Social Question

Kokoro's avatar

Is this typical behavior for an abusive partner after a break up? Why do they do this?

Asked by Kokoro (1419points) April 5th, 2010

I have a friend who finally got out of an abusive marriage, and when she told her ex husband he got in a rage, destroyed belongings in the house and damaged the wall. He pleaded that he wanted to be with her, but when the divorce was finalized he went up and married another a woman in no time, he was probably seeing this woman while they were still married.

When I broke it off with my ex he was angry at first, then begged me to come back to him, saying he’d change and he’d wait for me “in our future,” then he finds another girlfriend a week after saying he bought me a ring. It doesn’t end there… he continues to try and see me, park next to me, sent me flowers while he is with this girl. Then he denies that he is doing such things (I have a no contact order on him). What in the world goes through these peoples’ minds that they do this? I have been trying to understand such ludicrous behavior. Why can’t he just move on?

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34 Answers

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Because our culture teaches men to overcome and conquer. There isn’t much effort spent on teaching men to deal with failure or to accept the responsibilities of our actions.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I wish that I knew. Good luck in maintaining your distance from him; he sounds potentially dangerous, with that kind of illogic and inability to accept or admit the truth.

I think in most cases what these people felt was never “love” but was instead “possession”. That’s how they get to a feeling of “if I can’t have you, then no one can.”

I told my girlfriend when I first let her know my feelings that my love for her means that I want her to be happy, and if she thinks that she can be happier with someone else, then I won’t stand in her way. We’ll see how that goes; so far, so good.

Trillian's avatar

These men have a need to dominate and control. Something from their past has taught them this and it is the only way they know to act. It’s unfortunate, but unless they seek help, they will continue this pattern. They find new women right away to dominate because it is part of their view. They are not complete without that part of the equation. They also seem to need to have back up plans for when the current woman has had enough and hauls ass.

Just_Justine's avatar

I think it is because they loath themselves, they have to keep having someone, anyone around, fast! It is a pattern as one of my ex’s is like that, and has continued to be like that. Recognise his pattern and never get sucked in again :)

Exhausted's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I feel that you have a good grasp on what love really is. It is loving someone else enough to want them to do what ever it takes for them to be happy even if that means letting them go. Wanting someone to stay with you when they are ready to move on is about what you want, not what’s best for them. @Just_Justine I agree with you as well. People that consider others as a possession don’t believe that anyone would want to love them (because they loath themselves) so they are desperate to hang on to anyone that even remotely gives them any attention.

ShanEnri's avatar

Abusive people are control freaks! After realizing you would no longer be controlled, they simply find another!

CMaz's avatar

“then begged me to come back to him, saying he’d change”

If you have concluded that this person is an abuser. STAY AWAY.

One of the abusers tools is manipulation, appeasing their own need and control over you.
They will be sweet and for short burst “will seem” to finally see their wrong.

They are just playing you.

Val123's avatar

Oh yeah! Like, I gave my husband three years of warning, that his behavior that he’d begun exhibiting HAD to stop. He didn’t. But when I filed for divorce he was all, “What??? WHAT???? You want a divorce?? WHY???!!!” Yeah, and spent a lot of time trying to get back together with me. Well, in view of the fact that we had 3 kids and 10 years together, I agreed to get back together with him. He immediately reverted to the behavior that had caused me to divorce him in the first place…..

CMaz's avatar

“He immediately reverted to the behavior that had caused me to divorce him in the first place.”

Yep, it is just a trap.

Kokoro's avatar

Why would he continue to try to talk/see me when he has another girlfriend? Is it that he can’t deal with his ego being hurt? He said “I will NOT be dumped,” when I initially
broke it off. And no, I don’t want to be back with him at all. I just want him to leave me alone and he won’t quit.

Exhausted's avatar

Unless he is psycho, he will eventually let go and move on, once he finally realizes you are done. I always made the mistake of trying to be “nice” and not hurt their feelings and those efforts are just perceived as encouragment, so it would be better to just stand firm. Avoid him at all costs until he realizes it is over.

dpworkin's avatar

This type of man is more invested in control then in normative behavior in a peer-to-peer relationship. He becomes enraged when he has to relinquish control, and he quickly finds someone new with whom to establish control, as he was never concerned in the first place with the actual person he was bullying.

Coloma's avatar

Yep, control freaks do not love, they control out of their own extreme fear of being less than.

Control always leads to abuse in one form or another. The mere fact that one attempts to restrict anothers thoughts, actions, preferences, habits, whatever, IS abuse!

davidbetterman's avatar

Is this typical behavior for an abusive partner after a break up? Why do they do this?”

Yes, this is extremely typical. These guys are sick puppies. They need years and years of therapy, which they will never seek.

Lucky for you that you got out before you were harmed by the clod.

phillis's avatar

Wait….you have a restraining order against him, yet you’re still talking to him? It sounds like you are directly responsible for the fact that you guys still talk. As long as you allow the communication to continue at all, he thinks he still has a chance. It looks like you have a problem disengaging, as well. Plus, you chose him, which indicates that you gys had some fundamentally matching principles. It is highly unlikely that he gave zero indication whatsoever that he had an unhealthy affect before this.

It is people, not just males, who have this behavior after a breakup, and YES, it is normal, in the sense that nobody is shocked or surprised when it happens. The better wordto use would be common. The behavior itself, while common, isn’t normal, at all.

It’s a symphony of reasons that lead to this behavior, not just one reason. That’s why the behavior is so commonplace.

1— People don’t like change. They reach a comfort level and want it to stay unchanged.

2— People don’t like being rejected, which is what a breakup is, to them.

3— People don’t like feeling out of control. So much so, that they will try to control other people to maintain their own comfort level.

4— People (all of us) have egos. We want to be number one in somebody’s eyes.

5— People don’t like pain, so they do whatever they can to “fix” the relationship.

6— People take a breakup as a sleight against them. Then they feel vindictive.

7— People feel a palpable absence where their loved one once stood. THey try to fill that void, because the void hurts.

8— People (perhaps 95%) have never been taught a healthier mindset. THey emulate what they saw modeled in others as they were growing up. many of them have no idea that a happier way exists. They figure this is just how life is, or that “fate” isn’t kind to them. They are clueless that they actually have a great deal of control over the quality of thier lives, and could wipe out 90% of the bad things that are happening. THey don’t understand they are the ones responsible for their own pain, not the other person.

Kokoro's avatar

I am not talking to him. He sends me things and tries to come to my work, parks next to me. It is like he won’t give up, and I have done nothing to make him think he has a chance with me ever again. I thought that after he found this new girl he would leave me alone, what I don’t understand is that he still tries to contact me or harass me still, and tells people “I didn’t send anything, do anything, I’ve moved on.” Most of all – it bothers me that is getting away with everything. But what can I do except try to ignore it. It’s like a pest. I just want to swat it but it keeps flying around me.

I did notice some weird things about him while we were dating, but I was too naive to realize what he was doing to me. I wanted so badly to help him out of this “slump” as I looked at it, he was always so negative and I felt it was responsibility to help him. However I then realized that he was abusing me, and wasn’t trying to improve himself at all. That’s when I left, and happy I left, but now he will not stop leaving me alone. It’s been 4 months.

phillis's avatar

I don’t have even a thimbleful of knowledge about some of things, but I do know people.

I can’t help feeling a little dubious on your insistence that you’ve not comunicated with him at all, because it is the extremely rare personality that continues these behaviors unabated with absolutely no communication (read: encouragement) from the recipient. If this is your case, then you are in very real and imminent danger. When on the receiving end of this personality type’s arduous inclinations, it never ends well.

If what you’re asserting is true, you need to take serious fucking steps, or you are going to die. This personality type will never move on, and will never stop his focus on you. It can go on, unchanged and undiminished, for years, and I assure you, you will never see the end coming. This person lulls thier victims into a false sense of peace, at thier leisure. It may not seem so, but do not be fooled – they ARE the ones in control of when you die. Your life is in thier hands, profoundly and literally.

Kokoro's avatar

Your answer surely worries me. Can someone really spend years doing this? It’s sick! You are right about the false sense of peace. Whenever I think he has stopped trying to contact me, he does something. I have applied for a civilian restraining order and am awaiting approval or denial of it. The military no contact order I have on him is a joke, and is doing nothing. It’s a more of “let’s wait until something bad happens and then we’ll reprimand.”

I hope the law takes him seriously, because I’m sure they’re thinking with, “Oh it’s a break up, it’s painful, it’s normal for him to behave like this. He’ll quit eventually.” I think it’s messed up that he can do this to me while I have to deal with being harassed. It’s frustrating, but I can only do so much on my part.

phillis's avatar

Worried” is what you do when you can’t pay a bill, Kokoro. You should be scared out of your fucking MIND right about now. I didn’t tell you this to add a nice, dramatic flair. What I told you is the pure, naked reality of this personality type, with numerous documented cases which always end in murder. The police can’t help you, which is precisely why it never ends well.

Please, I am asking you as nicely as I know how, to make sure you do not communicate with this person in any way. Either you’re a little embarrassed to admit you’ve spoken with him (which is perfectly fine, you don’t have to talk about it) or it really is what you claim it is. I suggest getting your ass off fluther and getting in research mode so that you can protect yourself. No authority can help you until after you’re dead. You can beat this, but it isn’t going to happen unless YOU do the work. I’m sorry, but you’re on your own. That is your present reality, so face it.

Kokoro's avatar

I haven’t spoken to him since the break up. I even try to park my car away far from where I live so he doesn’t have an excuse to say his girlfriend lives in the same area. I have been staying at someone else’s house so even I don’t have to deal with that, at least for awhile. I’ve cut off communication with all his friends and family. I’ve changed my e-mail, my number. I have done all I can to try to get him out of my life, and he sent me flowers, talked to my friends, showed up at my office (thankfully I was gone) and then tells the higher ups that he has done no such thing, or he was there for a diff reason, and says he has a new girlfriend and has moved on. I don’t know what else I can do if the authorities can’t help me. I am in the military so I cannot move.

dpworkin's avatar

Have you told anyone on your post? MPs might be more effective than cops.

phillis's avatar

If I might make a final suggestion (unless I think of something to add along the way), do not park your car a great distance, then walk to your home or work. The profile of this personality type is that your final attack will be very up close and very personal. They want to be close to thier victims, so guns are not used. A garrote or knife is the weapon of choice, so stay as close to your vehicle as you can at all times.

Sometimes they want to BE thier victims, so check your home often for missing personal items. I don’t mean the blender on your kitchen counter. I mean personal items, such as underwear, pictures, clothing items, make up, even car keys (for ultimate control, which may be the only signal you get, if any at all, that your end is quite near). Depending on the particular sub-abberations (can’t think of the right word I’m looking for) afflicting the person, you can be raped before or after you are dead. Neither is acceptable.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Before @phillis scares you completely to death (though being at least somewhat apprehensive in this case is better than not being apprehensive at all), my girlfriend was in a terribly abusive marriage for over ten years… until he brought the family to the US and with the change in culture and laws she could and did divorce him. Even so, he lived in the same town and still called to abuse her frequently by phone (usually when drunk) which only stopped when he did find and stay with a new partner (about 8 years after the divorce). She misguidedly took the calls, hoping that he’d want to talk to or about the kids—but he never did. All he wanted to do was heap more invective on her. Fortunately for everyone, that’s all that he ever did do.

In your case the guy is obviously too often physically present and too close, which makes me not discount the advice you’re getting from @phillis—especially since he won’t even admit the facts of the thing to himself or to you. That break with reality is what would scare me the most. He more than likely believes his own lies.

I’m afraid that with guys like this, paper is useless. That is, “paper” in the sense of no-contact orders and other judicial warrants and fiats. The only thing that’s going to be effective for now is distance: keeping yours from him, and perhaps some kind of demonstration of physical force of some kind. If I were you, I’d want to be armed in whatever way was practical—whether that was legal or not. Mace and other pepper sprays, telescoping batons and even brass knuckles can be effective, as well as a pistol if you know how to use it and can avoid metal detectors. (Of course, you need to keep that away from kids, too, if they’re involved.)

phillis's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I have to agree with you, and also clarify that, since no information was offered up as to whether this man has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, I felt it was safer to assume there was not. If the person only does this when they are under the influence of a mind-altering substance, then it is relatively safe to assume they simply act on impulse-related anxieties and/or separation while they are in an altered state from outside sources, as apposed to any mental deficits. Of course, that does not mean that any person is 100% safe while on these substances, either. Erring on the side of caution with them is encouraged.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

I wonder if it would not be better for a person to move, change town/city in such cases? Others might argue that it is not fair to have to leave your home because of a sick person who simply cannot accept that it is over, but it may be the only way to put an end to this toxic situation

phillis's avatar

@ZEPHYRA Those options aren’t available to this person, as they are in the military. Were that not the case, you couldn’t be more dead-on. GA. I wanted to recommend those things, too.

escapedone7's avatar

@phillis is right.

I was like you, bewildered why a person would act such a way. Then I read about personality disorders and studied each one. I found one that fit him perfectly. I studied quite a bit about that personality disorder until I finally understood the nature of the beast inside and out. Although sometimes I wish I didn’t know what I know now. I want my innocence back. But at least I found out exactly what I was dealing with. I had to realize that the self he presented to me was a false facade. His actions, all of them, laid out before me made perfect sense in the light of what I was reading about his personality disorder. Read up on personality disorders , familiarize yourself well with the traits of sociopaths and other disorders such as malignant narcissism . Chances are very high if you are dealing with a serial stalker he has a personality disorder. It helps you to understand the nature of the beast you are dealing with. However to spot who he really is you have to see past who he says he is, and look at what he does instead of what he says. He most likely lied about himself and you fell in love with an illusion. This often means having the bubble of who you thought he was get popped. You will see a different man behind the curtain altogether.

I joined support groups and websites. I read everything I could get my hands on. Many good resources are on the web.

I read books. The most important, and helpful book I ever read was called “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin De Becker. I took notes on that book and kept them in a locked private blog, these posts were things I wrote down for my own benefit in 2008, since the book was a library book I had to return it. I wanted to document things I didn’t want to forget. I pasted the notes onto a public blog for you to look at. If these notes draw you in, please order and read the whole book. Most libraries should have it or be able to order it for you.

I carry mace. I don’t have a land line, only a cell phone which I change the number to often. I use a post office box for my bills and mail now instead of my street address.

Judi's avatar

This may have already been said, but even if it has it bears repeating. Thery’re just lying, cheatin’ dogs and they can’t stand the idea that SHE took control.

evandad's avatar

I’m glad you finally dropped that jerk. Good for you.

Trillian's avatar

@Kokoro If I might make a suggestion for further consideration? You may want to do some serious soul searching before becoming involved again. It seems that we women who have been attracted to an abuser send out unconscious signals that attract that type. You could very well find yourself involved again with one of these schmucks. You may even consider a little therapy to address any unconscious issues or underlying problems that render you more prone to attract this type of man.
Take care.

Kokoro's avatar

Thanks @phillis. I suppose that is the safest way. I would never imagine him to try and murder me, but I’m not going to blow it off as he has surprised me in his behavior since the break up. It’s like he is a different person, he is so disgusting. I definitely think it’s possible he would physically hurt me if he had the chance.

@dpworkin I have been looking into getting support from the MPs, but there’s only so much they can do because of lack of solid “proof.” If he comes towards me at all I know I can call them though.

@ZEPHYRA Good point for someone who would live in an area to call home. In my case it is just where I am stationed so I would definitely leave if I had the chance.

Thanks for the advice @CyanoticWasp that is such a scary story. I am hoping with this new girl he has he will have to direct his attention onto her and not pursue me anymore, but I don’t know if that’s wishful thinking. Every time I think he’s done thinking about me, he up and goes and sends me something or shows up in my area. As @phillis mentioned before, the idea of false peace. I know my higher ups look at it that way… “Let’s hope he moves on this time.” It kind of bothers me that they have that sort of mind set.

@escapedone7 Thanks so much for this info and links. Wow, that personality disorder page, it lists so much characteristics about him. I had always looked at him as a damaged person but when I read these I am in a bit of shock. He is REALLY messed up in the head, and he fools his family, superiors, co-workers and friends into thinking he is normal person with some issues. That scares me severely.

@evandad Thank you. I know you had seem him around on AB and advised me on my posts, but now I am glad I am out of it. I can’t believe I was with him for that long.

I hope I don’t have to deal with him for more years to come, I just want to look at him as a distant awful memory, not always think about him and worry and wonder why he is so nuts.

Kokoro's avatar

@Trillian I think that is a good suggestion, thank you. I don’t want my next partner to be like him.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

No lie @Kokoro, my friend was held hostage handcuffed to an I-beam in his own basement by a crazed exboyfriend of his wife. He was pistol whipped, starved and threatened with death constantly in the three day ordeal.

Before that, he had been stalked and vandalized by this guy. The motor of his new Porsche locked up and his insurance company had him arrested for fraud. Later, as a hostage, the exboyfriend told him that he’d poured kitty litter down the gas tank. He also told him many detailed stories of following him in public and even sat next to him at the opera.

When my friend escaped, he was picked up running naked down the street and arrested. The Police still did not believe him because of the earlier insurance fraud. They went back to his house and found nothing that he couldn’t have faked on his own. No one believed him.

Luckily, the stalker was pulled over for a random traffic violation. He was found with a bag of cash and guns. The guns matched the description that my friend gave them and finally everything was put right. The stalker went to jail for two years, but he’s up for parole in 30 days after serving only one year.

This is nothing to take lightly. If you really feel as though you are being stalked, I recommend getting a digital camera and a restraining order immediately.

Silhouette's avatar

A lot of people who do this sort of thing try to woo you back so they can leave. The you can’t quit, you’re fired syndrome. They want to humiliate you one last time if they can. They have a phque stuck in their craw.

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