A scary word.
“Manipulators and abusers control their victims with a range of tactics, including positive reinforcement (such as praise, flattery, ingratiation, love bombing, smiling, gifts, attention), negative reinforcement, intermittent or partial reinforcement, psychological punishment (such as nagging, silent treatment, swearing, threats, intimidation, guilt trips, inattention) and traumatic tactics (such as verbal abuse or explosive anger)”.
I find that a very all encompassing definition. I shall be honest here and say that it took me a long time to see elements of this type of behaviour within my previous relationship, but once I started looking, it was apparent that the whole two years near enough was littered with it.
I was 23 years and 9 months when we started dating, he was 27 years and 6 months. Quite honestly, I couldn’t believe my damn luck. He used to compliment me and I was dumbfounded as to why he was, I believed that I was the lucky one, definitely not him. A loving guy, kind, thoughtful, considerate, funny, handsome, nice… settling for a career less single mum at 23. I remember really falling for him because at the time I was riddled with anxiety, but our first date I was free of all that, you know? I remember how happy I used to be to walk into the pub and see him sitting there, a JD and coke and doing the crossword in the Evening Standard.
I look back at our time now, before the slap, burn and the rape and there are things that stand out. He used to tell me that he has a temper like his Mother. One that I remember in particular is being in the park with him and my daughter buggy, crying and very unsettled. I apologised to him, it was hardly a typical date was it? Walking around dealing with a screaming kid that’s not even yours, hardly Timeout magazines’ ideal date.
He gave me the silent treatment, walked ahead of me the whole time and refused to talk, mumbles at most.. I was speed walking with a buggy in tow, trying to keep up with him, this grown fucking man who was behaving worse than my three year old. Honest to God, having a real tantrum, silent treatment…really? Pathetic isn’t it. We then left the park and had a row on the way home, well I say row, it was more me profusely apologising for whatever I had obviously done to cause his pathetic behaviour and him ignoring it, sighing and rolling his eyes. I went home and he went home. Later on I got a message from him, apologising for how he was, that he loves me so much, I’m the best girlfriend hes ever had, he can’t believe his luck…etc – I bought it. Instead of calling him up on his horrid behaviour, I accepted what he said and left it at that.
I believe that’s where it all kinda starts, really.
Indoctrination. Be nice, nice, nice and lovely and charming, then be horrible. He’ll cross the line but because of the amazing times we had and his previous nice behaviours, I would doubt myself when I felt wronged, because after all, he’s a nice guy…isn’t he? I would feel that there was something worth holding onto, he was worth holding onto. The nice things would then reappear: flowers on the doorstep, expensive meals out, date nights, plush hotels, family ethics etc, then it would happen again, a horrible behaviour, saying something upsetting or one of those three actions that I have written so much about.
Its unfair and its abusive, but it takes a long time to identify it as that.
In hindsight its easy to say that a relationship that span two years almost is a relatively short amount of time for there to be three examples of behaviour that hurt me.
Because there was indoctrination happening (and my god I can really see it now), I feel guilty still for talking about this. I feel bad for telling the truth because it makes him look bad. Yeah, I still feel a huge amount of guilt regarding that, and I hate it. He doesn’t deserve empathy, or my compassion, because Christ alive, he’s shown me absolutely none.
I doubt all those good memories now. There are thousands upon thousands of good memories with him, but now I sit there and wonder, did he really enjoy them? Did he really love me? Or was I just an easy target, a single Mum, vulnerable to certain things…was it all just part of some mentally abusive twisted game to him?
See, I’ve written that and its upset me (fucking indoctrination) because I don’t want to believe that, I really, really don’t, but I dunno, its looking more and more likely, isn’t it readers. After all, if he really felt any remorse over what he did to me then he would have apologised – by not apologising surely means he feels that there is nothing to say sorry for, that he feels no remorse.
Someone tell me how that is not abusive?
Me being the one left with all of this, him scott free. He doesn’t deserve the chance of just needing to apologise, I wish I was stronger. I wish I was happy to see him rotting on a sex offenders register, but I’m not. I guess he pulled off the indoctrination extremely well with me, right. I just wish there was some degree of respect left for the person who carried his baby, yes for a short time, but I still did. I was that person and I still don’t warrant an apology?
Its devastating, it really is.