Relationships & Predatory Men – Protect Yourself

“I wonder why we take from our women
Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
I think it’s time to kill for our women
Time to heal our women, be real to our women
And if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies
That will hate the ladies that make the babies”
-Tupac, Keep Ya Head Up, 1993

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The inspiration for this post came from meeting an unfortunate woman today whose story made my blood boil. It reminded me my own abuse experience and the experiences of so many women I’ve met. It is my duty to create awareness so that others don’t have to experience what we have gone through..

Anyone who comes from vulnerable circumstances (ie: broken, unstable or neglectful families, trauma) is, unfortunately, at a higher risk for exploitation.  Almost all prostitutes come from difficult circumstances. These circumstances are the prime “push” factor that push us towards sex work. And sadly, these life experiences can also make us targets for predators. For me, I was lucky that I developed ‘thick skin’ from a young age and learnt to be resilient to indecent men. I previously had long term relationships with kind and caring men, and therefore I felt I had a good sense of judgement on others. But unfortunately, I was not immune and ended up in an abusive relationship which broke off early last year. In the aftermath, I asked many questions about how I allowed such a hostile person into my life. What made me overlook all the red flags? I had such strict standards for myself, how did I allow myself to settle for such horrible treatment? I realized that I was vulnerable, and I was exploited for it. I mistakenly thought that I was not vulnerable because I was strong minded and my own boss. The truth is: women are less safe when their only defender is themselves. In fact, anyone is less safe when they are left to fend for themselves, because humans by nature are meant to be social. An animal wandering off alone in the woods is at more risk of being attacked than one who wanders with their flock. The purpose of this post is to create awareness, which can help other women protect themselves and be more vigilant about who they let into their lives.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a feminist. I would never endorse the idea that ALL men are bad. Good men do exist indeed. But women need to be warned about the increasing phenomenon of certain men who’s intent is to harm and exploit women. For instance, there are popular men groups on the internet that discuss tactics of using women for the sole purpose of sex. In an age of internet anonymity and the breakdown of strong communities, it is easier for predators to exploit the vulnerable and not face any backlash.

Who is a Coward?

To exploit or harm another person is severe enough, but to harm or exploit a person in a vulnerable position makes one an utmost COWARD. A vulnerable person is one who has weak or little support from family and the wider society, and/or they are too young or physically weak to defend themselves. Vulnerability doe NOT mean one is weak-minded or submissive. I consider myself very strong and resilient, yet I was vulnerable in the sense that I only had myself to rely on for everything.

Cowardly abusers exploit for the very fact that their victims have no protectors. In other words, this kind of abuser likely won‘t dare to harm a woman who has a strong kin, because a strong kin would mean a Father, Uncles and Brothers would take justice if anyone tried to harm their womenfolk. In my experience, my abuser harmed me because he knew he would face no backlash from any male family members or any community. He wouldn’t do the same to a woman with a strong family backing, because he would be worried about ruining his public image. A great way to determine ones true character is to see how they treat others behind closed doors — a lot of people who appear “nice” in public can behave indecently in private (where they can’t get caught). 

As my blog has highlighted in recent posts, I was in an abusive relationship. Even after an abusive relationship ends, the psychological effects of abuse linger. The following website quotes the experience of the aftermath of abuse:

“Even after leaving the relationship, women described experiencing panic attacks, had flashbacks or nightmares, self-harmed, and suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome. This could make it difficult to socialise or trust other people.”
-Read more: ( )

After my experience, I came to realize that what happened to me is becoming common. Indeed there are people who simply make mistakes, feel remorse and actively change. But in some cases, including my own, there are people who can destroy or attempt to destroy the well being of others and have absolutely zero guilt or remorse. 

Since my experience, I have crossed paths with other women whom also were exploited and abused by partners. As I came to know their stories, I realized that these women and myself lacked awareness of what healthy love meant. Our crime was having an open heart. I fear for any woman to experience what these women and I experienced, so it is my duty to warn others. I have seen suicide and lives ruined from abuse and exploitation that happens in the name of fraudulent love.

Today, my heart broke again and I was fuming with anger after I met a woman who has recently been separated from an abusive partner. I went to the masjid (an Islamic place of worship) and I reunited with Samia, a woman I hadn’t seen in nearly 6 years. In those 6 years, she had two beautiful children. The last time I saw her, she was optimistic, fresh-faced, hard-working at a great job and freshly converted to Islam. She is now divorced, on welfare, and emotionally destroyed from an abusive, garbage-excuse-of-a-human husband. Her eyes were swollen (likely from endless tears). I recognized those lost, sullen, terrified eyes that reminded me of the heart-broken women I met when I used to work in a brothel. When she told me her story, I realized her ex-husband was very similar to my abusive ex. A narcissistic abuser — used the same tactics of lovebombing, devaluation, psychological manipulation, and discard. And then she told me her story: she grew up in a broken home, an absent Father and emotionally absent family. As result, she grew up with a big heart yearning for love. She was exploited for her vulnerability. Her story is one that I see time and time again —- a vulnerable woman who just wants to be loved and feel secure (and sadly, she attracted a predator who exploited her loving heart).


Why is it that vulnerable women (or vulnerable people, in general) crave for love and belonging? That is because it’s a core basic need of the human condition. According to the renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow, a human must have their basic needs (see the diagram above) met before they can pursue their full-potential. After our physiological needs for food, water and sleep, a human needs to feel they belong to a group and feel loved and secure. When the basic need of wholesome love and belonging  is not met, depression and despair is inevitable. As a result, many will resort to drugs and other vices to cope with this despair.

The good news is that difficult circumstances and experiences can be healed and mended. It takes a lot of patience, however. What’s crucial to improving ones life is getting support from wholesome people and gaining a sense of belonging. There is a beautiful metaphor that says we humans are all tulip buds, and we just need the right conditions to bloom (ie: enough water and sunlight). If one comes from difficult circumstances, then have hope that your outcomes can change as long as you fill your life with wholesome things that can make you bloom.

Red Flags: Is he a Protector or Predator?


*Understand that “normal” individuals can be sociopaths (lack empathy) and be abusive behind closed doors: These days, modern day villains are not the scary-looking characters we see in fairy tales. They are often “normal” individuals found in everyday life. It may be the well-dressed guy at the nightclub who’s secret intent is to drug you or fill you with alcohol so that he can sexually exploit your lack of boundaries. It might be the everyday guy who gives “high fives” to his peers who brag about the women he’s slept with (or “ran a train on”). Sociopaths, as such, as everywhere. I would recommended one to always have their guard up and not to be trusting so easily. It takes a LONG time to really know someones character.

*Understand the Importance of Social CredentialsWhen meeting random people, it is crucial to obtain social references on that person. This is especially important when meeting random people that have no connection to ones own family or friend circle. In other words, its important that a person has people in the community that can vouch for that persons credibility. I ignored this when I was with my abusive ex. When I met my ex, I realized I knew no one else to speak on his behalf. He had no close friends at all. His acquaintances were always random people. He also changed jobs every year and therefore he had no consistency in anything. Those factors, alone, were red flags that I should have paid more attention too. The lesson to be learnt here is to make sure that anyone in your life has other friends or community members that can act as their social reference.  

*Understand that abusers are often covert (secretive) addicts of something (ie: a covert drug addict or porn addict). Drug abuse not only numbs an individual to dealing with their emotions, but it also changes the brain chemistry in negative ways.  As such, drug abuse often decreases the ability for one to feel empathy. Drug abuse also often means one has a poor sense of self-control and is, therefore, likely to be impulsive. Abusive addicts, in particular, chase highs, and often get bored with people because they are addicted to getting dopamine fixes. Tell tale signs of an abusive, covert drug addict include extreme mood swings, unstable emotions, anger, apathy, psychosis and physical withdrawal signs, such as intense night sweats.

*Understand what healthy love is, and that love is about action (not words): A person claiming to love you without showing it in their actions is a major red flag. Words are meaningless without action. There is a great film about a woman who was exploited by a so-called lover, which highlights the covert, manipulative ways men use ‘love’ to get sex from a woman. The film is called Wajma, An Afghan Love Story (Film is here on Youtube). 

*Stay away from shallow people who objectify others and yourself: One of the most dehumanizing feelings is when someone looks at you as an object (where your mind is completely irrelevant). There are hurtful individuals out there who evaluate women in the most dehumanizing ways — whom are convinced a woman’s worth is based on her sexual organs and appearance. Even more sad is that many women with low self-esteem are pandering to these dehumanizing trends. My abusive ex tried really hard to break down my self-esteem by picking at my flaws. Despite I know my worth is much more than the external, I almost started to believe my inner qualities mattered less. When my abuser couldn’t crush my self-esteem, he then tried to crush my soul by manipulating my heart and emotions. Abusers are competitive, shallow and envious, which is yet another major red flag I ignored.

*Speak out and Don’t be Silent: Silence allows predators to thrive. Do whatever you can to ensure that an exploitative/abusive person cannot put others at risk. Call the police, inform members in the community — anything!

If you are a man who wants to help, then speak out against men who exploit women in overt and covert ways. Be an older, protective brother to women who don’t have the protection of brothers. Creeps are actually ruining things for decent men. How? When a woman is harmed by a predator, she is more likely to be guarded towards most men. She might be susceptible to feminist propaganda that will teach her to mistrust ALL men (and that’s not the answer). We need more wholesome unity, not disunity between men and women.

Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship:


Tupac’s Keep ya Head Up (1993), a power song in support of vulnerable women from difficult circumstances. Tupac represented a time when Hip Hop was about unity and positive growth. Whereas now, mainstream hip hop has been hijacked and is about destroying humanity, glamorizing evil and promoting sociopathy.


To my Dear Readers: What is your advice to young women and men? What is your experience with an abuser? What are some RED FLAGS for you? Please share your thoughts.



Filed under Relationships

12 responses to “Relationships & Predatory Men – Protect Yourself

  1. simi69

    Dear Lady
    Very Informative article. A must read for all women in the exploitative age.
    I feel you must send it for publication in a good women magazine for educating them to be careful in love and life

  2. Candicelove

    Dear Sahar,

    I have been reading your blog for almost two years now. I was in an exclusive relationship with a man who used to be my client for about a year and a half. We started out great (who doesn’t?) and throughout the relationship, he lavished me with gifts, holiday trips, and a good amount of money. We shared the same beliefs and could really connect with each other. Being 16 years older, he gave me a lot of valuable advice and even supported me through my studies. I thought I knew this man.

    And recently, I found out he was married for almost 15 years.

    Everything just came crashing down. Everything was a lie. I asked before if he was married when we first met and he replied no. I can’t describe the betrayal , anger and hurt I am feeling now. All the relationships that he had while he was supposedly ‘single’ and before he met me… were they affairs behind his wife’s back as well? I also happen to know that his wife has been trying to conceive throughout the years, but unfortunately she kept suffering from miscarriages. I cannot even imagine the physical and emotional toll the multiple miscarriages has taken on her. Who would do that to someone he has made his marital vows to? And they have been together for nearly two decades. The ugliness and cruelty of man’s heart really make me want to puke.

    I am trying my best to manage the anger and hurt inside me. All along I thought I knew this man, and that he genuinely cared about me. I guess I was wrong. At the start of the ‘relationship’, he demanded for exclusivity and always needed assurance that I do love him and that I am not with him just for the money. He brought me to his place and to see his friends – albeit only once, but that gave me assurance that he was indeed single. And now I’ve become the unwitting other woman.

    I am struggling with the decision to spill the beans on him to his wife. But am afraid of the many repercussions as we know too much about each other personal details.

    What can I do Sahar? Please advice me… somehow you just came to mind in this period of loss and hurt.

    God bless your beautiful soul. Your blog is a therapeutic blessing in this mad world.

    • escortdiary

      Hi Candice. I have lots to say, but will reply a bit later. Talk soon.

      • Candicelove

        Thank you Sahar. I’ve been crying every night and suicide did cross my mind I’m sorry to say… I really thought what we had was real. I feel like it’s God’s way of punishing me for selling my body.

        It’s unbearable.

    • escortdiary

      Hi Candice,

      Sorry for the delay, will respond in segments below

      I was in an exclusive relationship with a man who used to be my client for about a year and a half. We started out great (who doesn’t?) and throughout the relationship, he lavished me with gifts, holiday trips, and a good amount of money. We shared the same beliefs and could really connect with each other. Being 16 years older, he gave me a lot of valuable advice and even supported me through my studies. I thought I knew this man.

      And recently, I found out he was married for almost 15 years

      Sorry to hear you were duped. You seem to have morals and do not want to be “the other woman.” I, too, had once been in a nearly identical situation with a client. He was eager to be very close to me, and worked extremely hard to make me consider him. Always had gifts and was very generous. He was adamant that he was divorced. I didn’t love this man at all and even told him that. Nevertheless, once I found out he was married, I felt terrible that I got personal with a married man, so I cut off contact. I felt so bad for his wife and felt bad just knowing such betrayal exists. If a person can cheat their spouse or lie so easily, it’s enough to indicate they are not a healthy person to have in ones life. It doesn’t matter how generous or loving a person can be.

      Everything just came crashing down. Everything was a lie. I asked before if he was married when we first met and he replied no. I can’t describe the betrayal , anger and hurt I am feeling now. All the relationships that he had while he was supposedly ‘single’ and before he met me… were they affairs behind his wife’s back as well? I also happen to know that his wife has been trying to conceive throughout the years, but unfortunately she kept suffering from miscarriages. I cannot even imagine the physical and emotional toll the multiple miscarriages has taken on her.

      What you are feeling is understandable. You have been betrayed. What you need to realize is that this man is not whom he claims to be — his persona was complete lie. He was putting on a mask while being with you. He needed you to boost his ego. He played you and he played his wife, which speaks for itself. It’s a hard concept to swallow, but you have to accept that the man you “love” never actually existed.

      Many wives have written on my blog about how infidelity has crushed their souls — therefore, indeed, this man’s wife is likely going to hurt badly if she knew about her husbands’ cheating. He likely puts on a mask to his wife while he betrays her behind her back — it’s very common for cheaters to be very loving to the wives they cheat on.

      Who would do that to someone he has made his marital vows to? And they have been together for nearly two decades. The ugliness and cruelty of man’s heart really make me want to puke.

      What kind of person behaves this way? It’s either a sociopath or an adult who hasn’t emotionally matured. An emotionally immature person has potential to feel guilt and maybe right their wrongs (rare), but a sociopath cannot. A sociopath is a person devoid of any emotion or morality. However, they look like a completely normal individual and know to “talk the talk” to manipulate people. Often they are great at faking love and other emotions to get people near them. But beneath that, they are indifferent to the well being of others and have the inability to feel genuine remorse.

      I am trying my best to manage the anger and hurt inside me. All along I thought I knew this man, and that he genuinely cared about me. I guess I was wrong. At the start of the ‘relationship’, he demanded for exclusivity and always needed assurance that I do love him and that I am not with him just for the money.

      The fact he demanded exclusivity and always needed assurance of your love is a red flag. I, too, ignored this red flag with that married man and my abusive ex. Both would complain every single day about I am not loyal enough, not loving enough. It’s manipulation and subtle abuse, which slowly breaks down the victim. They suffer from insecurity and thus need their victims to constantly prove their love. This behaviour slowly drains the victims energy and makes them weak and easier to control. This is characteristic of a personality disorder. The reason why they cheat is because they constantly need sources of ego-boosting-supply to keep them feeling worthy (because, again, they have a very low self-esteem).

      I am struggling with the decision to spill the beans on him to his wife. But am afraid of the many repercussions as we know too much about each other personal details.

      Understandable. I told the wife about her husbands infidelity. At that time, I felt it was my duty to help out another woman. But as I look back in retrospect, I question whether telling her was the best idea. Sometimes, ignorance is a bliss. Some women also want to know if they have been cheated, while others don’t want to know. Telling his wife may result in her trying to get your help in the divorce procedure, which is something you likely don’t want to get involved in. What you need to focus on is healing yourself. This means cutting this man off COMPLETELY. Change your number, block him wherever he can contact you. And most importantly BE PREPARED FOR HIS FALSE DECLARATIONS OF LOVE TO TRY TO WIN YOU BACK (or fake apologies, fake epiphanies). Abusers/sociopaths are very good with words and know exactly how to manipulate your heart — don’t fall for it. This man invested a lot into you, and he won’t let you go easily. This is why it is crucial to cut him off completely and block all communication. Keeping communication with him with only delay your healing process.

      Secondly, please enrol into therapy. There is a lot of healing that needs to be done. Love fraud can really affect your mental health and well-being. But when you talk about it with others, it helps to make sense of everything. Please know that you CAN and will heal, but it takes time. For now, try your best to eat healthy, exercise, stay away from intoxicants, stay away from toxic people and take this time to focus on you. You need to realize that only you can care for yourself — you now have a guard up and must be careful in letting it down. You will be vulnerable for some time after this experience, so be VERY careful whom you let into your life. I was very depressed and vulnerable when I met my ex-abuser, so please be vigilant as to not further your pain.

      In essence, you have to realize that we cannot place all our happiness in others, but rather we need to find wholesome ways to keep ourselves happy. As cliche as it sounds, pain happens for a reason, and from this pain, you can thrive and grow dear. Don’t be afraid of pain — like everything in this world, it won’t last forever.

      Please contact me and let me know how you are feeling.

      With love,

      • Candicelove

        Thank you so much Sahar. :’) somehow you are like the Best Friend/Sister that I’ve never had even though we’ve never met before. Your words bring me solace and give me peace. You are beautiful in and out and I think you deserve all the happiness in the world.

        I will do my best to heal and will consider professional help if I don’t get better. For now, your words will suffice. Thank you thank you thank you. ♥️

      • Woodbine

        Dear Candice,

        In thinking about what you said, “I feel like it’s God’s way of punishing me for selling my body.”

        While not knowing anything about you or the actual service line of work you were engaged in this statement seems odd. You were not selling your body anymore than any one else engaged in labor; lawyer, doctor or brick layer. Like these other trades you use your body. That is a by definition unless you are a ghost.

        Your body is just fine and wonderful an incredible work of art that cares for you and others when you are asleep and awake, shields you form danger gives you intellect, empathy and connection to others as well as maintains blood flow, food processing, neurological awareness of everything inside of you and around you.

        Sure you are devastated by the world you had created for yourself suddenly being cloaked in distrust, anger, and economic uncertainty, who would not be? However it is not like you got noting out of this relationship in a transactional sense you got a tremendous amount of both emotional support and wealth. What was missing was likely not your partner’s exclusivity because if you could have continued to take clients he could have likely been given permission to enjoy non monogamous sex? Not God’s doing, it was the discovery that the understanding of the foundation of the relationship, trust, was non-existent. Therefore you have no interest even in a purely transactional relationship with this person.

        If one looks through the transactional lens, you did really well! However when viewed through the attachment lens human connection and relationship are not business deals or transactions. Had you known the trust you expected was not part of the relationship you would have made an informed decision to go the path your gut, hart, body, and intellect led you. Should you be mad? Damn right you should be furious. Beware of vengeance even if it feels good it is a green eyed monster. You might give therapy a try, as Sahar suggested. Check out Sue Johnson and Emotionally Focused Therapy.

        Counselors like prostitutes are paid and therefore are willing to listen longer and hopefully with greater insight than friends. But like prostitutes the client needs to be matched through an extensive interview/selection process to ensure the therapist can actually provide the services required. You need to find a professional who understands and has no judgment of prostitution. As Annie Sprinkle has pointed out sex workers may be vilified by the very person they hire to help them!

        Modern love relationships of all kinds are under tremendous pressure because couples don’t have large community to grant them support. Your smallish circle of support may be even smaller if your family and friends are simply unavailable to you, unaware of your profession, or fail to provide positive influences. Therefore one thing you might consider rather than finding right away another love relationship is work on building a larger community of support. Building your community is like buying insurance.

        It’s fun to be with people who have a mutual interest in trust and well being. Go forth; – find – enjoy what is amazing about humanity and what is manifest in the human body rather than dwelling on the unpleasant.


  3. Woodbine

    Dear Sahar,

    This post of yours is one of the more interesting to me as it has raised my curiosity about basic things we as humans do and believe. I recall before as you say again here how surprised you were to find that you had sercombed to being in a toxic lover relationship. As an outsider having read your Blog for a long time I share your surprise as you appear to be a very aware and astute student of human nature.

    As you are now pointing out there were some blatant red flags, like your lover never kept the same employment for over a year and had no close friends or acquaintances that you met. These are simple objective statements about economic constancy and stable meaningful attachment to others, not more subjective judgments about abusive man types.

    I would guess none of your readers would fault you for being angry about this failed toxic encounter with the ex-fiancée. This post raises the question of how to keep other potential couples from entering into a relationship based on so many false assumptions. In other words how to make such personal catastrophe less likely. To sum up in concrete terms victims want 1) their pain understood 2) diminished likelihood of Reoccurrence and 3) Let these be publicly known in order to restore the dignity of the people before the event (transgression etc.) occurred. If we are not careful in community these altruistic endeavors are likely to manifest as raw vengeance extending the consequences of more inter-generational violence.

    Perpetrating violence is awfully easy as vengeance has been immensely popular across all cultures and religions since time began. There are many cross cultural forms of vengeance to impose a social order, some extremely brutal such as stoning having been mentioned here.

    So the question I would like to think I am hearing you ask is, how to restore dignity – well being – without slipping into vengeance?

    Let’s move away from remedies for adverse events and turn to the question of, “What leads us into love relationships?” In thinking back over the things you have written I am curious about love, being guided to love by your hart and the economics of marriage.

    I can’t help but hear a mystical description of one’s hart leading you to true love and reciprocal love and warmth from another. That is the description the poets give us. Those who have felt love know it to be true as “being swept off our feet by love.” The meaning I’m hearing is love will take care of everything. Your conversation with Romm, amplifies this much more eloquently when he said, “You might idealize love, look for friendship, not a drug, not a state of mind nor a man… Intense emotions bring intense situations.”

    In this essay I hear you say your experience demonstrated that poet’s definition of love falls short of a successful relationship.

    In other words this mystical definition of the love of the poets is real, describable, felt and detectable, but it does not include the concept of secure attachment. So it is entirely possible that both you and your toxic Ex could have been in high states of love but not had the attachment capabilities necessary to have a secure emotional relationship. Note: I am not assigning blame to either broken woman prostitutes or as you describe the Ex as psychopathic. The point is there is more to a relationship than love.

    The other thing I have noticed from your writing is that it seems a Man is to provide totally for a woman once a marriage is arranged. While this may be true among the wealthy where servants care for the family while the Man provides the wealth it is certainly not true of any normal family in any culture as anthropological studies document the overwhelming contribution women make to economic prosperity. Unless the marriage has extreme wealth the idea of not making a significant economic contribution by both man and woman (each partner) is a pipe dream.

    In this sense the love of the poets is an economic pipe dream. The real realty of a securely bonded attachment relationship is it’s very very different from the poet’s (Bollywood or Hollywood) stereotypical love. So yes I can see how easily you were swept into this non-secure relationship by love and perception of being economically cared for. A relationship is the balancing the attachment styles that’s a lot more than just love. We all possess in some degree or other these attachment types: Secure, Resistant, and Avoidant which makes it easier or more difficult to work as one. Love does not provide for couples’ economic needs no matter what the sex or sexual orientation.

    I’m guessing you did Love your Ex and he did Love you. So it is completely understandable how and why anyone who is so wise, knowable and careful as you about with whom and how they can safely associate – overlooked the storm warnings.

    There is no need to blame yourself or any one else, but we as community do need to know the pain this situation caused you and your Ex. You are exploring how to make it less likely to reoccur. You are sharing all of this in community so we have the opportunity use your knowledge to use your experience to make relationships more secure attached and loving.

    Hopefully this begins to restore the dignity that both of you possessed before. Let your experience of understanding the situation you both found yourselves in to be healing for everyone this tragedy has touched. Let us all put down the rocks of vengeance and attempt to be better citizens.

    Given that the poets’ ideas of Love show up in all cultures and religions it is likely that your surprise is all so normal. Because it is normal does not make it less painful therefore we in community need to work diligently to look past love to more secure attachment as a way to make peace and love more likely than the cycles of violence and vengeance.

    Thank you for asking us to explore more secure human bonds to reduce inter-generational pain.


  4. Aphrodite

    Dear Sahar,
    Thank you for writing this thoughtful and eye-opening post.
    I told you my story about my abuser once….
    It was a very hard way to learn my lesson….And I’m not sure it’s the right lesson I learned.
    I’ve become very hardened as a result. Not heartless…. but very guarded.

    The story about Samia….it reminds me of the sequence of the story of my previous best friend. She isn’t a prostitute, and he doesn’t come from a broken home, but definitely a manipulative and verbally abusive home. A father who is super controlling and a mother is verbally abusive (she was called a ‘whore’ several times).
    She looks up to her parents, while treated so poorly so many times (my heart cries when I hear her stories, especially when I hear her admiring this upbringing ‘tactics’).
    She grew up into a ridiculously beautiful, hard-working, intelligent woman…with no self-esteem and no self-love. Ten years ago (she was still a young teenager) she fell in love with a men twice her age. He’s 15 years older. I never considered the age a problem….But he’s a monster….showing all the red flags you describe here. She also keeps her relationship a secret to people from whom she thinks whould dissapprove of her boyfriend, having no support of her parents and family. She talks about him to me, because many years ago, I didn’t disapprove him because I didn’t know better myself. She speaks about him in love and admiration, while I only hear her describe an awful person and and abusive relationship.
    He makes fun of her insecurities, compares her with other women, makes her feel ugly, has sex without taking her feelings in consideration, is unfaithfull, even transmitted a disease unto her (and possible fertility problems as a consequence).
    He blames her insecurities for his inability to express love to her.
    He basically treats her as his maid, slave, whatever….
    A few months ago, I went to a trip together with her and another good friend….hoping no drama would occur. To my dismay and frustration, she received a call from him, telling her he wanted ‘a break’, which resulted in her crying and yelling endlessly, knowing she could do nothing about this situation. She begged me for advice:
    “How can I keep him?! How can I make him mine?! Please why you don’t understand me? (directed towards me) Please say something useful.”

    My blood was boiling. I did not want to give her any advice, anymore.
    The advice I gave her many times was to quit the whole situation and direct her energy towards situations that make her grow, professionally and personally.
    She told us (my other friend was also there) she contemplated suicide if the relationship didn’t approve.
    Shocked by my own reaction, I heard the following words coming out of my mouth: “I won’t make any effort to understand your situation any longer. I understand you, but not this. Your situation won’t improve. He will never change and you can’t change him. Either you dump him, or yes, consider dumping yourself.” Especially my last words came out pretty cold.
    Later I understood my reaction was one of utter desperation.

    I realized I could not save her anymore. I’ve tried everything. I lifted her up, had many discussions about self worth and self-esteem… I cannot save her… at least I don’t know what to do anymore.
    She’ll end up in a situation such as Samia. She wants to marry him, having children with him.
    And informing friends and her parents would only make things worse. I know she tried to tell her story to other people, and those people have discarted her, because ‘how stupid could she be to stay in that situation? No one really understands.’
    Her parents would discard her certainly, as her abusive boyfriend is a reflection of her own father. (She told me herself)
    I’ve been trying to save her during many years, yet, nothing has helped.
    We still have contact, but she avoids the topic of her boyfriend, undoubtly remembering my words during our trip few months ago.
    I know what it is to have an abusive relationship, yet, I have no idea how to help her anymore.
    I sometimes catch myself thinking: ‘It wouldn’t surprise me if she commits suicide within the next five years.’ Then I feel guilty, feeling like a worthless girlfriend.
    She’s a wonderful person, she deserves better, much better.
    Her heart has been broken many times. Week after week, month after month, year after year….
    But my ideas are running out. I want to be there for her.
    But I don’t know how….

    • escortdiary

      Dear Aphrodite

      Thank you for sharing that sweetheart.

      From what you described of your friend, it appears she is trauma bonded in a very severe way. In other words, she is deeply addicted to the dysfunctional “love” from her partner. It is likely she doesn’t know what healthy love feels like, so she has no standard for herself due to lack of exposure of healthy love. In other words, she doesn’t know that healthy love exists. As you mentioned, her own parents treated her poorly, so from a young age she learnt that dysfunctional “love” is normal. All these factors make it hard for her to get out of the relationship and move on. If she does get out of the relationship, she will have undergo a lot of therapy to essentially unlearn the trauma bond and build a healthy self-esteem. She will also need a lot of emotional support. Breaking a trauma bond is like giving up a drug addiction — it’s not easy and it takes time depending on how severe the bond was.

      Suicide does happen when bonds break because people literally base their entire worth on another person (or anything worldly). Some people are terrified of being alone and will even stay with an abusive person just to avoid being lonely. While tragic, it’s very understandable that this happens because humans are, by nature, intended to be social. That’s why people need strong social support and a sense of spirituality. Spirituality, for instance, would teach one that pain is necessary for growth. Strong social support will help motivate one to heal and feel optimistic.

      For your role as her friend, I understand it can be difficult. It’s hard to say how you should behave as her friend — you don’t want to push her away, but you also don’t want to see her being continuously hurt. I am not sure how to answer, so I suggest researching how to support a friend in an abusive relationship. If a woman is terrified of being alone and doesn’t know how to function while being alone, then her situation is quite difficult. I had a friend also in the similar situation where she ended up staying with an abusive man rather than leaving the situation. Unfortunately, some women are this way because they never learnt to feel secure being alone and never learnt that healthy love and support exists. That’s why some women, for instance, stay with men who pimp them out. Being alone is not easy, so again it’s quite understandable why people stay in abusive situations.

      Once again dear, thank you as always for sharing your great insights

      With love

      • Aphrodite

        Thanks for your reply. Yes, it’s really difficult to figure out how to behave ‘properly’. I want to be there for her. But I’m afraid she just Is that woman, who stays with a man to find validation and to not be alone.
        It’s just really sad to see….

      • Woodbine

        Dear Aphrodite,

        To respond to your note, “it’s really difficult to figure out how to behave ‘properly’.”

        You pose a question that all of us face, and that is as I hear you, “How do I help friends I believe are in need but seem not to want my help”? I say friends even if you blame one for their relationship being adversarial and toxic. What can you do? What can anyone do? What could any of the readers of this Blog or your Blog do?

        Push to hard she walks away and never speaks to you again. Ignore her and she might be subject to great harm or death. I don’t know the answers and can give you no advice. What I can say is I know people who work with people escaping toxic relationships and can give you some of the understanding I have gotten form them.

        It is odd but for what every reason sometimes departing a toxic relationship is extremely difficult for the person who is most endanger. In fact there is an average number of times someone leaves before they leave for good. There is a cycle that gets passed from parent to child and my acquaintances are now counselors to a second generation of couples with toxic love relationships. There is no point in speaking of toxic men, as woman can be just as violent either verbally or physically. But abusive female significant partners are in a small minority.

        Hard to exit? Yes! So it is understandable that your friend wants to make it right with her boy friend, marry him and start a family. After all is that how the human fairy tale is supposed to end – live happily ever after. It’s the poet’s definition of love with a heavy over lay of religious and cultural dogma. Your friend seems like she is trying so hard to live the dream with her mate. Who are you to tell her she can’t? That is the question of self doubt I hear you asking your self? I’m guessing you are really struggling with how to be supportive to your friend you believe is harming herself and those around them by staying in this relationship. How do you help her see the hopelessness and afford her support to exit when she is programmed to stay and make it work?

        Lets looks pasted the love cures all fairy tale to how the primal brain reacts. Her neurobiology is not going to let her leave until there is a better alternative. That alternative is not going home or on the street. What is the better alterative to her current shelter, emotional support, longevity, and security?

        Remember there are an average number of attempted departures before the final one. The person leaving has to have a safer and more secure place to go with support. I’m guessing since you seem to live in Western Europe there actually are government services which provide both secure housing, legal and emotional support. You and her other friends can also help her see a safer world is outside of her toxic panacea of a family with babies. I’m guessing your support no matter how unwelcome and challenging it is for you to offer is of great value to her and all the people touched by this tragedy.

        I’m guessing all of us reading this can see why you would feel helpless, unheard and want to walk away. Most of life is simply showing up. To show up for her you must give your self lots of self empathy, take care to find support for yourself and understand how lonely and frightening it is for you to watch your friend struggle. In part you are doing that here and in your Blog!

        Thank you for caring about your dear friend and our community and for wanting to show up for all of our well beings, Woodbine

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