Dangerous Men, Red Flags, Victim Mentality



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: Louise Posted: 13th January

    ‘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

      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

  2. By: Vicki Posted: 10th January

    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.

  3. By: Julie Posted: 4th December

    You tell your story well, Darlene. I just want to point out that red flags can just be there for the fact that someone isn’t treating you well — and not because they are wanted by the law, etc. I have just come through a relationship (and barely survived it) with a guy whose actions just didn’t match his words…and I kept ignoring it. My life has been devastated by this person, and still I feel like somehow I did something wrong. He has passive aggressive behaviors that left me questioning and second-guessing myself all over the place. I was not allowed to put a foot out of line or he would cut me out of his life. My instincts said “run!” but I kept explaining away his behavior and thinking I could heal it. But I was wary, and he felt that and that increased his reactiveness. All in all, a mess, with me left thinking I botched it all and lost something good — when the truth is he had me leaving me since the day we met, and was doing a lot of taking and very little giving! Eek! I am still in recovery from this disastrous relationship.


  4. By: Krissy Posted: 13th November

    Elizabeth, I am so sorry for what you had to go through. When I started to read it, I thought, “Oh No, my sister has found this site!” You see, I was the compliant one, but I was the younger sister, and I am sure that was why my older sister was resentful towards me, because I never got the treatment she got. In fact, my sister was abusive toward me and the only person that made me feel intimidated and inferior before I met my ex. And when I began to break free, she started to put me down for my lack of sense for staying with an abuser, something she would never have done. I set my boundaries and politely excluded her from my life for a while and I think she now respects me for it.

    What you said is so true, that us compliant ones are rewarded for our compliance and believe that it is the only way to survive (and the most “noble” way too). We were taught that my sister deserved her scoldings and beatings for being talking back, disobedient, etc. but we couldn’t see that some of it was just childishness and other characteristics were simply part of her flamboyant personality.

    I have begun to explore my role now because i know my mum still likes me the best. I can feel for my sister now because I have seen the way my mother treats my daughters because they remind her of my sister (they are feisty and opinionated).

    I have declined the invitation to visit my mother at Christmas while my sister is travelling many miles to be with them, for the sake of her young daughter. I warned my sister that there is every possibility that her daughter, while adored for the moment, could be harshly treated, and my sister said that she would not tolerate it and I am afraid that there will be an explosion and maybe she will even spill out everything, like how my mum has destroyed the family, etc.

    I wonder if she will then say that even I think so and how I will stand up if my mum confronts me. I have never challenged my mum before – I always thought that the faithful, honoring thing is to respect you parents. I wonder if I am up to standing up for my sister, even at the expense of my mum’s wrath.

    You see, I needed my mum’s help when I planned to separate. She sent me some money as I do not work and I did not know if somehow I would not be allowed access to money. My mum has also promised to help out financially any time I need it, and I will need it because I am going through legal battles with an abusive ex. and do not have any source of finance, because I have many kids to care for. I know I will just have to forego that security for the sake of standing up for the abused. I know myself that I had a lot of anger for the silent bystanders who didn’t do anything to confront my ex.

    Thank you for that Patricia. It is eye-opening to see what it’s like for the other sibling.

  5. By: Elizabeth Posted: 13th November

    These comments about being compliant in order to avoid abuse really hit home. In our family I was the mouthy and outspoken one. My sister learned to be sweet, agreeable, and oh, so compliant. She also learned by staying in the backgrouund, and pushing me, the younger sister to the forefront, that ALL my ‘misbehavior’ was noticed and in the spotlight. I was always in trouble.

    I was the one who asked for the raises in allowance, etc. She also learned apparently to say ‘she did it’, when anything went wrong. She avoided punishment and being by hiding what she did and being perfect.We both put my brother through this to a certain extent but our mother adored him, while my father resented him greatly.

    The conclusion I came to was that there was a sort of
    Stockholm Syndrome’ going on where my sister sided and identified with my parents in sort of scapegoating me at times.My sister also became involved in what I believe is a charismatic cult which is abusive to those they feel superior to-

    So in seeing how being nice and compliant can help one avoid abuse it also sets one up for being silent witnesses to the abuse of others..and if there is no recovery, even being passive and even active abusers as well, to avoid being looked at oneself.In our family it got translated into my being thrown under the bus all my life if I stayed around for it.

    When my daughter was a baby and I had nowhere to go, and lived with my mother,the cycle really started back into full gear.In order to survive I became unwillingly compliant in the family and got treated like scum, shamed and ‘tolerated’, as the family failure.In order to stay in my mother’s good graces my sister watched abusive scenario after scenario being enacted and never said a word in my defense, even after my mother became irrational after her head injury. I was trying to protect her and help her at that point and my sister was standing back doing nothing on anyone’s behalf, but reaping the benefits of financial help even though she was making 50,000 a year.

    mom was extremely paranoid of me after the head injury, and my sister knew it and knew it was unjustified. Yet she would do nothing to assist our mother either such as talking with her and reasoning with her. Actually she encouraged my mother’s paranoia of me and ’empathized’ with her.But it was all nuts and delusions.

    In trying to get my mom back to the dr. after her behavior became bizarre and irrational, after the head injury, mom decided I was trying to have her comitted. She refused to get in the car to see the dr.and would cancel appointments I made for her.Around then mom started giving my sister 10,000 per year, to help her out and did so for many years afterward. This is kind of like paying my sister to stay out of my efforts to get mom into good counselling and trips to the neurologist.

    My sister, nice, sweet, compliant, sat there for years collecting her ‘blood money’ and in effect prevented our mother from getting the help she needed. In addition it ensured the weird abuse that mom was dishing out, telling people I was being mean to her and trying to put her away escalated yearly. Mom could be very convincing when she wanted to.

    Jusy a very few years before mom died, my sister told me she just ‘couldn’t confront’ mom about the abusive things mom was doing because if she helped me or made mom mad, why, mom might cut her out of the will.So in effect mom had bought and paid for my sister’s compliance, just as she had all her life.And my daughter and I paid the price for it. The longer I stayed around mom the worse it got, but I had no way to get out-

    Compliance Is a defense mechanism to avoid further abuse, and it also promotes a trauma bond with the abuser, where you will do anything, including harming other people-or allowing them to be harmed because you don’t want to make waves and attract the abuser’s attention on yourself.My sister got positive rewards for being complicit in seeing to it that the focus stayed on me long after she grew up.

    That is why I have a hard time trusting the super nice, sweet, overly agreeable people. Knowing how my own sister got that way and the lengths to which she went to be self protective even at the cost of those she said she loved,is really scary.

    At the same time I realize it started as a mechanism for survival in the early years.Its just past time when you are grown up, to take a stand for something. On the other hand doing that, I feel, in my family, almost got me killed.

    I have read cults are cruel to their own and there is no real love there but heavy bonding.I belive my family operated as a cult of a type, punishing wayward members-me- even to the point of having them committed. My sweet compliant sister was ever the silent witness- to her own daughter’s abuse and later to mine and my daughters.I hope it was worth it to her.

    I do not believe all compliant children who are avoiding abuse turn out this way, but I believe some people even as adults see being extremely self protective and caring only about their own self interests, as the best way to live their lives as then they are forever number one in their lives. These people I guess will never get help. I think extreme self protectiveness can turn into narcissism so deep its hopeless.

    Just musings.

  6. By: Jenny Posted: 12th November

    Red flags…wow…probably too many to mention…but a few that come to mind would be when my ex first kissed me it was more like he was attacking me (red flag)…I felt a need to escape…I was with someone at the time we met and I ended up cheating on my boyfriend to be with him. He convinced me (red flag) there was nothing between me and my then boyfriend. He sold me on the dream….he was a con artist and I fell right under his spell. I then found out that he was married to a girl so she could stay in the country. He didn’t tell me this before I moved from CA. to Florida for him. He was just a walking talking piece of shit and I bought it. We had a beautiful daughter together who he ultimately ended up sexually abusing and then that was it…I wanted to kill him. I remember the signs my daughter was exhibiting that just confirmed my worst fears. It was like I was in this nightmare all over again but it was her that was paying this time. I had to believe what was staring me in the face. It was undeniable. I went with my intuition and I never looked back. I have so much anger towards him it is a blessing that he just took off and left us. He is the biggest narcissitic bastard caring for no one but himself. Being a narcissist is I guess the only way you could live with yourself after doing horrific things to others. Anyway, I thank you for listening and I hope one day I will be free of the hate I feel so deeply in my heart for him.

  7. By: Krissy Posted: 12th November

    Darlene, that is exactly my thought process as a child. “IF I comply I won’t get that harsh treatment that I know could come anytime – look at my sister and the wallopings she is getting” So all along I thought I had a great mother because she never smacked me but she could be brutal with others. And my dear Dad drummed it into us that the right way was to submit to your elders, not argue, be nice, etc. and most of all, that was the cultural way (we are not of Caucasian origin). The rebellious way was the Western way and he was NOT having Western kids. When my first daughter was born, she was smart, outgoing and feisty – to my parents, that was a red flag – Western. The comments that they made stuck in my mind even though they didn’t see her often and I would try SO hard to make her into this nice compliant kid. It didn’t work – she rebelled more. Now I am teaching my younger ones to think for themselves, to give consideration to their feelings, to say No confidently when they don’t feel comfortable about something.

    The fact that you are one of the first persons I have come across to articulate those thoughts (that being compliant is a learnt survival mechanism that sets us up for abuse)shows how surrounded I am with people who don’t validate the right of a person to say No (not even counselors and leaders – in theory yes, but in practice they expect me to engage with him and not be “resentful”). Yes, we have all read Boundaries and all that jazz, but I don’t see it in practice and my ex hated even that word. Today is a visitation day for the kids and I know that the badgering is coming – if I can ignore the old issues, he will bring up new ones. I have to re-think but it does feel foreign.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th November

      I literally gasped out loud when I read your comments ~ (that you are being encouraged to NOT be resentful, and to engage with him…… So dangerous. (although I do understand how difficult this is when you have children involved between the two of you) Oh it sounds so good in theory, be compliant etc.. but abusers take it as permission to do what ever they used to do. They take it as a lifting of your boundary. They sometimes take it as though it were the very drug they are addicted to ~ getting YOU to give in to them. It re-establishes their power in their own minds. They bring out all the old tactics or they try new tricks.
      Good for you Krissy! (and good for you about your kids too. My relatives were also in judgement about kids being “allowed” to be individuals! I have a huge heart for this subject. =) and in my view it all goes together. If we raise them the way that we were raised, why wouldn’t they encounter the same problems that we have had??????
      Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Krissy Posted: 12th November

    Sarah mentioned in her comment about “being mean” so that the perpetrator would not take any friendliness as an advance. Isn’t that SO hard to do?! After all, in normal relationships, you do try to be civil, even after parting ways. My ex (and yes, all the red flags were so obvious at the start) can’t understand why we can’t talk about things, and he is still trying to get into the house.

    Just yesterday, he asked to rent a room from me, under the guise of being able to pay rent to help me out! Today he called me and although I have ignored it before, this time I answered it and he was crying asking for my help to solve a problem with an older child, who is ignoring him. He wants us to work together to parent her and guide her. I just want to ignore him but how mean does that feel. He asked me to cook him a meal – No. He asked if he could come in to do something with our son – No. He said it was important, for his business – No. He wants to move in next door – No. He wants to help clean the pool – No. He wants me to go to a concert with him – No. This is after telling him that I don’t want contact. How do you say it so they hear? If I can learn how to, it would be good practice for the future when the red flags and bad vibes appear.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th November

      Thank you for this contribution. You have added some great examples of someone who does not respect any boundaries or the word no. I had to realize that the reason I avoided “being mean” (which is not being mean at all, it is being smart) is because as children, if we are mistreated in anyway, we seem to get convinced that we could have DONE something differently to have avoided getting hurt. (emotionally or any other way). We try to be nicer and more compliant. We don’t realize that we have begun to believe that being nicer and compliant will keep us safer. This is part of the victim mentality that we develop. This becomes the way that we survive, never realizing that being compliant often makes things worse, but we deeply believe compliance ~ being nice~ showing love and compassion to the abuser ~will keep us safe. I had to change my thinking in this department and realize that saying NO was the real way to survive. As a child we have no choice in the matter. As adults we do have a choice, but we are in this thinking habit ~ a false definition of love, a false definition of how the abuse cycle works. Compliance is most often seen as a “green light” to an abuser. Once they get that green light, they move full speed ahead. It is not mean to say no. It is true self care.
      Thanks for sharing this story.
      Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Cloudya Posted: 11th November

    I never found facebook to be very interesting. I didn’t get it, what it was for – just to read little notes people that I haven’t had a personal word from in years put up in their status?
    Well today I found a GOOD reason to be on facebook, because there a(n online) friend linked to this entry.
    I don’t think I can convey the emotional turmoil I was going through while reading what you wrote.

    I was 20/21 when I met him. I was working outside, on the streets, trying to get people to sign up a contract for charity for various non-profit organisations (the big ones).
    Suddenly he stood before me, doing the same job for a different company. My first thought when he talked to me was: “eww creepy old guy! What does HE want with me?” I had a flashing red light going off the instant I saw him. I have a very good eye for the “bad guys” because I needed to be able to recognize them to be able to survive (I’m a victim of repeated childhood violence, sexual abuse and neglect).
    We chatted back and forth, him obviously flirting with me and me making more fun of him than anything. But I liked his sense of humor. And just enjoyed having someone to talk to during this tedious often up to 12 hour-a-day job where most people hate you just because you want them to donate money…

    When he asked for my number I gave it to him. I considered giving him a false one but wasn’t thinking quick enough for it, so I ended up giving him the real one. He called right away from his cellphone to check if it REALLY was my real number. *sigh*

    That night he sent me a text message that was SO confused and badly written that I thought two things right away: 1) he is a terrible terrible speller 2) he must have been on some drug while writing it.

    I ignored the message.
    The next day a dream ended for me. A guy that I had thought I had had a long-distance relationship with told me he’d met the woman of his dreams. I was devastated. My heart was broken, my self-esteem down the drain and I was already battling with a severe mental disability due to my childhood abuse. I was an easy victim.

    I think I was the one that called the guy. I know I had a really long, physically painful cry in the shower and then met up with him in town.
    We kissed pretty soon after I got there and while kissing him I thought “What am I doing? I don’t want this!!” and at the same time telling myself that I was just “having some fun”. Then he commented on the way I kissed very sensitively and I thought: well maybe there’s more to this guy.
    We sat in a café. It was autumn or winter so at the café was the first time he saw my arms because I was hot and pulled up my sleeves. They are covered with scars and he reacted well to that, too. So he got a lot of brownie points just by reacting with humor or sensitively to all the spots inside of me that were hurting.

    The relationship progressed. Within a week he was living with me because I had to “save him from where he was currently living because it was a desaster”. Riiiight.
    He stayed for 6 months. Never paid rent or any other bills. Said he paid for food everyday and that that was his contribution (by the time this topic came up I was already SO confused about him and me and us that I pretty much agreed to just about everything because I was trying to avoid fights).

    The red flags kept happening, over and over again. He told me about jobs he’d had in his life. In his lifetime he might have done about a third of all that he claimed he did. He told me he was actually a millionaire – money his grandma had left him – but that he was battling for it with his mother in court. (yeah right!) He knew I liked dogs – so suddenly he had a rottweiler breeding farm in Greece and knew to tell nice stories of his “gay neighbor” and how they became friends. The gay neighbor was probably because he knew I was bi-sexual.
    And it just went on and on and on. Some things were so impossible I DID start asking people. But what he said was vague enough that if one tried hard, they could come up with something that resembled an explanation or proof. Which most people were trying to do because they didn’t want to make him look bad in front of me. They were trying to be NICE.

    Actually, there was only one girl that warned me. It was three days into the relationship. She worked with him. She asked me one day, “Are you really sure you can trust this guy?” and I was upset and outraged and she told me just to be careful. I hated her for it. Never saw her again after that day…

    Then the money-borrowing started. That’s when my mom got involved. My mom is a very important part in my life but back then our relationship was still somewhat difficult. So when she warned me and tried to tell me that he was constantly lying, I either didn’t believe her, or believed her as long as she was there, and as soon as he was there again forgot about it because he was constantly making my mother out to be “the bad guy” that was “jealous” or “bitter” or whatever came in handy that moment.

    Like you described, if I wanted to break up with him or was accusing him of stealing my money or whatever, he would come up with all kinds of romantic gestures that he had (supposedly) done or was planning to do – so I would feel bad for being such an ass to him.

    Like someone else described, I also had the feeling that I might be able to “turn him”. I thought if I gave enough love, if we talked enough, if I could get him to do therapy (which he supposedly did for three sessions or something till the topic faded away) then we might have a chance.

    A month or two into the relationship it became very clear, even to me that he was a compulsive liar. The story he told people EVERYWHERE was that he had accidentally killed one of his children (the girl in a pair of twins) by running over her while backing out of the garage. That his son lived with his ex-wife. At first I thought maybe that was his way to deal with his grief.
    Then he started having telefone conversations with his son (because I encouraged him to… *shakes head*) and with his ex wife. Again and again he said things like, “He’ll spend the weekend with us” or “They’re coming for a visit tomorrow” – getting me all wound up (I was SO nervous!!) only for nothing to happen.
    So the whole twins story started to become VERY suspicious. At one point when he was again “talking to his son and exwife” I stepped closer to him and tried to look at the display of his fone. It was dark. There was no one on the other line! But he got SO angry that I was invading his privacy and whatnot that I immediately felt bad and told myself that this could not be possible… whyever would he make up stuff like that?

    Also, the stories of his life became more and more gruesome and grew in gory detail and traumatic incidents. I even told him that and he acted hurt and offended and again I felt like the bad one.

    This went on and on. I could tell you so many more details. Also one of the things that’s a sure warning sign for me by now is when the guys start off saying stuff like “I never cry in front of people” and within a week they’re crying in my arms because I have “touched them so deeply”… riiiight.

    This whole thing was incredibly crazy.
    It ended crazy too.
    We were spending some time working in another city when my mom called and talked to the guy. Right after that he told me that everything had been a lie. What had happened was that my mom got my cousin who worked as an assitant for a lawyer back then to do a background check on him. That’s all she told him (she didn’t actually get much except for a HUGE HUGE amount of debt to various companies and private persons but when I later had to get the police involved because of things I hadn’t known about and whatnot they showed me a foto of him looking about ten years younger and just said “Be glad you’re rid of this guy, he’s really bad news. We’re looking for him, so should he for some reason come to your apartment, please quietly dial our number and we’ll be there”).
    The twins? Never existed. The wife? Never existed. The money? Nope. Anything true?? Not much except for his name and birthdate.
    I said this was it, I broke up with him. He broke down crying and accusing me of “never being strong for him! That he’d always had to be the strong one for me in the relationship and now I wasn’t strong enough or willing to give him a chance to make things right) (btw this was about the 6th and final attempt to finally break the relationship off).
    Then he threatened with suicide. Said he’d write a letter and put my name in it so everyone would know it was my fault.
    I let him go.

    Later, my mom had travelled all the way from her home to this city which took her two hours to be with me, she and I went back to the hotel we’d stayed in to pack up my stuff. Who was there? Him. When I came in he said, “no worries I’m leaving”. He’d obviously taken something. And I realized WHAT he’d taken: a few of my tired-making anti-depressants. (maybe three of them in all – which was a few years later my daily dosis). I was worried because back then I knew nothing, absolutely nothing about “crazy pills” as I like to call em. Had he had alcohol or other drugs with it? Was he dying? He “collapsed” on the couch and pretended to have fainted.
    I called the ambulance. They came, saw him (the doc just came in the door and saw him talking after I’d told him what he’d taken, shook his head and said “that guy’s fine”). The guys of the ambulance were more worried about me, as I was in a state of panic and despair and guilt.
    They did take him in for an overnight observation, probably more out of pity for me and to give me a chance to get out than for medical reasons.
    Mom and I packed and then realized that the guy still had my keys. So off to the hospital we went, where I got my keys and had to listen to him tell me how badly I had treated him and how this was all my fault. I cried so hard.
    Would my mom not have been there, the whole staged suicide attempt would have had just the effect that I am sure he wanted it to have: I would have come running back into his arms, full of apologies and soothing gestures to make up for my “meanness”.

    This whole nightmare is now 7 years ago. Seven long years. It was one of the most traumatic experiences of my adult life. Even to this day I sometimes still imagine seeing him every now and then and adrenalin rushes through my body and my heart starts beating like mad. It’s gotten a bit better in the past year or so, but it still happens often enough.

    In the months and years after I kept feeling really angry with myself. Why hadn’t I listened to my instincts?? Why hadn’t I listened to my mom?? Why hadn’t I gone through with breaking up with him again and again?? Why hadn’t I listened to my then therapist who also said that he was bad news?? Why this, why that.
    And I felt it hit my intellect the most. Before that guy I had rather thought I was an intelligent woman – but an intelligent woman wouldn’t fall for a guy like this, surely! Not in my world! So I must be stupid! (Actually I am above average in my intelligence… so yah – so much for that theory).

    It was what you’re writing about: the victim’s mentality. From the baby-days on I have been groomed to be the good nice little victim.

    I am still learning to speak up for myself and set boundaries with other people. Hard … but possible.

    Thanks for writing this. I have never had the chance to speak with anyone else who’s gone through something like this. Whenever I tell people a detail or two about the relationship they act truly shocked – like something like that never happens! I was starting to feel very lonely with this story. Now … not so lonely anymore.


    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th November

      Hi Cloudya, welcome to the blog!
      I didn’t even tell you in my blog posts how he faked the death of his mother; he faked phone calls, right in front of me! When he called his brother to ask how his mother was, he started to cry, said he would call back, hung up the phone and ran to the bathroom and threw up. (bet that was fake too! ,lol)
      Thank you so much for sharing your story with myself and the other readers. This blog is dedicated to the recovery of healing from all forms of abuse and the depressions and other issues that result from abuse and mistreatment.
      I am glad that you are here!
      Hugs, Darlene

      I am going to post a third post in this series on Sunday about the feelings and fears that I had before I published this post.

  10. By: Noble Savage Posted: 11th November

    woah! yeah sure:) I have ignored lots of red flag signs.. one, a man that yells and treats his mother badly (RED FLAG) Run the other way!!!!! Angers easily (RED FLAG), Doesn’t want you coming to his hometown after dating for a few months (RED FLAG), Someone that says, “I never lie” (right!!! biggest liar ever, just means he is good at being manipulative), Talks about wanting to be a sniper (yikes!), oh my all time favorite, ALWAYS blames you for his problems, such as “If it weren’t for you, etc…..”, hmmm… Thinks he is above and superior to everyone, lacks compassion. Now.. what I want to know.. is this really a Victims mind or is it just human nature that we choose to ignore the signs? I would agree that surviving abuse did change me and did effect me as a child, young person and into adulthood.. but as i experience life and my eyes are opened to the beauty of the world, I have learned life is filled with good and bad experiences and now that im 36 and SURVIVED abuse, I am more aware of the evil that resides within the human species because of the abuse. I don’t take it for granted and I am thankful like crazy for the good times and when the bad times roll around, I know how to get through it. As will all things from the moment we are born, society imprints on us and essentially how can one grow without living and learning? It is part of the cycle of living and dying, I say “Give me the death I need” I want to rid myself of all temporalities and pass through those sun doors:)

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th November

      Hi Susan,
      And if they didn’t give me future promises, I gave them to myself! (as soon as I find the right way to love this guy (or my mom for that matter) I will have HIS love in return. I just know that I can love him (or her) enough to be loved back. I cut slack too, without even being asked! Oh I really relate to your comments. Thank you for contributing!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Noble,
      The one about “blames you for all his problems” ; that one is a fav of all manipulators and is very commonly used by emotional and psychological abusers, male and female alike. My mother blamed me for her moods. This isn’t always done in words either. Can be communicated in many ways.
      Thanks for sharing!
      hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Susan Posted: 11th November

    Yes; this rings so true for me, Darlene. “Red Flags” are that part of my development that was turned of like you said. One that stands out to me today is the RED FLAG of future promises. If i’ll go along with something today even though it doesn’t feel right then somewhere in the future there will be something good for me, or they will change, and why can’t I cut them some slack, I’m picking on them. Then theres the “crazy making” where every sentence is questioning my every thought, feeling and choice. The violation or hurt I may be attempting to say “no” to gets lost as the conversation is spun on its tail and flipped around to make it appear as though I am somehow out of line and ultimately becomes more evidence of how wrong I am and of course the magic word….”crazy”.

  12. By: Amira Posted: 11th November

    Wow Darlene! I can relate so much to this, and that alone is scary. One of my first instances of sexual abuse as a child was because I ignored red flags. I already had learned to discount myself and my feelings as irrational, and so when I felt “funny and afraid” of these two strange men at the park, I ignored it and played nice, because thats what I thought I was supposed to do. Well…it ended up with them both raping me in a park bathroom near my house, and then later they broke in my house through the bedroom window when my parents werent home and luckily my older brother’s friend was babysitting and called the police, and I had to go to court and everything over that…and I still never told anyone about the rape (I blocked it all out, In my mind all I remembered was the bathroom wall and someone crying and I remembered seeing a penis and hearing sounds like people were having sex…I thought it was all happening to someone else and I was just imagining it was me and that no one would believe me anyways and I didnt want anyone to get in trouble for me “making stuff up” so I never said anything, and only last year did I realize that it really did happen to me, and I wasnt imagining things)

    So even as young as 10 years old I ignored red flags, and kept doing it over and over and over and over for years, and it led to many more sexual assaults and scary experiences (stalkers, men breaking in my house and watching me sleep, accepting rides from strange men, etc.)

    I recently had red flags about one of my daughter’s friends parents, but I discounted that too, because he seemed like such a “nice guy” and he knew famous people and blah blah blah, so I had to be making it up….now I am not so sure my instincts were really wrong, and I wont let her go “sleep over” at that girls house like I was planning to. This is frightening stuff. Thanks for sharing with us all Darlene!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th November

      Hi Wendy!
      Thanks for sharing all of this, I can relate to it too, and YES you can do it on your own.

      Hi Sarah,
      There were a few guys where I was aware of the danger being “intoxicating” to me too. I believe that came from getting “used to” and from dangerous situations being normalized for me. And when I was so emotionally shut down it took a lot to get the “rush”. There is so much to this whole thing. and being tempted to ignore for me, just a “left over”. I have to be aware of several things that used to be second nature to me to just accept. Thanks for sharing!

      I can really relate to this story. Scary.. thanks for sharing, this is a great example of what I am talking about.

      Hi Elizabeth,
      Thank you for this story too. It is also exactly what I am talking about except that YOU were not alone in the choice in this situation. Your mother was a big part of this even though you were an adult. And when a mother (or husband or anyone else) takes delight in proving a person is crazy and would go to any length to do that ~ that is a whole other layer of problem! You are doing some amazing work to get to the bottom of all this Elizabeth. In what you have shared on this blog, you have taken apart the intertwined stories, and you have been looking at them individually and then how they fit together. I hope you have kept all the comments you have written. There is such great info in them of how this happens to a person. (if you haven’t’ they are all here!)
      Thanks for sharing.

      I am So sorry that I can’t answer ALL the comments! I read each one though. Hugs to everyone. I appreciate all of you!
      Love Darlene

      p..s. Don’t forget to read part one of this story, (Prince Charming was a Murder Suspect) because the first post talks about the conditioning that happens BEFORE we get to ignoring red flags. It is important that we don’t skip that step. If we skip that step, we jump to self blame.

  13. By: Judy Posted: 11th November

    I missed a key part (I’m tired now)……..lol

    After I saw through some of his lies and I broke it off (took a stand)
    it was like a chain reaction went off in my head. I could see a clear trail of men that I had either told lies for (secrets) or who had hidden me (secrets) right from childhood on up. Making up excuses for why I was covered in bruises in order to protect the person who hit me.
    Putting up with being used (afraid to get my abuser into trouble) – overempathizing. Always putting them first and me last.
    I had never seen the “trail” so clearly before………..suddenly a “common thread” emerged and I could see it as clear as day.

  14. By: Judy Posted: 11th November

    I will tell it again in summary to make the ps above make sense

    I was recently in a relationship that lasted about 8 months. I only
    broke contact with him less than 2 weeks ago.

    Darlene – thank u for sharing your story. As I read it I’m going “that’s me”……………..oh “that’s me too” So many of our (meek)
    thinking patterns.

    I ignored the red flags; in part “waiting to see”. Not wanting to call someone on something without proof – nor even asking for clarification re some important factors. Afraid of hurting his feelings if I was wrong; or looking “paranoid”. When I finally did
    do some checking, the evidence was strongly stacked against him. He does not know how much I know.

    Something in me hit a wall a few weeks ago. Saw something that hurt me and the red flag went off like a siren. “He’s hiding me from others”. I made a decision “no more”…………. and broke off contact with him. He was angry, but this time some of the intimidation lines he used had no effect on me. For the first time I didn’t take them personally and saw them for what they were.

    I was in a relationship for 8 months. He flew thousands of miles to spend several weeks with me. It is hard at this point to separate what was true and what was not.

    My emotions still draw me back at times to my empathic side (he shared stories of his later years of childhood/young adulthood that would tug on any heartstring) I am grieving the loss of something that I thought might be love.

    One of the questions that I have is whether “lost children” seem to attract other “lost children” like magnets. Whether we connect through that empathy/need for empathy. Or whether it is always a calculated attempt to prey on the softer ones. Maybe I’ll never know…………

    This is all so fresh for me. One day I’m angry. The next I am grieving the loss of someone I thought was special.

    ……still reeling

  15. By: Judy Posted: 11th November


    Just a clarification. The “NO MORE!” that went off in my head was not just about this particular man. It seemed to resonate like a chain reaction re all of the men in my history. It was like a “trail” suddenly appeared that I could see. A common thread.

    The “NO MORE!” was something inside of me taking a stand and saying
    NO MORE hiding for them and NO MORE being hidden from them re men in general. NO MORE secrets period.
    I hope and pray that this resolve will continue to stay with me. The first step is to “see it” in me. I can now see the dysfunctional thinking pattern that had developed in me (even subconsiously)
    Now that I can “see it” I have a good chance of doing something about it.

    A counselor once shared the healing progression to me.

    Unaware –>> Aware after the fact –>> Aware during –>> Prepared awareness

    I have moved from unaware to aware after the fact. It is growth in the right direction <3

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  16. By: Judy Posted: 11th November

    Your story is setting off so many alarm bells for me. “Alarming” that I have had the same pattern of thinking that you did. Picking up on inconsistencies, red flags. But without “proof” unable to confront; not wanting to hurt or offend someone who was innocent. And even feeling guilty about checking up on him; even though the evidence was clearly not in his favor. He currently does not know how much I know.
    I broke contact with him when something in me picked up another red flag that really hurt me a lot only less than 2 weeks ago. I realized that I had been hidden from others the entire time. A switch went off inside of me that said “NO MORE!” It was like all of the sudden there was a domino effect in my brain; seeing a trail – a chain of men who had used and abused me; lied to me or about me. Secrets. I could for the first time clearly see how a pattern of thinking had formed in my early formative years. Covering up for the abuser – lying about where the bruises had come from in order to protect. Overempathizing with my abusers as far back as my childhood. I suddenly realized that I had been either keeping secrets, or being “kept a secret” re men all of my life. Never putting me first; always them.
    This is all still fresh for me. Sometimes I feel strong. Other times there is something in me that draws me back to feelings of empathy for him and remembering the good times. We were in a relationship for close to 8 months. This man told me he was divorced – flew thousands of miles to spend several weeks with me – and likely was/is not even separated. He told stories from the latter part of his childhood that would definitely tug on the heartstrings.
    I am still very confused and grieving the loss of something that I thought might be love.
    I have wondered in the past few days if “lost children” attract other “lost children” through this empathy/compassion mechanism. Or if predators just know how to prey on those who are soft hearted?
    Confused – but have taken a stand.

    Still reeling………………

  17. By: Elizabeth Posted: 11th November

    We had a RED FLAG guy enter our lives when my mother, daughter and I started an exercise class. I thought it would be a good family togetherness ‘exercise’. We became friends with the instructor and he came to our home a few times and even asked me to go to the movies with him. He was a good bit older than me. Unknown to me at the time he was also letting my mother know he was interested in her!She was a good bit older than he was.She started acting rather hateful towards me about the same time after some significant interactions with him, that I realized he was a mind game player. I asked around about him, and was told he was a real manipulator, troublemaker, and had a rage problem, drank way too much, and really disliked women, as well as having a shady background.

    I pulled up short, tried to warn my mother,who turned around and told HIM I didn’t like him and didn’t want him around any of us. I realized he was snowing her when my sister told me that mom said I was ‘just jealous’ of her. Talk about some complex emotions.I felt we were threatened by his presence, I was very angry on my mother’s behalf because she really was flattered by him, and I was angry AT mom because she wouldn’t listen to me, and afraid for her AND my daughter and I as he was coming and going alot in the home we three lived in.

    I had quit his classes as soon as I realized he was a red flag guy, but my mom refused to stop going to them. In fact he had her doing clerical work for him!

    After she told him I wanted him gone, she started acting very weird. She was amused by my fear of him. She allowed him to be at the house on at least one occasion after she had promised he wouldn’t be there as long as I or my daughter were there. My then ten yr old daughter was IN the house and told me he had come over on one occasion.I was horrified. I never left her alone with mom again.

    On several occasions I saw him drive through our neighborhood.We started getting hang up phone calls- We didn’t have caller ID. My daughter started hearing noises outside her window at night.I would go to the grocery or some other store and there he would be…happened over and over.I began having trouble sleeping, was always hypervigilant. This went on for three months, and I was jumpy and exhausted. I could not afford to move out.I ket thinking mom would see the light. I had already asked my sister if my daughter and I could move in with her 100 miles away till we found another place. She said she didn’t have room. She was aware of what I had been telling her about this guy, too.

    I finally almost cracked up after I drove my daughter to school and saw him driving by her school.By now I was seeing him extremely frequently all around town. It was crazy. I got very worried that my mom might check my daughter out of school and have him with her. My mom had had a previous head injury three years before which made her very suggestable, paranoid of me anyway, and just well, odd.

    I drove my daughter and I to my sister’s and we put our things in her house and drove to the drugstore for toothbrushes. When we came back he had left a calling card in her carport- an item of fast food that he used to joke about all the time. It was freshly wrapped and had one bite taken out of it.When I showed it to my sister after she got home from work, she said a dog had probably dropped it there. No. A dog would have eaten it.Again she refused to let us move there temporarily.The next morning my daughter said she had a dream of three ‘doctors’ giving her a shot in the base of her thumb.

    I just lost it the day after we got back.I was so worn out, and who was going to believe he was following us-stalking us, when I had no proof of anything? And he was a friend of my mothers? And my sister acted like I was nuts…Mom had a way of appearing entirely rational to other people and here I was by then with my hair straight up looking wild eyed.I just was weak kneed and terrified that last day, and almost speechless.

    My mother took me to a counsellor she knew, sat in the same room with us as the counsellor asked me what was going on. I was like a rag doll, mute and burned out…afraid to say anything in front of my mother, and too depleted to tell her to leave the room. Looking back I wonder why the therapist allowed her to stay in the room.I felt and was defeated.The counsellor told my mom to take me to a crisis center, who referred me to another residential place. looking back I wonder why I didn’t stop the nonsense but I was numb, and so terrified by then of him AND my mother, who I didn’t trust at all by then. It felt like an Alfred Hitchcock movie, it was all so bizarre.My mother even called my sister to drive into town to witness me being committed because as my mother said later…She ‘needed emotional support..’ BS.

    Also looking back everything had a weird dreamlike quality to it. Yet I felt like I was on amphetamines or something. I literally shook with fear. It was like one very long panic attack.I have often wondered if I had been given some kind of substance, but how it could have been done I don’t know.It was the worst ‘doom’ type feeling I have ever had.

    I was at that place 6 days, during which I was given stuff like Haldol and things that made me drop to the floor. After the second time I refused it and made them put a statement in my file to this effect.

    The day after I got out I told my mother my daughter and I were leaving-either to the local shelter, or she could hep us get an apt…which she did, as by then she wanted me gone, as I interferred with her friendship with this creep.

    Even after moving I had several attempted breakins, three tire slashings and still very frequently saw this nut in stores I went to.My daughter was having bad dreams about ‘bad men’….Eventually it faded away, but I was left with a bad case of ptsd. I developed all kinds of fears; the least jolt of emotion would send my nervous system into a frenzy of panic.It was horrible.My daughter was always asking if i was ok. It ruined so much of our time together.I was afraid to let her out of my sight too often.

    I felt useless and fearful for a good deal of another 2-3 years, until my mother’s house caught on fire and I had to deal with the renovations. All this time I had been very worried about my mother and never really resolved in my own mind what was going on with her- whether she was a willing or ‘unwilling’ friend of his. It was SO darn weird and heartbreaking to me.I could not abandon her, yet it felt too dangerous to be around her.I tried to get my sister to convince mom to move to her town but my sister would not.I severely cut back the time she spent with my daughter and in the next four years my daughter was only alone with her one weekend, which turned out disastrously.

    My not seeing the RED FLAG immediately was beause I didn’t trust my first initial feeling about this guy.At least I saw things clearly, finally but too late. I have learned better now but it cost me and my daughter- AND my mom.The whole scenario though basically allowed me to begin evaluating my relationships more with the people around us- family, friends etc…It has been a long long road….I have found through the years that most of the people around my family were not supportive and in some cases, not trustworthy.

    This affected my trust in others, even those who WERE trustworthy, because I was so embarrassed by what happened to us- I felt responsible and ashamed. I just didn’t any longer want to be close to many people. I felt ‘different’ and ‘marked’, if that makes any sense. Even several therapist didn’t seem to believe me, and my own sister told almost everyone I knew that I was confirmed as a ‘crazy’…It changed every dynamic in my life.

  18. By: Annie O'Sullivan Posted: 11th November

    Oh Darlene, You just published my life! I am actually working on this very problem for part three and four. I have been finding it difficult to articulate what has driven me to take all the blame, responsibility, and the denial that goes with it. The desperation to hold on and hang in there when some part of me knew it was a bad and hopless deal… for myself, I was so desperate to be loved unconditionally that I overlooked all the conditions I lived with, till I would break. And I would take the blame. How can any of us know how to have a realtionship or to recognize red flags when all our boundary information was stolen from us? We learn the hard way, or we learn from writers like you who share….. thanks

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th November

      Because I have read your books, I know your story ~ and it is really understandable why you took the blame. It was how you grew up. Logic and emotion are not related. You were “told” over and over that it was you. The “some part of you that knew” is that part that we are trying to build up. That is the part that has been so torn down. I was desperate to be loved, but I didn’t have a clue what real love was. I only had the sick examples of love to go by. This is not about self blame or any blame, it is about UN doing the damage. Our boundary info needs to be replaced.
      Thanks for being here!

      Hi Judy, welcome to the blog. (your comments got held up in moderation, that is why they didn’t show up right away.)
      Awareness was really important for me too, but what made the real difference in my recovery was understanding what happened to my thought process when I was a child, why I ignored the red flags in the first place. Learning NOT to beat myself up, learning how to re-wire my belief system and learning the real definitions of love, equality, respect ~ that is what made the difference.
      Hugs, Darlene

      I am glad that you wrote this the way that you did. ~ that by the time you were 10 you had LEARNED to discount yourself and your feelings. Again, I really want the readers to HEAR that this is NOT about self blame. We have all done tons of that, it doesn’t help and it doesn’t get us any farther along on the journey!
      Amira, thank you for sharing this piece of your life. What a horrible thing that happened to you. I am so glad that you are part of this blog.
      Hugs, Darlene

  19. By: Kyla Posted: 10th November

    Thank you for sharing this topic- I have found myself ignoring those red flags in my past relationships- It always makes more sense when you are out of that situation you do see thing’s clearly- and can recognize wow..that really was a red flag right there. And it is hard to see it when your in an abusive relationship-

  20. By: Bethany Ruck Posted: 10th November

    Yuck! That creeps me out! Scary, scary guy. But I completely understand the denial that takes place in this. I’ve done it time and time again.

  21. By: Chrysalis Posted: 10th November

    I’m really good at ignoring red flags. I’m right up there with you on it, I think, heh.

    One that is particularly large in my mind at the moment is the red flags I ignored when I was assaulted at fifteen. I’d made friends with this young man online; he was 18, and we talked a fair bit. He had a good idea of certain things about me — like how mentally unwell I was, for a start.

    I went along to an internet “meet” that he went to. It was a group thing, my brother was there, and I’d met several of the others there before as well. He sat next to me and we talked. While we talked, he picked up a steak knife and began to play “stab” (where one stabs around their hand in increasing speed) … using MY hand.

    That should have been a pretty big red flag. I ignored it.

    It turned out that he’d gone to school with my brother’s girlfriend. She mentioned on several occassions how unbalanced he was. Not mentally ill, but just… not very nice.

    I ignore that flag, too.

    He suggested that next time the two of us meet “alone”. I thought that sounded nice, I didn’t have many friends and I was excited at the idea that a boy/man might want to be friends with me offline. He recommended coming to MY suburb.

    Another red flag. We should definitely have met somewhere neutral.

    He came to my house. We went for a walk together, even though it was drizzling with rain. One of the places we went was a park that had a lot of trees around. It was a shortcut that we were cutting through, and the first time, he said we should go into the trees to do what he wanted. When I said no, he repeated it and said also “nobody would see us”.

    RED FLAG. RED FLAG. I ignored it, too.

    We walked BACK through that same park when we were ready to go. RED FLAG, Chrysalis. Huge waving banner of red flag!

    And you know what sucks maybe worst of all, Darlene? I used the fact that I had ignored those red flags to JUSTIFY what he did. To make it all MY fault, instead of his. All because I was conditioned to believe that I was always the one at fault, that I am 100% responsible for everything that happens to me, for keeping myself safe and for keeping everyone else happy and looked after. Ouch.

  22. By: Sarah Smith Posted: 10th November

    i had to learn how to not actively attract “bad” men to me. Once I identified a “bad” mad, I would actively flirt with him, as the danger and excitement was intoxicating to me. Once the flirting began, I was unable to stop anything that commenced, and if I didn’t like it, I would blame myself since I was obviously the one who started it. My therapist walked me through the process with a particular man. It was difficult! I had to “be mean” to him, as any nicety on my part was interpreted as an advance by him. It was amazingly foreign to me, but I did it. He recently tried to “friend” me on facebook, and I have to admit it was hard for me to not accept. After all, not accepting a friend was “mean.” But I didn’t do it, despite the twinge of guilt I still feel.

  23. By: Wendi Posted: 10th November

    WOW, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Odd thing is I actually saw the warning signs…and it made it all the more “dangerous” and “attractive” and even “sexual”…hate to actually say that outloud…but those qualities all went together for me…and the great idea that I was going to be the ONE that made the difference, that brought them to the other side, love, compassion, understanding, turned them around…their savior. And for this they would be eternally grateful and love me forever and everyone would praise me for what I had done for them… One of two things always happened…either they actually improved (which honestly was more about them than me even if I was an influece) and then I lost interest…literally lost interest, or it got so bad or so dangerous that I went running back to mommy…. There are things I can look back on and said…hmmm…i should have realized “x” when that happened, but honestly….even though I didn’t necessarily know what the funny feeling I would get meant specifically…like why someone would snatch a bottle of pills out of my hand and pitch them out and refuse to tell me what it was…I did know that funny feeling was that feeling of knowing there was more than what i knew going on…and what a challenge…I’m gonna fix this thing right up!

    But wow, it never worked and I got so tired of trying and not understanding exactly how to stop being attracted to this… I couldn’t live without a relationship…so at the challenge of my counselor I did that for what we set at “at least a year with no relationship with a man” I could date and have fun…but no commitments…nothing even close. I was petrified. But it didn’t take long for me to see that I can do it…and it was fun and liberating even though challenging. Had I met my husband before that particular challenge to myself…I am quite sure it would not be the same as it is now. One or both of us would have lost interest, or not even been interested in the other’s initial personality…

    This counselor was short lived and this challenge to myself to realize that I am capable of living without a man to take care of me was not about my recovery…it was just me trying to escape abusive relationships. It did help me with that…but did not help me with the issues of anger, sadness, control, …. don’t want to give that misconception to anyone… I just learned by this experience of living w/o a man and finding that I really could do it…allowed me to realize that i don’t have to take bad treatment…I can do it on my own.

  24. By: Patty Hite Posted: 10th November

    Wow, Darlene,

    This really spoke to me. Of course it wasn’t until after 10 years of abuse from my ex, that I looked back at the “red flags.” And once I opened up the door to allowing myself to see them, more and more stuck out like a sore thumb. I too recognized my own inability to discern and trust my own judgement. Sad thing is, that when I did get out of the relationship, I didn’t trust myself at all.

    It took many years of healing and building my self up until I did.

    Thank you for sharing this. It was fantastic!!!!!

  25. By: Monica Posted: 10th November

    The 5th paragraph speaks volumes to me. I have not been in your situation Darlene, but I thank you so much for sharing your vulnerability and experience with us. If I had met up with a guy like that when I was younger, I’m not so sure I would have been able to discern truth from lies. I do know that I ignored questions and uneasy feelings in other situations, and I’ll be darned if I can think of one single time that turned out well …

    Interesting how we can be so afraid to ask those ‘red flag’ questions becs it might offend/hurt the other person, or ‘make them leave’. In fact, that is inevitable. That is how dysfunctional people function (sociopathic or not), and then they do the same to us ~ and make us think it’s our fault. How sad that we were taught such lies, that we were afraid to be left by the very people who would eventually hurt and abuse us anyway, that we were so desperate to be ‘loved’ we would ignore strong signals of danger and dysfunction. Thanks for your voice of reason and sanity!!! It is immensely helpful, even in retrospect.
    = )

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 10th November

      Hi Monica,
      As I was writing this post I realized how many “other situations” it applies to. How many other times that I ignored red flags. (One time I got in a car with two guys I didn’t know and they drove like crazy out of town till we got to the woods…)
      You highlight an important point when you talk about being afraid to hurt the feelings of someone. In this case, that someone actually already showed disregard for me. He was already lying. He was sneaking around with my car and with other women. and I still wanted to be loved by him, as though he was a challenge to be taken and the prize would be his love? Well I guess I was used to that kind of love.
      Another good point you make ~ that this is helpful even in retrospect. I found that it was in the looking back that I was able to straighten everything out. It was in the looking back that I was able to realize what I was thinking and what it was based on, (lies I believed about myself and my worth and lies about love etc.) We are encouraged to forget the past, but the harder I tried to do that the more I struggled with the present. Today I talk about the past all the time, and I don’t struggle anymore at all. (NOR do I feel the pain of the past because it understanding it all, it is no longer IN the present!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Thanks Patty,
      I noticed that too, that when I got out I was left with the worse feelings of failure, even more lack of self trust than ever before… ah yes.. another great point. Thanks for being here!
      Hugs, Darlene

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