day and tell you he's NOT INTERESTED in the things that interest you, and then accuse you of not paying enough attention to HIM. He won't get mopey and upset because you get more attention than he does at social functions. He won't resent you for your charisma. Just because he did that before doesn't mean he's going to do it again with YOU. As long as you make sure HE is the center of attention, and he's getting his ego stroked, he probably won't get nasty with you... Right? It couldn't be that he is a bottomless pit, and that you can NEVER give him enough attention. Not the man YOU know. Not with YOU. You're special.

And the fact that another woman's experience was so terrible with him, his distortions and multiple personalities so devastating that she felt compelled to warn other people about him and the "type" of abuser he is - well that's no consequence. It must have been *her* that brought it out in him. He's so different now that he's found YOU and your healing love. So what if he said the same kinds of things to her? You are going to ignore those nagging little doubts in the back of your mind, because you want to believe so badly in the sweet, helpful, romantic person he is portraying right now. You don't want to believe there is a dark malicious side to him that enjoys seeing others suffer. You want to believe you are special, and he is right there encouraging you, building you up, telling you how nobody understands him the way YOU do. He's telling you that he just wants to stop feeling BAD about himself (and she made him feel that way, the witch!). He's telling you that if he can't make it work with you, he's afraid he can't make it with ANYONE... It's so tragic... (Yeah, he said that to her too, but so what?)

YOU are the one who can "fix" his wounded ego. Your relationship with him will be So Much Better than his last ones, because you're special! With you, he'll be honest and straight-forward for the first time in his life. He won't become cruel or passive-aggressive. He won't play headgames anymore. He'll stop using and discarding people like old kleenex. He won't be rude or unkind or disrespectful like he was with those other women. HE LOVES YOU SO MUCH, HE'S NOW A CHANGED MAN. (Changed for the better, of course.) Not because of therapy. Not because he's removed himself from relationships and taken some serious time to get his **** together. Not because he REALLY apologized (without interlacing it with blame) to anyone he harmed in the past, or made amends. Not because he's done any REAL work. Not because he's actually admitted to his real motivations, or made a single sincere change.

He just needed to find the RIGHT woman to "save" him from himself and "help" him become a better man, and that's YOU.

You just KNOW he'll be different with you. Right?
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  #7  
Old 07-29-2005, 10:24 PM
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The Emotional Blackmailer is easy to recognize, but women seldom do until they are well and truly sucked into his web. It is best to avoid getting close to him because it is quite difficult to get away from him. Stalkers start out as emotional blackmailers. Just the word "blackmailer" should give you a clue of what depth of self-centered behaviour is lying in wait to be sprung on you the minute you are hooked. Here are the roots and the signs, the way he progresses to hook his victim, and how to get away from him.



What Creates an Emotional Blackmailer?

A combination of neglect, overprotectiveness, coldness, spoiling and lack of nurturing in infancy and childhood. This can be ascertained by comments he makes about his parents - both of them. He will hate them and resent them, while still taking his laundry home to mommy even when she lives in the next STATE. His mom is blamed for him not knowing how to do anything - she never even taught him to make his bed or hang up his wet towel, and she didn't feed him; his dad is blamed for him choosing a profession that he is ill-suited for - any profession that wasn't his dad's. He will say they are both critical of him, and never gave him any support for anything he wanted to do to better himself. This may be the sad truth, but he uses it as an excuse to get everyone he meets for the rest of his life to serve his needs. He does not have empathy - in this way he is like the sociopath to whom people are objects.

The "Modus Operandi" of the Emotional Blackmailer

He is too good to be true - He is soft-spoken and polite, he smells good, he looks good, he is kind and loves women, he is respectful, he doesn't come on too strong FOR THE FIRST FEW MEETINGS ONLY. He's always on the lookout for a patsy, but he's in no hurry as there's always another one around the corner so he'll take his time in coming on to you. In fact you'll wonder why he's not attracted to you; you might think he is gay, and be all the more attracted to him because he just wants to chat and be friends.

He'll be there more and more frequently -gazing at you with puppy dog eyes; wanting to know everything about you, asking your advice, making it look like you are getting to know each other and forming a bond.

He will put himself in the best possible light - including lying through his teeth about his ambitions, activities, hopes and dreams.


His seduction techniques are often subtle and well-practiced - It will seem he did nothing to seduce you until you look back and analyze it. He sat and stood close to you, he brushed against you, but it didn't seem to be on purpose.

He suddenly "Turns on the Charm" and turns up the heat - Once you're hypnotized by his sweetness and modesty and respectfulness, he will pounce on you one night and turn into a Mr. Hyde. It "just happened." This is the critical moment to run away, don't let him touch you. He'll leave you breathless wondering what exactly happened. He'll turn on all the charm full force and you'll be wanting him from then on, yet wanting some breathing room. You won't get any. Ever. It won't bother you at first - you'll think he's attentive and ardent.

He starts using the wine/dine/lines technique - Once you're "seeing" each other, he'll be a real swain, wining and dining you, going for romantic walks, discussing how amazing this new relationship is, how different you are from any woman he ever met; he'll insist on elegant dinners and pay for them, and he'll talk about your remarkable beauty and how "alike" you are. He will talk about your "resonance" and describe all the awful women he knew before who didn't want a good man - who wanted someone to abuse them. All of this is meaningless talk. He uses the same lines on every woman.

He becomes clingy and controlling - He will start seeing you nearly every day and each time insist on knowing exactly when the next date will be. It won't matter if you spent 8 hours with him on Sunday, unless you agree to another date Monday or Tuesday it will all be for nothing; he will be unhappy and hound you for a commitment because he is insatiable for attention and security - he needs to know when he will get his next fix.

He will whine and even shed tears - if you say you have other things to do, other people to see, or want to be alone after seeing him 8 days in a row. He enjoys being abused, so if you scream at him it only makes him feel more secure. He got used to fighting all around him as a child and he equates fighting with love.

He'll start demanding that you "prove your love" - In time you will be expected to pay for your own lunch and dinner when you go out, and sometimes for his too. The only way to avoid it is to order nothing and just watch him eat. That is the only way to avoid being asked to "help out" because he is short this week. At this point you will be asking yourself, "What am I doing this for?" You have become nothing but his prop. You will be asked to buy him books, dishes, household goods and help him with his bills to "prove your love" because he's shown how much he loves you; he will expect you to cancel family engagements to spend time with you, see him even if you're ill. He has become your jailer. The key is: he demands CONSTANT proof of your love.

He will "seem" to accept your decision to break up - As the months roll along and you are tired of his constant presence, begging, whining, using up all your spare money and having unreasonable control of your life, you will decide to break up with him. He will then agree to back off, give you some space, and try to do better. These are all lies.

He'll tell you he has "changed" - No matter how many times you break up with him, he will call you to tell you that he needs you, that he has changed, and he will say it all in a calm voice as if he respects your decision to come back or not. His game is to stay away just long enough that you forget his annoying traits and miss the good parts. But if you agree to even one meeting it will be back to daily visits and demands for constant pampering again.

Getting Rid of the bastard - The only way to get rid of the emotional blackmailer is when he has found another willing victim to be his patsy. He will already be courting her while seeing you and you will know this when he starts being late for every date (he is juggling two or more women per day). Once he has the new person in his thrall and has nothing to lose by losing you, he will drop you like a hot potato - over the phone.

Beware of his "suprise" return - This is not the end of it if the new woman disappoints him in any way - if she has less money than he expected, if she demands good behaviour, if she doesn't give him enough attention. Then he will be at your door again. This happens about 2 or 3 months after he dropped out of your life.

He prey's on sympathy, and lives to control - He will then say he is leaving her, but his purpose is to have both women in his control - perhaps one for money and one to scream at him, and both for companionship. He gets a high from controlling people, because as a child he had no control over anything and frequently felt abandoned. This is why the more women who feel sorry for him, give him food, listen to him, go out with him, the better he feels and behaves. However, he is telling each of them the same thing: they are the best, the most beautiful, the most like him, he wants to spend the rest of his life with ONLY THEM.


The character of the Emotional Blackmailer

Everything he says or does is for gain. He does nothing for the sheer joy of it, or because he likes people or wants to build a relationship: he is looking ahead to what he can get out of the person: sex, housekeeping, cooking, emotional support, someone pretty to be seen with, money, someone to listen to him spin his tales of woe, what have you. Loyalty or faithfulness are not in his nature.

He will become vicious and even violent if he is crossed, contradicted or denied what he wants. This is a rare occurrence but his rage is something to behold. It looks exactly like the tantrum of a five year old. That is still his emotional age, although he has the smooth moves of a Casanova down pat.

How to extricate yourself from the Emotional Blackmailer

Cutting off Contact

One way out is to cut off all contact. Even one phone call or meeting will put you back in his control if you get back into the same pattern of doing what he wants when he wants it. He is a master manipulator who will prey on your sympathy for him as a human being.

Any time spent reasoning with him is wasted - he doesn't hear a word you say. All arguments are circular. If you discuss codependence, he says it doesn't exist, that it's a psychobabble word for two people caring for each other. If he has no answer to your logic he will remain silent and wait for you to shut up, then start with his argument again.

Talking about wanting to see other friends only enrages him; makes him want you more. You should seem to be dateless, uninteresting, and undesired by other men, as well as uninterested in any man, period.

After you have cut off contact, he will stalk you for a while if he doesn't have a replacement lined up yet, but this will cease because it isn't fulfilling enough for him. He NEEDS feedback, anger, someone to scream at him. Any kind of attention pleases him - he is a true masochist who would enjoy being slapped.

You must ignore him completely and utterly.

Turning the Tables

Another way to ditch the Emotional Blackmailer is to turn the tables on him. A man who is so good at manipulating is also easily manipulated to do whatever you want IF you do it the right way. It can be fun to turn the tables on him if you want revenge for all the time he wasted and the misery he gavae you. You can be rid of him within a few weeks without avoiding him by doing the following:

  • Exhibit jealousy and make it clear that you won't share him with anyone else, and you expect to spend the rest of your life with him and have exclusive rights over him. This will make him feel suffocated for a change and he will be eagerly stepping out on you while claiming he wants only you.
  • Lose interest in doing anything you used to do for him or with him; stop taking him seriously; don't listen to his rants about his job; ridicule his ideas, act bored and make it clear you see him only as a useful decoration. Tell him to grow up, tell him you are well aware of his manipulative games but you like him anyway and demand he be faithful to you. This will scare him and make him step up his efforts with the other women, and he will soon be out of your life. When he comes crawling back, you tell him you require faithfulness and he's ruined it for you: he will have no answer for that and he will have lost.

A Final Note:

Healthy, non-manipulative men:

  • Don't beg
  • Don't preen in front of the mirror and ask you if they are good looking enough for you
  • Don't tell you that you're "the best"
  • Don't use the lines "if you really loved me", or "prove you love me by doing this for me"...
  • Don't put down their former girlfriends or wives
  • Don't threaten suicide if you refuse to see them
  • Don't get angry or sulk if you have other plans and can't see them - they find other things to do
  • Understand when you aren't feeling well
  • Respect your right to have other friends
  • Pay their own way in life
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  #8  
Old 08-01-2005, 10:15 AM
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Patti, that is sad, to see your child go through this.. I did the same with all relationships and then I could set back and gloat about how all this was their fault.. My daughter has gone through the same.. finally I had to really start looking hard at me and my choices and why I did it.
Sometimes, you do not know and that is the case with your daughter but she needs to see before she is destroyed emotionally. My thoughts are with her and she is fortunate to have a open and loving mother such as you .((hugs))
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Old 08-01-2005, 01:00 PM
KarrieMI KarrieMI is offline
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Thanks I really did need to read some of this!

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Old 08-01-2005, 01:15 PM
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Karrie, I had to read and reread this LOL
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