abusive people are often unfaithful

The abuser is needy, and, ironically, the charmer is more often than not a womaniser, who has many affairs. Linda’s husband was a serial adulterer, and did not hesitate to use the family home for some of his affairs. She became aware of his infidelity when he brought an ex-partner home one night, when Linda was supposed to be staying at a friend’s house. He denied any wrongdoing, and Linda believed him. He then moved in with another woman for a few weeks, and soon began a relationship with a third one.
“When I moved out, he went back into the family home and started another relationship with a girl I knew through other people. Of course, she wasn’t local and didn’t know the ins and outs of his life. I used to make visits to the house on occasions to give it a quick clean up because it was up for sale. One day I went to our bedroom to tidy up and what I found was a messy bed, girl’s underwear and a set of earrings. It really tore the life from me. This was our marital bedroom. Had he no respect for me or our marriage? But worse was to come. We had a picture of our infant son hanging in our bedroom, and when I looked around, I saw that the picture was gone off the hook. I looked around the room for it. I went into the walk- in wardrobe and there it was hidden under one of his t-shirts. He had taken the picture down, and she obviously didn’t know about his child. I still find it hard to come to terms with what I found that day. It made the earrings and underwear seem like small things. My husband had just denied his son to a strange girl he barely knew and for what – to sleep with her. That’s how much our son meant. I rang him straight away. He denied it of course, but as I said, the picture was there a few days earlier. It hardly grew legs and walked off the wall! I asked him how he could be so callous, that this was his own fresh and blood, HIS OWN SON! He denied him for his own selfish needs. I don’t think now that Stephen ever thought of anyone but himself.”
As she writes about the physical, emotional, verbal and financial abuse that she suffered at Stephen’s hands, it becomes clear that his infidelity inflicted the greatest hurt of all, because it showed a complete disregard for herself and their child. She found it particularly painful because he had always professed a strong dislike to infidelity.
“Many times, we talked about it. If he heard of someone being unfaithful, he would say to me how much he hated it, and that if I ever did that to him he would never forgive me. So, because he had such a strong feeling against it, I never believed he would be unfaithful to me. I trusted him in this department 100%. I trusted him totally, when it came to this. I never believed that he would ever do anything like being unfaithful in a million years.”
But, it is clear that his dislike was at the idea of Linda having an affair. It was part of his control, although she did not realise it at the time. She emphasises the painful impact that his infidelity had on her
“I was brought to the ground. I felt the worse pain and hurt I have ever experienced in my life. Unbearable pain, a hollow feeling in my stomach every day. I found each day an effort, I used to wake up in the mornings and say to myself sarcastically “great another day to work my way through” I was in total despair. I will never forget these few months as long as I live. I got up in the mornings for my son. That was my only motivation to get up and live. I felt as if I was stripped of every bit of happiness or hope for my future, or even knowledge of where my future was going.”
Some three years later when she wrote her story, that wound is still raw
“The day I gave my vows at the altar to Stephen, I meant every word with an incredible amount of love. He was the first man that I loved with everything I had. I had never felt so much love towards a man. So I think the unfaithfulness still hurts me today and I think it definitely has left emotional scars on my heart. I write these words, and it hits me like a knife in my stomach – a hollow feeling that only hurt and pain can bring on.”
Adapted from Jim O’Shea’s book Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying published by Cork University Press

Posted in abuse, abusive personality, controlling personality, domestic violence, narcissistic personality
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