Psychopaths and love-bombing

So, I’m aware that I haven’t updated this blog in a long time. It was a bit difficult to come up with content for a while, and life also got in the way. Oh, well, better late than never. 

Today I stumbled upon a couple of websites via Facebook, to which I have been having quite the emotional reaction. It still blows me away that I’m still piecing together some of the things that happened to me, making sense of them, and discovering that the experiences have names. Being able to name something, and learning more and more that I’m not the only one, is a validating experience.

Several years ago, I met a man online. He was the first to make contact. Within weeks, we were flirting with each other, and we began talking on the phone. He professed his love for me not long after that and began a long-distance relationship. This man was incredibly sweet, funny, loving, charming, and kind. He told me he’d had his heart broken by cruel exes; and I couldn’t believe that anyone would be so horrid to such a beautiful, kind, sweet man. It was as if he worshiped me. He contacted me frequently and we began talking about marriage and children. He told me that we were perfectly matched; he’d been exactly what I was looking for and vice versa. I was told that wherever I moved, he would go with me, since I was his “princess.” The first time we met in person, he asked me to marry him, saying he wished he had an engagement ring on him right then and there, and overwhelmed me with physical affection. I’d never been hugged and touched so much in my life. He did rush me into sex but it was all happening so fast that it was making my head spin and with all of this love and hugging thrown at me it was hard to stop and think. I still remember the elation I felt, that I finally found my soulmate after I’d grown up lonely with low self-esteem and had begun fearing ending up alone. I was thrilled that the sweetest man in the world wanted me. We were madly in love, or so it seemed. He continued to frequently reassure me that I was his “fiancee” after our first visit. 

But the engagement ring never happened, and he started to pull away and grow moody, the first warning signs that the elation was short-lived and would soon be replaced by my living in anxiety and fear. What I did not know is that this man was a psychopath. He was incapable of feeling love, just really good at faking it. Soon, this whirlwind honeymoon stage would end and one of the most painful, confusing, soul-crushing experiences of my life would begin. 

Ten years later, even after much journaling, reaching out, making sense of the experience and learning to name various aspects of it, and getting therapy and self-help, some of that pain and anger is still with me. It may stick with me for the rest of my life. One of the things that hurt the most and left me feeling the most confused and betrayed is the bait-and-switch of that incredible, elating honeymoon stage that turned out to be all lies. Just today, I learned that there is a name for it, and it is a common technique that psychopaths use to get their target tightly hooked into a relationship so the manipulation and abuse can begin. “Love-bombing.” It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of being smothered in love-bombing, over-the-top romantic gestures, and things moving so fast that I didn’t see it for the red flag it was. I wished I had been warned about love-bombing before that relationship, but at the same time, he was just SO charming. 

Here are some of the links I found, describing love-bombing, its purpose, and what it leads to:

Psychopaths and Love: Covert Emotional Manipulation Tactics

Psychopaths and Love: Red Flags of a Psychopath

The Psychopath’s Hook: Love Bombing, Sex and Flattery

Advertisements

Common misconceptions about rape

Even with all the progress in spreading awareness, our culture is still brimming with misconceptions about rape. These myths tend to involve heavy victim-blaming and are insulting to all genders. The misconceptions lead to secondary wounding and the survivors of rape/sexual assault not being taken seriously.

I was surprised by just how many myths and misconceptions I can think of off the top of my head. Here is a list (may trigger for victim-blaming attitudes):

  • It isn’t rape if the victim didn’t physically put up a fight. By not struggling and hitting, the person consented. (Fact: submission does not equal consent–under situations of coercion, manipulation, intimidation, or duress, people will often be too afraid to fight.)
  • Men are entitled to sex from their wives and girlfriends on demand, regardless of whether they say yes or are in the mood. Once a woman has already had sex with a man, he’s free to have sex with her whenever he wants.
  • A married man can’t rape his wife. By agreeing to marry him, the wife gives up her right to say no.
  • Most rapes are committed by freaky strangers jumping out of the bushes in the middle of the night, and there is little risk of it happening at the hands of family, friends, dates, and acquaintances. (The opposite is actually true! Stranger rape definitely does happen, but about two-thirds of rapists already know their victims: source.)
  • All rapists are obviously mentally ill. You can pick out a rapist by their appearance and behavior.
  • Prostitutes can’t be raped and cannot say no. If you’ve paid a prostitute for sex, that gives you free license to do whatever you want.
  • Men cannot be expected to control their sexual urges, especially around attractive, seductive, or scantily clad women. It’s only natural that a guy in that situation would do whatever it takes to get laid.
  • If a woman leads a man on and gets him turned on, then she has withdrawn her right to change her mind and say no. So if he rapes her, she was asking for it by initially showing interest.
  • Some types of rape are really pretty mild and not that bad, and people just need to get over them.
  • Men cannot be raped; it is something that only happens to women, and men are the only attackers. A woman can’t rape a man. (Oh, yes, men can be raped by other women and men. And rapes happen outside of the conventional gender binary, too. Really, anybody could sexually assault anybody.)
  • Men who are in prison deserve to be raped by inmates as part of the punishment for their crime.
  • If a person gets raped while wearing a sexy outfit, out alone at night, alone with their date, drunk, or on drugs, then they should’ve expected it and should take responsibility. Rape is a natural consequence of putting yourself in a vulnerable position, and it’s your fault if you let it happen.
  • “Good girls” with good reputations don’t get raped.
  • Only physically attractive girls and women are at risk of being raped.
  • One that’s been popular with politicians lately: women rarely get pregnant from rape. Their bodies sense when a rape is happening and their reproductive systems shut down.
  • Many rape accusations are false. Vengeful women love to accuse men of rape to ruin their reputations. (False accusations happen, but it’s much rarer than people think.)
  • Women just love to give mixed signals. When they say no, they really mean yes.
  • Nearly all rapes get reported, and rapists will be sent to prison. (According to the RAINN statistics, over half of sexual assaults don’t get reported, and very few rapists end up behind bars.)
  • It’s only rape if a penis is forcibly put in a vagina. (Oral, anal, and digital rape are some of the other forms of rape possible.)

If anyone can think of other misconceptions (and I’m sure they are endless), feel free to comment!