In my last article, I recommended that when you're dating someone new you should ask about their last relationship because how the person answers is useful...not so much the detail of the story but, how they characterise the 'ex'. If the ex is described as pure bad-guy and this person is the victim, watch-out, you want to avoid people who enjoy drama or lack personal responsibility and insight into how they contribute to the relationship. Just assume you'll be treated as badly (or as well) as their ex so, you want someone with a mature and decent perspective on their previous partner.
(Note: this does not include people who are victims of criminal behaviour from their partner and who were physically unable to escape from it.)
In that article, I mentioned that, if your date describes their ex as a "psycho" you want to walk away and not look back. When that term is used as an insult you know you've met someone immature who you want to avoid but, it's also a red flag to more sinister potential. Forensic criminologist Jane Monkton Smith (University of Gloucestershire), spent three years examining 370 cases of women murdered by intimate partners and guess what she recommends..?
If he's super attentive and describes his ex-girlfriend as a "psycho" it's a warning sign to get out as soon as possible. If you don't, you might find yourself travelling through the 8 clear steps she found in almost all the cases of murder...
Unless it's his first relationship, all the men who went on to murder their partner had a history of abuse and stalking. You DO want insight into previous relationships with a very keen eye so, always ask about them and always listen carefully.
He wants full-on commitment fast. Unfortunately, western media feeds us the idea that true love is fast love but that's bullshit. It's usually the sign of someone with a big hollow inside that almost anyone could fill. Don't be seduced by speed; a stranger hasn't suddenly recognised the special person you are that everyone else has overlooked...they're desperate and dangerous.
He asks about everything you do and not because he's curious, because he wants to see what you're up-to and approve/disapprove. You'll start to feel nervous to tell him what you've been doing each day because he's going to lose it when he doesn't like something pretty normal. If you start changing what you'd normally do to avoid his anger or sadness, he's got you - you're under control! Love doesn't limit your choices, it encourages you to flourish...control wants to make it harder and harder for you to feel free...don't confuse the two.
4. A PIVOTAL MOMENT
Something dramatic happens. Perhaps he loses his job (because he's also a pain in the arse at work) or you decide you want some space from all his disapproval and control but, he also loses control of himself.
He'll threaten you, himself or someone else if he doesn't get his way again...he's like a giant toddler melting down but, he's got a lot of rage behind it. You might back down to avoid the confrontation or, you might genuinely feel sorry for him and move closer to try and help but, just like a toddler, he's now learnt that threats of violence have worked on you to get what he wants. He needs help from people far more powerful than you so, refer him to family, therapists and police and get out now.
6. OFFICIALLY ABUSIVE
The relationship is now officially abusive and dangerous and you can feel it. He's addicted to using aggression to control the woman, who he's obsessing over with thoughts of violence, punishment and revenge for her lack of submission. You might escape now with a lot of trouble and you'll need a lot of strategic support from other people to escape without physical harm...although you've probably experienced that by now. You're now his next "psycho" girlfriend - too crazy to do as you're told.
7. PLANNING MURDER
Research has shown that men killing their partners is not a spontaneous act of loss of emotional control, it's actually well planned over time making it red-blooded murder. He's choosing methods, weapons, place and time. And looking for opportunities to kill you. It also means there is still a chance to see the danger and get away with a LOT of help from professionals with experience in this dynamic and careful planning.
"One thing that had shocked me in the beginning was the amount of planning that goes into these homicides. They are not spontaneous. It was only when I started going through all the cases it became clear."
Jane Monkton Smith
8. MURDER UNLIMITED
He murders the woman, perhaps her children and relatives too. He's furious and he will not limit his revenge to punish her for not being controlled.
Jane says that step two is the most sinister because it disguises control as love. It's so tempting to imagine that someone is so enamoured of our looks, our personality, or that special quality we have which others have overlooked. It's exciting to think someone loves us within hours of meeting us but this is our desperate little ego hungry for external attention. It's just not true...no one knows you that quickly, it's either lust or neediness. Neither of these things is a serious problem if the person isn't the sort to hurt us to control over us but, if you meet someone needy and violent, you're in big trouble. A hostile attitude toward the 'ex' is a good sign of that hostility.
Re-read the steps above and be careful what your ego is tempted to fall for.
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