I am part of a Domestic Violence Facebook group and the stories that are told are frightening to say the least. The recent BBC Documentart ‘Behind Closed Doors’ brought back some horrific feelings for me. However these stories are also frightening due to their similarities! It’s as if there is a script that certain men (and I’m sure woman) follow. The word ‘Narcissist’ appears a lot – however with it implies some sort of excuse.
‘I am a narcissist, I can’t help it..’
‘I see a ‘red mist’ and can’t control myself’
‘I’ve always been like this – I can’t help it’
No. You are simply abusive.
As time passes more memories have begun to jump into my head. Something will happen, I’ll see or hear something and I’m right back there. For example, we were watching the film ‘liar liar’, Jim Carey’s character (the lieing Dad) was playing a game with his son called ‘The Claw’, where he pretends his hand is a claw that attacks his son. How cute you might think, but it make me queezy! Tom, who was sat next to me said – ‘Dad used to do that too – he said it was his game’ it wasn’t, it was copied, he’s a liar liar! Then, out of nowhere I suddenly remembered something The Twat used to do – he used to run his hand over my face, from top to bottom, in a tender loving way. So does John Travolta/Nicholas cage in Face Off! FFS! Was it all a pretence?
This is apparently extremely common – abusive men copying behaviours from films as they are unable to genuinely create these behaviours themselves. If that’s the case then perhaps they do have something ‘wrong’ with them? But being a sociopath or narcissist is still no excuse for abuse!
I also remembered the first time I left (yes, there were a few) and actually went to see a solicitor. I told her my story and she showed me a piece of paper. On it was an outline of a man and around it a list of behaviours
Mr Wrong – the abusive man …
- smashes things
- calls you names
- makes you feel ugly and useless
- cuts you off from your friends
- stops you working
- never admits he is wrong
- blames you, drugs, drink, stress etc.
- turns the children against you
- uses the children to control you
- never does his share of the housework
- never looks after the children
- expects sex on demand
- controls the money
- threatens or wheedles you to get his own way
- seduces your friends/sister/anyone
- expects you to be responsible for his well-being
Wow! Well he hit all of those. She then went on to explain that the list describes Mr Wrong – Mr Abusive does this and more – and neither of them should be married to you! Or anybody actually!
I went back a few years later and asked her to file for divorce on my behalf. She was right, and I had been wrong. I couldn’t mend him or make him better. The better I became the more controlling he became. The more successful I became the more destructive he became.
It is, however a subtle journey. From the tender moments taken from ‘Face Off’ to the ultimate ‘taking’ of my son had taken nearly ten years. Slowly eroding my friendships, slowly isolating me from my family, slowly controlling the money, slowly becoming more aggressive and violent.
One of the most difficult things with ‘life after leaving’ is hindsight. In hindsight, it looks obvious that things were wrong, friends have actually said that they knew something was wrong. In hindsight why did I fall for him in the first place? I knew who he was after all!
Another difficult thing is the loss. The loss of the years that were spent living with him. The loss of friendships that have been lost. The loss of my health and my career. The loss of the innocence of my children. The loss of time and energy that the whole thing has taken up – not just for me, but for my friends and family too. And this will sound weird but the loss of the love that I thought was real!
The one thing that did keep me going, that kept me staying and not leaving, was my belief in his love for me. He told me he loved me and needed me and couldn’t live without me. He cried and screamed and fell apart. But all that was a lie too. His tender actions were copied from films, his love turned into accusations of abuse and mental health issues, the love from his family turned into more accusations of alcoholism, abuse and controlling behaviour. All of it was a lie. All of it was so that he could get what he wanted, live the life he felt he deserved, be the man he could never be.
So, if you know anyone who is with Mr Wrong – it may be an idea to keep them in mind, or if you see a friend’s partner behaving in a way that is ‘wrong’ then try to offer help or