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Guest Column

10 calculated steps abusive partners take to trap you by Sarah Salem
By Sarah Salem
Jan 22, 2015 - 9:11:35 AM

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  • "False beliefs and logic have nowhere to stop, for falsity has no point of termination" - Roman philosopher Seneca

"Twisted Forms of Love" by Sarah Salem
This article is about false beliefs and false logic. It is about using these as tools of manipulation by abusive partners.

Dealing with the emperor Nero's insanity, Seneca knew the bag of tricks available to the wicked and abusive. Although Seneca knew enough to write about the cycle of falsity and the downward spiral of lying and misperceptions, it did not save him. Nero ended up killing him. As Seneca wrote to warn others of Nero, I'm writing to warn you of mistakes that I have made, which made my life very difficult. I am hoping I can share some advice for women so they don't fall into an abusive relationship. Here are some warning signs to be on the look-out for when it comes to abusive men:

Step 1- Putting his charming mask on.

An abusive man owns at least one mask on the side. I personally like to call it "The Charming Mask" and he knows how to use it skillfully. While not all abusers can be diagnosed as sociopaths, they typically have sociopathic tendencies. One of the leading characteristics of sociopaths is their ability to charm people in incredibly effective ways while not actually feeling any affection for the people they are charming. If he finds you really attractive, he will find a way to charm you.

Step 2- Reading through you.

All of the sudden he becomes your best friend--you become an open book because he can always sense how you are feeling. He listens intently and wants to know everything about you, from the time you were born. And now he has your secrets, fears and weaknesses.

Step 3- Isolating you.

It is time for him to isolate you. To do that, he needs to keep you away from all your family and friends. All of a sudden you start hearing awful things about the people you love--wondering how come you haven't noticed how incredibly insensitive they are towards you. Between the "she said and he said," slowly you draw yourself away from them. And now you turn to him; he is the one you can trust.

Step 4- You slowly become his property.

Alone with him, he tells you, "you are mine" the first time during your love making, and you think it's because he loves you. Perhaps you feel flattered and special. But slowly you understand that he believes you are his and he constantly reminds you of that. You aren't his love. You aren't his partner. You are his property. You become a slave to his needs; you are now one of his possessions.

Step 5- You become totally dependent on him.

He somehow persuades you that he is planning for a better future; he's got this convincing laid out plan. Prosperity and wealth are on their way. You are part of it and of course it will take time, but right now he needs you by his side. He really needs your full attention and devotion--for that reason you are encouraged to stop taking care of your future. You decide to quit school or your job. If he has a good paying job, it may seem reasonable, but then you become totally dependent on him. Having a high education and a good secure job is your strength. Your becoming strong is his biggest nightmare.

Step 6- He is in total control of you.

Now that you are his, totally dependent on him, he can control what you wear, what you eat, where you can or cannot go, who you can or cannot see, etc. He may even stalk you, making sure you are obeying his rules. You obey because you don't want him to become angry. Anger could turn him violent and he would blame his behavior on you. Eventually the abused can start blaming themselves. He is no longer inconvenienced by the effort to manipulate you once you begin to manipulate yourself.

He slowly begins to terrify you, you have obviously met the real man behind the mask, but you feel paralyzed, because he knows your weaknesses. It could be the lack of background education, a previous assault, lack of money and security--he constantly reminds you of them. After all, he does know you inside out. (See step 2).

Step 7- He becomes your superior.

As he becomes more aggressive towards you, you feel trapped, but then again you are already paralyzed and are unable to take care of yourself. He's got you believing that he is smarter and richer; that you couldn't live without him--you couldn't even get yourself to have a simple conversation on the phone with a stranger. You doubt your intelligence and feel numb most of the time. You are afraid to speak up, or even think about the situation you're in. You feel trapped. He is constantly in the back of your mind. His reactions always terrify you. Plus, he's got you believing that no one else loves you

Step 8- You are confusing abuse with love.

There is always a battle in your head; he already managed to create that. Part of you wants to run away, but another part wants to stay because no else loves you more than he. Yes, he is violent. You have bruises around your body but you think that it's your fault, or even worse... that these bruises represent affection, and that you have provoked it somehow. Along with your body, he now owns your mind; he can manipulate your thoughts.

Step 9- He destroys your self-esteem.

You are completely dependent on him and are one of his possessions. You feel completely isolated from the outside world. Each time you decide to question his violent behavior he turns against you and starts putting you down by calling you horrific names. "You are an ugly bitch, you are the most unintelligent woman I have ever seen ..." You feel unworthy, inferior, unattractive--a 'good for nothing' kind of a woman. You only exist because of him. What happened to your strength, your good looks--what happened to you? You don't know.

You cannot reason with an abuser, because he can never make sense. Putting you down happens mostly when you disobey him.

Step 10- He promises to change.

He says, "I want to change. I am working on it because I love you." This is typical of an abuser when he feels threatened if his woman is becoming stronger, asking more questions, and/or threatening to leave.

Please note: Abusers, in most cases, will never change. You need to leave as soon as it is safely possible to do so and never look back.

You are a lot smarter and more powerful than you think you are. No one is allowed to bring you down. Believe in yourself! Education is a must. Keeping a good job is financial power and freedom. Always trust your gut feelings.

If your partner has some or all of these characteristics:

  • First, you need to find your strength.
  • Second, you need the right support from people you can trust.
  • Third and most important: find your way out. Remember, it's never too late.

For those currently in an abusive relationship or who know someone who is, you should be aware that some people regard an abused female as a frail, pathetic woman. They think it's her fault since "it's easy to pick up and leave." I would like to answer on behalf of those suffering women--having gone through it myself. It's not as easy as it seems.

Women who are going through an abusive relationship are traumatized and are hopelessly trying to gather back their strength and in need every kind of support that they can find--hopefully yours.

Sarah Salem
Author of "Twisted Forms of Love"
And:- "Bittersweet Tones of Love"

I am a mother and a daughter, and was once a wife to a very abusive man. "Twisted Forms of Love," is based on my true story. It highlights the affects of the many forms of abuse I received while growing up. I once did confuse abuse with love. I was having a particularly bad day, when I gathered my diary and started to write. Writing this novel allowed me to let go of my past and I discovered my passion for writing. I continued writing, highlighting a woman's journey towards self-redemption after a long shameful past full of pain and heartache. I hope my story of abuse will help other women avoid having stories of their own. - Sarah Salem

"Twisted Forms of Love"
by Sarah Salem
Author House
Published Sept 2014
ISBN-10: 1496941187
ISBN-13: 978-1496941183
422 Pages
Hardcover $23
Softcover $20
Kindle $5

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