The Armchair Terrorist

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression The Armchair Terrorist

A few years ago I was on a flight sitting next to a window. As always with flying, although I understand the principles of flight and the science behind it all, I am still in amazement at how such a large aircraft is able to become lighter than air.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression The Armchair Terrorist

But this particular flight was something different. After spending a while watching the clouds below us and how the reflection of the sun shimmered on the wings I reached forward to read the laminated leaflet about what to do in the event of a crash.

I recall how clinical it all seemed. It didn’t mention anything about the internal feelings associated with death. It also assumed that the fuselage would remain intact upon impact. It was all very presumptuous. But what was equally presuming was the comment made by the stranger sat next to me. I didn’t know him and I wasn’t really interested in entering into a conversation but he said “we are more likely to be killed by terrorists than this aircraft crashing”. Indeed, he was probably right but my demise at the hands of terrorists did not satisfy the knowing of my potential ending.

Crossing the terrorist’s path

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression The Armchair Terrorist

Many years later my world and the concept of terrorism crossed paths again. I read an article about the rise of terrorist groups in the Middle East. It was an interesting article whereby it argued that terrorism plays on peoples fears and as a result can change people patterns and routines. The act of terrorists are beamed directly into our living rooms highlighting what damage they have done to some market square or a member of a high profile family they have killed. However, on the other hand whilst studying political science at University one of my lecturers said that one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter. Let me be clear here that my politics lecturers was not condoning terrorism but was giving it another perspective.

The 1980 Iranian Embassy Seige

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression The Armchair Terrorist

I was 8 years old when the Iranian Embassy was stormed by the SAS in 1980 ( I recall sitting next to my grandfather watching a John Wayne film when it was suddenly stopped. We were redirected to the images on the screen of masked men dressed in black blowing out windows and gun fire could be heard with (what seemed like dubbed) screams in the back ground. For anyone around at the time the images were unforgettable. But what is equally memorable is the confirmation that Britain would never deal or negotiate with terrorists. This stance has still been upheld today with the murders of humanitarian workers at the hands of ISIS.


Whilst serving in the forces I also discovered that you cannot negotiate with a terrorist who has a bomb strapped to them acting in the belief of their own religion. The power of the terrorist mindset is focused with a specific outcome regardless of the cost to themselves or those of whom are around them at that specific moment of martyrdom.

Forced by fear

However, about five years ago I heard a story about a Mexican father who received a phone call telling him that his daughter was being held to ransom. It was only recently that I discovered that this story was actually true.

The story goes that one afternoon he received a telephone call in his office from an unknown terrorist group. They informed him that they had his daughter and stated that a huge ransom needed to be paid. If not, the daughter would die. By all credible accounts he was heard to say that if they killed his daughter they would be doing him a favour. He further stated that he had ten children and that they had all been a great disappointment to him and his wife. Furthermore, the cost of raising ten children was becoming a massive burden and if they chose to kill her then that was their choice. Within hours the daughter was returned unharmed. What I get from this story is that the terrorist takes a gamble assuming that their actions will form an element of bargaining power to force people to act against their best wishes.

How much do you love me?

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression The Armchair Terrorist

So how does this train of thought fit in to the abusive home? The fear or intention of threats in the home often forces the other to do things against their wishes. I recall a conversation I once heard whereby two late middle aged women were talking about their husbands. One said that if he didn’t do a specific task he would not be getting any sex that evening. It was almost laughable really, but she was using something she had power of to force or negotiate her partner to do something. Although that is one level of duress it can also extend into others.

For example, this method can stretch from the silent treatment forcing a person to question what they have done and endure an awful atmosphere in their homes to stating that if a person didn’t do what they wanted they would leave and take the children (followed by “and there is nothing you can do about it”).

A change in direction

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression The Armchair Terrorist

Once a partner has begun to lose interest there is little that can be done to stop the process developing further. The very break down of communication avoids further irritation and is a form of self-protection. If we look at this a little closer, we can then analyse the actions taken by the home terrorist (I would like to call them from this point onwards as the Armchair terrorist). Like the British government who are resolute on not negotiating, the abuser moves from romanticism to woo you back to ultimately sulking, threats and finally rage. The terrorist partner finally knows that they cannot control the situation anymore and adopt malicious measures to bring their victim down.

Pointless outcomes

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression The Armchair Terrorist

Historically any attempt of gaining an upper hand by the use of terror has always back fired and created a greater resistance against the terrorist philosophy.  If we consider two historical examples whereby the terrorists failed to achieve their objections we must firstly consider the famous Gunpowder plot of 1605. The capture of those involved, and the subsequent trials, led Parliament to consider introducing new anti-Catholic legislation. The event also destroyed all hope that the Spanish would ever secure tolerance of the Catholics in England. In the summer of 1606, laws against recusancy were strengthened; the Popish Recusants Act returned England to the Elizabethan system of fines and restrictions, introduced a sacramental test, and an Oath of Allegiance, requiring Catholics to abjure as a “heresy” the doctrine that “princes excommunicated by the Pope could be deposed or assassinated”. Catholic Emancipation took another 200 years to be realised.

In May 1972, three members of the Japanese Red Army who had been briefed and financed by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) landed at Lod Airport in Tel Aviv. Once inside the terminal they began firing indiscriminately killing twenty-four and injuring a further seven. Following this act of terrorism, the peace process did not gain any speed. In fact, it only hardened Israeli public opinion against the Palestinian cause.  Ironically, however, it finally transpired that the majority of those killed were not even Israelis but belonged to a group of Puerto Rican Christians who had been on a religious pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

But in both of these cases, although with several hundred years apart, the common denominator was that the use of violence was used when dialogue had ceased to produce the results they wanted.

Hey you…. Look at us

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression The Armchair Terrorist

The key points about terrorism and the actions of a domestic abuser is that it is intended to attract attention of either the state or the individual who may no longer be interested in them. They are both a form of psychological warfare with specific goals. For example, the Palestinian cause at Lod Airport, Catholic emancipation in 1605 and to win back the lost affections of a partner within the home.

I love you… but

However, although there are similarities between the armchair terrorist and the regular terrorist there is a distinct difference. The armchair terrorist demands to be loved in the first instance. Indeed, failure to do what is requested in both counts results in violence either by a bomb or shooting to a punch in the face or an attack when sleeping. The resolution and love showed by an abuser is shrouded with guilt. The displays of love and affection are not spontaneous but the actions of someone who feels guilty. As a result, these actions are doomed and will ultimately lead to further disappointment. In their eyes you must love them because you have been forced to.

For the ordinary terrorist they are seeking a one-off concession given to them by the state. Not a perpetual loveless relationship based on the fear that love might be taken away in a moment.  The demand of the armchair terrorist is a falsehood that the love they want is built upon the threat of fear that is imposed. Therefore, it is not spontaneous and thus not the type of love or relationship that anyone wants – including the abuser.

Breach of contract

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression The Armchair Terrorist

Following a terrorists ability to achieve their outcomes negotiations are often made. A form of peace is pursued with an aim to end the hostilities. But for the armchair terrorist each kiss is tainted with the knowledge that it is false and may even be forced upon the other in an unwilling form of contract.

What am I saying?

Well there is a similarity between the terrorists I have mentioned. When the control or ability to communicate has failed the use of violence becomes arbitrary.  The armchair terrorist tries to control a life for their own individual and selfish means. They try and create a state whereby tensions, resentment and fear are what keeps the structure together. However, the ordinary terrorist is born out of a political deadlock. But in both cases the conclusion is the same – it achieves very little except alienation, discredit and hatred.


Histrionic Personality Disorder

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Histrionic Personality Disorder

When it comes to thinking or sharing thoughts, being a paramedic has its advantage. When I am not working alone on a responder car I am scheduled to work on, what we call, a truck which is your regular large ambulance.

It is whilst working on a truck last week that I discussed a certain characteristic I had recently come across. Initially the idea of ‘virtue signalling’ (VS) was mentioned .  However, following further investigation and research I came across a disorder called ‘Histrionic Personality Disorder’ (HPD).

So what was the topic of the conversation?

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Histrionic Personality Disorder

I am sure we all know the type of person or at least have met one or two during our lifetime that crave to be the centre of everyone’s attentions. Social media platforms such as facebook, twitter and redditt have brought these people forward. In fact, flick through your home page on facebook (for example) and you will unconsciously read posts by such people.

Craving attention

These people will crave attention by claiming that something has gone wrong (again) and therefore require and revel in the sympathy of those of whom respond. In effect, they like to be the centre of their own little world evoking attention and focus from other people.

This condition does indeed have a sliding scale. At its best it may be low profile with the odd little comment fishing for personal compliments, to its worst it may require the destruction of any potential competition to gain a series of affections and attention. This does indeed have a close relationship with narcissism but demonstrates signs such as people who are; lively, dramatic, vivacious, enthusiastic, and flirtatious lives.

Centre point

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Histrionic Personality Disorder

Narcissism, however takes a step back as narcissists don’t always wish to be at the centre of everything if in fact everything is going their way. On the other hand, people with HPD insist and structure a system to ensure that all eyes are on them.

It’s all about me

To make this more tangible the example I will give is commonplace within HPD. I have met (mainly women) who have flirted outrageously to gain the attention of men. Within a moment they will then complain that these said men are being exploitative and making sexual comments or references. As a result, they will revel in the sympathy produced from her accusations.  This of course has negative consequences upon the men she is accusing. For this matter, the accuser will not care. The outcome they have craved has been achieved and the consequences are negligible in comparison to the achieved awards.

Mental condition

According to Seligman, Martin E.P. (1984). “Chapter 11”. Abnormal Psychology. W.W. Norton & Company. It is estimated that HPD is diagnosed four times as frequently in women as men. It affects 2–3% of the general population and 10–15% in inpatient and outpatient mental health institutions.

With HPD being diagnosed as a disorder it therefore owns certain characteristics. Personality disorders are often rigid, inflexible and maladaptive, causing impairment in functioning or internal distress. A personality disorder is an enduring pattern of inner experience and behaviour that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time and leads to distress or impairment.

Me, me, me

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Histrionic Personality Disorder

Histrionic personality disorder, put simply, is characterized by constant attention-seeking, emotional overreaction, and suggestibility. A person with this condition tends to over-dramatize situations, which may impair relationships and lead to depression.


For any person who has experienced abuse from a partner can draw a comparison with HPD and false accusers.

I have found that individuals with histrionic personality disorder exhibit excessive emotionality and as a result have a tendency to regard things in an emotional manner. This makes them, in effect, attention seekers. People with this disorder are uncomfortable when they are not the centre of attention.

When I consider the behaviour of my abusive ex she met a great many of the characteristics evident within this condition. Amongst my friends and family (especially around my father) she was constantly seeking approval or attention. Furthermore, her use of her sexuality in inappropriate situations became a matter of concern. Within social situations she was considered as lively and was able to charm those of whom she made contact with.

Such a nice person…not

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Histrionic Personality Disorder

For many people this may have seemed delightful or even charming. Yet she was equally able to  embarrass me with excessive public displays of emotion, such as having temper tantrums to finally, accusing me of a crime that didn’t happen to seek attention from the police and her family. Unfortunately for her, it became apparent that she had a history of doing this to other men who had attempted to have a relationship with her.

Hey, give me a minute

When I think about it I can recall times when she would send me a text message apologising for something she may have said or done earlier in the day. If I was unable to reply instantly (probably because I was at work) she would send me another text saying how awful I was and that I deserved what she did. Instantly re-texting to apologise – and so it continued throughout the night. This whole process was illogical of which, it transpires, is also a common feature of HPD.


I think it is both fair and honest to state that we would all like to be seen as desired or attractive, yet people with HPD seem to take this to the extreme. My ex would dress inappropriately or seem invasive within people’s conversations. Her discussions were often exaggerated or flavoured with stories of woe and drama with the sole purpose of getting people to talk about her and how ‘amazing’ she has been.

However, the reality was not often met by her stories. As a classroom assistant she would claim to be a teacher. As a divorcee she would claim to be a victim and to live the life she wanted she tried to get me into debt – of which she was already in.


Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Histrionic Personality Disorder

Of course, reflection is a good thing. And I can now see that these character traits explained why she tended to see things from a highly emotional perspective. In short, she craved attention and the emotional “reward” that she gained from it. Furthermore, she obviously felt uncomfortable when she wasn’t the centre of attention. Although she was often seen as lively and energetic she equally became greatly distressed when she was not capturing the attention of others (especially work colleagues or other males). I suppose by calling her a “drama queen” would best fit her characteristic.


Whilst reading around the subject I came across a mnemonic that has sometimes been used to describe the criteria for histrionic personality disorder. Ironically it is labelled as “PRAISE ME”:

P – provocative (or seductive) behaviour

R – relationships, considered more intimate than they are

A – attention, must be at centre of

I – influenced easily

S – speech (style) – wants to impress, lacks detail

E – emotional liability, shallowness


M – make-up – physical appearance used to draw attention to self

E – exaggerated emotions – theatrical

Negative and positive

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Histrionic Personality Disorder

Regardless of how it is seen I discovered that people who suffer from HPD are often just as interested in attracting negative attention, including shock, anger, outrage, shame, guilt and remorse. And all of this fits in the persona of someone who makes false allegations to win favour from those of whom she shares the story with.


Although the roots of modern histrionic personality can be traced back to Freud’s description of “hysterical neuroses” (Sperry, 2003 Handbook of Diagnosis and Treatment of DSM-IV-TR Personality Disorders. New York: Bruner-Routledge;), personality was already a matter of attention before.

In the mid-19th century, Ernst von Feuchtersleben, (1765–1834) who wrote the Textbook of Medical Psychology (1845) made the first psychosocial description of what would become the histrionic personality. He described hysterical women as being sexually heightened, selfish and “overprivileged with satiety and boredom” (Millon, 2011 Disorders of Personality: Introducing a DSM/ICD Spectrum from Normal to Abnormal, 3rd Edn. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons).

Several theorists studied the particular traits of HPD including histrionic’s impressionist cognitive style and inattention to detail. In his book, “Hysterical Personality Style and the Histrionic Personality Disorder,” Horowitz (1991), focused on the connection between perception and behaviour in HPD. Horowitz argued that it was based on a disturbed mental representation of the self. On the other hand, according to the biosocial-learning model, proposed by Theodore Millon and other authors, this personality type may arise from unconscious patterns of reinforcement provided by parents and others. According to these authors, their core beliefs include “I am inadequate and unable to handle the life on my own” and “It is necessary to be loved by everyone, all the time.”

So what do I know?

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Histrionic Personality Disorder

Although beyond A level psychology I cannot consider myself to be a psychologist. However, I have found many of the above characteristics in many people. By them seeing themselves as the centre of attention they believe that so many other people believe in them and support their accusations. Yet I have given consideration to the point that HPD is in fact a medical condition greatly hidden. Although I am not stating that these people are dangerous in a physical sense they are extremely dangerous to fall out with. They have an expertise in manipulation and playing the victim when the evidence does not exist beyond their own claims.

People with HPD are both dangerous and manipulative and yet also fail to accept their own problems. Like any other mental health condition, they do indeed require medical assistance if only to save them from themselves and other being pulled into their viciousness and manipulation.

Abusers choose strong people because they ‘like a challenge’

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Abusers choose strong people because they 'like a challenge'

It has often been said that time is a great healer. I think there is an element of truth in that but from my point of view I think time is a great period of reflection.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Abusers choose strong people because they 'like a challenge'

I recently read a question whereby it asked if abusers were attracted to certain kinds of people. It transpired that they seem to like people in a caring profession. I cannot profess to know why but I assume it is because a caring person can feed the abusers ego. Perhaps carers are always trying to find the best in people and so, therefore, forgive any negative attributes that they may initially find in an abuser.

Track record

When I gave this some deeper thought it dawned on me that during the trial it transpired that my ex had a history of abuse towards her partners. What I also found relevant was that a majority of us worked in a uniformed public service. Namely I am a paramedic and her previous was a policeman. OK, it may be a coincidence but there is certainly enough there to feed a thought process.

Of course, before I write a blog I do a little research to either prove myself right with my thoughts or to find an alternative view. However, I have discovered that many victims of psychological abuse are often strong, confident, and successful people.

Is because abusers are attracted to someone they think will be a “challenge” to break?

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Abusers choose strong people because they 'like a challenge'

When I’ve thought about some of the people I’ve met following my abuse (or for that matter people I have known to have been abused) I have found people to be broken both physically and emotionally. In fact, some (ignorant) people (and I have recently had the displeasure of meeting a few) think of someone in an abusive relationship as being someone weak. From my point of view based on my own experiences this may well be the end result of being shaped and abused, but in reality, they probably didn’t start that way.

If you would have asked me at the start of my abusive relationship if I considered myself to be abused I probably would have said “no”. From the outset, I have had to fight for what I have achieved. I was never given a positive start in life but what I had achieved I had done through my own hard work.

Would I ever have considered myself to be strong and successful? I probably would have said “yes”. Obviously, this would have been under certain situations. But I was successful. I had attended University three times, I had held a commission in the Royal Air Force and I always seemed to have done well at things I had put my mind to.

Shannon Thomas

But according to Shannon Thomas, a therapist and author of the book “Healing from Hidden Abuse,” success and strength are actually what attract abusive narcissists and psychopaths to their targets.

Shannon further states that..

“Psychological abusers are attracted to what is going on within the person’s life that is shiny, glamorous, or exciting, or successful, or dynamic, or vibrant,”

Why bother working?

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Abusers choose strong people because they 'like a challenge'

I see it therefore, that the abuser feels that they are also entitled to this reward and so latch themselves to their victims like a moth to a flame. Why should they work for it when it can be handed on a plate to them? This is certainly a characteristic I now recognise as being a part of my ex.

I could list the things and benefits she had obtained from me and her many ex’s. However, when her world was about to be turned upside down (ie when I told her I was leaving her) she could only turn to the one defence mechanism she had and that was a full frontal attack of which she tried to destroy what I had worked for. In effect, if she couldn’t have me then no-one could.

Other topics

I have written many topics about what it feels like to be depressed or to be abused. I have also reflected on personal characteristics of a victim. But now it is clear to see.  The perfect victim has to be successful and strong, but they also have to be very sympathetic to other people which allows the abuser to abuse unchallenged for so long.

Mutual understanding – master and slave principle

Abused and abuser live under a ‘mutual understanding’. This is similar to the master and slave relationship mentioned by Plato many centuries ago.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Abusers choose strong people because they 'like a challenge'

The master was dependent on the slave’s loyalty and the slave dependent on the master’s maintenance and humane treatment of him. While slaves had to bow to their master’s wishes under the constant threat of punishment, they could also become indispensable to them, function as their confidants, and be party to their secrets.

The abuser abuses because they can. But if the victim stops it, they no longer have the power and so may move to their next victim. The abuser now thinks that their new victim/partner understands them better than you did and so the cycle continues.

The making of the perfect storm

As I now see it, perhaps being a paramedic was the perfect ingredient to create her perfect storm. But many other people can put themselves down on this list. Success is subjective, and when each victim compares themselves to their abusers they have had success in life by recognising the decency of themselves and not enduring the relationship anymore.

My abuser is left with nothing. Her youngest daughter moved out shortly after her lies were exposed. She does not have the capacity to understand what it is like to treat people with respect and her ride will continue until the metaphorical wheels fall off.


The problem is that we may over-give. And when we continue to over-give we find it very hard to say no. Therefore, we have become their chattel. They have complete ownership of our thoughts and emotions.

The stereotype is that abusers prey on the weak, because they will be easier to manipulate and bully. This has perhaps been portrayed by victims in soap operas and films.

Weakness is not a challenge

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Abusers choose strong people because they 'like a challenge'

However, this isn’t the case because a vulnerable target isn’t appealing. They are weak and have not achieved anything from which they can milk from. My abuser wanted someone who was already doing well in life, and also someone who had their emotions under control. My ex, like so many other abusers wanted a “challenge” from which would reward them for their efforts.

From conversations I have had with people who knew her she enjoyed winding me up because I was seen as laid back and not wound up very easily. She saw it as her challenge to get that reaction and when I no longer fell for the bait the challenge was too much. This made her a very toxic and vicious individual.

Every dog has it’s day

For her, it’s all about feeling superior. Like I have said, it was the ‘master and slave’ relationship. But without her slave she couldn’t be a master anymore. People who engage in abuse of their partners, are often narcissistic and believe everyone is beneath them.


The Ex-Orcism Of The Ex

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression The Ex-Orcism Of The Ex

People are people

When you sit back and think about it, it’s amazing that humans have any forms of relationships at all. We are all different, requiring different needs and requirements. Our desires change over time and it’s a lot to expect that another person can appreciate these changes as you would theirs. I am fully aware that I am not the same man I was ten years ago and I very much expect to be different again in another ten. I am most defiantly not the same person I was a year ago.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression The Ex-Orcism Of The Ex
Two Way Street

Relationships come in all forms. We all have parents and we all have friends. These are relationships and they give us things like support, advice and contact. It is a two-way street. Obviously, relationships are fluid and they change over time. So why can we not accept it with romantic relationships? And here is where I want to focus – I want to consider how we get over a romantic relationship, especially if it is a long term one.


Relationships can still ‘own’ us long after they’re over. I find it difficult to understand that the person who was the major part of your life at one stage, you find yourself crossing the road to avoid them the next. That person eventually becomes nothing more than a memory – good or bad. This will take time, but can you recall an ex from 10 or 20 years ago?

Breakdowns are now more difficult than ever. I love the convenience of mobile phones where a text can be so easy to write (who writes letters these days anyway?). Or the ability to look up old friends on Facebook. It’s all so easy and disposable. We can do these things instantly without much effort or physical input. But for some it means that their ex is just a click away.


Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression The Ex-Orcism Of The Ex

I wonder how many of you have looked your ex up on Facebook and looked at their pictures? Let’s be honest, we have all done so.  Old photographs could be thrown away but electronic media owns everything we share and there is no way of disposing these items easily.

But don’t be fooled. These people are not as happy as the picture suggests (see my blog on Humiliation). An ex can be as easily blocked as it is to contact them. I would never message my ex as I would not want her to have the feeling of accomplishment over me. She is blocked and will remain so.

However, there comes a time when we need to accept that what’s done is done and begin to look forward to what might be coming next. Following my break-up, I found a world of opportunity and self-discovery. I can now see that my break-up has had a positive outcome, but it wasn’t that way to begin with.

I am at the other end of it all and can look back on it to see it for what it was. The reality is that if it had not ended then it would have ended at some point. Although, I am prepared to accept that not everyone has this luxury. Like the complications of human nature, break-ups can equally be complex.

What is important to acknowledge at this stage is that I now realise you cannot get someone who never loved you, to start loving you now. It just won’t happen.

Emotions and feelings

I found that my emotions were identical to those I had experienced following a bereavement. I experienced; denial, anger, emptiness, and sadness and they came in quick succession. I even felt betrayed and emotionally robbed, especially as I had invested my hope of a bright future with that one person. The emotional ‘bank account’ has been raided and I had been left with nothing.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression The Ex-Orcism Of The Ex

I have had the discussion with various people from various backgrounds about break-ups. Alas, there is no definitive answer on the correct actions to take. Some suggested that people need to just ‘snap out of it’ or to ‘get online’ and find another one.  The truth is, how someone responds to the end of a relationship is different for each of us: there’s no right or wrong way to do it.

The important thing, from my point of view, is that you give yourself the time and support you need to feel better. I suggest being selfish and start falling in love with yourself again. My relationship beat me down and so I am building myself up to be better, stronger and most importantly, wiser.

Anger and self shame

I found that the hardest thing to let go of was my anger. I was furious that I had let her do those things to me but I was equally furious that I had allowed it to happen in the first place. My anger moved its focus from her to myself. I eventually recognised that I had pity for her as she was never going to change, whereas, I was changing. I felt so disappointed with myself. Wrongly, I had considered that I was intelligent and could work things out, but I failed to see the abuse until it became impossible to change. I was ultimately, disappointed with myself and this added to the shame of the breakdown.

It’s not me – it’s all you

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression The Ex-Orcism Of The Ex

I must admit, I am still playing the ‘blame game’ – I am endlessly questioning who did what, what could have been done differently and so on. But I don’t see a problem with this. I have been able to do an autopsy on a relationship that was dead long ago. I can now see what went wrong and how it died. A word of warning though, if you are not careful you can tend to go in circles and eventually draw no conclusions.

The end

I can confirm that the end of the relationship for me was eventually a liberating experience. It meant I was no longer fighting to try and obtain a dream from a nightmare. I felt I no longer had to justify her negative behaviours and abuse. There was no longer any need to feel fear on a daily basis.

For me this new-found sense of freedom eventually (not instantly I must admit) came with a rush of positive emotions. I rediscovered lost loves such as reading and writing. I even went to the ballet, of which I was never allowed to do when living under her regime. Funnily enough, I didn’t have a clue what was going on – but I really enjoyed it. But that’s not the point – I was able to do it without authorisation.

If you’ve been following my blogs you will appreciate that I have been on a journey of self-discovery. I have attempted to establish the meaning of happiness and to share it. My journey has enabled me to self-reflect on events and actions that were previously out of my control. And how they shaped me as a person of whom I didn’t want to be. I did these things for another persons’ happiness and not my own. Please allow yourself to be selfish. I want to suggest that self-appreciation is a liberating experience following an abusive relationship.

Scapegoating A Victim

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Scapegoating A Victim

I have just finished reading an article about how, throughout time, societies have focused their attentions on specific groups or individuals when blame is required. This form of negative focus is known as ‘scapegoating’.

By definition, the scapegoat is a person or people “made to bear the blame for others.” The scapegoated individual or group is seen as a threat to the successful functioning of the group as a whole and therefore must be rejected. As far as the group is concerned, the scapegoat is the sacrifice needed to ensure survival.

Trains of thought

Usually when I have a moment of inspiration I often sit and digest what it is I am considering.  I consider that Scapegoating for me has a number of homes in which it resides.

Firstly, it sits very comfortably within an abusive relationship. Secondly, having depression can have a negative effect upon some professions and finally, society uses it to focus its failings.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Scapegoating A Victim

Scapegoating has led to violence against and the degradation of groups of people throughout history. It has been witnessed by genocide in the Sudan, “ethnic cleansing” in Croatia, the Holocaust in Nazi Germany, apartheid in South Africa, lynchings in the American South, honour killings of women in the Middle East and South-east Asia. It has often been run by a stronger section of society enforcing its power over a weakened group.

Scapegoating in a relationship

This is, and can be mirrored within the family home. From my own experience abuse was developed over time without objection from me in the beginning. Power was handed to my partner by my apathy to rejecting it from the outset. I became the centre of attention when blame for something needed to be applied. For example, I would be blamed for incidental things such as running out of milk. Or I would be blamed for things I had no input over, like comments from her ex husband or events at her work.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Scapegoating A Victim

Blame was easily proportioned to other people, namely myself, rather than her taking responsibility for her own actions. This removal of focus ensured her righteous persona to everyone else.

Ultimately, she could justify physical and sexual abuse on to me when it was I that objected to such behaviours. It became my fault for her actions, therefore, becoming her unreasonable justification for such violent acts.

The victim, therefore, becomes the scapegoat for the abuser’s inadequacies. The abuser justifies it by creating a reason to abuse that just does not fit with the reality.

Scapegoating at work

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Scapegoating A Victim

I work within the health service. I’m a paramedic to be precise. The job does have moments when it can be difficult but equally it has its ‘quiet’ moments.

During my time as a paramedic I came across at least three members of staff who were taken ‘off the road’ due to illness – to be specific, mental illness. Although it was justified as a chance to recover, it still sent a shiver down my spine. I considered that I would be seen as not good enough to do the job if I declared my illness.

During my practice, I had never been disciplined for failing professional standards. I had a list of commendations from members of the public for ‘jobs’ I had done. Yet, I knew that if I had informed my superiors of my condition I would be seen instantly as unsuitable. In effect I would have been scapegoated due to my illness as being inferior to what my job required.

Being judged


I feel I would have been judged at work for having an illness. Would I suddenly be unfit for practice for having depression and/or PTSD? I would have been ashamed to step into the staff room with the label of ‘depressive’ hanging over me for everyone to see. Mental illness is still seen as a weakness of which I would have been ashamed to admit. Even now very few people of whom I worked with know that I have depression. How could I have gone from being a good member of staff one moment to being one of questionable abilities? My illness made me a scapegoat of peoples lack of understanding with regards to my abilities.

Nothing changed in my abilities or character based on a disclosure. It makes no sense to do so.


I was being judged for living in an abusive relationship and not getting out earlier. Not being able to leave was due to a range of circumstances out of my control. It didn’t make me a failure. The lack of support ensured the continuation of my victim status. There are no male refuges within any proximity to where I was from and worked. Furthermore, scapegoating would be further enforced, as a male victim within an abusive relationship is still a social embarrassment. I would be a target to ignorance from outside quarters, but I was also a scapegoat within my own home. She could justify her abuse because she failed to recognise her own failings and so I took the blame.


Society still views people with mental illness as being emotional or crazy. They either don’t take us seriously or they fear/pity us.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Scapegoating A Victim
Damn Lies

The media also does a discredit to mental health patients. Time and again when news stories hit the headlines about some murderer they always find a link with some form of mental illness. Is it not, therefore, labelling every mentally ill person as a potential murderer? Or are they scapegoating a section of society for societies failings? It is of courses easier to blame a section of society that are unable to defend themselves than face their own failures and shortcomings.

Mental health is everyone’s problem

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Scapegoating A Victim

People should not be discriminated against for mental illness. It is illegal to discriminate based on gender or colour yet, I have seen and witnessed discrimination based on depression. An illness of which is difficult to treat because people still see it as a stigma (I did for many years) and so the condition continues.

It is easier to scapegoat these people rather than address their own failures. This is especially so within a relationship, the workplace and society as a whole.

People can’t control what they are born with and shouldn’t be ignored or made fun of because of it. People should not be defined by their mental status. Some of the nicest, intelligent and strongest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting have depression.  However, people born with a mental illness such as depression face disbelief instead of support. Without help and support they may resort to self-harm, ridicule or even suicide.

Forgive – Why should you?

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Forgive - Why should you?

Religion preaches forgiveness

Let’s make this clear from the start. I am not religious. I was brought up as a Methodist but gradually turned my back on formal religion as I grew older. There are many reasons for this but far too many to include in this blog. Not being religious does not make me a bad person. Far from it. I’m more at peace than most of the religious people I know.

Today I attended a funeral. I always enter a funeral with an open mind. When it comes to religion I have a level of respect for people who can have a belief in something that has questionable ‘facts’. I’m not having a ‘pop’ at religion. As I see it, it offers relief and support to those of whom require it. That must, therefore, be a good thing. Anyway, one vein I have found with most religions is its attempt to ‘forgive’. This is a massive request to ask of most people. Especially people who have been hurt or are hurting right now.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Forgive - Why should you?

From my own perspective, I have experienced hatred (I’ve possibly been hated too). But I have found my hate turn to resentment then pity, and finally apathy. But why is forgiveness not the answer to all the hurt and pain we feel? I know (deep, deep down) that is probably the best thing to do. But I don’t think ‘forgiveness is the ‘be all – end all’ to the pain of abuse.

Does forgiveness deny the pain you have been subjected to?

I am trying so hard to forgive my ex for the things she has said and done. I refuse to excuse the reasons for her behaviours as she is responsible, as an adult, for those actions. And ultimately the consequences, to both herself and I.

I just feel at the moment, a sense of pity. Pity because she has no idea of what she has done, the problems that this has caused and the damage it has done. Furthermore, I feel pity for her as she will one day wonder why she is alone. She cannot depend on her looks for ever. They fade. But real beauty is based on character and personality. And hers, ladies and gentlemen is ugly. I feel pity for all of those things. Yet I still find it hard to forgive.

What are the benefits of forgiving someone?

I have seen it said in many self-help books that forgiveness can lead to:

  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • Stronger immune system
  • Improved heart health
  • Higher self-esteem

Yet, she was the cause of all these problems. I have been proud of my physical health in general. I have never attended hospital although I do have a history of depression. I’ve never even had a filling. But the abuse I suffered left me with a greater level of anxiety, a greater level of depression and PTSD. And little, if any self-esteem.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Forgive - Why should you?

Yet I still feel pity for her, because I know I will get better. Her life is based on denial and bitterness. Her problems cannot be treated with medication alone. So I don’t need to forgive. I just have pity for her.

Forgiveness isn’t always a good idea.

I have literally found tonnes of literature stating that forgiveness can improve your mental and physical health. It also focuses on the idea of easing anxiety and depression.  Letting go of a grudge, it seems, may be up there with exercising and getting enough sleep as one of the best things you can do for yourself. But I believe that refusing to forgive is a healthy frame of mind that protects you against further damage. It further stops you from being someone else’s ‘door mat’. What’s wrong with that? From my point of view, nothing. I’m more than happy to promote self protection.

I think it is wrong and a fallacy to suggest to anyone that they cannot move on without forgiveness. To even suggest that this is the only way out of unhappiness is a cruel suggestion, especially when no one else has walked in your shoes. Let’s make it clear, it’s not anybody’s place to tell you when to forgive or not. It is your decision when, and only when, the time is right. Whether that is today, next year or never.

Forgiveness isn’t the only way to move on.

I have found that wanting to move away from the damage and hurt (isn’t that what we are trying to do?), does not require you to say “I forgive you”. You can get the same relief and escape from your pains by taking a new approach to problems.

Previously, my approach usually meant rolling over and accepting her poisons. However, my new approach involves; counselling, medication, keeping a journal and so on. I’ve not forgiven, yet I’m feeling pretty good. I think this is mainly down to the fact that it wasn’t me, it was all her. What is there to forgive when she would never change anyway. Forgiveness would be an utter waste of time. I have no anger, just pity for a lost soul. A soul who think’s its ok to abuse in all of it ugly forms.

Forgiveness gives licence to the abuser to remain blind

There is enough pressure already to try and rebuild our lives without the added pressure of not forgiving.  Especially to those who abused. And by the people who had no idea.

Undoubtably, I will probably get a long line of people criticising what I have said. That is perfectly fine. We are all entitled to our opinions and this is mine (I make no apology for it). But from my point of view if I forgave she would not see the damage she had done. because I had seemed to forgive so easily. I want her to know she has done wrong. Deep down I want her to stop for her own well-being. That does not require forgiveness. It requires pity.

In the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed is king

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Forgive - Why should you?
In the kingdom of the blind

But, I firmly believe that you should not be carrying the burden of not forgiving. No one can point the finger at you and condemn you for feeling pain and distress caused by others. After all, would our abusers condemn us for standing up for ourselves. Mine didn’t condemn, she just dug herself in even deeper and I walked away. Therefore, I have no reason to forgive someone who continues to damage everything around her and will continue to do so. I just pity her.

Forgiveness Is wrong


Love Bombing – How It Works.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Love Bombing - How It Works.

This whole blogging experience has been like learning a new language. During one of my recent blogs I mentioned a term called ‘gaslighting‘, of which opened up a whole new world of knowledge and understanding.

I recently came across another term called ‘love bombing’. Love bombing is an evil, wicked tool that builds their victims to a high. Then instantly brings them crashing down with disastrous results.

What is ‘love bombing’?

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Love Bombing - How It Works.

Love Bombing is a tool mainly used by sociopaths or narcissists who try to control the relationship with bombs brimming with “love” right from day one. Narcissists and sociopaths thrive on drama and they don’t care what form it takes. ‘Love bombing’ is another weapon in their arsenal of abuse and manipulation.

The heavy bombardment of love actions that may appear very similar to “love”. But these actions are extremely overwhelming and deliberately executed. It is so intense that the bombing can effectively sweep people off their feet and cause high levels of infatuation, as the target is unaware that it is a manipulative means to gain attention.

Who do they target?

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Love Bombing - How It Works.

The perpetrators mainly focus on the weak or vulnerable in society. It is the main weapon of paedophiles or other sexual predators.  These victims may be at a vulnerable stage in their life and the love bomber swoops in and naturally seems to fill all the voids. They play close attention to painful emotional wounds, weaknesses and insecurities. They will tell their victim everything they want to hear and they often express dramatic displays of affection. However, anyone can be taken advantage of and can become a victim, particularly people following a difficult break up or depressed state.

Love bombing is initially carried out through excessive phone calls, text messages, emails, and so on. Also they express the constant desire to be in close contact whether virtual or physical and the desire to be connected almost every moment of every day.

Three phased pattern.

These stages may not just happen once. The cycle can go round and round on repeat until either the abuser becomes bored or until the one who is the target sees through it.

idealization, The love bomber identifies the needs of their victims and attempt to fill that void with what they wish to offer their victims. Love bombers are masters at flattery. They constantly tell their victims how much they adore them, how beautiful they are, how funny, talented, special, precious and any other sweet nothing they can think of. Love bombers will make their partner feel as though they are the only person in the world. They talk about subject such as; how grateful they are to finally be understood, what terrible previous relationships they had, how they have found the love of their lives and so on.

Devaluation, The abuser finds this stage stimulating and just as exciting as the early days. As their victim’s self-worth has been determined by the bombers words and actions. From this point the love bomber begins to rip the victim apart. They have become proficient at knowing which buttons to press that will trigger the emotions the bomber requires.

Discarding. When the victim starts to feel strong enough to break away, the cycle of love bombing goes back to the start to the start and the vicious cycle starts all over again.

This scenario is repeated and repeated until one or the other can bear no more.

Is love bombing similar to gaslighting?

Very much so. Love bombing is a predatory move. It is intended to lure and attract a victim so that they feel irreplaceable and fall unquestioningly into their trap. The love bomber doesn’t need to make any real emotional commitment to their victim. Love bombing is a one-way game, with the simple goal of destabilizing and derailing the person being targeted so that they become very easy to manipulate.

Gas lighting has similar attributes. The person convinces the victim that they have some form of problem that only they can understand and therefore, give the impression that they being helpful and supportive – perhaps the only one in the world who can.

As identified, the one being bombed can quickly become co-dependent on the love bomber. This is especially when their confidence low and it comes at a time when they appreciate any form of approval. Once dependency has been achieved and the bomber has obtained what they set out for they will quickly lose interest and they will no longer find the relationship fulfilling.

How dare you challenge them

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Love Bombing - How It Works.

If the victim starts to question the ‘realness’ of the relationship, the bomber will attempt to cause maximum damage. They will be outraged that anyone has dared to challenge or question them. Especially if it’s their partner of whom they have claimed to love and adore. A narcissists  refuse to, or cannot, deliver such things as commitment, respect, honesty, authenticity or intimacy and so see this as a personal attack upon their character and ability to love.

After the challenge, the love bomber will retaliate by becoming emotionally distant, withholding affection, blaming their partner for the downfall of the relationship, using silent treatment, moods or even temper tantrums to cause emotional torment. All of the initial flushes of romance dissipate and the victim is left craving the intensity of what they once knew. It is also quite likely that the love bomber will disappear for days or even months at a time to deliver a timely and crushing blow.


Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Love Bombing - How It Works.

The big wide world is full of pitfalls and trip hazards. The problem with ‘love bombing’ is that we feel the bomber is offering us everything we have ever desired. They seem to protect us from the evil and wicked world in which we live. These people are false and set out to use their victims for their own gratification. Love bombers sit alongside ‘gaslighters’ on the manipulative scale.

If you are vulnerable, perhaps due to depression or a desire to be wanted following a disastrous relationship. You are clearly in their sites. I hope that this blog has given some pointers to help identify these individuals (both male and female).


Rochdale Sex Abusers

My Father And I

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression My Father And I

I have two fathers. A natural father and an adoptive father. I will at some point talk about my adoptive father in greater details. But for this blog I want to discuss my natural father.

It took forty years to find my father after some extensive research and investigations. I wanted to find him because he was a part of me that I didn’t know much about. As a child, I only ever saw one photograph of him and it wasn’t the greatest of pictures. It was taken from a distance and his hair covered most of his face anyway. The photograph had discoloured over time and was curling at the edges. But it was all I had, and all kinds of thoughts and metaphors sprouted from this hazy image.

Finding my father

I had contacted the Salvation Army in my late 20s and they replied by stating they could not help me because I had been adopted. Although this was a backwards step it still didn’t put me off. At times I would find him only to discover he had moved many years previously. It was frustrating but it gave me the realisation that I was on the right track.

It was difficult to shape a view on fatherhood other than what I had experienced from my adoptive father. My adopted father was a very straight minded, middle class English man. For years I had considered him to be the most intelligent man who ever lived. However, as time developed I noticed more and more flaws within his character and so I became more drawn to the mystery man of whom was a shadowy figure in a distant memory. I know all teenagers do this (I’m sure mine did too) but I started to create a character based on what I desired from a father.

Creating an image

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression My Father And I
Creating an image

I had this romantic image of him being something phenomenal of whom would be intelligent, energetic and be considerate to others. There was nothing to base this image on as I had had no contact with my mother for many years, and she was, to say the least a very bitter and angry woman. I felt that I was intelligent enough to make my own mind up and not base opinions on what other people thought. Everyone was entitled to make impressions for themselves – and that included my absent father. Equally, I wanted to be forgiving of any faults he may have had.

First contact

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression My Father And I

I first made contact with my father in April 2012 after finding him via his publisher (he is an author). We chatted on the phone for several days lasting an hour or so with each call. We discussed who we were and what we had done with our lives. Our conversations found common denominators such as our love of history and the arts and how we had often thought of each other.

I met my father in May of 2012. Our first meeting went well. I met my brother and step mother of whom were characters themselves. My brother was very (shall I say) ‘earthy’. He was very much in touch with the natural things around him and didn’t really take much care of his appearance. My step mother was a short thin woman whose body had paid a very heavy price for excessive drinking – it eventually killed her, but not without warning (see my blog on denial). My father was a short man with a pot belly. He was loud and confident in his views and opinions. In some ways I considered him to be old fashioned. He worked and none of his wives had (yes that’s right had had married a further two times after my mother).

I liked the confidence he displayed. It was refreshing as we held long intelligent conversations over a range of subjects. He also exhibited a level of pride in his ‘boys’ that was warm felt and kind. Following these early meeting I decided to reclaim my birth name and became double-barrelled. It was nice. I had a name reflecting my bloodline and a name reflecting my upbringing.

Cracks in the persona

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression My Father And I
Crack in persona

However, after a couple of years things started to become apparent. It initially started with my brother mentioning that he was a difficult man to deal with if he disagreed with anything he said. I had seen it but dismissed it. If for example, you disagreed with his view on politics he would just repeat what he said previously – but louder. He had a strange view of women too. I’m sure he loved his wives but was not what I would consider in love with them. He had a need to be needed and this was evident with his choice of wife. This sense of charity seemed to feed his ego. Yet, I was still willing to forgive these character flaws as he was my father.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression My Father And I
Steptoe and son

I found my father a little bit creepy around my partner. I would cringe with the way he may have stood too close to them or the things he would say under the guise of a joke. He was often inappropriate. I would not only apologise for his actions and comments but I would warn people of his mannerisms prior to him arriving. Yet, I still forgave him.

Shattered reality

I had a realisation a few months ago about who he really was. Following the break up with my abusive ex, it transpired that both he and her had been having a series of telephone conversations. At no point had my father made any effort to contact me to ask for my version of events. He had been utterly taken in by what she wanted people to know. In fact there had been no contact for so long I called him on my birthday as I had not heard anything from him (as time progressed it was always me making the contact). He was pathetic. He had an opinion and wanted me to hear it. Of course it was one sided and wrong. I finished the conversation with the fact that he had not made any effort at all to find out the truth or my side of the story. I’ve not heard from him since.


During my counselling sessions, my childhood was touched upon. I explained the actions of my father and how disappointed I was with him. There and then, my counsellor hit the nail on the head. She suggested that he may have thought he was in with a chance with her – she played the maiden in distress and he always wanted to be the knight in shining armour. He was available following the death of his wife to alcohol. Furthermore, should would love the idea of having any man, especially my father, eating out of her hand.

What am I saying

I have read many stories and comments about abusive and toxic parents. My father was not abusive to me but he was/is a poor father. My brother has very little to do with him and now neither do I. I offered a golden opportunity to build a good father and son relationship. Instead he opted for the power of persuasion by my ex without gathering the facts.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression My Father And I
Blood is not thicker than water

I want people to know that blood is not thicker than water in the metaphorical sense. If I think about it now, I wouldn’t have had him as a friend so perhaps I expected too much as a son. I consider that I forgave too much because I saw what I wanted to see.

I had 40 years without him and I can have another 40 years without him. There is enough disappointment in life without encouraging it.

Poor parenting

Why Does Humiliation Hurt?

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Why Does Humiliation Hurt?

Over the past few weeks I have discovered something new about myself. I have become very observant about other people. It initially started when I was looking for inspiration for things to write about. I was surprised at how easy it became. Firstly, I have discovered that I really enjoy writing. This is certainly a journey of self-discovery and finding who I really am. I really like this new me that freedom has allowed to flourish (see my blog on freedom). Secondly, I have found that I have been able to develop idea based on what is either around me or from what I overhear in conversations.

It appears that relationship break downs are common. And just about everywhere we look there is evidence of such a phenomenon. During periods of observations I have come across a number of people who have suffered humiliation following a break up.

Nasty messages

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Why Does Humiliation Hurt?

My break-up was simple compared to others I have met or come across. I left the property and that was it. I have met people whose partners had left and then posted their break-up all over social media such as Facebook for example. These posts have included direct hostility with venomous phrases that are fully intended for everyone to see. In some cases photographs of themselves with their new bit of ‘whatever’ is plastered all over the place. I personally think there should be more dignity in separations, especially if children are involved, but I appear (and I hope that I’m wrong) to be in a minority.

3 factors

When I’ve looked at why people attempt to humiliate others three factors seem to dominate my train of thought.

1 – They hate themselves

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Why Does Humiliation Hurt?

I’ve put this at the top of the list because it seems the most prevalent. It seems that those of whom have left their partner for someone else seem to feel guilty for what they have done. So, to deflect their guilt they try and project their guilt on to the one they’ve left behind. For example, I’ve heard it suggested that ‘they made me have an affair and so they must blame themselves for what has happened’.

This is evidence of weak characteristics of which we have read about in bullying personalities. They are heavily burdened with their own guilt and fail to apologise for their own failings. They become surrounded by their own self-importance and so cannot consider the views of anyone else. Especially the ones they are hurting.

Following conversations with victims of humiliation, they have also said that their ex’s still tried to maintain a level of control with regards to basic needs. To explain this further, one person told me that her ex suggested that she had the house – this was a pay off for his guilt of having an affair. It appears that he thought he knew what was best for her and still tried to offset his guilt by ‘allowing’ her to have certain things.

The humiliator maintains that they know what is best for you and are more than happy to tell the whole world what they have let you have on their behalf. But what about telling everyone the full story? Well it won’t happen because they want the upper hand of playing the victim and survivalist of the failed relationship. They just cannot carry the true burden of their own self hate.

2 – They want to be you

The humiliator envies you for keeping it together when all was lost. They admire your strength over their weaknesses and so try and make themselves look stronger. They can only do this by bringing you down to their level and hope that you will react in a similar way.

Why should you expect them to behave with any integrity when they didn’t during the relationship? The fact is they are riddled with the good things you had together and fail to acknowledge that you had some input into those good times. All you can probably recall is the dying few months or moments when it all fell apart. If you’re not happy then why should they be – and this is why happy pictures of them in their new relationships are a complete fallacy.

3 – They see you as a threat.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Why Does Humiliation Hurt?

You know the truth about their abusive behaviour or indiscretions and fear that you will expose them for what they are to their friends and family. As a result they will post ‘over happy’ pictures of themselves implying that they are happier without you.

This behaviour is to make the victim feel that it was their fault and wonder why they are so good to the new person in their life. They also intend to make friends and family think it was your fault and not theirs. After all; look how happy they are with their new ‘bit’. It further adds to their illusions that all the bad things they said about you must be true. You know this is ‘bullshit’ and what is more, so do they.

Although I can state that I have not been a victim of humiliation following the break up (I cut all ties including Facebook and phone calls), my ex did make contact with my family to try and justify her behaviour. This was mainly to imply to my family that she was the victim and her life had been a misery. Again, time after time I have suggested the importance of keeping records to disprove anything my ex has suggested. Since the break up I have had ample opportunity to fire accusations and statements back at her. But I’ve not. And this has made me the better person.

Sticks and stones may break my bones…

I used to think that the hurt coming from name calling was a measurement of weakness and people need to get over it. But as I saw things that people have done to each other, I began to understand that I was wrong. If the one left behind finds they are a target it is really only because of one or more of the above mentioned three reasons.

The tormentors are playing the bully. I would argue with a great level of conviction, that when they see someone go through something humiliating, they find it funny because they’re not on the receiving end for a change. I am aware that it is easy for me to say, but by not rising to it they have no ammunition to fire with. Don’t feed their ego and let them drown in their own self-indulgence.

I think that in most cases the humiliator will stop trying to hurt you when they no longer can. When it appears that it no longer hurts you it will no longer be rewarding for them. A key feature of Narcissists behaviours is that they are motivated by other people’s pain. They enjoy it. It makes them feel powerful to be able to cause pain in someone’s life, especially when they have figured out what they are. Therefore, your humiliator is a Narcissist and they need to be dealt with accordingly.

Fake news is no news

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Why Does Humiliation Hurt?

You are only being humiliated because there’s something wrong with them. Not with you. If your friends cannot see the truth and the good in you then they are not friends and not worth keeping. Your family is a different matter but blood does not have to be thicker than water. Your self worth is more valuable than the air these idiots deserve.

Gaslighting – How Does it Work

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Gaslighting - How Does it Work

During my research for my blogs I have come across a number of phrases that I have never heard of before. One them is a term called ‘gaslighting’. This term is used a great deal by our American relatives. So what is ‘gaslighting’?

So what is gaslighting?

Gaslighting is another branch of mental abuse. Without realising, this is a powerful form of manipulation in its most awful form. If you are in an abusive relationship you would have been subjected to this type of exploitation.

Gaslighting seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group. The result is that the targeted then questions their own memory, views, understanding, and at worse; sanity. It is implemented by using denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying. It finally results in the targeted individual to question their own beliefs and knowledge about a certain event or action of which they had previously been sure of.

As a result, the abuser takes greater ownership of your understandings, knowledge and question-ability of their actions.

The 7 stages

Below are listed seven stages of how a gaslighter dominates their victim (the points below are excerpts from; How to Successfully Handle Gaslighters & Stop Psychological Bullying, by Preston Ni).

1 – Lie and exaggerate

My ex was proficient at being able to lie and exaggerate. She was able to create a negative narrative about the me (“There’s something wrong and inadequate about you”), thereby putting me on the defensive all of the time.

In found that I was always being compared to her ex (incidentally, of whom she had tried to have arrested but her allegations were proven to be false – no charge was brought against her). She always had the ability to criticise my fathering role – although her own parenting skills were questionable also.

2 – Repetition

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Gaslighting - How Does it Work

Joseph Geobbels was once quoted as saying that,”…. if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it.” Repetition, like psychological warfare, is when the falsehoods are repeated constantly in order to stay on the offensive, control the conversation, and dominate the relationship.

My ex would continue to criticise and find any opportunity to find a reason too. This action became her daily obsession and chore. She found a hook on which to constantly reel me in with. As my psychological well-being had been so down trodden (with her dubious evidence), I came to believe her objections and began to agree with her views and opinions.


3 – Escalation

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Gaslighting - How Does it Work

My ex was able to step up her offensive behaviour (escalation) when challenged. When called on her lies, she escalated the dispute by doubling and tripling down on her attacks on me. She was proficient at refuting the evidence with denial, blame, and more false claims (misdirection), sowing even more doubt and confusion.

When I discovered that she had been messaging another man of whom she had been seeing regularly behind my back, she flatly denied it (even though I had spoken to the chap directly before I asked her).  She had suggested that I had imagined the whole thing. She even went further to suggest that I needed medical help and that my insecurities.

4 – Wear down

A favourite trick of my ex was her attempt to wear me down. She continued to stay on the offensive, until the point came whereby I was utterly worn down. I became self-doubting and anxious and I further started to question my own identity, and reality.

5 – Co-dependency

This behaviour formed a relationship based on co-dependency. The Oxford Dictionary defines co-dependency as “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner.”

I can now see that I felt constant insecurity and anxiety based on what she told me of who I was. As a result, she seemed to have made most of the decisions. This was because I was made to think I was incapable of making such important choices.  Furthermore, I was unable to see friends or family without her direct approval. This element created a relationship that was based on fear, vulnerability, and downgrading.

 6 – A battle on two fronts

My ex had the ability to play Jackal and Hyde so often it was difficult to see the edges of her personality. It became a battle of two fronts. She often gave me hope that she had seen the errors of her ways and would spend moments explaining her actions that would draw pity from me. Therefore, justifying her actions. Occasionally she would show me tenderness and kindness.

7 – Divide and conquer

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Gaslighting - How Does it Work

Her ultimate objective was to control, dominate, and take advantage (divide and conquer) of everything around her including her own daughters. She maintained and intensifying her lies to continue the image of perfection to other people not in the relationship See blog on blonde hair and blue eyes. She involved my father to try and gain numbers for her quest. This action was to increase her personal gain over my self-respect.

Gaslighting has no centre point

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Gaslighting - How Does it Work

With gaslighting, it feels as though the ground is always shifting beneath you. There is no centre of gravity or a single point that you are able to focus on. Throughout my blogging experiences I have suggested that you keep records as soon as you have doubts. These records showed me that there was a distortion of the facts as I knew them. This, although I didn’t know it at the time was gaslighting.  My records kept me focused on the fact that I was being abused.

The reality is that you will never change a gaslighter. They are unsure themselves of what is black and white because their own distortions have weakened their own state of reality. They only gain success if they have drawn you into their whirlpool of self destruction.

If you lie enough