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Red flags I should have heeded - share yours for womenkind

(1000 Posts)
ParsleyTheLioness Mon 16-Apr-12 21:13:47

There were various red flags that meant I should have headed for the hills, but I was vulnerable at the time, and he only upped the ante several years and a child down the line. I will share mine, in the hope that someone may take it on board, and hopefully others will share theirs too.
In no particular order: very early on in our relationship, he would throw a strop for no reason that I could discern, and looking back, still didn't know what had triggered it. I just knew I felt bad afterwards.
He was always unaware of personal space, and would frequently invade mine. Eg in the car, he would suddenly lurch accross me to access the glove box, without any warning. His car, his space.
Subtle undermining tactics. I am very particular about the perfume I wear. Anything else is a bit of waste of money really. He knew this, but would always try to 'convert' me to another one.
There were many others, and things got worse, with lots of EA, some dv, but I am just thinking of the things that had my Twat Detector been working, would have encouraged me to get out before I had emotionally invested. Please feel free to add. I'm sure I shall think of lots of other things later.

Becky36 Tue 17-Apr-12 00:23:44

I can remember talking to a quite a senior police officer about this subject and he said that these men often target women who they perceive to be strong and capable as these women are more of a 'prize' than women who they see as weaker then they are.

It's like your strength threatens them in some way and they want to pull you down.

I have to say that Lundy Bancroft's book (much discussed on here) was invaluable for me. I realised that it wasn't me. it was them and I could not change who they were. The only person I could influence was me.

Bumblefeck Tue 17-Apr-12 00:39:39

I was talking about this the other day with my mother

- Over-rection to any arguments, he once spent an hour sobbing very loudly so i was sure to hear in the bath after I disagreed with him about politics
- My family were not "our kind" of people
- He loved me after about a month, and had quickly worked out when we would get engaged, married, kids etc
- We had 2 different types of teaspoons, one for making tea etc, and one for eating yoghurts etc with. They had to point different ways in the drawer
- Refused to put my name on the house, refused to put my name on the car that I paid for because it was "simpler"

In my defence I was only 16 when I met him

garlicnutter Tue 17-Apr-12 00:51:10

YY, unfortunately women who they perceive to be strong and capable are often that way through a lethal combination of perfectionism and hidden insecurities <flagellates self>

That reminds of another red flag - I saw it on a thread here today, actually. When you find yourself yourself going on about how strong you are, how you can stick up for yourself and how you "can take" anything/it/something ... you need to ask MN if you're being abused. And listen to the answer.

garlicnutter Tue 17-Apr-12 00:52:23

ARGH at teaspoons, Bumble!

And a very small grin

LesserOfTwoWeevils Tue 17-Apr-12 00:54:01

Told me all about how he'd slept with all his ex's friends, while sniggering with glee at his own naughtiness and cleverness.
Got involved with me while his previous girlfriend was pregnant. He told me they were over but failed to mention that to her. In the end she gave him the boot so he was all mine hmm...until he could persuade someone else to shag him.

Bobits Tue 17-Apr-12 00:59:14

Underneath it all,
They are nothing.
They are rife with insecurities and vulnerability.
And they are angry at what everyone else has that they don't.
They love to see any imperfection in you,
And they love to bully you,
It makes them feel like someone.
But when you leave they become nothing again.

They do wear a mask. And they try so hard to hide their true self, but all the lies catch up with them. And they end up the real losers hiding in denial.

MyDogShitsShoes Tue 17-Apr-12 01:12:05

For crying out loud garlic where were you 12 fricking years ago!

HazleNutt Tue 17-Apr-12 03:14:42

where to start..

doing me unasked for 'favours', and getting shirty when I wasn't sufficiently grateful - oh yes. Mine called me 3AM to tell me that he has booked a skiing trip for us. I don't ski and hate snow, which he knew very well, as we had discussed that I do not want to go skiing, ever. Besides that, it was 3AM and I was sleeping. Then he manufactured a fight as apparently I was not enthusiastic enough about the plan and refused to take my calls.

- No real friends.

- all previous relationships ended because exes were cheating psycho bitches.

- did not like my friends. Actually claimed that they did not like him and his feelings were hurt, although my friends were nothing but nice and polite. Suggested that I should see less of them too.

- constantly correcting and criticizing me. but in a nice way, to help me improve, all for my own good.

- the sulking, oh the sulking. I never knew what I might have done wrong this time to ruin his mood. I did not seem to be doing anything right any more. But we would be so happy if I just tried more..

Preggersntired Tue 17-Apr-12 03:22:41

Ooh plenty ...

He belittled his friends in front of me.
Other friends of his were criminals..( ok So I was young & stupid, bit on ions this one..)
Telling me I was fat (er... no!)
OTT name-calling ... And über-critical of others, including my family; and subsequently driving a wedge between us so I would have no support.
That my friends & family didn't like him.
Overly friendly with some women... Even whilst going out with me

If only we could condense all this knowledge into a book for girls!

BenedictsCumberbitch Tue 17-Apr-12 03:39:48

The lies over the most ridiculous of things.

Proposing within 4 months.

Wanting me to get pregnant straight away (I was 17 and he was 22).

No friends other than one older woman, mother figure? Who adored him in a not quite right kind of way.

Unable to hold down a job for any length of time and it was never his fault he was 'let go'.

He once lied that my mum confided in him that my dad had an affair. My mum hated in him and wouldn't have confided in him if her car needed topping up with petrol never mind anything else.

He convinced me to let him film us having sex (cringe) even though I was deeply unhappy about it because the strop lasted about 6 days.

He also tried to convince me he'd been having dreams where a young boy was trying to contact him from 'beyond'. He said he believed the boy to be called X, the name of my dads brother who died in childhood. He'd been rifling through my parents old photos.

He also tried to convince me he had stigmata once. I told him I'd seen him clenching his fingernails into the palms of his hand but I was the mental one for not knowing they were the marks of Christ. Obviously. And it still took me about 6 months to get rid of him.

And the best one was he forced me to try speed because I couldn't possibly criticise him for using it until I'd experienced it. I was young and stupid and completely in his grip sad

mathanxiety Tue 17-Apr-12 04:36:53

Admitted early drinking and driving as a teen with no regrets, same for going to strip clubs. At the same time, wouldn't dream of missing mass. Bothered me to write a thank you note to his mother when she sent me a blouse as a gift my post. The bothering started the day the package arrived. At the same time, gave me hints that he hated his mother.

'The perfect man', but too much too soon, professed eternal love, blah blah. Put me on a pedestal, told me his beliefs about me, which were all baloney. I was every shade of wonderful, I should do X and Y and Z career-wise, never mind what I had to say about my life.

Maybe this was just another way that we were poles apart and maybe he was genuinely trying to throw me in the deep end to be struck by terror on purpose, but he never worried about the important little details. I was sent off to do X or Y or Z task or errand lacking some basic piece of paperwork, like the LSAT, in London, without the all-important registration card that I needed to get in (it hadn't arrived in the post but he couldn't see why I wouldn't be fine without it), and the directions to Grey's Inn which I had to first find and then find the exam location there after getting into the city from my relatives' home in Carshalton at the crack of stupid o'clock one Saturday morning, my second time ever in London, having travelled from Dublin. I had never done an American style multiple choice test like the LSAT either, but my nervousness was like water off a duck's back to him. It simply didn't register. Arrived with my pencils and only my Irish passport for ID and had to argue to be allowed to sit the exam, alongside very hardboiled American students all of whom were bragging loudly about the fantastic law schools they were applying to, brandishing their registration cards and swigging diet coke at 7.30 am. Sending me to do the LSAT was a favour as I was going to be making something of my life.

Went berserk about his flatmates' messiness despite the fact that he was always the last one to join the merry band in all his digs and despite the fact that they had never sat down and worked out any house rules together. Maybe he assumed they were the same neatfreaks that he was, but a therapist suggested to me later that these displays of temper were done to show me a little of his true self and see my reaction. Couldn't live with people, it turned out, without hating them in a very short time. Initially all was sweetness and light and they were the best roomies in the universe. He had four addresses in three years.

Critical of my friends and our mutual friends behind their backs. Very dismissive about everything Irish whose merit didn't make sense to him immediately. Arrogant and superior attitude...

Thought misogyny and fattism were funny. Thought that No didn't necessarily mean No and that the essence of rape is not lack of consent, thought consent once given couldn't be changed.

Response to shock and trauma (bad news from back home in the US) was to isolate himself from me.

<whacks self on forehead>

meredeux Tue 17-Apr-12 06:42:29

friends and family didn't like him (they could see what I was blind to)

Leverette Tue 17-Apr-12 07:27:27

Being approached by several of his colleagues of both sexes who felt the need to warn me that he wasn't very nice and that I could do better and needed to be careful.

Being hassled after our first date when he went on a pre arranged trip away for five days because I didn't call him.

Being emailed, phoned, approached in person, texted constantly until I agreed a second date.

Being told in far too much gory detail how he was convinced his exW must be gay because she maintained a close female friendship. Even told me he'd made a pass at said friend to try to 'split them up'.

Telling me lots of stories about being accused of bullying at work, getting into fights, getting embarrassingly drunk and behaving badly.

Telling me all about how exW wore stockings and suspenders under her work clothes to please him and why couldn't I do that.

Obsessive, morbid jealousy about an ex I've remained friends with including threats and intimidation.

Accusing me of meeting up with someone when I walked the dog for twenty mins one evening, when he'd been invited to come with me confused

Too many others to mention really.

Seven months on I still feel like such a twat for believing the 'good side' when all this crap was staring me in the face.

Lueji Tue 17-Apr-12 07:53:32

Jealousy

Lack of self deprecating sense of humour

Not offering to take heavy loads off me

The car he bought

WhippingGirl Tue 17-Apr-12 07:58:14

Benedicts - exp tried to force me to try coke with him for the exact same reason. And some sex acts. I never gave in but he tormented me with it the entire relationship . U would never tolerate a man again who can't accept that as an adult I have the right to say no to lifestyle choices like that for any reason I choose. I don't have to justify not taking drugs to anyone!!!! He sex acts and drugs became irrelevant. He truce for year to break me down by getting me to do things I was very opposed to. I also k sw that if I did them that would have empower him to walk all over me even more. I think this was the biggest, reddest, huge bloody banner if them all!!!!!

Imwhat galled him the most was that he knew I had lots of more experimental
Sex in less serious relationships and was so annoyed I wouldn't do it with him. Duh! The previous partners had been much more relaxed and made me feel safe about trying things and I trusted them. Exp made me feel more vulnerable than any man even hAs. Sigh

ParsleyTheLioness Tue 17-Apr-12 07:58:44

Ma interesting what you said about displays of temper and the therpist. Was that about showing you himself to see how much he could get away with, then pushing the boundaries?
Superior attitude. My STBXH was raised to believe he was better than other people. Still believes this. His mother thinks that all the family are better, despite their biggotted dm reading attitudes. eg, they once went to Blackpool for their hols, cos they had a relative who they could stay with. They had to say they had been to the South Lakes.... He goes to church, and is a Church Steward. Don't know what they would have to say about his dv and ea....complete hypocrite. As are the family.

ChickenSkin Tue 17-Apr-12 08:05:32

Constant lying. Lying about everything from "no I swear I have no debt with that company, the debt collector letter must be a mistake!" to "I had salad for lunch"

A history of debt and impulse buying - the guy was in the process of losing his house and going bankrupt - and he thought this would be a good time to buy "an acre of the moon".

Never learnt from past mistakes. Bankrupt one year, applied for a ridiculously high apr credit card two years later, maxed it out within 6 months, began struggling to make payments.

Constant pressure/nagging for sex as well as trying to "arrange sex appointments". Telling me it was ok that I didn't want to as he'd be quick.

well ....... that has successfully ruined my mood for the day.

ChickenSkin Tue 17-Apr-12 08:06:00

Sorry, can I just add "road rage" onto there please.

ParsleyTheLioness Tue 17-Apr-12 08:14:05

my Dad used to say 'street Angel, house devil' about Some Men. He never saw that he was one.... I picked a charming bully, same as my dad.

Lueji Tue 17-Apr-12 08:24:38

Oh and that time he drove me mad with his jealousy, not dropping the subject and to the point of offending me so that I slapped him and he grabbed me by the neck pushing me against the wall.
He promised never to do that again and he didn't for 12 years but I should have gone with my first instinct and not marry the loser.

I felt guilty for hitting him first.

BenedictsCumberbitch Tue 17-Apr-12 08:29:40

I've thought of more (same man), he went berserk when I said I was still going on a girls holiday that was booked before we met, I resorted to making up fake letters from the holiday company (scanned in their logo to my computer) threatening court action if I cancelled so he'd 'let' me go.

He broke up with me on my 18th birthday and made me late for my birthday meal because I was begging him to get back together and apologising for whatever minor misdemeanour had made him break up with me.

Stole money from me.

Begged me not to go away to uni (I didn't), my poor parents didn't know what to do for the best. Robbed me of two of what should have been the best years of my life before I finally saw the light, the flags were there from the beginning I just didn't have the experience to see them for what they were, it was my first setious relationship. I can only thank all my lucky stars he didn't succeed in tying me to him irrevocably by getting me pregnant. No wonder I went off the rails when we split up (and ended up pregnant to my next boyfriend - now my amazing DH- within 3 months of meeting).

VivianDarkbloom Tue 17-Apr-12 08:38:09

Sorry to hear about all the EA that's gone on here. I won't go into my experiences of that as it's been so thoroughly covered here, but I'll never again ignore signs that a man is still obsessed with his semi-famous ex and apparently unaware that going on and on and on and on and on and on about her to your new girlfriend for the first several months is not really appropriate, and guess what, will make her feel like shit.

If anyone's in a similar situation, take it from me that you can't "win": you can eventually have him say he loves you, move into his house, be showered with adoration, even be explicitly told that your relationship is better, probably even marry the guy and have his kids, but you'll always feel that you're not quite good enough, not quite perfect, not quite ideal. Once it's there it's not going anywhere.

MyDogShitsShoes Tue 17-Apr-12 08:51:01

Can I just add that I had no fricking idea of all of this until this thread!

I left him because he cheated, thought all of this stuff was normal and just him! In my defense there was no dv for me thank god but still I'm going to give myself a concussion from all the face-palming angry

Yy to the "thank you note for mother". If either of his parents so much as farted in my direction I was meant to fall over myself with gratitude.

Totally shit with money. Used to go on massive sulks if I was overcome with glee when he spent our last £5 on a magazine and some chocolate for me confused .

Had very specific ideas about sex. After the first couple of times when I said something about not wanting to feel like I had to follow some sort of bloody script every time (see, I had balls then!) he went in a massive sulk and didn't speak to me for a week. When he eventually dained to see me he made a point of telling me that he "very nearly dumped me because of that, he was so pissed off".

Why the hell didn't I see that he was quite clearly "showing me his true self to see how much he could get away with".

Also just remembered that just before we got together I'd got back in touch with my best friend from high school (male). He was so jealous but in such a sweet way, hated feeling like that, just couldn't understand why I couldn't see how gorgeous I was and how no many could ever want to be just friends with me. I didn't mind phasing him out, he was only my best friend through 4 years of high school, no big deal, I wasn't at all chuffed at having bumped into him completely by chance. [Insert wee humphy face here]

Did I also say that although he and his parents are stiflingly close every other member of his family is a complete nutcase/can't be trusted/hates them etc. They fell out with the whole rest of the family for 13 years but they were the victims, it was all made up.

angry angry angry

I blame all of you <narrows eyes and points finger around thread> why did no fucker tell me?! Alright I never told anyone because I thought it was all normal and everyone I knew was jealous of how happy we were, but still!

MyDogShitsShoes Tue 17-Apr-12 08:54:47

* wasn't overcome with glee at the magazine obv! Only because i'm so bloody ungrateful mind you, not because I would then have to lend him £5 to buy petrol.

Unreasonable cow.

ParsleyTheLioness Tue 17-Apr-12 08:55:52

I think people do tell us, and we choose not to listen, cos we is in luuuuuurve. When a man shows you who he is, listen. If a man ever says "I'm a bastard, I am" this is him being truthful. Believe him, and run for your life.

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