The man who abused me now has a girlfriend. She has expressed concern and curiosity about the factors that led to our divorce, but I don’t know that she would believe me.
He’s “not the type” to seem like he’d do what it is he did. He appears very quiet and shy. He’s tall, awkward and has a bit of a baby-face. He is obsessed with his God/church.
But so is she.
I have known this woman for a number of years. She is so sweet, so gentle, so quiet and weak. I know her ex. He was an asshole. He’s someone who really does “look the part” of an abuser. His manner was loud and abrasive. His street-evangelism seemed styled after a person swinging a two-by-four at his listeners. My ex would *seem* to be the polar opposite of this guy. His approach certainly is.
Both he and his girlfriend are fundamentalists. They believe more in courtship than in dating, in submission and obedience of the wife to the husband, etc. I’m an atheist. In fundyland, I’m all but a demon in human form to some. Especially in his church which condemned me for the atrocious act of leaving him (not for his act of taking me sexually against my will among other things).
I’m the evil ex. I’ve been with other men since him. In their world, I wear the scarlet letter. How do I tell her the things he did and expect to be believed? Some of these things are entirely okay in their theology, depending on how they spin it.
She had an accident not too long ago, and had reconstructive surgery on a large portion of her face. The scars are readily visible. She seems understandably self-conscious about it, and most people would be. How do I tell her she is still as beautiful as she ever was, independent of whether she is pleasing to her god and significant other? How do I tell her that she has the authority as a woman to say “no” no matter what the Bible says about it (or what her beliefs say about it)? How do I tell her that her weakness, softness, trust and innocence are making her a “perfect target” for the manipulations of a person who is very very adept at such things? How do I tell her that nobody has the right to withhold money from her for the purpose of “discipline” or “chastening?”
His intelligence is part of his appeal. It’s also part of what makes him so good at what he can do to someone.
All that money he makes? How do I point out to her that I didn’t leave him willy-nilly? How do I tell her to not accept his BS about the condoms “accidentally” falling off all the time and expect to be believed? Oopsies! Naw…. he’s not the type who would ever do that! Right? You’re just a bitter ex. You’re an atheist. You’ve turned your back on God.
How do I tell her? She looks at him in adoration, like I used to. She’d defend him tooth and nail, like I used to (hellooooo Stockholm Syndrome). As weak as I am/was, I was a stronger person going into that relationship than she seems to be now. And he is now more seasoned and experienced in the subtleties of spiritual/psychological abuse and the conditioning that precedes it. He knows how to pick ’em, if you know what I mean. She’s more of the obedient type than I was.
And she’s so sweet. I’ve always loved her. I don’t think telling her all this would go over well. All I can think of is to be here in case she one day needs an escape. She may very well end up as the step-mother of my daughters. I’m actually glad it’s her and not someone else, but she’s so sweet.
Maybe he’s changed? Maybe he won’t do all that stuff to her?