Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Plausible... Or red flag?

(47 Posts)
Holdyourhobbyhorses Sat 11-Jan-14 10:03:06

Was just reading another thread re a man admitting to hitting an ex and wondered what you'd make of this?

I was recently dating someone who told me a story about an argument he'd had with his ex wife. She was angry with him and hit him round the head, he held her against the wall by the throat in self defence. Excusable in the circumstances or red flag?

He also said his last serious relationship had ended because his gf was projecting problems from her past abusive relationships onto him. They argued and she thought he looked at her as if he was going to hit her. He was at great pains to let me know that he was not that kind of man. Overcompensation on his part or genuinely misunderstood? How to discern the difference?

Ragusa Sat 11-Jan-14 10:06:28

Nope, avoid like the plague. I take it you're no longer seeing him?

Clutterbugsmum Sat 11-Jan-14 10:08:15


He told you about two relationships he had a both ex's were 'abusive'.

Ask yourselve if a woman hit a man why would he need to pin he to a wall by her throat why didn't he just move away or leave.

Loopytiles Sat 11-Jan-14 10:20:22

Do you really need to ask?!

Loopytiles Sat 11-Jan-14 10:20:49

Run for the hills.

Madmum24 Sat 11-Jan-14 10:20:53

I hope you atent still in the relationship, however, if a woman came on and said that she had to pin her boyfriend by the throat nobody would say why didnt you just leavehmm Abuse works both ways, although OP the fact he keeps goibg on about it would make me wonder ......

Blondeorbrunette Sat 11-Jan-14 10:22:17

What clutterbug said.

First thing my husband ever did to me was put his hands around my throat.


Notaddictedtosugar Sat 11-Jan-14 10:22:41

Massive massive red flag.

JeanSeberg Sat 11-Jan-14 10:27:40

Biggest red flag to me is that he told you all this while you were still in early stages of dating.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 11-Jan-14 10:48:46

There is such a thing being in a cycle of abusive relationships.

HoratiaDrelincourt Sat 11-Jan-14 10:51:18

He's been out with more than one person who is drawn to abusive men. Could be coincidence.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 11-Jan-14 10:51:22

He is giving you TMI for early-stage dating. What appears to be honest 'soul-baring' IME is not a good sign. Don't take the risk.

JeanSeberg Sat 11-Jan-14 10:51:29

Agreed Boney but this man needed a therapist not a girlfriend whatever the truth of the situation.

Dahlen Sat 11-Jan-14 10:54:02

Just by the law of statistics there will be cases like this where the man is telling the truth. That still makes it much more likely that this is a big red flag rather than an misunderstood innocent.

In cases where the man IS telling the truth, it's incredibly unfair I agree, but personally I would not want to be putting myself at risk by giving him that chance.

Holdyourhobbyhorses Sat 11-Jan-14 10:54:13

No longer dating, no.

Loopy- obviously I did need to ask! It was confusing, he seemed genuinely misunderstood. Though I have come to realise that abusive people are in such denial about what they do that they may genuinely believe they have done nothing wrong.

He also went on to tell me that I was projecting my past onto him and pushed boundaries a lot. Showed himself to be very manipulative and it ended because I refused to play games.

I actually think I had a very good read on him but he worked hard to try to convince me he was something he wasn't. My mistake was not trusting my intuition and being curious about the shades of grey. Lesson learned!

He is planning to become a therapist. I find it a bit creepy knowing what I know now.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 11-Jan-14 10:55:33

Score one for experience smile So you you knew it was a red flag and were just testing the MN vipers?

HoratiaDrelincourt Sat 11-Jan-14 10:55:34

If he is the unfortunate victim of statistics, he's still sharing too much about his ex's past. That's not candour, but indiscretion.

HoratiaDrelincourt Sat 11-Jan-14 10:56:22

Cross post.


Holdyourhobbyhorses Sat 11-Jan-14 11:00:20

Boney and Horatia- if he is in a cycle of abusive relationships, who is the abuser?

Cogito- I see what you mean, but would it be any better if he'd told me a couple of years in?

Jean- he has been in therapy for nearly 10 years (maybe on and off, not sure). I thought at first that this was a sign of someone taking responsibility for their personal growth, now I wonder if it's a sign of something deeper/darker? He didn't actually seem to know himself very well at all.

Holdyourhobbyhorses Sat 11-Jan-14 11:06:15

Sorry, lots of crossed posts!

Cogito- not testing smile I found the whole thing really confusing (becoming clearer with distance!). Would you just have walked away at that first sign or kept a look out for more? I thought a man who was willing to talk openly could be a good thing ... It was hard for me to discern, eyes blinded by physical attraction, what was what.

HoratiaDrelincourt Sat 11-Jan-14 11:07:47

On Relationships we often see women who were abused or neglected as children or in a first relationship moving on to a less-but-still abusive relationship because their expectations are low - if someone lets you keep some of your money and only hits you when he's drunk ...

There must be some traits that abusers tend to share (someone who is overly jealous and controlling might initially appear protective, for example) which are attractive but either don't last or are not actually good.

1974rach Sat 11-Jan-14 11:08:02

Glad you're out of the relationship. My ex told me a similar tale of woe. Should have listened....

Sounds to me like he's got a nasty streak - sooner or later it would have become plainly obvious

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 11-Jan-14 11:08:23


That is the one million dollar question.

On here (MN) it has been posted that talking about this would make the ex the "Psycho Ex" which would be a red flag, but of course not talking about a previous relationship is also a red flag and not having any history of relationships is also a red flag.

Personally I would be more concerned about the physical assault. (by both parties)

Allergictoironing Sat 11-Jan-14 11:20:35

The bit that was the red flag for me was " he held her against the wall by the throat in self defence". Unless she was a VERY strapping girl, and he's a total wimp, holding by the throat isn't necessary for self defence! Holding both arms maybe, but never ever by the throat shock.

Holdyourhobbyhorses Sat 11-Jan-14 11:26:09

Yeah, exactly that, Allergictoironing.

I couldn't see it at the time but he had me over a barrel. If I'd criticised him I'd have been just like his other ex ( he knew I had a difficult relationship with dc's dad but not the extent of it) and I didn't want to be another 'difficult ' gf. Oh dear :-/

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 11-Jan-14 11:36:02

I would, and have, walked away from a date for much less. I walked away, for example, from a date that fastidiously lined up the ornamental boxes on his coffee table. smile I walked away from a date that, on arrival at my home, asked me what it was worth (which is a lot) in a more than casual manner....

FloWhite Sat 11-Jan-14 13:53:19

I was involved with a man who told me a similar story about his ex wife - he'd got her around the throat after she lost her temper and he told me that although he really, really wanted to hurt her he didn't, he was the 'bigger man' hmm.

Not long afterwards he was angry with me for having one wine too many (in his opinion) the night before. I caught an expression of something akin to hatred on his face when looking on at me and that was it. Game over.

Big. Red. Flag.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Sat 11-Jan-14 15:03:51

I think what he was doing, through a pity party sort of dynamic, was to set up the dilemma for you to walk on eggshells in circumstances that he does something that bothers you (and knows it) but you have already been sfu. It was, imho: Rule One: you can not criticize him.
YES big red flag, run.

His using the word "projecting" is both feet jumping into the deep end of mind games. That card would be available 24/7.
YES, red flag, run

He was also saying that he believes it is acceptable to choose an argument management technique of putting his hands around someone's control them. Well, what about him controlling himself?
YES big red flag, run.

Also, his sharing some rather private details about previous relationships would leave me to believe that any private goings on with me would be launched into the public realm as well. That is the point I would walk away on regardless if the story included physical assault. Yes, knowledge of previous relationships is a good point to know...but I think there is a fine line of allowing someone privacy (as I would want for myself). There was/were previous relationships, did not work out, move about all that is needed to be known. I would walk on knowledge of how he treated someone else, but I would not be demanding the details myself.
Yes, red flag, walk.

Glad you sussed him out, hobbyhorses! grin

Lweji Sat 11-Jan-14 15:15:07

Holding by the throat against the wall is not self defence. If he really meant to defend himself, he should have grabbed her arms or wrists. Not the throat.

I'd walk away from anyone who'd tell me he laid a hand on his partner, let alone put his hands around the throat.

Holdyourhobbyhorses Sun 12-Jan-14 08:50:38

Yes to all of that TheBand, though the use of the word projection was mine, I paraphrased. Do you mean someone using that word is a red flag or the act of projection is a red flag? Eg he prefers female friends, has some kind of a problem with men (another red flag??) but told me that I have issues with men hmm

Does anyone else find it odd that someone wrapped in red flag bunting wants to be a therapist and particularly wants to work with women? Or would the training straighten him out?

Holdyourhobbyhorses Sun 12-Jan-14 08:53:49

Cog- I've also walked away from a date who asked me too many questions about my home but there was no spark so it was easy. I find it so much harder when there's chemistry confused

Lizzabadger Sun 12-Jan-14 08:55:05

Red flags.

There are plenty of weirdo/outright nasty therapists, psychiatrists etc.

Lweji Sun 12-Jan-14 09:04:06

As I understand it, MH professionals have to have therapy themselves, but I don't know if it selects weirdos out.

Lizzabadger Sun 12-Jan-14 09:15:02

Not all. Depends on the profession. Plenty of weirdos.

Holdyourhobbyhorses Sun 12-Jan-14 09:20:02

Can anyone explain the psychology behind not wanting to see the blatantly obvious?

Meet guy, lots of sparks, have a really amazing time together but want to ignore the flags basically sums it up for me. I want to be wrong about the negative side...why?

"Meet guy, lots of sparks, have a really amazing time together but want to ignore the flags basically sums it up for me. I want to be wrong about the negative side...why?"

Denial, poor self esteem and self worth, wanting to see the good side in everybody, fear of being rejected. Perhaps you have rescuer and or saving tendencies; you want to rescue the waifs and strays and love them better. Being a rescuer and or a saviour in a relationship though never works nor does loving them better.

Do you tend to go for really the same type?.

I would spend some time not being in a relationship before embarking on another one.

What did you learn about relationships when growing up?. What examples did your parents set?. That also deserves serious thought.

Re this comment of yours:-
"Does anyone else find it odd that someone wrapped in red flag bunting wants to be a therapist and particularly wants to work with women? Or would the training straighten him out?".

No is my answer to both questions.

Freyalright Sun 12-Jan-14 14:25:36

It sounds like self defence. The views on the thread about woman beating her husband, tend to say that it can be a one off, there are circumstances when DV is acceptable, and the victim probably asked for it. Which boggles my mind. I think genuine restraint or self defence is different. It's hard to call when you don't know someone well. So probably leave it.
From the confessions of one off DV, on the other thread, I dare say it is more common than people suggest.

Thants Sun 12-Jan-14 14:49:50

That is word for word what my friend was told by a man... I actually realised I knew his ex vaguely and it turns out he was just abusive and a druggie. He just tells this version of events to make himself feel better I think.
Keep away from men like this.

chateauferret Sun 12-Jan-14 14:54:19

On what planet is pinning someone and holding against the wall "self-defence"?

Meerka Sun 12-Jan-14 16:21:22

Holding by the throat? reasons don't matter, that's a big red flag. Going for the throat indicates an instinct to, well, go for the jugular. Real self defense is arms or something similar, as someone said upthread.

The too early-disclosure, the telling you about 'boundary issues' etc .. all bad stuff. Think you dodged a bullet here.

A few people go into therapy and even train as therapists simply to become better and more subtle at their manipulation. He sounds one of them. Pity his poor patients :s

Lweji Sun 12-Jan-14 16:36:32

It sounds like self defence.

Never in a million years. The natural reaction for defence against a slap is to prevent another slap, not to kill the other person.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Sun 12-Jan-14 21:10:44

It is complicated, hobbyhorses. The kind of complicated that one doesn't need in a relationship.

Do you mean that he was assigning behavior patterns to you (you have issues with men) based on how he has witnessed other (women) act? Imho, that is projection. That is BAD because it renders you invisible, and he is (or will) rewriting your truth to suit his purposes. This is also known as "gaslighting", a true mindfuck.

Rereading your post, I see he said his previous gf treated him that way. Why would he tell you about this? And then he shows he picked up a technique and began to try it out on you. You were going to be a research project, I think. Yes, big red flag, fully unfurled.

Holdyourhobbyhorses Sun 12-Jan-14 22:27:51

Thanks Attila, good food for thought there. Probably all of that is true to some extent.

Andtheband- he said that I must think all men are bastards (I made NO sweeping statements about men whatsoever) and I found myself justifying and saying all people are capable of being crappy to each other etc. It was v weird tbh. I hadn't seen it as gas lighting...

He in fact finds it hard to be friends with men because he doesn't like them. I felt he was projecting his own feelings about men onto me (assuming I felt what he felt).

One of his ex's thought he was going to hit her once, he said this was because she had experienced abuse in the past so she therefore imagined it. He thought I would do the same- if he did something I didn't like it would be because I wasn't capable of seeing the truth, just like his ex (this was all theoretical).

"I want to be wrong about the negative side...why?"

Because you fancy the pants off him. That's what can get us into all sorts of fixes. Listen to the advice here.

wishes mn had been around in the 80's

AndTheBandPlayedOn Mon 13-Jan-14 03:04:48

I think he was setting up a dynamic where your truth would be dismissed before it even happened. The theoretical has a way to slip into being the template for control, goal posts that can dance around.

Imho, we ignore the red flags for the capital swoon ...then we learn the hard way. sad

Holdyourhobbyhorses Mon 13-Jan-14 09:30:56

Yes TheBand, that's what it felt like.

I am very grateful to MN, I have learned a lot from this board. I found the strength to leave my DC''s father (EA) after reading and learning on here.

This one was a bit of a shock as I thought I'd learned so much and would walk at the first sign. Damn you lust...

AndTheBandPlayedOn Mon 13-Jan-14 14:00:11

I am glad you were able to get away from the EA. MN helped me, first SEE it, and then the why and the what to do, and even more valuable (if possible) how to do it. But for me, the EA came from my sister. confused

Imho, learning about social dynamics, in the dating realm in particular, is an on going process because EA can be/is so subtle, and insideous. I think it comes to the point of having our boundaries, and perhaps to a zero tolerance, respect those boundaries regardless of context, "pity party", or any other circumstance (£); akin to Cognito 's policy regarding the bloke who fastidiously lined up the ornamental boxes on his coffee table. We do not really need to know why, or to understand. We just get the gut feeling and just know it is not going to be good so immediately move on.

It may take time/experience to build up a personal catalog of known red flags. But that is the absolute beauty of MN, and the pure generosity of the people all over the planet who take the time to share their experiences so we all do not have to recreate the wheel time and time again.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now