Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Romance Trap

March 27, 2009

Warning to all readers:
Abusers are often romantic and charming (at first):
They are quick to build a romance (wanting to spend every moment with you and get married quickly).
They figure out what you want and then reflect it back to you.
They will do their best to sweep you off your feet.
They will seem "perfect".
They are happy to give gifts or flowers or cards or whatever pleases you (although it may seem like too much too fast the charm quiets your inner voice).

So how do you know if this romantic person is dangerous?

You may not know for sure, but abusers do tend to show their hand, if you know what to look for.

Be suspicious if he/she:
--talks about his/her parent with unresolved anger
--tells off color, sexist jokes
--tells stories about his or her past violent episodes
--sites violent solutions to problems (may all be in a "theoretical way" saying what they'd like to do or would do if...)
--he/she ignores a boundary you set (no matter how small of a boundary. If you said you need to be home by 11PM and he or she won't comply)
--he or she tells you that you really don't mean something
--he/she "steals" physical touch in a way that unsettles you
--he/she is in a big hurry with relationship milestones
--he/she is talking marriage very early in the relationship
--he/she shows disrespect for your stuff (acts as if it is his/hers)
--doesn't seem to like any of your friends
--proposes after only a few weeks or months of knowing one another
--pressures you to change your mind in subtle and not so subtle ways

Give yourself time to think if you:
--Find yourself excusing his/her "little" lies
--Find yourself isolated from your friends
--Are swept off your feet, but you notice that you no longer have any privacy or alone time to speak of
--Love the attention he/she is showering on you, but all the compliments he/she gives are embarrassingly overblown (since when were you the most beautiful, the smartest, the funniest person in the whole world?)
--Notice yourself defending what you believe, think, feel, etc. in charming, flirtatious, little battles
--Discover after a while that this person seems wounded or broken from past relationships with very unreasonable or cruel people. You begin to imagine that your love could make all the difference.
--imagine to yourself that he/she will be less insecure after he/she receives your love

Remember that it is wise to take your time in a new relationship. You have as much time as you need to get to know this new person in your life. It is much better to discover something isn't right while you're dating, rather than after you've said I do.

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Recommended Books

  • 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages by Karla Downing
  • A Way of Hope by Leslie J. Barner
  • Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them by Paul Hegstrom
  • Battered But Not Broken by Patricia Riddle Gaddis
  • Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Bradshaw on the Family by John Bradshaw
  • Caring Enough to Forgive/Not Forgive by David Augsburger
  • Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
  • Healing the Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allendar
  • Keeping the Faith: Questions and Answers for the Abused Woman by Marie M. Fortune
  • Perfect Daughters by Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D.
  • Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics by Herbert L. Gravitz and Julie D. Bowden
  • Safe People by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Slay Your Own Dragons by Nancy Good
  • The Cinderella Syndrome by Lee Ezell
  • The Dance of Anger by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.
  • The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee
  • Turning Fear to Hope by Holly Wagner Green
  • When Violence Comes Home: Help for Victims of Spouse Abuse by Tim Jackson and Jeff Olson
  • Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft