Let me start out by saying that I am by no means a forensic psychologist with a degree and years of clinical experience with psychopathy. I am, however, a woman who ran into a really bad dude. I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that during the year I spent with Luc I did see some odd signs – or red flags. Sadly, some of the signs I didn’t pick up on, and others I simply ignored in hopes that things would improve and my son’s father would actually be the man I had hoped he was.
Since starting my blog, I have heard from hundreds of other women who have also run into some really bad dudes. While these men are different guys, and not all are psychopaths, they are all people each one of these women now wishes she had avoided. All of them showed signs, and we all ignored these signs until it was too late. These women are all strong women who have stood up and admitted to having ignored these signs (or completely missed that they were signs at the time), and have shared their stories in an attempt to help other women recognise when its time to RUN. Ladies, I salute your courage and I congratulate you for leaving no matter how long it took.
If you are reading this blog entry and recognize one of the below red flag situations as similar to something that is currently happening to you in your relationship, please take the advice of many women before you – and run.
Red Flag Story: “One night he received a phone call from his mother. I was sitting next to him so I heard the entire story. He said, ‘sorry we couldn’t answer we were just eating dinner. Yeah, we made mashed potato, baked chicken, and carrots.’ When he hung up, I said ‘why did you tell her that’s what we ate when we had grilled chicken with broccoli cheese rice?’ He then said, ‘What difference does it make? We ate dinner, we had some kind of chicken.’ The lies continued to get worse.
My thoughts: People who lie for the sake of lying have problems. Luc used to lie about things that didn’t even make sense to be lying about. Psychopaths are convincing liars because they don’t have the conscience that makes non-psychopaths feel guilty about their lies. While it may seem like the lying is small and “no big deal” as they will claim, the root of the issue is that this person is not trustworthy and is probably also lying about things that are big deals.
Cheater: (and I don’t mean just cheating with another woman)
Red flag story: “At 35 years old he cheated at carnival games because he ‘wouldn’t feel like a man if he couldn’t win a prize’ for me. I hated the stupid stuffed bear, but he insisted it was for me.”
My thoughts: This red flag goes a bit hand in hand with the compulsive liar. Luc used to cheat at golf every single time he played. He would brag about fake hole in ones and talk about how great he was at the game. A cheater translates to someone who cannot lose and needs to always be the best. Since many psychopaths have deep self esteem issues, they cheat a lot because they cannot stand feeling less than perfect. Find yourself a good, honest man who isn’t afraid to lose a game.
Blaming other’s for their own problems:
Red flag story: “He would always insensitively talk about most people-as if he was better than them. Even if Mother Theresa was around-he would say she was something negative. He always blames everyone else. Always. Never takes full responsibiity for his actions.”
My thoughts: This is a big red flag that a lot of people miss at first. Typically, this red flag plays out when your partner says or does something terrible to you (i.e. calling you a degrading name or straight punching you in the face) and then turns the situation on you and makes it appear as if you were, in fact, the real problem. Additionally, if you run into someone who never seems to be able to apologize for their bad behavior and always finds someone else to blame for their “circumstances” – you have run into a bad dude.
Can’t hold a job:
While several women wrote in about this particular problem, this one is quick to sum up: If the guy has too many problems that prohibit him from finding work or keeping work (be it sheer laziness or violent tendencies), he is also not likely to be capable of sustaining a romantic relationship either.
Sexual violence/ problems:
Red flag story: “The neighbor’s boyfriend was caught having sex with her fifteen year old daughter. The ex tried to convince me that it was consensual, and that I was a sheltered prude who needed to up my awareness and game so that I could agree with him.”
My thoughts: Luc was famous for using sex to control people. He would always try to tell me that I was a prude because I wasn’t willing to get into his “fettishes” such as swinging, voyerism, etc. Don’t ever ever ever let someone make you feel bad about not wanting to enter into some type of sexual situation with them. If what he is asking you to do doesn’t feel right, that is probably because it is NOT right. Sexual problems are a big red flag. I would venture to say that most psychopaths have sexual problems that they call “fettishes”.
Extreme behavior even when there are no other obvious signs: (also known as “raging”)
Red flag story: “My ex boyfriend burned nearly everything I owned while I was at work. He never showed any violence before, so I gave him another chance and things went well for another couple of months….until he snapped again and dragged me across the house by my hair, squeezed the breath from my throat as he bashed my head into the wall, and shoved me off the porch. Sometimes the signs just aren’t there, or they seem so small all the time that you don’t put them together in your head until after something bad happens.”
My thoughts: I destinctly remember looking into Luc’s eyes and thinking, ‘wow…he looks crazy right now’ while he was in the middle of one of his rages. Crazy men act crazy when they snap. While they are mostly on their best behavior, there are moments when they won’t be able to control themselves and they will show you a glimpse of their true self. When you see that scary look in their eye (or after you have learned that they have burned your stuff), you best leave immediately because it will only get worse.
Attempts to get you away from family and friends:
Red flag story: “It happened slowly as we moved to an area that was further away from my family (I have a really close family). He tried to isolate me by taking my car keys and ringing me every five minutes to make sure I was home. One night, when I didn’t clean the cutlery to his standard, the next thing I knew he had slammed a phone book into me and started punching it (so he didn’t have any bruises).”
My thoughts: Bad dudes don’t want you to have friends and they want to cut you off from your family. Why is this? Because when they start to beat you they don’t want you to think you have anyone to run to. This might start out subtle, but eventually it will be obvious that they are not interested in fostering a relationship with those you are close to. He wants to be your best friend, your lover, and your only family – he wants to own you. Don’t let him – keep your people (friends and family) close.
Finally, by no means is this a comprehensive list of red flags. This is simply a list of things other women have shared as red flags they wished they had seen and run from. When you are in a relationship or considering a relationship with a man, consider both their actions and what they are saying to you. I leave you with one final thought. If a man says the following statement (or some variation of) run away fast before you end up in family court with him, and find yourself beating your head against a brick wall in anger:
“I haven’t seen my kids since they were born because their mom(s) is/are crazy and kept me away from them. But, I mean, my kids are my life. I raised those kids, I was always there for them…”