Dangerous Men, Red Flags, Victim Mentality

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This post is continued from the last post ~ Prince Charming was a Murder Suspect.

I remember the first time I met him. His name was Chris. I recall noticing that he was extremely good looking. I don’t remember exactly what we talked about, but I am sure it was a professional exchange. He had to sign in with me before he made his outside rounds for hospital security. I noticed he told me something that conflicted with something he had said in a prior conversation. (first RED FLAG covered with my own victim mentality) He said that he had never been married and then in a later conversation he said he was involved in a divorce. Instead of asking for clarification, I ignored it, telling myself that the misunderstanding was mine.  That conflicting piece of information was delivered exactly at the same time that he started flirting with me. I was far more interested in him flirting with me than I was in recognizing the red flag. But he was a dangerous man.  

We started dating and because he was in the middle of a divorce, he said the car was actually his ex wife’s car but they were sharing it. Long story short, he started to borrow my car.  I suspected something was a bit odd because I had found the name tag part of my key chain (the part with MY name on it), on the floor under the seat of my car. (Next RED FLAG protected by my own victim mentality)I didn’t say anything to see what he would do. The next time he borrowed my car, the name tag was back on my key ring. I let it go. Why was he pretending it wasn’t my car? Perhaps my question should have been “why am I in a relationship with someone that I don’t trust?”

He told me that his fiancé had been killed in a car accident and he was grieving over her still. The problem was that he also told me that the police suspected foul play in the case of her death. I got a kind of cold shiver down my back when he told me that. (Another RED FLAG disguised by the grooming that I could not trust my intuition) I ignored it, just like I had always learned to do. I wondered how she really died and if HE had anything to do with it. Perhaps my question should have been “why am I in a relationship with someone I don’t trust and even consider might have had something to do with her death?”

He was only 23 years old. He had been engaged to someone who had died, and he had been married and was getting divorced. He told me a lot of other stories that made me question how much living this guy had possibly had time to do at such a young age.  But I didn’t question him.  The foundation my emotional maturity was built on victim mentality so I didn’t think of making sure or asking clarifying questions.  And once again, I didn’t question myself about why I was in a relationship with a dangerous man that I didn’t trust.

As with other men that I had been in devaluing relationships with, I wanted proof that he really was playing me. I needed proof before I rejected someone because I had a lot of respect for rejection; I felt that I had been wrongfully rejected and I needed to make sure that I was not doing that to someone else. Victim mentality, (which had been taught to me by abusers, oppressors and controllers) taught me not to validate any warning signs. It taught me to always question myself first. It taught me that I must be the one that is wrong. And I also grew up with the completely wrong definition of love. I believed that HE needed me. I could not possible hurt his feelings with questions. I was confident that if I made him feel loved, he would change and I would no longer need to be suspicious of him.

I memorized a phone number I saw on his worksheet. It was listed as his home phone number. (He told me that he didn’t have a phone and finding out that he did should have been a red flag too.) That night, about 3:30 in the morning, my girlfriend at the hospital helped me stage a “person to person phone call” to that number. A woman answered and my girlfriend, playing the part of “the long distance operator” informed the woman that she had a person to person call for Chris. It was obvious that he was sleeping in the same bed with the woman who answered the phone. (Another RED FLAG)  I was on a third line with the television on a snowy sounding station, and when he answered the phone; my girlfriend (the operator) confirmed that it was him and then apologized for the bad connection, explaining that she had “lost the caller”.  (we hung up) I decided that I could not confront him because I had done something sneaky in order to catch him.  (I didn’t consider that I had just caught him in bed with another woman; rather I was willing to see my own fault for faking a long distance phone call. My rational was that I could not accuse him of lying to me if I was also lying to him.)

I never told him that I knew about the other woman. He got suspicious and told me a story about how he was involved with an emotionally distraught stalker woman he was having trouble getting away from, but he assured me that it was over now. (More Red Flags) And I ignored it. (gag)

This crap went on and I ignored MANY more red flags, until he faked the death of his mother on the other side of the country, insisted that I go to the funeral with him, then explained that he couldn’t get flights to the province she was in but that we would have to drive about 12 hours from the airport that we could get to.  Did I mention that he had tried to talk me into making him the beneficiary of my life insurance (he said If I really loved him I would) (RED FLAG) and that I had lied to him and told him that I did it? And still I didn’t say “I don’t believe you” but I found the number to his parents house and faked another operator assisted long distance phone call. She wasn’t dead.

I called the police. They ran his name and sent a squad car over. He was the prime murder suspect in the death of his fiancé. The case had never been solved. He certainly was in fact a dangerous man. The police were very concerned about me and I was placed into 24 hour protection. (I should have been concerned about me, but I wasn’t.  I thought the whole thing was exciting. A real rush and a great story. All I could think about was the other boyfriend ~ the one that I loved so much except that he cheated on me ~ he didn’t seem so bad anymore and so I phoned him. Groan….)

Chris was a compulsive liar who had never been married nor had he ever been a cop and although he worked outside rounds for a major Security Company, he also didn’t have a driver’s license. Even they hadn’t checked him out.  In order to bring him in for questioning the police arrested him for unpaid parking tickets. (that was the best they could do) They slapped a restraining order on him. While they were trying to catch him (he had to go to the fake funeral first) I got protected. (at least until one of the married police officers wanted to get cozy with me….. but that is another story)

Have you ever ignored a blatant red flag? Please feel free to share.

Knowing the real truth is what set me free;

Darlene Ouimet

A book I found that is very helpful and assisted me in believing in my intuition again as well as regaining the memories of many red flags I ignored over the years, is “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker.

Related post : Dating after Sexual Abuse; Is this Love?

41 response to "Dangerous Men, Red Flags, Victim Mentality"

  1. By: Lauren Posted: 27th September 2011

    For me, the red flags were mostly verbal at first. I feel like that’s how most abusers start. They begin with little things, things they can pass off as “jokes” or as my “overreacting.” They test the waters, as they get away with more and more, they begin to escalate the abuse. Until it can result in physical attacks, etc.

    I had several red flags about my ex-boyfriend. First, the gut feeling in my stomach. But he seemed to really like me, he seemed to treat me really well. He’d liked me for a long time, and bla bla and other justifications. Once he got me to date him, the situation changed. He started subtly cutting me down; constantly calling me “ridiculous” or “clumsy,” laughing at me when I’d trip, embarrassing me in front of my friends when I’d say something silly. All under the cover of “joking.” I blamed myself. Why was I such a clumsy, awkward person? I thought. It got to the point where I could hardly cook or do anything with him around, because I’d start shaking so much from nerves.

    Eventually, the problem escalated, to the point where he assaulted me one night. Way later than I should have, I broke up with him. But even then, I never knew what the relationship really was until afterwards, when I was looking up domestic violence online. The truth is, we blame ourselves when we shouldn’t.

    These people who abuse us are master manipulators. We just have to have faith in ourselves and love for ourselves, not critique, and that will guide us the way we need to go.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 27th September 2011

      Hi Lauren
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken
      Yes, it is almost always verbal at the beginning. And for me I was already conditioned from childhood to accept verbal manipulation. I can relate to EVERYTHING you wrote here about the progression of your relationship. I have been in several just like that. This progression is seen exactly the same way with passive abusers and many other types of abusers. Thank you so much for adding your voice to this post. Please share often.
      Hugs, Darlene

  2. By: Louise Posted: 13th January 2011

    ‘I put them through separate filters. I believed that each one was separate and had nothing to do with the other one.’
    I know I’ve done this but it’s so fresh to me I hardly no how to say yes me too.

    The way I think it works in my life is that I dissociate from each event/moment to such a degree hardly any moment is connected to the next. It means I live in a very care-less manner. Not about other people of things, I’m very caring about creatures etc. But I don’t value each moment because it just gets put in the’I forget’ vault with the rest. Like I was amazed talking to a friend who came for a day and a night a year or so ago, that we were having a similar conversation and he could remember exactly what I’d said then. We were talking then about past lives and he reckoned (as have other folks) that he could see trauma in my eyes from – that – life…

    However some times after that I realised that allowed me to continue in denial about this life. Things that happened were so horrible that relegating them to another life allowed me to act as if this one was still ‘perfect’. And there are some elements of my childhood nightmares that I have no idea how they got there (and past life is an easy explanation if you believe in that sort of thing), and present ones too, although the onslaught of TV probably hasn’t helped clarify them.

    So this time I suggested this and then of course had to justify that my this life was equally responsible for my PTSD etc. I couldn’t say I had DID as I didn’t quite know what that meant until I read what you wrote about ‘becoming what others want’. Which is me in a nutshell. I feel so good and calm today for knowing these things. And reading that it will take time, and just because I know how it works doesn’t mean it can all be packed away tidily – I still do everything with DID, I haven’t been able to undo any of that yet but maybe now at least I can recognise it and see where I want to go.

    I want to get in touch with memories as much as they’re stopping me from being whole – and I want to find out how not to offer a ‘pretend’ self just to satisfy people and thwart my own fears about them. My soul was really damaged and this has been entrenched over and over again, and while I can’t remember the original incident(s) of that occurring I can remember lots more about what followed and other events any one of which I realise is sufficient reason for being traumatised and having DID. My ma said to me today that I ought to go slowly, that she remembers the distress in my eyes and that to re-experience that in anyway she reckons I would need a therapist to work through their intensity. Not remembering these events that she witnessed, it’s like talking about the weather to me – of no consequence up until my ma starts crying about those things! And then I feel like a fly on the wall of my own life! I’m quite comfortable with it having happened to ‘her’ but not to ‘me’.

    I want to get in touch with things I like doing too, I don’t know what they are I’ve spent so much time acting in place of what wasn’t there. Like thinking ‘Well I think the emotional response to this situation would be anger…’ and then acting the anger… lol’ Because I had no clue and no feeling and this happened in every and all situations! NO wonder people who were acquaintances seeing my life from a distance thought me unpredictable/disingenuous and what’s sad is my true self is very genuine, very reliable and integral and hates herself every time she splits and says ‘whatever’. The fastest ‘whatever’ to pacify a situation, get it over with, make it bearable, or stop it from threatening me any further. Which is ridiculous when every interaction with anyone, but especially assertive eloquent people, was threatening to me. My mother was threatening to me and she loved me, but she had to hurt me a lot when I was little, is threatening – I still physically flinch from her and it’s hard to relax. I always get tense in anticipation of something.

    In the same way I got tired of physical suffering years ago, and the mental anguish along with it and that helped me begin healing. Now I am tired of dissociating. I can’t do it anymore. That doesn’t mean it stops happening, I’m only just aware that it is now – it’s hard really because that IS me – what am I without that??? Who am I? What are my beliefs? Can I value myself enough to not adjust the setting every time I encounter a new situation? I don’t know the answers to these questions yet. But I know, I think, that it will be OK

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 13th January 2011

      Louise,
      Reading your comment reminded me of the progression of the process. Recognition is the first step in MANY areas of our recovery. We can’t even want something different if we have no clue what is wrong. You seem to have made that beginning Louise there is recognition! That was my beginning in so many areas of this whole package including the DID. I just kept working away, becoming more aware, realizing what went wrong, setting new boundaries, learning now to take my life back and value myself. Each of those steps started off small and got built little by little, overlapping all the while. But it got done.
      Thank you for sharing all of this ~
      Hugs, Darlene

  3. By: Vicki Posted: 10th January 2011

    I’m the opposite but have been told all my life that means I’m not trusting, paranoid, not strong enough to put up w/ a person’s faults.
    I’ve been told that so long, I’ve started to believe it.
    That’s what my new friend thinks. He’s actually too intuitive. I don’t know if intuitive is a requirement for being a stockbroker and economist, that’s what he is, but he’s more intuitive than anyone I know.

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