MDJunction - People Helping People
Ask a Question
10/30/2012 12:10 PM

Signs of Cheating and Manipulation?

Posts: 48

Well, I hadn't been writing in this forum for a good while - which was a good sign! I was in a new relationship that was making me very happy, or so I thought. It seems that breaking the pattern of being drawn to the "bad guys" is harder than I thought it would be.

I'm not sure if the guy I was seeing is abusive per se, but something about his treatment of me is certainly off. Note: this is NOT the guy I've written about in previous posts that was sexually degrading. This is someone new.

Anyway, I was wondering if any of you ladies who have been cheated on/run around on could possibly shed some light on this situation:

A bit of backstory - This guy and I attempted to date the first time back in February/March. I say "attempted" because I was still very raw from my previous abusive nightmare, and it wasn't the right time for me. He was extremely patient with my wish to take things slowly and very loving...until all of a sudden, once things were on the right track and I was feeling much more trusting, he ditched me out of nowhere, saying that it wasn't going to work. He also said that he had found someone else. He was actually on an outing with me and some mutual friends, chatted up a girl on the other side of the bar, and left with her right in front of me. I was disappointed and hurt, but shrugged it off for the most part and moved on.

A few months later, after a long period of sniffing around and flirting again, he wanted me back. We started dating for the second time, and everything was wonderful. Constant compliments, positive physical attention, great dates. And then, out of nowhere, everything stopped. He became distant and moody. He lashed out at the other people close to him in his life - his sister and his best friend - and told me nasty things about them and that I'm not to trust them/go to them with any information about us. He became reclusive (wouldn't want to do anything with me on the weekends, had to "stay at home" to do housework or yardwork). I was no longer able to come over to his house because it "wasn't clean."

Finally, I (gently) confronted him about all of this. He told me that he has pretty severe OCD and just stopped taking his medication for it not too long ago. He said that it's hard for him to feel close to people and that when he's feeling distant, it's like someone has "flipped a switch" and he completely loses interest in the person. I decided I would be there for him, but, understandably, I was worried. I tossed and turned all that evening, and when I texted him in the morning saying that I was still worried about things, he turned everything completely around on me. "I TOLD you not to worry! I thought we had resolved everything last night! That's it - we're finished. We're not dating anymore."

Since then, he's been a complete and utter asshole to me. The few times I've tried to talk to him (once in person and once on the phone), it has ended with him losing it. When we talked in person, things were going pretty well until I said, "I'm sorry, but I have to ask - are you seeing someone else? That's what happened before, so it has crossed my mind..." At this point, he got up from our table and started yelling at me ("I can't BELIEVE you would accuse me of such a thing!"Wink and angrily stormed out of the restaurant. When I called him two weeks later to ask if he was angry with me (he had recently taken down all the pictures of the two of us on Facebook, which I thought was odd and unwarranted), he was cold and callus, saying that I "just didn't get it" that he didn't want to be with me anymore. He has been very instant that we "stay friends" for some reason, but all the while, has been treating me like garbage.

I constantly tried to give him his space and give him the benefit of the doubt. I didn't want to cause him additional stress and "spike" his OCD. At the same time, I am a person with feelings who was just shit all over - literally, the first night I confronted him, we had gone from making Thanksgiving plans to him saying, "What? You thought we were dating? We were just going on dates..." and negating our relationship in a matter of hours. This has been wearing on me.

About a week ago, after I told him I'd give him his space and would be here if he needed anything, something curious popped up in my Facebook newsfeed. Him flirting with another girl. Her status said that she wanted to cuddle, and he said something like "Everybody's going to have to fight me for you!" Naturally, I was hurt. But I tried to brush it off. It was just one time.

During the next few days, I got two more notifications about him flirting with the same girl. He was very obviously aggressively pursuing her (I know his tone when he flirts, of course), using "haha"s, smiley faces, the works. One of his comments even read "I'm not're going to have to work for it!" As soon as this third string of flirty comments popped up on my phone, I started putting the pieces together. He had dropped me for another girl...again. This would clearly explain why he deleted our pictures together off of Facebook (trying to hide a past relationship), why he made some random cryptic post the other night that read "I had a great time, thanks! Smile", and why he was bragging about suddenly getting a personal trainer at the gym. He also, I remembered, had been on a date with another girl right before he asked me out again. Miraculously, back then, all evidence of HER had disappeared as well.

And I had been sitting around feeling sorry for him.

I texted him the other day, very matter of factly, that I knew there was another girl and now I understood why he got so defensive about it when I asked him about it before. He called me and asked what I had seen, so I told him about the things coming up in my news feed on Facebook. As soon as I told him, he launched into a spout of yelling like I've never heard. SCREAMED at me for a solid five minutes - he told me I was crazy, that I was stalking him, that how dare I pry into his life, that I needed to get a life of my own, that this girl was just a friend and that the next time they got together, they would have a wonderful laugh about me! I gently tried to explain that I'm hardly stalking him - those posts showed up in my news feed, not something I can control - but he would have none of it. "I'm defriending you IMMEDIATELY!" he yelled. "Stay out of my life and who I'm dating. I don't ask you who you're dating!"

I've heard many times over that anger and defensiveness is a huge sign of lying, and so is calling the woman "crazy." Unfortunately, his words hurt, and now I am doubting what I felt deep down in my bones was true - that he left me for someone else. Now it is me who feels crazy for ever having stood up for myself. Ladies - in your experience, is this guy full of it?


10/30/2012 01:05 PM
Meg1129Posts: 15222
Group Leader

ALL abusers are full of it. You can't believe a single word that comes out of an abuser's mouth. No one can say for sure whether this guy is cheating or not unless you catch him in the act, but I ask you, what does it even matter? Cheating or not, he's an asshole.

10/30/2012 02:25 PM
Posts: 47

I can't believe you've been subjected to all his crap. Abusers lie, manipulate, control, etc. But Meg's right - who cares if he's full of it? He's abusing you! Unfriend him on Facebook. Block his calls and texts. Tell mutual friends you don't want to hear about him.

Re-read the Bancroft book. This guy's been waving "abuser flags" from the very beginning. It's time to move on and give yourself a break from abuse. Maybe you could check out Bancroft's website to see if there are any therapists in your area who understand the truth about abusers and can help you heal?

10/30/2012 02:36 PM
Meg1129Posts: 15222
Group Leader

If you call your local domestic abuse shelter, many of them offer free individual and group counseling services with therapists who are trained in and have experience dealing with victims of domestic abuse. Also, call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 any time you want to talk and to get more resources in your area.

10/30/2012 02:54 PM
Posts: 48

Really? You guys think that this behavior is abusive? All this time I've been brushing it off on the OCD he's told me about.

10/30/2012 03:02 PM
Meg1129Posts: 15222
Group Leader

OCD doesn't make someone abusive. There are thousands, probably millions of OCD people who are not abusive.

"An abuser's behavior is primarily conscious- he acts deliberately rather than by accident or by losing control of himself- but the underlying thinking that drives his behavior is largely not conscious.

When Is It Abuse?

There is a difference between having a bad day and being a jerk and a pattern that adds up to something more serious. Behaviors such as name calling, interrupting and acting selfish and insensitive are hurtful and worthy of criticism but they aren't all abuse, except when they are part of a pattern of abuse. Abuse is about power, it means that a person is taking advantage of a power imbalance to exploit or control someone else.

The lines where subtler kinds of mistreatment end and abuse begins include the following actions:

He retaliates against you for complaining about his behavior- repeating behaviors he knows you dislike, switching into the role of the victim, ridiculing you for complaining of mistreatment. He doesn't believe that you have the right to defy him.

He tells you that your objections to his mistreatment are your own problem- says you are too sensitive, you think everyone is abusing you, you're angry because you are not getting your own way. He is trying to persuade you that you have unreasonable expectations of his behavior, that you are actually reacting to something else and that you are using your complaints against him. These tactics are to discredit your complaints of mistreatment, which is abusive. His core attitude is "you have no right to object to how I treat you".

He gives apologies that sound insincere or angry, and he demands you accept them. He feels entitled to forgiveness and demands it.

He blames you for the impact of his behavior- For example, if she is mistrustful of him because of his mistreatment of her, he says that her lack of trust is causing her to percieve him as abusive, reversing cause and effect in a mind-twisting way. If your partner criticizes or puts you down for being badly affected by his mistreatment, that is abuse.

It's never the right time, or the right way, to bring things up- Initial defensiveness is comon even in nonabusive people. With an abuser however, even time after an argument to cool off doesn't help. In fact, the time between arguments may be used to build a case against you.

He undermines your progress in life- he tells you that you are incompetent at something you enjoy, causes you to lose a job or drop out of school, takes advantage of you financially and ruins your economic security, causes damage to your relationships with friends and family.

He denies what he did- denying actions such as name calling or pounding his fist on the table

Justifies hurtful or frightening acts or says you "made him do it"- He may tell you he can yell because you're not listening to him or says he will stop one form of abuse if you stop doing something that bothers him, which often will be something you have every right to do.

He touches you in anger or puts you in fear in other ways- even if it only happens once, physical aggression is abuse. If he raises a fist, punches a hole in the wall, throws things at you, blocks your way, restrains you, grabs you, pushes, pokes or threatens to hurt you, that is physical abuse. He is creating fear and using your need for safety to control you. Call a hotline as soon as possible if any of these things happens to you. Physical abuse is dangerous. Once it starts in a relationship, it can escalate over time to more serious assaults. Any form of physical initimidation is highly upsetting to children who are exposed to it.

He coerces you into having sex or sexually assaults you- sexual assault or chronic sexual pressure is abuse.

His controlling, disrespectful or degrading behavior is a pattern- you will need to form your own conclusions about whether your partner's mistreatment of you has become repetitive.

You show signs of being abused- are you afraid of him? Are you getting distant from friends and family? Is your level of energy and motivation declining, do you feel depressed? Is your self-opinion declining? Do you find yourself constantly preoccupied with the relationship and how to fix it? Do you feel like you can't do anything right?

Control Tactics in Arguments



Distorting what happened in an earlier interaction


Accusing you of doing what he does, or thinking the way he thinks

Using a tone of absolute authority


Not listening, refusing to respond

Laughing out loud at your opinion or perspective

Turning your grievances around to use against you

Changing the subject to his grievances

Criticism that is harsh, undeserved or frequent

Provoking guilt

Playing the victim

Smirking, rolling his eyes, contemptuous facial expressions

Yelling, out-shouting


Name calling, insults, put downs

Walking out

Towering over you

Walking towards you in an intimidating way

Blocking a doorway

Physical intimidation, such as getting too close when angry

Threatening to leave or harm you

Will Verbal Abuse Turn to Violence?

When he is mad at you, does he react by throwing things, punching or kicking items, violent gestures such as swinging his arms around in the air to show his rage? Have you been frightened when he does those things?

Is he willing to take responsibility for those behaviors and agree to stop them, or does he justify them?

Can he hear you when you say that those behaviors frighten you, or does he throw the subject back at you, saying it's your fault?

Does he attempt to use scary behaviors as bargaining chips, saying he won't punch the walls if you stop doing something that bothers him?

Does he deny that he even engaged in scary behaviors or say you are exaggerating?

Does he ever make veiled threats, such as "you don't want to make me mad?"

Is he severely verbally abusive? Research studies suggest that the best behavioral predictor of which men will become violent to their partners is their level or verbal abuse.

It is important to contact a program for abused women regardless of your answers, the fact that you are even considering his potential for violence means that something is seriously wrong."

The above is from our group bible, "Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men" by Lundy Bancroft. The link below is to the book on Amazon, where you can read reviews of it and a chapter for free, but you can get it at any bookstore, even your public library. If your library doesn't have it, ask them to get it for you via inter-library loan. 0425191656/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1331646030&sr=1-1

Post edited by: Meg1129, at: 10/30/2012 03:12 PM

10/30/2012 05:51 PM
Posts: 5104
Group Leader

A lot of abusers like to use mental illness as a way of excusing their abusive behavior. Mental illness has nothing to do with being abusive.

10/30/2012 08:24 PM
Posts: 48

See, I've done a fair amount of research on ROCD (relationship OCD), which is what he claims to have, and what I'm hearing is that the person has "hot and cold periods" of love and hate toward their partner, because something is telling them that their feelings are wrong. Everything I've read seems to fit him to a T - problem is, I can't just arbitrarily shut off my own feelings toward someone I've grown fond of. It just doesn't work that way. So when he says "we're through" and continues to use me as a punching bag...I can't just sit and take it. I had been, but when the possibility of cheating surfaced, I felt I had to speak out. Now he's put me back into my place and I just feel lost.

10/30/2012 08:53 PM
Meg1129Posts: 15222
Group Leader

Okay, so let me ask you one question. Does he act this way at work? How about in restaurants or other public places? Does he treat his mother like this too? If not, then he's capable of controlling his behaviour.

Does he know right from wrong? I'll bet he does.

From Lundy Bancroft's book, "Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men"

MYTH 1 - He was abused as a child.

Reality - There is no clear connection between men who were abused as children and men who abuse women. There IS a clear connection, however, between men who are violent toward other men and having been abused as a child. There is one exception - men who are brutally physically violent toward women often have childhood abuse in their past. Men who use past childhood abuse as an excuse for battering women do not bring it up when faced with need for change.

MYTH 2 - His previous partner hurt him.

Reality - The abusive man using this excuse is usually describing his own behavior toward his previous partner, making himself look like a victim. This also is used to gain sympathy from the new partner to convince her to put up with the abuse. For most people, being hurt by someone in the past is an explanation for how they feel, not an excuse for how they behave toward others.

MYTH 3 - He abuses those he loves the most.

Reality - Our feelings can influence how we want to act, but our choices of how to behave are determined by our attitudes and habits. People who are severely traumatized or are suffering from major mental illnesses are the only ones whose behaviour is governed by their feelings. A minute percentage of abusive men have these types of severe psychological problems. Emotionally healthy people usually reserve their best behavior for those they love the most.

MYTH 4 - He holds in his feelings too much.

Reality - This appears to have the ring of truth because the general consensus is that men bottle up their feelings. However, abusive men tend to have an exaggerated idea of the importance of their feelings and tend toward talking about and acting out their feelings all the time. Their real problem is lack of understanding about others feelings.

MYTH 5 - He has an aggressive personality.

Reality - Most spouse abusers get along very well with others, in fact are often considered charming and charismatic by everyone except their wife and children. Personality problems don't manifest only in the presence of a spouse, everyone the abuser associates with will see the problem.

MYTH 6 - He loses control.

Reality - Spouse abusers who throw and break things don't break their own stuff and they don't clean up the mess they make either. They break their victim's stuff and the victim cleans it up. This is a calculated fear tactic that only hurts the victim, and one that is usually not carried too far according to the abuser's moral standard - which is distorted. The abuser is almost always in control and will stop before crossing that line.

MYTH 7 - He is too angry.

Reality - Abusers attitudes produce fury. Abusers are self-centered and become enraged when attention is not focused exclusively on them. They are not abusive because they are angry ... they are angry because they abuse. This should not be mistaken for feeling guilty for abusing.

MYTH 8 - He is mentally ill.

Reality - A very small percentage of abusers are mentally ill. Mental illness does not cause abuse to happen, however, it can escalate the severity of abusiveness. Always bear in mind that everything an abuser does, no matter how insane it looks, is calculated to incite fear and compliance in his victim, and it usually works very well.

MYTH 9 - He hates women.

Reality - The attitude of an abuser toward women is disrespect and based on a sense of superiority or contempt toward females. Disrespect is not hatred. If it were hatred abusers would also feel this way toward their mothers, sisters, female friends and coworkers.

MYTH 10 - He is afraid of intimacy and abandonment.

Reality - If this were the case, why isn't everyone who fears abandonment an abuser? Abusive men are often jealous and possessive, and their behaviors escalate when their partners try to break up with them (Check for the selfish attitude here). Abusers' worst incidents are after periods of mounting tension, not after moments of great closeness. Some abusers don't allow intimacy in their relationships, yet abuse anyway. This also does not account for the many men who have strong fears of intimacy and don't abuse.

MYTH 11 - He has low self-esteem.

Reality - Abused women stroke their abuser husband's self-esteem in hopes of preventing more abuse. This does not stop the abuse though. It tends to escalate it instead. An abuser expects his woman to cater to him. The more she does it, the more he wants (that selfish attitude again). He likes and gets used to the luxurious treatment and demands more to feed his insatiable appetite for pampering (the attention is all on him). Think about the victim's degradation by the abuser and how it destroys her self-esteem. Does that make her into a cruel and explosive person?

MYTH 12 - His boss mistreats him.

Reality - Some of the worst abusers have been at the top of the management ladder, and not had a boss to blame. The more power they had at work, the more catering and submission was expected at home. Others say that they have so much power at work that they can't turn it off when they get home - so are they abusive bosses too? Not usually.

MYTH 13 - He has poor skills in communication and conflict resolution.

Reality - Abusers have normal skills in communication and conflict resolution - they just choose to not use them. They have normal work lives where they get along with their coworkers and superiors, yet at home they don't. They have the skills and choose to use them at work, but not at home.

MYTH 14 - There are as many abusive women as abusive men.

Reality - While there are some women who abuse their husbands, they are rare compared to the number of men abusing women. It is said that men don't come forward about their abusive wives because of the shame. Women experience the same depth of shame, yet they come forward in droves. If shame were the deterrent for telling about the abuse, no one would tell. We would still be blind to the issues of any type of abuse going on around us.

MYTH 15 - His abusiveness is as bad for him as for his partner.

Reality - Abusive men can continue abusing for twenty or thirty years and still function in society in a healthy way. They can pass the psychological tests for child custody better than their wives because they have not been the ones suffering the trauma of abuse for years.

MYTH 16 - He abuses alcohol or drugs.

Reality - Alcohol does not create an abuser any more than sobriety can cure one. There are many abusive men who do not drink, and many alcoholic men who do not abuse. The only way an abusive man can overcome his abusiveness is by dealing with the abusiveness. AbuseDVBattererMyths.html

Post edited by: Meg1129, at: 10/30/2012 08:54 PM

10/30/2012 09:14 PM
Posts: 47

Well, let's say that ROCD is real, and that your abuser DOES have it. How long do you think it would take for him to stop having it? If it's treatable with drugs, is he consistent with taking them?

According to Bancroft abusers who have a mental illness that is treatable via drugs often won't take the drugs consistently because they're too selfish to care how their mental illness hurts the people in their lives. Sometimes they refuse to take the drugs in order to punish their partners.

Regardless of the cause, his behavior is deeply hurtful, manipulative, selfish, and yes, abusive.

Do you really think you deserve to endure periods of hatred from a partner just because they have a medical "excuse" for it? You don't owe anything to this guy! Are you wanting to spend the rest of your life being his punching bag? 'Cause he's not ever going to change.

Some people just aren't cut out to have a relationship. I have an ex-boyfriend who never got married because he has a mental illness (manifested years after we broke up). He decided he didn't want to inflict that on a wife and family. Unfortunately, his illness isn't well-managed by drugs. But he has enough consideration and respect for others to not want to harm them with his instability. He's never even had a long-term girlfriend since he found out about his mental illness. I'd never want to live with him, and we rarely stay in touch because of his illness. But, I do still like the guy, and have a great deal of respect for him. Interestingly though, since he's not an abuser, I never have the urge to get back with him, lol!

With the guy you dated, the very best you could hope for is a life filled with tension and walking on eggshells for fear that you'll "spike his OCD". Who wants to live that kind of life? You're a strong woman. You got away from the last jerk. You deserve better!

I think the best gift you could give yourself is re-reading Bancroft's book. There's so much in it, and different parts of it pertain to us at different times in our lives. I have a feeling you'll see things in it that you didn't see the first time, and it'll help clear any confusion you might have regarding this guy.


Share this discussion with your friends:
<< Start < Prev 1 Next > End >>

Disclaimer: The information provided in MDJunction is not a replacement for medical diagnosis, treatment, or professional medical advice.
In case of EMERGENCY call 911 or 1.800.273.TALK (8255) to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Read more.
Contact Us | About Us
Copyright (c) 2006-2014 All Rights Reserved