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To say dv is often carried out by people who are 'charm personified'

(165 Posts)
notnagging Thu 14-Feb-13 13:52:19

Just got me thinking. I know people who's partners seem lovely to the outside world but are monsters behind closed doors. That's the whole point. When something does happen people don't believe it.

Pandemoniaa Thu 14-Feb-13 14:27:19

From my experience (although thankfully not personally) quite a few emotional and physical abusers rely on the fact that their outwardly pleasant and charming behaviour can make it exceedingly difficult for their partners to be believed when the truth comes out.

notnagging Thu 14-Feb-13 14:29:27

Exactly pandamonia. Another way of making their victim feel helplesssad

gordyslovesheep Thu 14-Feb-13 14:33:01

well yes - if they went around with 'I am an abusive shit' tattooed on their heads it would make life harder for them - of course they tend to hide it!

slatternlymother Thu 14-Feb-13 14:33:28

I think you're right.

DH has always had a bit of a 'sixth sense' for it, as his own father beat him and his mother mercilessly sad

He says there are little things he picks up on which give him shivers down his spine in some people.

AnneNonimous Thu 14-Feb-13 14:35:39

I think you're right yes,

My ex is extremely popular with colleagues and friends, everyone comments how 'charming' he is. Behind closed doors he had me absolutely terrified.

theindecisive Thu 14-Feb-13 14:36:42

I guess it is true of all abusers - paedophiles often actively seek out highly respectable roles.
What things is it your DH picks up on slatternly?

Samu2 Thu 14-Feb-13 14:40:56


My dad is a sociopath. People love him. He is a monster but that man oozes charm and kindness when he needs to.

GingerPCatt Thu 14-Feb-13 14:42:07

In the book psychopath test the author mentions that psychopaths are usually charming at least on the surface.

corlan Thu 14-Feb-13 14:53:16

It was true of my XP.

If I hadn't been on the receiving end of his violence for years, I'd find it hard to believe myself.
Probably part of the reason I stayed so long - he was lovely when he wasn't knocking me around sad

adeucalione Thu 14-Feb-13 14:59:11

I was going to say that same thing about the Jon Ronson book Ginger. I struggled to sleep after reading some of those statistics!

Dahlen Thu 14-Feb-13 15:06:01

I'd say there are two distinct types of abuser.

There are those who tend to throw their abuse round pretty indiscriminately and are known for being violent generally (which they seem to wear as a badge of pride in some cases). These are often the sorts who move in social circles where abuse of women is to some extent normalised because violence itself is normalised. If you haven't had the misfortune to grow up in a family/community where this behaviour is normalised, these types stand out a mile.

At the other end is the charming abuser, like the OP describes and these are far more dangerous - not least because when it comes to leaving them they are very good at playing the victim and painting the abused as unstable. These are the ones who might make a play for residency - usually knowing they won't get it and only with the intention to show that they 'fought hard to see my kids' because for these types their outward image is everything. A woman mad enough to leave them has to be shown to be an irrational bitch who 'plays games with the children'. There are little tell-tale signs with these sorts of abusers, but you have to know what they are and you have to look at them as an overall pattern rather than isolated incidents, all of which can be explained away very easily on their own merits.

freddiemisagreatshag Thu 14-Feb-13 15:09:02

There are some people who make my blood run cold. I've never been wrong yet. Even though on the surface they were charming - it's something behind the eyes, some sort of a disconnect I think I sense.

Corygal Thu 14-Feb-13 15:10:09

Well, it would make sense wouldn't it. Charm both lures people in and conceals the damage when dv begins - I'd say it's an essential quality of the successful abuser.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Thu 14-Feb-13 15:21:42

Slatternly My DH is exactly the same. And he is invariably right. It's something in the eyes, he says, and the way they are in space - there seems to be extra space around them, in a warning/predatory way. He can't explain the space thing very well and I don't always like to ask him.

Dahlen Thu 14-Feb-13 15:22:06

All of the following mean nothing by themselves, and some can actually be considered plus points in isolation, but together they suggest a man who thinks he has the right to put his own wants, needs and behaviour before his DPs.

• Mildly sexist, sometimes even chivalrous-sounding, comments about women. The downside of treating women as princesses is that they are less than human. Obviously, full-on sexism speaks for itself.

* Any comments about women who have 'brought it on themselves' or 'six of one and half a dozen of the other' or 'she provoked him' regarding rape or abuse of any sort.

• Strong judgements of other people's failings, quite often compared to what he would do which is so much better.

• No incidences in the past where he has been at fault. It's always someone else's, however, plausible that sounds. No one is ever truly blameless for everything that happens in their life.

• A history of past girlfriends/wives who have treated him badly/ripped him off/had an affair/MH problems/wont' let him see the children/turned his friends on him, etc. Bonus points if he manages to do this without resorting to name-calling as it will make him sound oh, so reasonable in the face of terrible provocation.

• Firm views on the 'right' way to live your life, e.g. traditional married family with male breadwinner. Nothing wrong with this, of course, but unwillingness to accept that alternative models work well for other people show a narrowmindedness and inflexibility that will undoubtedly be applied to his partner should they ever disagree on something.

• Tendency to be dismissive and disdainful, even if polite, towards waitresses, shop staff or anyone perceived to be 'lesser'.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 14-Feb-13 15:26:54

I often point people on the Relationship board towards this article entitled 'Are you dating an abuser'? A lot of your early warning signs Dahlen are in it.

Cherriesarelovely Thu 14-Feb-13 15:33:45

That's what my DP says OP. She tells meoften how her own abusive father was a charming, brilliant, hugely well regarded figure in their community. Noone would have believed the way he behaved behind
closed doors. She also feels she has a sixth sense for others like him.

notnagging Thu 14-Feb-13 15:35:27

There are some things you see people do like lose their temper but regain themselves when in public that you think hmm they wouldn't be composing themselves if no one was looking. It's true the eyes are a big giveaway.

maddening Thu 14-Feb-13 15:37:37

My ex was alcoholic, narcissistic and abusive (prob not the worst but emotionally and physically abusive) but he has tons of charm - probably not only the reason that those outside don't know but also the reason they can talk themselves back in after a dv incident - when you're feeling at your lowest after it's been bad then he is the one charming his way back in.

MurderOfGoths Thu 14-Feb-13 15:38:26

YANBU at all.

porridgeLover Thu 14-Feb-13 15:41:44

I was reading this old thread this morning.

The article linked on it talks about the differences between 'niceness' and 'goodness'. It's very illuminating IMO.
Street angels, house devils.

RoseGarden123 Thu 14-Feb-13 15:43:13

No not at all!
My ex DP could be as nasty as hell behind closed doors but everyone else thought he was wonderful - half the reason he was able to have 'control' over me for such a period of time, as I just thought maybe I misunderstood him or I caused it when everyone else said how wonderful he was!
funny what others say about 'eyes' my best friend always would say to me he never smiled with his eyes, they were always hard and she was the only one who saw him for his true nature.
I think charm is all part of the manipulation and control elements of the personality od someone who will commit DV!

Merl0t Thu 14-Feb-13 15:45:40

My x was not charming but he was so respectable, confident, normal.... i had to face him in court rrecently an i knew my solicitor doubted that he had been abusive to me. he was suited, booted and chatting to fellow professionals (solicitors). i was the single mother on benefits and was portrayed as grasping and entitled and a liar by his solicitor. my own said he didnt want to put me in front of the judge.....

Merl0t Thu 14-Feb-13 15:51:25

I believe my x has forgotten his abuse. i am so worthless that he'd be as likely to remember stepping on a snail. abusing me was so mundane. he knocked down doors to get ar me, left bruises on my cheek, took a clymp out of my hair, hurt my eye and neck, took a power drill into spare room to take apart spare bed! he also put his hands around my neck and told me i had no idea how badly he wanted to kill me. he threw my phone in the toilet once when i finally tried to ring for help..... but he was courteous to lical shop keepers, neighbours, colleagues....

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