I’ve spoken on this subject many times, but feel the need to shout about it once again. In just my case files alone, about 85% of my clients were victims of some sort of controlling/manipulative person/abuser in their lifetime. It is a serious social problem that profoundly wounds the survivors at their very core.
Just yesterday, a murder suspect was found dead in southern Iowa. Suffering what authorities believe was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was wanted for the murder of his significant other and had spent 30 days in jail in 2001 for violence against her.
A WHO news reporter interviewed some of this man’s (Taylor’s) friends. A good friend said, “It feels like a bad dream. I just can’t imagine him ever doing anything like this.” (I’ve paraphrased her exact words.)
All friends and neighbors of manipulative and controlling people/abusers say the same thing. Don’t be one of those friends and/or neighbors. Learn all you can about domestic violence.
Lesson 1 –
Do not be fooled by false stereotypes. Controlling and manipulative behavior is abusive and knows no economic, religious, race, gender boundaries. They can be rich or poor…well educated or not…a corporate executive or a temporary worker. They may be sitting next to you in the pew at church on Sunday morning or on a bar stool in your local pub.
They are everywhere!
Lesson 2 –
Controlling and manipulative people/abusers are almost always charming and likable people. They have to be so that you are fooled into believing what Taylor’s friend believed…”He isn’t that kind of guy! She’s just out of control/crazy!” They ARE usually very likable, unless you are the one that s/he is trying to control.
Lesson 3 –
Controlling and manipulative people/abusers do not view their significant other (or children) as human beings but rather as a piece of property that is needing to conform to their desires. “If you do what I say, everything will be fine. If not, then you asked for what you got and I am not responsible for the outcome – you are!”
Lesson 4 –
In cases of verbal/emotional abuse, there is an 80% chance that it will escalate to physical violence. If verbal control and manipulation techniques fail, then the manipulator/controller will ratchet it up and take it to a more controlling level in 80% of the cases.
Lesson 5 –
If a friend, neighbor, family member talks to you about believing their partner is abusive/controlling/manipulative – TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY! The only way to stop abuse is for others to stand up to it. Controlling and manipulative people/abusers will only back down if their image has been damaged and they do not get the social support that they have worked hard at building. If you challenge them about the abuse, they will slow down in their abusive behaviors – maybe even stopping.
I know of a woman who lived with a controlling and manipulative man for many years. Then O.J. Simpson went on trial for the murder of his wife and her friend. The media coverage brought the cold, hard reality of domestic violence into the homes of Americans – day after day. As a result, this man stopped physically abusing his wife. The emotional abuse continued, but he never again physically assaulted her. It wasn’t over, but it slowed down.
We as a society must learn about the controlling and manipulative behaviors of abusers. The impact and damage abuse can have on the heart of those victimized is real and profound. Join me in standing up to say, “No more!”