Ignoring the Warning Signs
Warning signs. I have been thinking about these a lot lately.
- What are they?
- Why do we ignore them? (And we do. We all do at least once after experiencing an abusive relationship).
I thought it may be helpful to go through the early warning signs of an abusive person. I do this as a whole session at the end of The Freedom Programme. Except the first one – Love Bombing. This is one I have personally observed many times and I think this happens first!
So let’s have a look at the sorts of things we can expect to see and then I will write about why I think we ignore them! How about that? Of course, the examples given are by no means exhaustive. These won’t apply to everyone. But if you have been in an abusive relationship you WILL have encountered at least a couple of these!
The Love Bomber
Can not do enough for you, Buys you presents, flowers, chocolates. He will hang on your every word but beware, he is doing this so that he can throw those words back in your face later! You may have said in passing, how you really want to decorate the hallway and the kids bedrooms, and suddenly, as if by magic, he is doing it! You may have said you are fed up with the garden looking such a mess. Again, before you know it, he is outside, jet spraying the decking! He will want to go everywhere with you. He absolutely adores your Mum and makes every effort to be the perfect boyfriend in front of her.
Early Bad father
Early Kind of the Castle
Early Sexual Controller
These warning signs will not be obvious or happen all at once. They will come in clusters. They will not exhibit one sign, but several at a time. We may not be sure if they are warning signs. We may feel uncomfortable and choose to ignore our uneasiness. However, women who have done the Freedom Programme have said that after doing the programme, they take these uneasy feelings very seriously.
And I don’t doubt that. But we still ignore them sometimes. Why? I had a very near miss a long time ago, and many years after my abusive relationship. I met this guy and if I am honest, I started to see the warning signs pretty much straight away. Most of the above! But for a long time, I made excuses for him to everyone. More dangerously, I made excuses for him to myself! I was working front line as an IDVA for god’s sake!! I’m not proud of that. I felt like a hypocrite.
I think I ignored the signs because I was so desperate to feel loved. I was lonely and unsure of myself, not long being out of my second marriage which had broken down (he wasn’t abusive, we had just grown away from each other). But that still hurt and I was still wondering if I was attractive, if there was something wrong with me? (2 marriages down!).
I could see his behaviour was escalating and so I ended the relationship which led to him giving me some serious harassment. So much so that I had to get a harassment order out on him. This put a stop to it all as I knew it would because he was essentially a coward, just the same as most abusive men. But I had a lucky eacape I think.
I do think that we are too hard on women who find themselves in more than one abusive relationship. Social Services ask ‘why does she keep choosing abusive men’? This used to enrage me when I was co-located with children’s services. She doesn’t CHOOSE abusive men. She doesn’t go to a pub and see someone across the bar and think ‘oh, I will go and talk to him because I reckon he will be abusive to me!’ I find the assumption that women choose violent and abusive men so insulting. If anything, they choose us! Perhaps they see that we are vulnerable. Maybe they sense it. I really don’t know the answer. I wish I did.
If you thought I would end this blog by giving the reason why women ignore warning signs, you will now be disappointed because I don’t know. I guess I thought if I kept on writing about it I may suddenly have an epiphany and be able to tell you all. All I know, is we do, for whatever reasons. Let’s just go easy on each other if we experience our friends or loved ones ignoring the warning signs.
Sometimes, when I write, I go off at a tangent. It helps clear my mind in some strange way.
You, my lovely lot of subscribers, have just witnessed the rantings of a Domestic Abuse Specialist!!
Until next time……….