Did you hear about the Florida man who killed his wife and posted a picture of her body on Facebook? He even left their 10-year-old daughter in the house with her mother’s body. This man, an author of self-help books, probably appeared normal, accomplished, and attractive. Special emphasis needs to be placed on the words probably appeared normal. Before you read any further, I want to make two things abundantly clear:
1- Most men are not maniacs out to kill their wives.
2- Women should NEVER be blamed for the abuse they endure.
But, I can’t help but wonder if there are signs that we should watch out for. It is also important to note that Mr. Wrong isn’t necessarily an abuser. Sometimes he has a cheating heart, lying hands, and/or no backbone. Let me fill you in on some of the wisdom I’ve gained from others:
Listen to your instincts: I remember being contacted by a rainbeaux on a single parent forum. Instead of asking me questions about myself, he kept asking about my daughter. I understand that some men would be naturally inquisitive about a single mother’s child(ren) but this guy was more interested in my child than anything else. My suspicion was compounded by the fact that he didn’t have any kids of his own. So why was he on a single parent forum? Looking for victims perhaps? I don’t know for sure and I wasn’t about to put my child at risk. That leads to the next piece of wisdom
Don’t be desperate! Imagine if I was the type so desperate for a man that I would have given this guy a chance. Nothing wrong with relationships, marriage, etc but we have to be secure enough in ourselves to remain single rather than with a maniac. This is important whether you or not you have children. You can rest assured that desperate women will suffer the consequences of their insecurity. How do we spot a potential batterer?
He Must Control His Temper! A guy doesn’t have to hit you right away in order to show signs that he will eventually. Have you ever seen him angry at someone or at you? Does he hurl insults or curse you out? If so, it’s quite possible that you have a batterer on your hands.
The last piece of wisdom pertaining to cheaters was given to me by a friend.
Go With The One Woman Man! If he was “seriously dating” someone else when he started a relationship with you, what do you think will happen after marriage? This doesn’t apply to those who are dating different people until they find someone they want to be exclusive with. It refers to the guy that “has a girlfriend” and starts a relationship with you.
This is by no means an exhaustive or authoritiative list and we can certainly learn from more women who dated or even married Mr. Wrong. What advice would you give to women on a quest for love?
Signs of psychological abuse include:
• Your partner uses finances to control you.
• He often threatens to leave.
• She seeks to intimidate using looks, gestures or actions.
• He smashes things.
• Your partner seeks to control you by minimizing, denying and blaming
• He makes light of the abuse and does not take your concerns about it seriously.
• You are continually criticized, called names and/or shouted at.
• She emotionally degrades you in private, but acts charming in public.
• He humiliates you in private or public.
• They withhold approval, appreciation or affection as punishment.
Effects of psychological abuse on the victim, from the Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness:
• A distrust of his or her own spontaneity
• A loss of enthusiasm
• An uncertainty about how she is coming across
• A concern that something is wrong with him
• An inclination to reviewing incidents with the hopes of determining what went wrong
• A loss of self-confidence
• A growing self-doubt
• An internalized critical voice
• A concern that she isn’t happier and ought to be
• An anxiety or fear of being crazy
• A sense that time is passing and he’s missing something
• A desire not to be the way she is, e.g. “too sensitive,” etc.
• A hesitancy to accept her perceptions
• A reluctance to come to conclusions
• A tendency to live in the future, e.g. “Everything will be great when/after …”
• A desire to escape or run away
• A distrust of future relationships
If you answered yes to even one, you may be in an abusive relationship. Get help!
Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.