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218 Responses to “More on Relationship Losers, Abusers, Manipulators and Controllers”

  1. 171

    Dear ~Moi~: We often find that Losers, Controllers, and Abusers are actually our parents. Sadly, they operate the same way the Losers do in my article. Your mother now feels entitled to not only abuse you, but to enlist the help of others to apply pressure and/or abuse you as well. Losers often call relatives, friends, co-workers, employers, and even neighbors in an attempt to punish or pressure their victims. Some use public billboards! I’ve seen several enlist the help of an entire church congregation!

    Abusers rely on the fact that we are polite, courteous, and socially appropriate. They assume when the pastor or your physician calls you will offer a polite response and not “spill” the family secrets. If you tell the truth about your mother’s behavior, that will give her more issues to punish you about – telling everyone that you are spreading lies about her – that kind of thing. With each person who calls, use the same “press release” – a prewritten statement to be given to each person who contacts you. It might go something like “My mother has placed you in the middle of a long problem between the two of us. I appreciate your concern and want to tell you that my daughter and I are fine. This is a problem between my mother and I and I regret that asked you to get involved.” The use of other people is a one-shot cannon. After one call, those folks don’t call again and usually refuse to be drawn in for a second shot.

    The recommendation for dealing with Losers remains the same, even if the Loser is a parent. While by NO CONTACT policy is more difficult, we can use a strickly-business policy where we treat them in a detached, business manner. When they contact us, if they are polite and ask polite questions, we engage. The minute the abusive behavior starts, we end the conversation with another press release like “This is the behavior that ended our relationship. I have a right not to be yelled at or cursed at. Goodbye.”

    You are correct that she is in the panic mode at this time. There will be a flurry of activity and pressure – all aimed at you. If we can’t keep NO CONTACT, you can often calm the situation down by using the “grapevine” as I explain in my Stockholm Syndrome article. You can call or contact people you know will immediately call your mother, then casually explain to them how you expect to be treated. In that way, we are giving her information about how to relate to you in an approved yet restricted manner. This is keeping abusers at a safe distance.

    Dr. Carver

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    Hello everyone,

    Hope everyone is doing well!

    I just had a quick concern which is really petty, but I needed some advice.

    My best friend’s mother just passed away on Tuesday. It’s quite sad and I am definately standing by her at this time.

    BUT, I am afraid that my ex-loser is going to use this as an opportunity to get close to me. My ex-loser knew my best friend’s mom and about her mom’s illness. I have already recieved phone calls from him. His msg’s are as follows, “Hi its me.. I’ve been trying to get a hold of you but as always you never pick up. I just wanted to find out how your friend is doing because I don’t want to bother her so I thought I would call you.” His text msg’s to me are, “I expected you to tell me first.. at least you could have done that.” “You don’t respond to me at all and I am not spasing at you but telling you the truth.”

    I just feel like he is using my best friend’s mom’s death as an excuse to get a hold of me and talk to me.

    Am I just blowing this situation out of proportion? How can I limit my conversation with him, if I do end up talking to him? I guess, what should I do is what I am asking?

    Thanks for your help and advice Dr. Carver and everyone else.

    This forum has been a great support.


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    Hey Alika — this is my gut speaking :-)

    He doesn’t want to bother the bereaved daughter who would probably appreciate more social support right now, but it’s fine for him to bother you despite his track record, current guilt trips, and your making it clear that you want no contact. And he’s not going to give the daughter what she needs because it’s too much hard work. But he’d prefer to spend his energy getting what he wants out of you instead — even though you’ve already shown him the finger said you’re not interested. Right.

    That doesn’t sound normal to me. But now he wants to play his favorite game and you won’t play with him; poor thing!

    I think you came to this forum because you know that his logic doesn’t fly. Something’s out of whack, and it’s him. So I wouldn’t recommend answering his calls or responding to any of his messages. From what you’ve said, he’s already laying guilt on you and he’s not even in your physical space yet: doesn’t sound like he’s improved a bit.

    On the pragmatic end, if he really does “just” want to find out how your friend is, he can ask whoever it was who told him that the mother had passed away — because it wasn’t you. If the grapevine got him that information without your involvement, then the grapevine can get him more information without your involvement. You don’t even have the time to deal with his folly; no doubt you’re busy comforting your best friend and handling your own grief. Even if you bumped into him at the funeral, you would be busy with your friend and the family, with no time to spend on him. My gut says it’s better to let him falsely accuse you of rudeness than to let him corner and guilt you again.

    If only we could set our phones especially for these people with an auto-message that said “Thank you for calling. Should you choose to leave a message, it will be deleted in the order it was received. Goodbye.”

    Again, though, that was just my gut. I hope others chime in too. You can make it Alika. Don’t let him get the best of you. :-)

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    I second that. Alika, he is trying to get you while your guard is down, and he has no concern for your friend. By pretending not to see his own ridiculousness, he is hoping to gaslight you into not seeing it either. But you see it; we all see it! Too bad for him.

    Mack, that phone thing is a great idea!!

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    Hi Alika and all
    As soon as I read those messages that he sent you, I could immediately recognise the kind of things my ex says to try and make me feel guilty.Don’t fall for it the others are right. You don’t count him as a friend so let him find out from someone else-keep strong!
    Just to let you know where I am. It’s very frustrating but I have to keep saying to myself that I am making progress.My ex has at last stopp ed writing letters, just at the point where I was going to get the police involved. He had already been asked to stop by my solicitor. However he is somehow managing to make his point through his solicitor. I have put the divorce petition in and he is saying he isn’t going to contest it, but has responded to it with a lot more lies including having spent thousands of pounds of his savings on the family (on what!!!) and how he only sent excessive texts and letters to arrange access for his son (about 5% was about this the rest was about making me feel bad and telling me I am sick and cruel)He has still only seen the baby once because he hasn’t been happy with the access i am offering him- too humiliating or just not enough. In the meantime he is not seeing his baby at all, but keeps threatening me with court action and telling everyone that will listen that I won’t let him see his baby. Any helpful words of wisdom would be great!!

  6. 176

    Hi folks,

    I’m sorry to report that we had a server hiccup last night which resulted in the loss of a small number of user comments which had been submitted on that day. I have already contacted some users who left comments, but if you left a comment between the hours of roughly 1800 GMT and 0300 GMT yesterday, and you don’t see it here now, please accept my apologies for the fact that it will have been lost.

    All the best,

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    Dr Carver, Since being involved with a loser and having made the break a year ago, I find reading others experiences so helpful in my healing process.
    Analysing people in my life has made me realise that my first husband was also a loser and my mother was most definitely a loser. My 2 brothers and sister would, without doubt, agree with me. She died 15 years ago and the only feelings we have are a sense of relief that she is not there giving us a hard time.
    Because of my childhood experiences, has this made me prone to be attracted to losers?
    My sister has a grown up daughter who for many years has shown the same traits as our mother. My sister who is caring and loving is desperate to have a good relationship with her daughter and baby granddaughter and is beside herself with grief, feeling that this may never happen. She had a bad time with our mother and is now going through the same with her daughter. Can the loser’s behaviour and characteristics be hereditary? Unlike me with my loser, she cannot and does not want to cut her daughter out of her life. Are there any things she can do to lessen the pain she is feeling and likely to feel in the future?

  8. 178

    Dear Debbie: A Loser/Abuser/Controller is interested in selfish opportunities – recognizing that a situation is present that would allow him/her to get something out of it. As Alika discovered, it might be a death or as you discovered, it might be a child. In both cases, the Loser isn’t interested in the deceased or their family – or the child. The Loser is interested in using and maximizing the opportunity for more guilt, control, attention, and abuse. Losers typically have little or no contact with their children following a divorce as children are viewed an an inconvenience. Rather, they use the children as an excuse to torment the responsible parent. They blame the true parent for their lack of contact, telling those around them that 1) you make it impossible for them to see the child, 2) you have too many demands, 3) you have them tied up in court, or 4) you have turned the child against them psychologically. This is why it’s important to settle issues such as child support immediately as the Loser may quickly disappear.

    Contact with the Loser is exactly as you describe. Despite the opportunity (death of a friend, a child, etc.) the contact is 5% about the situation and 95% more guilt, abuse, torment, accusations, manipulations, etc. The noncustodial Loser parent will call and speak to their child for 3 minutes, then attempt to talk to you/victim for another 30 minutes with manipulations. Social situations are viewed by the Loser as a “ticket” for contact – a reason to call, email, text, etc.

    Keep in mind when you’re in an automobile accident, a good person stops to help if they can. A Loser stops to see if you’re unconscious so they can steal your wallet/purse. Dr. Carver

  9. 179

    Dear Alika, We sometimes forget that by the time we finally detach from a Loser and Abuser we are emotionally exhausted and often clinically depressed. The relationship was so difficult that we are “burned out”. We do feel helpless, tired, weak, and vulnerable – even when the Loser is not around. Any contact from that point triggers those same yet exaggerated feelings through Emotional Memory (see article on this website). Keep in mind that the Loser is not emotionally exhausted and remains as highly manipulative and aggressive as always. This is why I recommend NO CONTACT as the only safe way to recover from a relationship with a Loser. It’s a tough transition, that’s for sure. But after the thunderstorm, the sun shines again. Dr. Carver

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    Hello Dr. Carver,

    I have read your article about “losers” and others regarding “abusers”. I will try to quantify my “life story”.

    I am in my 2nd “loser” marriage but at least now understand the how’s and why’s of my situation. My previous beliefs were more that G-d has something against me. I now understand that because of my past, of being bullied and like wise emotionally abused, I am a magnet for “losers” and “abusers”. I am now in counseling and understand how and why I got into this “latest” mess. At least I no longer think that a higher deity has it in for me. I have a support group and am preparing my “escape” from the marriage. Unfortunately, it is not so straight forward because of the “cycle of abuse”. I am looking for all the support and advice that I can get. I have a lifetime of being the victim behind me and am now trying to break the cycle. My latest situation is difficult in that my wife can be terrible and sweet on a dime.

    Briefly, I was bullied and made fun of from grade through high school. I did go to university and obtained a professional degree; barely got through the program to encounter a generally poor job market. In my late 20’s and early 30’s, I felt sorry for myself but finally started to turn things around in my early 30’s. Still, there was always that “stigma”, I started to become attracted to “like” personalities, at least my perception of such. I was down and out but pulled myself back up and became a self-supporting member of society. Yes, from time to time, I needed some help but overall was self sufficient. Unfortunately, I became drawn and attracted to women that I thought were like me; still, these ladies never really made it on their own. I felt comfortable with these “loser” types of personalities because I could identify with them. I became a “rescuer” of “damsels in distress”; I have been in and out of therapy for most of my life but only until I started going to therapy about my 2nd wife did I start to understand my situation.

    I am in my 2nd marriage; my psychologist is trying to make me understand that my present situation is with a “loser” or “abuser” type of personality. Better late than never I suppose, my 1st marriage had many “similarities”. Briefly, my 1st marriage lasted less than 3 years. I felt that I had “learned” my lesson and had given myself enough time.
    I waited a year after I had filed for divorce with wife number one. I met wife number two over the internet about 8 months later. We corresponded for about 6 months and seemed to hit it off at least on line. She was very intelligent, her writing was interesting and we could “talk” about anything. After 6 months of corresponding, I drove to her city and met her. She was extremely attractive; I could not understand why she was on line. I was there for 3 days; our 1st “date” was nice, a full day. What came out was that her previous marriage seemed to be much like mine! On our 2nd date, I told her that if we were to get serious that I realized that she had a son; I would take care of them both. To say the least, sparks flew when future wife #2 heard this.

    After I was separated from wife #1, I sought counseling. The counselor told me to make out a list of what I wanted in a mate. She told me that I am not the same helpless person that I was growing up but successful and most important and good person; I deserved likewise. The 1st thing on my list was to be with someone that could stand on her own two feet. When I was 1st corresponding with future wife #2, she “seemed” to be “normal”, separated for more than 4 years with a son and a home. After we met, she was moved out of her home and living in her sister’s home with the boy. All the signs of disaster were there but I looked the other way. Like most abusive situations, there was a quick involvement; within 2 months we purchased a condo together in my city, she “insisted”. She then moved in with me along with her son; we were married within 6 months of the 1st time we physically met.

    Shortly before I married wife #2, she was exhibiting a “quick” temper, lack of patience and jealousy. The first of many jealous episodes happened shortly before we were married. We were watching a Sci-fi movie with some “sexy” robots; when I remarked “that’s what I call a robot” my future wife lost her temper and screamed at me for being so disrespectful. Episodes similar to this were rampant earlier in the marriage; I used to argue back but stopped after a while. What has really thrown me for a loop is that my wife is absolutely stunning, she looks 10-15 years younger than her biological age; she is in her late 30’s and I am in my late 40’s. When we are out, my wife gets all kinds of looks especially from good looking men in their 20’s and even teenagers! When I pointed this out, my wife would angrily say that she doesn’t notice and that I shouldn’t notice other women either. My wife insists on going through my E-mails and my cell phone passwords. She sometimes calls me at work to make sure that I am there and not having an affair. One time, when she couldn’t get hold of me, she came to work to look for me.

    As the marriage progressed, my wife tried to pressure me to put her name on my investments and accounts. Her fear was that I would meet a younger, professional version of her and leave her. My wife cannot have any more children; I have none of my own. At one point, she “encouraged” me to deposit a large sum of money into our “joint” account from my “personal” accounts; she said that if I trusted and loved her, then this should not be an issue. When I said “no”, she totally lost her temper; at this point I was learning how to handle the situation; rather than getting into a screaming match, I told her that I will leave for a few hours and give the “situation” time to cool off.

    I have no children of my own; my wife brought her son into the marriage. My wife thinks of this as an ideal situation. Just after we were married, my wife wanted us to make up a will; I thought this as sensible. At one point, I wanted to leave half my estate to her son and the other half to my nephews and my mother should something happen to the both of us. My wife then pressured me to leave all my savings to her and the boy.

    Early in the marriage, I was very busy with work and didn’t have much time for “other” activities other than work and my “family”. My wife started to “discourage” me from going to a health club and participating in my outdoors group; there were single women there. She “discouraged” me from having “professional” women friends. My wife was married twice before me; she said that her 1st husband was “abusive” and cheated on her. She said that her 2nd husband was controlling and didn’t let her have a say in the finances.

    After one of my wife’s “jealous” episodes, I went to see a psychologist at the urging of my mother; at the time I was isolating myself and only confided in my mother about my wife’s possessiveness, insecurity and jealousy. I thought that it was my wife that needed help and not me. After about 3 sessions, the psychologist said that I was being “abused”; the session before I told the psychologist that I was thinking seeing a lawyer, during the 3rd session, she strongly recommended that I do so. For about a month, I waffled on seeing the lawyer; my “situation” was good and bad. I didn’t understand or believe the “cycle of abuse” or that my new wife was also a “loser”. My psychologist told me to do the activities that I enjoyed before I was married; she said that there was nothing wrong with doing my own thing a few times a month. My wife went into a blind rage when I told her that I wanted to go hiking with my outdoor group.

    My wife has fibromyalgia; she was “healthy” when we were 1st seeing each other and said that she has a condition that would make her “tired” from time to time. I did tell her that my 1st wife also had a “condition” that she developed after we were married; to be frank, my 1st wife quit her job soon after marriage and I paid the price in alimony. My 2nd wife said that she would work full time. She now works part time after needing a rest for the 1st few months of the marriage. She did try to work full time but, because of my much larger salary, she implored me to work part time.

    I make more than 8 times what my wife does; at one point, anything after the basic bills was going toward, her, the son and then more so to her family in Asia. I was paying the bills and my “family” was reaping the benefits. With the counseling, I became more aware of the situation; after some intense fighting, I am more assertive and my wife “lets” me out for hiking one to two times a month. I put the family on a budget and it seemed to be working. About her son; he is now 16 and in grade 11. The boy in many way takes after his mother; albeit not short tempered he has very little patience. He wants “instant” gratification. In junior high, he was at the top of his class, now there is more competition. At times he is very disrespectful of me but this is on the wane; he used to think that he would be a lawyer and make lots of money like his dad. Now that he has to “work” for his marks, he is more respectful of his mothers “engineer”.

    As you can imagine, there have been some very intense fights in the marriage. At one point, I told my wife I wanted a divorce; she later said that the “boy” would suffer so much and hate me forever. We are helping my wife’s mother out financially, more and more of late; sometimes we help out other members of her family in Asia. The mother is sick and albeit we could not afford to do so, my wife wants to visit her over Christmas. What started as an “understanding” about a “mercy” trip has turned into a 5 star spectacle. My wife bought thousands of dollars of “gifts” for the family and wanted to spend more. After some intense fighting, she finally stopped the “gift” giving.

    My wife was starting to “pressure” me to go along with her on the trip; my wife also said that she needed $5000 for her “personal” expenses on the trip. I realize that she wants me there to control me and that the money is really for more gift giving and showing off. We have had some terrible arguments; about the “spending” money and me not going with her. I realize that going away to South East Asia, not speaking the language would give my wife ultimate control over me; it would be hell.

    On the positive side, I have a good support network. I also see a psychologist regularly; my psychologist and for the most part, my family and friends are encouraging me to end the marriage before my health is ruined. Albeit I have improved in the 6 months of therapy; the marriage is more or less the same. My psychologist is slowly making me realize that the marriage is not really a marriage; unless my wife also “changes”, then there is no real relationship. I am a figurehead and pay the bills and get abused from time to time.

    I have retained a lawyer and have instructed him to draw up the divorce papers and a “settlement” letter to my wife. I paid much in alimony to my 1st wife; my lawyer is saying that the sooner I file, the less I will pay this time. My psychologist is very familiar with abusive relationships and remarked how the law is flawed in that abuse is almost legalized by marriage and how my wife will fare well whether she is still married to me or divorced.

    With the abusive cycle, it makes it very difficult for me to “pull the trigger”. We did go for family counseling for a few months; there was “some” improvement but to be frank, we seemed to still go from one situation after another. I have suggested to my wife to get help so she can sort out her “baggage”, but she won’t, another trait of abusers. I hope to get the courage soon and put an end to this “madness”. My psychologist says that the only way to stop the abuse is to get out of the marriage. She says that I alone cannot change my wife; my wife can only change herself.

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