He flaunted his mistresses in public

Not only did Stephen bring his mistresses to the family home, he eventually flaunted them in public, causing Linda immense pain. It was a public symbol of abandonment, a flagrant sense of entitlement, and a sign of total irresponsibility as a husband and father. It filled her with confusion as she struggled to understand how a once loving husband could so disregard and distress her. Yet she tried to rationalise his behaviour, and he manipulated her naivety –

“On another occasion, when I had left for a short separation when I couldn’t take it anymore, I went to stay with my parents, and it happened again. This time, though, he was bringing her places with friends of his that knew me. His friend told me what was going on. I remember when I found out that it wasn’t a one-night stand but a full-blown affair, I was shattered. I remember specifically hugging my dad one day and asking him to take the pain away. My poor dad felt so helpless. What could he do for me? He was so hurt for me. I still remember that hug with my dad and the feeling I had to this day. I felt so helpless, I felt awful, hurt, shocked and that I had lost total control of my life. I just didn’t know what was happening anymore, and that everything I thought my marriage was – wasn’t at all. I couldn’t understand how Stephen could do this to me. After all he had said about unfaithfulness, here he was doing it. I confronted him about it on the phone, and he didn’t deny it. I made excuses for him saying that he didn’t know what he was doing; that he was so upset about me going to my parents that he didn’t know what to do, and he ran to the first bit of comfort he could get. And, ironically, afterwards when he came back to reconcile these were his words, that he didn’t know what he was doing and just wanted some comfort. Yes, but I was hurt also and didn’t run to the next man for comfort. I still held my vows to him because I loved him dearly.”
You need not be a victim to any of this. By recognising abusive traits early in the relationship, you can avoid great suffering and pain. If you are in an abusive relationship, you can recognise what is going on, and begin taking steps to reclaim your life. This, I think, is Linda’s wish for you

“To this day, I don’t know how many other women have crossed his path. Plenty probably. I just hope one day he doesn’t meet a nice girl, and nearly destroy her like he did me! It took a lot of strength and courage to get where I am today! I would never like to see any other person go through it.”

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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