Charming & Cruel, A Classic Abuse Story

Abusive relationships

Abusive relationships

By Amber W.

I started casually dating just to get my feet wet after the divorce.

I met a couple of nice men, but no spark. Then I met “Dan.”

Dan was charming, funny and good-looking. We could talk for hours. And, he was a successful and celebrated Silicon Valley engineer. 

He sent sweet messages:

Good morning to my sunshine. Could not sleep because I had thoughts about you all night. You are an amazing woman!

I’ve never felt this way about anyone, before.

I was a bit skeptical at first, but he kept it up, constantly texting me, emailing me, calling me, saying,

I’m sorry to keep bugging you but I’ve never been so entranced… You have cast a spell on me.

He sent songs that reminded him of me. He took me out every day and we had great times together.

God, it was magical. The sex was phenomenal and we could not get enough of each other.

I fell for him hard.

He pushed for quick commitment 

Then he wanted to meet my kids. I said I’d introduce him when I knew we were in it for the long haul. But every day he’d bring it up. He saw me in his life forever and wanted to meet his future step kids, he said.

I felt bad. I questioned myself. I wanted to make him feel like I loved him as much as he loved me. So I brought them over for a casual dinner one night and he was so nice. He liked them, he kept telling me. They were so well behaved, cute and smart. And they reminded him of me. I was hooked.

Next he pressed to meet my parents, dad first because someday soon he would be asking an important question. Dad said he was a keeper and I’d be stupid not to marry him. Mom cautioned, “Be careful. Don’t go too fast.”

But just a couple months after we met I told my friends that, “Yes it’s really soon, but I know we will be married.”

Three months in he began pushing me to move in with him. He hated not seeing me every day. And the kids would have their own rooms in a nice neighborhood with good schools. And it would be cheaper because I’d only have to pay half the rent.

One day when I came over his son was helping to move stuff out of the spare bedrooms for my kids so that they could stay over when I had them. I thought that was one of the sweetest things anyone had ever done.

Not long after he asked to meet my ex-husband so that my ex could see that he had nothing to worry about. I agreed.

A jealous rage

He me my ex, and everything went fine until we got in the car. He closed the door and started in on me, yelling,

You were flirting with your ex right in front of me! And since you’re still friends you must still want each other. I don’t want you ever talking to him again!

I said I’d done nothing of the sort.

My protest didn’t help.

abusive manI had to choose between loving him or being in love with my ex. I told him, “Easy choice, I want you.”

I thought that if I stopped talking to my ex for a while Dan would see that nothing was going on, he’d chill, and everything would be ok.

But that’s not what happened.

Dan said he thought my hesitance to live with him came from a lingering love for my ex. So I caved and moved in. I thought that would make everything better.

He told me not to bring anything from my first marriage because he did not want any part of my past relationship in the house. That seemed strange and I questioned him on it. He said he wanted to make all new memories as a family together. I kept thinking, “What the hell is wrong with me? He’s just trying to create a wonderful family life and love me and I keep questioning him.” So I stopped.

Controlling rages

But after I moved in things got weirder. If I was five minutes late from work he’d accuse me of cheating with my ex. I told him he was crazy. He suggested carpooling to work. It would take less time, less gas, and he wouldn’t have to worry about my ex. I agreed but was not happy.

When I had the kids he’d get angrier, saying they reminded him of their father. I didn’t want them to see his anger and started walking on eggshells trying to keep the peace. It got to the point where I would breathe a sigh of relief when they left because he’d be less angry. I began leaving the kids with their dad more and more. I just did not want to fight anymore.

If I didn’t log onto chat and be at his beck and call he’d get mad and fight with me by email or text. If I didn’t respond he’d start calling my work. Or, he’d show up for lunch and act like everything was fine, but once we got in the car he’d start in on me.

Control. Rages. Insults

I could only make what he wanted for dinner. I had to serve him and clean the house all the time. Because me and my kids were making the mess so I needed to be responsible and clean it up.

He said I was fat and lazy because I did not want to clean every second. I was stupid because I did not make as much money as him and I did not have a degree.

On the weekends I could not make plans because I had to wait and see what he felt like doing and just go with it. If I did not it would start a fight.

I couldn’t go out with friends because if they were single I was going to cheat on him. I couldn’t go to the gym because too many guys would hit on me.

I lost friends and gained 20 pounds.

I was getting heartburn, constantly afraid something would set him off.

Crazy rage

But then he started saying I should go back to school… and then saying that the only reason I was with him was that I wanted to go to school and he was my meal ticket. So I told him I would not go to school to prove I loved him for real. That made him happy for a little bit.

Not long after I heard him slam the door and yell, “You Bitch!” I asked what was wrong and he said that I was the problem: “You did not wash my clothes!” He said I didn’t want him to have clean clothes for work because I was mad that he wouldn’t let me go to school. I said I’d wash them right then.

That’s when he went crazy. He shoved the table I was sitting at with such force that it pinned me up against the wall. He grabbed my lap top I’d been working on and threw it across the room. Then he shoved everything off the table, knocked down a shelf and threw all the movies and books all over the house.

I pleaded with him to stop. He looked like he was crazy. I was so scared. I told him to calm down or I would call the cops. He got in my face and said that he would make it worthwhile going back to jail for assault. He grabbed my cell phone and threw it across the living room.

I was terrified. I thought that if I moved or blinked he would kill me so I just froze. He went back into the bedroom and I heard him searching for something.

Then I realized that was where he kept his hunting knife. I crawled under the table to break free, grabbed my phone and ran to my car. I just drove around crying, I did not know where to go or who to call. I did not want anyone to know what was going on. I felt like it was all my fault. I knew I needed to move out but he was in control of all the money.

A realization: he made excuses to harm me

abusive man 2I went to my parent’s and told them a little bit of what happened and my dad said I could stay with them.

I called Dan to see if he had calmed down. He said he had and that he wanted to talk. So I went back to the house. He said he loved me but was upset because I wanted to put school before him and his needs. He said that I was very selfish and only thought about myself. He wanted me to stay with him and said that everything would be ok if I just didn’t go to school.

It was then I realized that he was doing everything he could to oppress me. I told him I needed to think about it for a little bit and that I was going to spend the night at my dad’s.

Dan started calling me at work, he emailed me like forty-five times a day, and the texts were too much to handle. He hacked into my emails and started showing up at my work. I filed a restraining order and it was served.

The court date came for the restraining order and he begged me: “Drop it and I will never bother you again!” Because if the restraining order went though he would lose his security clearance, and that meant no job.

It’s not love. It’s abuse

It took a couple of really good reality checks for me to get it through my head that he was not going to change. But I did finally stay away for good.

He still tries to contact me once in a while but I just ignore it or remind him that I could get another restraining order if he does not stop. Then he is silent again.

The sick part of all this is I still care for him. I still miss him. When he was good, our relationship was magical. When he was bad, it was like living in hell.

Even though I miss and care for him, I know that I have to stay way, otherwise I know he will kill me eventually. I have no doubt about that.

I used to have an open heart

I have a lot of trust issues now. I recently went on my first date and it was really hard for me. All I could do was listen to every word and try to read into everything he said.

It takes all I have to be able to just hug a date and thank him for a nice evening. Kissing for me is the equivalent of asking for sex on the first date because that would make me have an emotion that someone could use against me. I think that every guy is out to use me.

I have a hard time with any kind of constructive criticism. If someone mentions that I should do something as a kind gesture, I instantly tell them that I will not do it just because I am afraid that it is a control tactic.

I have an internal war with myself every waking moment. I used to have an open heart and trusted at face value. I was emotionally strong and loved fearlessly. Now I won’t let anyone in and I won’t let myself feel any emotion because I am afraid that they will use my emotions to control me.

I am determined to break thru from all of this. I hear it just takes a long time. But in the end, I will never be the person I used to be because he has changed me. That makes me really sad because I loved who I was before.

This was written by one of my students who asked me to use her name. For her protection I am only using her first name and her last initial.

In an upcoming post I will post the signs of an abuser.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on June 3, 2016, in men, psychology, violence against women, women and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 84 Comments.

  1. I am by no means an expert on abusive relationships but it seems like he was out to control her from the ver beginning. He created this persona of someone who was so incredibly in love with her. He played on all the fairytales women grow up with. By the time things started to go downhill, she felt like she owed him some sort of sacrifice in return for his love. This sacrifice was when she moved in to prove she was not in love with her ex. At this point, an outsider can see how his distrust of her and need to control is a huge red flag. But when you’re in her position, you’re blinded by the desire to hold on to the prince persona he created. I would say this is an extreme case. The worst part is that we see watered down versions of this behavior in many mainstream relationship. I’m mainly referring to the distrust. I see so many posts on the internet about how guys feel trapped in a relationship because their girl won’t let them talk to other girls. I also see so many girls posting about how they’re glad they’re single now so they don’t have to worry about being cheated on. Relationships are drowned in distrust these days. Of course, in this specific example the main motivation of the abuse was control. He guilted her with his distrust in order to control her. I hope she’s doing okay.

    • Yes, all abusive men go into the relationship planning to abuse. It helps to understand some of the that help to identify this sort of person. I’ll be posting on that later.

  2. She should have left him when she starting nocting werid things and she should have given the relationship more time to get to know him. I get it that she fell in love with him but right away when she noctied that he was obviously a very jealous person after him meeting her ex, she should have not even moved in with him. I personal feel she didn’t think things through before moving in with him but what happened happened and there’s nothing she could change about it. But it is scary how some guys do get controlling over the relationship and accuses women of cheating . I have experienced something like this with my ex boyfriend when we starting dating he was all nice and respectful with me and after a year into dating he started cursing at me for dumb things and one day it got to the point that he even pulled my hair and slapped me just for talking to someone! But it took me a while to understanding that he was controlling …and since I was in love with him I didn’t realized it and it took my two years after to understand that I wasn’t doing anything wrong! I do understand why she rushed into everything if she was in love with him …you always learn from mistakes ! So glad she’s not with him anymore

    • Hindsight is 20/20. When someone acts like they love us so much we want to believe it. And we think we are lovable so why not? And the bad is often surrounded by a lot of positive. So I can see how it could be difficult to realize the reality of what is happening.

  3. I am so happy she ended things because she did not deserve this kind of abuse. Im also happy that she got the support from her parents because i believe that is something important is the opinion from your parents because they are older and have dealt with things in their life time and hopefully pass it on to their children. but if she believed she was moving to quick with this guy then why would she listen to everything he asked her to do just because “she thought she was in love?” I guess you can say being in love changes a person and makes them see things that are not really there. but all that matters is she got her and her kids out of that relationship.

  4. This goes to show how abusive relationships are not black and white in terms of why women choose to stay, Manipulation and the controlling of behavior go a long way in terms of making the victim not only feel powerless but want to submit to their abuser. This scenario is not uncommon, either.

    • A lot of people are confused about why a woman with stay with her abuser. They don’t realize how charming he is at first and how in love he seems, And how strongly those memories stay over time. And how hopeful they are that he will go back to being like that.

  5. I am so sorry Amber had to go through an experience like this. I am very lucky to have never been part of an abusive relationship – it sounds terrifying. When my parents used to be married, they would fight every day, and a couple of times, things got physical. I remember being so afraid. My mom is tiny – she’s 4’11” and weighs 95 lbs. My dad is 6ft tall, so he obviously has the upper hand. Once he pushed her so hard she flew down the hallway, and another time he threw her across the room and she slammed into the wall. It was so scary. Eventually, their differences split them apart and their relationship came to an end, anyway. But I could see how my mom was trapped in the relationship for a while, because of how manipulative my dad can be. I try my best not to let him control me in the same ways he controlled her, but it can be difficult because he is very strong and harsh at times.

  6. Most women go through at least one of these I think- perhaps not to this extreme but something close. The fear of starting over, losing everything and being generally scared of a partner can prevent a person from exiting such a relationship. It’s especially hard when there are kids involved and one isn’t able to support themselves on a single income they feel stuck. Thankfully there are many support organizations and groups where battered women can talk about their experiences and begin the journey to heal. Unfortunately sometimes we are in such denial that we ignore the warning signs of an abusive partner in the beginning of a relationship because of how charming they can be and saying all the right things but this is really when we should pay close attention because this act generally cannot be kept up forever. It is even more important when there are kids involved.

  7. I’m glad that she at least got the support from her parents. It’s a horrible story but a common one. Have heard similar stories a number of times, even seen a couple of such incidents among friends. Cases become worse when the girl’s family doesn’t provide the support, either socially or financially.

    • The United States also has hotlines and battered women’s shelters which help. I’m not sure how much you have those kinds of things in other countries. Since the early 1990s battering this down 65% due to changes in peoples attitudes which encourages things like Family support, Hotlines, shelters… And women believing that they don’t have to put up with it… And men being more disinclined to behave in those hurtful ways.

      • That’s good enough. We have those helplines, but the social structure is different here. In some families ( and they are educated and affluent ones) a divorced daughter is still not welcome. They consider it as a social stigma to have a daughter who failed to cope up with her husband. And, the thing is more complicated as marriage here involves not only just two individuals but two families and often the newly-wed bride has to live with her husband as well as his family.

        But, things are changing, slowly but surely… 🙂

      • I’m glad they’re changing! It’s always interesting to learn about how different cultures see and do things differently.

  8. As a woman, my biggest fear in life is getting abused; this can include any form of abuse whether that be verbal or physical abuse. When I saw this post, I was interested to see what would someone write about. I am happy for this woman for breaking away from the abuse that she had incurred from this man. This abusive relationship was not what she needed in life and it did not help with her low self esteem issues. I commend this woman for even choosing to write a blog post like this and using her voice. A lot of people who go have dealt with an abusive family, relationship or friendship choose to not talk about it and to remain silent. I believe that she is a strong woman for being able to go to this blog post and share with the world what she has went through. I find it kind of scary that she would still love this man for all that he has done to her and the fact that he nearly killed her that one night. I do believe that she is reconciling and forgiving this man even though he definitely does not deserve it. I think she is very honorable in that way and deserves to have a better relationship in the future.

    • He doesn’t deserve her forgiveness. But he doesn’t benefit from it, either. She does. If she doesn’t forgive him she has to live with him in her head all the time. Forgiveness benefits us, Not the person who harms of us. It helps us to let go. So long as you really let them go and they are no longer part of your life.

  9. Reading Amber’s story made me reflect back at when my mother was in a similar situation, except this was her first husband and my father. I think many women believe that when their husband or partner shows these type of abusive signs, she tends to think that she is at wrong because he makes her feel guilty. It is sad when you grow with someone, and start to love and care for them so much that you ignore the signs. I feel like women ignore the abusive signs because they are afraid of what will happen next. However, ignoring these signs may lead to something like Amber’s situation where she felt scared that he was going to kill her if she moved an inch, or when her children would be around him it was like “walking on eggshells” because they reminded him of her ex husband. I am glad that Amber got out of this relationship as soon as he showed physical violence, and really took the time to think things through instead of getting back together with him. This is where many women make the mistake to go back into an abusive relationship because they feel they cannot live without them, or just get’s sucked back into his guilt. Amber is a very strong woman to be able to walk away because she thought about her happiness and her kids as well. Abusive relationships eventually leads to many trust issues and I do not blame Amber for feeling the way she feels. I am glad she realizes it and she has a positive mind set as things will get better.

  10. Coming from a childhood where my mom had various abusive relationships, I can see how this woman was so caught up in it all. Sometimes when a person has low self esteem or low self worth they think that any kind of attention, even if it is abuse whether it be verbal or physical makes them feel loved. Sometimes it is the men that have the low self esteem or low self worth and verbally or physically abusing someone else makes them feel important and in control. Manipulation is also a main factor of being in control of someone else. You convince them that they are wrong so often that they start to believe it. I am very happy that this young woman was strong enough and brave enough to get out while she could, because like she said he could have killed her. A woman/person needs to have the understanding and knowledge that they are worthy of this life and in keeping that in mind it is a simpler task to keep positive and in control of yourself and your well being.

    • Yes, abusers — male and female — tend to have low self-esteem. And then they try to create low self-esteem in their partners — partly to make them feel like they don’t deserve any better and also to make them feel like they are so disempowered that they can’t do anything to get out of the situation.

      Thank you for your thoughts on this.

  11. Man, that was a scary story and I applaud her for getting out of that relationship. I can only imagine how difficult it was for her to break that cycle of thinking that everything was her fault. It is so easy to read about stories like these and notice the red flags as an outsider, but I am sure when you are in the moment, no matter how level headed you are, you will not be able to see anything. If anything, you would be trying to calm down whatever storm your abusive partner is caught up in. I feel really sad that she had to go through that and really wish her the best in whatever she does in the future. I really hope that she can overcome her abuse and come back to being the woman who she loved being before this all happened. Let her know that I’m rooting for her!

  12. I think it’s important to note that 1:7 domestic violence victims is a man. That’s probably under-reported too.

    The narcissistic pattern has been used by women too. Love bombing, followed by little transgressions and attempts at control that get bigger and bigger happen all too often.
    I was tellling a stranger about my domesticviolence project (at one time and he seemed interested, but somehow reserved. About 2 months later, he sent me a photo of himself with blood on his head, from where his wife of many years had hit him with a pan. This was a behavior of hers for many years. I believe he has left that relationship now after I urged him to seek counseling and maybe an attorney.

    I understand domestic violence is widespread, though kept under the rug in the gay and lesbian community too.

    Violence and abuse in entertainment is so widespread that we don’t even see it as wrong or abhorrent.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that violence against each other is apparently ok because it is so widespread and endemic in our culture. It makes me sick.

    • Yes, thanks for bringing that up. In fact, I personally know some women who are abusive to their husbands.

      I write about issues involving patriarchy (and patriarchy is different from men, Just like racism is different from whites). And there are certain things involving patriarchy which make men more likely to commit domestic violence.

      In societies that are gender equal domestic violence is much less common. In some places nonexistent. Europeans were amazed at the lack of domestic violence among American Indians at first contact.

      Patriarchy encourages a dominance mentality with men on top. Men feel like they are supposed to be powerful, and when they don’t feel powerful at work, Or for some other reason, Some do emotion work to transform “weak” emotions like depression into so-called strong emotions like anger. And beating up your spouse makes some men feel powerful, when they don’t get that feeling any other way. Plus, stoic men aren’t supposed to show emotion or get help, exacerbating the problem, making explosions even more likely.

  13. After reading this. The first thing that I want to say is pleased with that woman that can release from the man like that and i feel sorry to those events made loses her trust. The charm and the brutality of evil. Often the habit of man that we saw in fiction. The men are often expressed in jealousy and vandalism with the reason that is their love , and because it is a novel, the lives of women in fiction always happy, but in real life, the jealousy and wild. Unable to make a woman really happy. The need to occupy those who love is the basis of love in general. But these will become worse when it is above reason and appropriate. As the case of this woman, her husband don’t want her to talk with any guy. And made cause severe, quarrel. I think if he clam down and has reason. Married life would be smooth and happy more. From his actions. It made the wounded buried deep in heart of this woman. It made her become afraid to open up your heart, cheerfulness in her life had disappeared. For me,this is that very regrettable, and I hope she will be strong in some day.

  14. This is both a frightening and interesting read. It is terrible that a he both manipulated and abused her and started right from the start of the relationship. I am very glad to read that she got out of the relationship, both for her and her children’s sake. It was interesting to see how the abuse developed and by the time it came to such an extreme she was trapped in the relationship. This guy knew what he was doing and likely did it before and will do it again. It is terrible because no person deserves to go through that. Posting and talking about things like this raise awareness not only to people in these relationships, but so friends and families of people in these abusive relationships can recognize the signs easier. Hopefully enough awareness can be raised through posts like this that this will become a less common occurrence.

  15. I can’t even imagine having to go through something like that. The fact that anyone can be so controlling over another person is astounding. As a young woman trying to find a partner in life, I sometimes worry about being put in the same position. I like to think that if someone were to treat me like that, that I’d be able to walk away but I also know that that is easier said than done. There are so many emotions involved in a situation like this and even though someone is hurting you it’s hard to put aside those emotions. I commend Amber W. for sharing her story and reliving the horrors she has had to face to help women see what an abusive relationship looks like. It could not have been easy for her to share her story but if it helps at least one woman stand up for herself and get out of an abusive relationship, then it is completely worth it.

  16. Reading this really hit home. I can completely relate to this I was in a relationship with someone that was emotionally abusive. I met my ex the summer before freshman year of college. He was in the football team and I was in the cheer squad. We met at a party the football team would throw. There was an instant attraction he came over to me and we started talking and before the night ended he asked for my number. We started dating and made it official three months after. He was not the most handsome guy on the football team but he was so charming. Every where we went people would fall in love with him and I would just sit in the background thinking wow that is my man. He carried himself with so much confidence that it intimidated me. He was an out of state student so basically I was his only family out here. So I felt like it was obligation to help him out with whatever he needed. I helped him get a job and I would buy him groceries everything seemed great we even moved in together because he didn’t have a place to go after his roommates moved away and could not afford a place on his own. I was working full time and going to school to support both of us because every job he had he would loose within months of being hired. He always made up stories that put him to be the victim. I was so blinded by “love” that I believed everything he said. I started to loose myself and did everything he said. I went from being this happy and driven person with dreams to a controlled robot. I started to find out his true colors but by then I was so emotionally weak I couldn’t get out. I found out that he was cheating on me with multiple girls. I felt like the world had just fell on top of me. I had given up everything for someone that did not deserve it. He had such a way of apologizing that at the end he would make me feel like it was my fault. He had such a power over me and I had no idea. My friends would always bring it up and I would tell them that I loved him and he loved me back but in reality I was more like an ATM. I stood by him because that is what a “good” woman does. I lived in hell for four years and I didn’t know how to get out. He ended up getting a scholarship to go to a school out of a California, that was the beginning of the end. I was still helping him out financially and he went back to being the super sweet guy I first started dating. I felt like he had changed and he had even asked me to marry him. I put all of the horrible things he had done away and I started to plan a wedding. I was starting to think that I would get my happy ending until one night I received a late night call from girl claiming they had been involved for months and she went through his phone and wanted to know who I was. Once again the world fell and I was so hurt. This time something clicked and I said enough is enough I told him that I wanted nothing to do with him and I cut him off completely. It was so hard but I was able to get out. I put an end to the most miserable years of my life. I turned all of my energy to working out, my job and I enrolled back in school. It has been two years now and only good things have happen in my life. He has contacted me recently but I ignore him because I am scared he will dragged me back into the relationship and he has a way with words that I think he would be able to. I once wanted to get married and have children but after this experience the thought of falling in love with the wrong person is so big that I am not sure if I that anymore. Reading this made me realized that there are many other women out there going through the same thing as me.

  17. Interesting you brought up Chris Brown, because there was something I wanted to bring up about him for another topic. I remember you had something about our culture is set for men to suppress their emotions or only you masculine emotions such as anger and aggression. And how society sets it up like men can’t be victims especially to sex crimes and men are to be tough and stoic, etc. So letting things be bottled up which is the worse things as it can build and then at some point unleash which can cause violence from some men.

    Anyway, I wonder if it’s not just seeing his step dad beat his mother that caused this pattern, but that combined with something else. I think he’s a dirtbag regardless for hitting women and not an excuse to use women as a punching bag to his anger, instead of getting help for his problems. Anyway. I head it on the radio and then read it too, it’s something Chris Brown candidly admitted on an interview before. The difference is he most likely governed by his culture like I and men are, didn’t see himself as a victim or didn’t want to, so suppressed it and while it’s seemingly gone, it must’ve lingered sub consciously and what could have brewed this deep anger he has, which I feel he does seeing the tantrums he’s had. I think the step dad beating his mother plus Chris Brown having been raped as a child.

    Yep, he admitted losing his virginity at age 8. Age 8?! I’m sorry but that is rape, molestation and it was from a girl, a 14 or 15 year old girl. So now my mind thinks about that and puts it together, and well, it makes sense for Chris Brown probably not realizing his early history has anything to do with it, But where this brewing anger or hate of women might’ve originated to where he could eventually be a woman beater. I wonder if this partucular case has more to do with him being violent to women than seeing his step dad hitting his mom. It might’ve pushed him to feel it’s fine to hit women, since just seeing his step dad hit his moment might’ve made him compassionate to women until having been raped, countered that compassion and created anger so a double whammy of his step dad beating his mom but more importantly chris Brown, though not seeing it that way or covering it, was raped. The fact of his behavior and aggression to me, shows that he was raped and he wasn’t okay with it for the fact of his anger and behavior to come. Speaking of it, this is from huffingtonpost which does have good articles sometimes. I like how they explained things that I would say and don’t have to myself and kind of go with what you’ve said about patriarchy too. I’ll quote some things and then show the link.

    “Chris Brown was raped, but to hear him tell it, that experience was positive, healthy. Something to brag about. “At eight, being able to do it, it kind of preps you for the long run, so you can be a beast at it.”

    “And the worst part? This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this from a man.”
    “Can you imagine being sexually abused and then growing up being told that this is a good thing?” And we wonder why our boys grow up sex-obsessed, equating violence with pleasure (“be a beast at it”), and imagining that rape is only something that happens to women. We wonder why they grow up hating women; women who might look like their abuser,”Boys will be boys. And boys can be hurt. We must stop viewing patriarchy as a weapon that wounds only women. To do so silences generations of victims…and often creates more.”

    • I guess Chris Brown had a number of situations that could make him feel powerless, leading him to try to take his power back. Too bad it is such a distractive way, And not creating any real power, anyway.

  18. This is such a sad story that people have seen way too often. Abusing someone mentally like that ruins that person for life. Like she stated in the blog, she can no longer be herself anymore and can no longer have trust and an open heart. People who go through that kind of abuse lose all their hope for another love because they feel as if all men are trying to use and abuse them after going through that traumatic experience. There are too many men, and sometimes even women, who use this kind of abuse on someone they “love”. These kinds of people ruin other people’s hope for love and trust. She says that she still loves and cares for the man who abused her, but it is crazy to think that someone can love the person still after the relationship has ended so horribly. It doesn’t make sense that you could love and care for the man who abused you and would have eventually killed you.

  19. What an amazing story.

    I agree with what you said in one of the comments about how everyone, even successful Silicon Valley Engineers, can be a victim of childhood traumas and abuse.

    I personally have gone through my fair share of adolescent abuse, namely family, school, even teachers. What I learnt from my past experiences is that we often times choose to remain silent on these issues. The problem is, these unspoken issues might one day rear it’s ugly head and as the above story illustrates, may force the victim to vent their frustrations onto an innocent bystander.

    Another interesting point to note is the facade these abusers choose to conjure, to mask their true motives.

  20. She is really brave. She ran away from him the first time that he tried to hurt her, and asking for other people’s help. I’ve heard lots of stories about abuse from my friends. They didn’t tell anyone and kept forgave their husband/boyfriend for hitting them. Because they(my girl friends) felt so embarrassed to tell others, so they let this situation happened again and again until others figured out something was wrong. I’m really glad that this girl is so brave and having a clear mind to leave this man.

  21. This is so scary and I’m so sad she had to go through that! What’s even sadder is theres always people out there that would blame HER for staying or for even entering that relationship. Even the nicest men can snap, and you’ll never know until it’s too late because like in the beginning of the story, men can be so charming and loving to where you can see no wrong. Stories like these help many people though, by learning and identifying potential abuse warning signs early on.

  22. Brian Neumann

    Wow… I’ve heard and seen movies about similar stories, but actually reading the development of an abusive relationship in detail is shocking. I’m glad that everything is slowly turning to the better! It is surprising that a man — who carries so much power — turns to such manipulative actions. I’ve read about these characteristics in men who cannot fulfill what society defines as successful — high status through work occupation, monetary success, etc. These men then turn to manipulation — “excuses to harm their partner” — to feel better about themselves, and also prove their masculinity. So, this was very interesting because none of these traits were applicable for this case. Perhaps, this specific individual has other insecurities that go well beyond the psychology of succeeding in his respective gender role?

    Thank you for sharing this story!

    • There can be more than one cause of abusive men. And not all men who have these things in their background are abusive. But you are right that often times men who are made to feel small and insignificant try to turn the tables by feeling powerful by beating up a partner.

      But their are other ways to feel small. The most common characteristic of men who are abusive is growing up in homes were they experienced or witnessed abusive behavior. This made them feel powerless when they were little boys. They grow up and try to get their power back by beating someone and feeling powerful that way.. Of course, it’s not real power and isn’t ultimately satisfying. Plus that is mixed with a response to trauma.

  23. This is a really tough position to be in. The difficulty with abusers is that the majority of the time, they’re not abusive. They take time to lure people in with this false sense of security until the person is isolated or infatuated enough. It’s not an easy thing to get out of, and I know that unless I personally was in the position I can’t really say what I would do. I want to say that I would leave immediately, but the gradual descent into an abusive relationship has the potential to go past radars. I think people who haven’t experienced it first hand can have a difficult time empathizing with the victim. I’m very glad to hear that your student was able to escape the situation.

    • Yes, I think it’s very hard to understand unless you are actually in that place. I have never been abused but I have been in situations where they have gone into denial — not seeing things that I should have seen because I didn’t want to. It helped me to understand what might happen here more.

  24. I am amazed how you are a strong woman. It must take a lot of courage to leave a relationship behind. I can relate in some way. When I was 18, I met this guy that I thought he was the one. I was young and stupid. I liked him more than he liked me. I always put his needs and feelings before mine. He wasn’t a good boyfriend at all, he treated me horrible and never wanted to make time for me. Always late for our dates.. I was hung up on this guy I thought it was love until I realized I was young and didn’t know any better. I started noticing that I wasn’t happy because he didn’t care for and always manipulated me. He never did anything for my birthdays. I knew I wasn’t in a relationship. I broke up with him because I wasn’t happy.

  25. Glad she left him now! It can take awhile for women to realize they are in a bad relationship and actually leave their abusive partner. My mom was abused for 4 years and although they are not together now, she is a drug addict and her life is all messed up now.

  26. Mehtab Bhinder

    After reading this, I can’t help but wonder how women can be so oblivious. I’m not blaming the woman for the abuse because that is the man’s fault but how can she not notice the ulterior motives of his words and actions? Not letting her go to school which would be beneficial to her , accusing her of cheating (making her feel guilty and trying to shift the blame), not letting her go to the gym (which is good for her health). These are all signs of oppression. What I don’t understand is why it takes a woman so long to understand that she is being manipulated and abused. It absolutely infuriates me but then I try to inform myself on why. Is it because of what society teaches us what love is? We are taught that love is blind and that’s why it’s so hard to break free from abusive relationships. Is it because we are taught that love is the best thing that’s supposed to happen to us and so if we even get a glimmer of it, we should hold on to it? Either way, I feel like one of the main factors as to why women stay in abusive relationships is because love is glorified and they feel as if they are doing something wrong if they are not embracing the love a man gives them regardless of whether it is true love or just manipulation. It should be easy to distinguish the difference between love and abuse so why do we confuse them for each other so often?

    • Lara said something that might help to explain this so you might want to take a look at her comment. I had never really understood it myself, until I did find myself going into denial about things I didn’t want to see — even though the relationship wasn’t abusive I was blinding myself to the fact that this guy wasn’t a good fit for me. I feel like it gave me some insight into what might be happening in abusive situations.

  27. This post really hit home for me. I was in an abusive relationship for a long time. He was my high school sweetheart and we had reconnected about 2 years after high school. He was in the military and he was always very cautious of his surroundings after coming home from Afghanistan. He became physical about 6 moths after he came home. He would hit me out of nowhere and I never really understood why he would try and attack me over and over again. I lived in that condition for about a year before my family finally noticed the bruising and got me away from him. It was scary and really stupid of me to deal for so long but I had no job and couldn’t move away. I was also afraid of telling my family wondering what they would do about it. It has been over 4 years since I was with him and my life has definitely changed because of it. I am a little more weary of people but I have learned to open up and be cautious without hurting myself in the process.

    • I’ve heard that guys in the military often get to be more abusive. Maybe the trauma starts to affect them. I’m glad you got out of that difficult situation.

  28. At first I clicked on this post because I was intrigued but the title. But the closer I got to the end I became more internally furious with Dan and his outrageous jealousy.To me Dan had the impression of what a woman should do in a household or a relationship in which he felt the only way to accomplish that was to oppress the woman he “loved”. Or was it just lust? Dan’s way of thinking urged him to take away every bit of happiness, freedom and education that Amber wanted. “…Going back to jail for assault” I personally believe that once a person commits assault it would be done again and this blog post ensured that. Dan held up a decent facade in order to capture Amber’s heart but in the end Amber is the one left with the pieces to build back together. I am glad that Amber did leave because as she said “it was only going to get worse.”

  29. Hei Yiu Hailey Wong

    After reading Amber’s sad but inspiring story, I feel that this actually exhibits some really typical elements and warning signs in terms of an abusive relationship, especially how the man, Dan, tried to manipulate and trick Amber into that trapped situation. For most of the time, an abusive relationship starts with a “beautiful” illusion. Like many abusers, Dan attempted to act really nice and sweet towards Amber, in order to push her for a quick commitment. He was extremely controlling afterwards, and also isolated her from the rest by accusing her as cheating when she went out just with her friends. In addition, the abusers took all the power from their partner, through telling them stupid and useless and making them feel powerless. Under this situation, the women who are being abused are trapped, and some are even tricked into believing that the men will change, or they themselves are nothing when they leave the men. Therefore, I am really glad that Amber eventually realized the problem and was able to escape from that abusive relationship. Although the experience changed her forever, she could start her life after leaving Dan. I hope her story helps encourage the other women, who are still being trapped by an abuser, to stand up for themselves and get away from the unhealthy relationship. Even though most of the time it is up to the women to make the decision, it would also be a great help if we provide help when they need any kind of assistance (ex. Financial or mental support).

  30. So bad to know that and after so much, person won’t trust others in relationship. But never let one wrong person ruin your whole life. Not all are same

  31. That guy did classic narcissistic moves on your student. It’s obscene how common that is! I’ve been doing a website against domestic violence and more than one lady has described this exact trajectory to me.

  32. Great writing, and a view of a life and situation that is hard to imagine…and to think such a story is not an isolated case is a bit depressing. I think Rajagopal has stated this correctly, the man was a psychopath masquerading as a gentleman.

  33. Looks like the antagonist is a psychopath masquerading as a gentleman. Interestingly, the victim’s mother was foresighted enough to advise caution while father gave the green signal. Women need to exercise greater caution and must have the instinct to test relationships in a variety of situations before taking a call.

    • Seems her mother had that “women’s intuition” you hear about. Too good to be true didn’t seem quite right, I guess.

      His story is actually pretty common, and I will be writing about that later.

  34. this is such a horrendous story but I know that your student will get through it, though she’s right, she will not be the same person…

    • She’s kept in touch with me since writing this – I never post their pieces while they are still in my classes – and she is still doing well I’m happy to report! Not back with him and continuing to recover.

  35. Scary thing is how it’s all manipulation. Guys like him are able to trick women, because not only do they but on a disguise in the beginning of being nice and charming. They do a reverse psychology and mind games on the woman they are with, to make the women think it’s their fault these guys are acting this way. Victim blaming, so it starts a cycle and gets women stuck because they end up making adjustments such as moving in or getting married or having kids, that works in favor of what such man wanted in the first place and did for that very reason, So he could have control of his gf or wife or more control and make them more vulnerable. It’s so weird, because a lot of this is rooted from deep insecurity from men who internalize our culture and apparently feel weak emotions such as crying or talking about it or getting help is not the way to go, but “masculine” emotions, anger, violence, aggression is the way to go because it’s ‘masculine’. It’s also weird, because this guy is a highly successful silicon valley engineer.

    What is he insecure about? Most men dream or would love to have the success he has. Men with far less success can be confident and secure, even though society bases men’s worth often times on their $ making ability, skills, etc. So it would make sense for men on the bottom of the totem pole to be more insecure and apt for domestic violence. I haven’t looked at statistics, on whether men from rough neighborhoods, poor towns/cities, are more likely or the numbers are more frequent with number of men who committ domestic abuse or not. But from what I’ve seen it seems like the difference isn’t much and men of all walks of life seem to committ domestic violence. White, black, asian, hispanic, Italian, German, old, young, poor, rich, and across the whole spectrum. Btw, that guy is a piece of shit. I wish guys would stop this shit and get help instead of let this crap linger and it manifests deeper and where women get the brunt of this frustration rooted from insecurity. Or boyfriends involed with these women get caught in the violence for being with the girl or part of it. Like with that story I posted about the colllege girl who was killed by her ex and the guy she was seeing who was with her was killed too.

    • The most common thing that abusers like this have in common is living through this sort of situation as children. Either they or their parent (usually mother) have been victimized in the felt powerless to stop it. They grow up and “Take back their power” by reenacting it on a victim, themselves. (And of course, they don’t gain any real power.) Basically, it’s an act of trauma. One that keeps getting passed down. Our earliest experiences have huge effects on how we see ourselves and our degree of power. Many people find ways to recover, fortunately, so not everyone will repeat the pattern. But sometimes even a successful Silicon Valley job isn’t enough to make up for the insecurity that was created in childhood trauma.

      • It’s weird, I’ve heard that before with boys who grow up in homes where their mothers or sisters are abused and beaten by their fathers or step fathers are more likely to become abusers themselves as adults.It never made sense for me, maybe because in our culture that’s male oriented where sons often idolized their fathers even if their fathers aren’t good men. Sons love their mothers, but it’s weird, I’ve seen it firsthand how sons still idolize their fathers even if their father cheated on their mother or did something wrong. That might be part of it maybe subconsciously, they aren’t happy about their fathers, but some part of them still can’t deal with it as far as going against the father or male. They have to take it out on the smaller person or women to get their power back. Like for me, I don’t understand. Like if I grew up as a boy and home and my mother was beaten by my father or step father, I’d have compassion or even more compassion for women and be jaded to men. So if I was going to be abusive, if anything it would be toward men, not women. I’d probably have a distrust of men seeing it from male figures in my life and would want to take that frustration on the perpetrators who are of that sex, (men).

        It’s weird like I don’t know what these boys do when older. I can’t blame them for being helpless as boys as an adult father is too big and strong for a son to do anything about it other than being hit himself. But i’m surprised they, like when in highschool or seniors and like some boys you see by 17 or 18 espcially on the football team can be big or sometimes already bigger and stronger than their father or step father. They just already internalize it and hit their gfs they are dating then, but don’t care about the men or fathers? I’d think a boy having to deal with that would be angered, but wait for the opportunity for when he’s grow up and bigger and can take his father now, to fuck him up. I’d think there would be like more empathy for women seeing it from the suffering of their mother and when you see someone suffer usually you’re supposed to build up empathy or more so and the opposite to the one’s doing the wrong. Like I’d think boys going through that would pick fights on random boys because of a built up jaded view of men and be more caring for women. It seems illogical to me.

      • A lot of these kids do vow to never treat their partner the way they saw their parents treated, And many of them successfully move outside the cycle of abuse. But sometimes even when young people make that vow they still find themselves repeating the pattern. Like Chris Brown and Rihanna. He had grown up been terrorized watching his step father beat his mother and vowed that he would never do that when he grew up. And yet he did end up repeating the pattern. We are all a mix of culture + social experiences + personality, And those things create different responses in different people. So some of the men to behave just the way you would expect, growing up and stopping their fathers from behaving that way and not continuing the pattern, themselves.

  36. happyfreeconfusedlonelyatthesametime

    So happy for her to get rid off him.

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