The #1 Red Flag Of The Abusive Man

Updated: Apr 24

The misogyny backlash is here. The government won't help. It's up to women to avoid violent men.


Public domain photo by kalhh on Pixabay



I wonder what would have happened if she'd listened to her big brother.


I can't remember her name. I'll call her Alyssa. She was my then-boyfriend's younger sister. He didn't like her boyfriend. I do remember his name. It was Patrick.


Ben told me about her as we drove to his company Christmas party, where I met Alyssa. He adored her and felt quite protective of her, and he wished she'd get rid of Patrick, who was too controlling and jealous. Patrick suspected every man of encroachment, and of course he scrutinized Alyssa's every move and glance.


The next morning Ben called. "They had a fight last night," he said. "Patrick thought she was too flirty with other men. He beat her up and raped her." We drove to Alyssa's friend's place where she'd spent the night.


Alyssa was curled up on the friend's couch who immediately signaled for us to be quiet.


"This is the first sleep she's had all night," she said. We sat down.


A few minutes later, Alyssa began struggling and crying. She wept and pled and curled up tighter. "Please stop, don't! No, please don't!" she sobbed. I have never forgotten her rank fear that morning as she relived the attack in her dreams.


Or wondered how anyone can assault anyone who's begging and pleading like that.


The police couldn't locate Patrick. He'd escaped to Florida. As of a few years later they hadn't found him.


It wasn't Alyssa's fault she got assaulted and raped. It happens rather a lot. But what has always bothered me, along with similar stories, is why she didn't listen to her big brother, and others who might have been warning her Patrick was dangerous.



She ignored the #1 red flag


It's so tediously predictable.


I no longer care anymore why women stay in abusive relationships. Let's learn to avoid them! There's a dating Best Practices beginning with recognizing the early red flags.


It's up to women to end male power over women. It's up to us to protect each other, and ourselves. The government's priority to protect women has never been what it should be, regardless of who's in power.


We're sorely in need of more discussion and advice on how to avoid bad relationships, period.


Here's my expertise: I've never been in an abusive relationship.


So who the hell am I to give advice to abused women?


Because I know something they don't know: How to avoid abusive relationships.


An ounce of prevention, right?


I want to see domestic violence shelters disappear. Not because Republicans destroyed them, but because they're no longer needed. I want to see women decide for themselves to stop shagging abusive men. It only encourages them to remain abusive; it's a time-honored effective way to control one's partner.


Here's The Number One Red Flag women shouldn't ignore but, like Alyssa, do. I'm going to put it in huge red letters to make everyone crystal clear on this.

The moment a man tries to control you, tries to tell you what to do, you come down on his ass like Homer Simpson on doughnuts. I've only had to do it once, when I was twenty. I forget what some guy told me I wasn't going to do. I replied, "Oh yes I am! You do NOT tell me what to do, understand? You do NOT order me around!"


I don't know if he was a potential abuser. Not every man who likes control is, but I fully embrace my agency and self-determination. A man needs to understand he's not allowed to dictate to you, and he's out the door if he persists. He's not good enough for you.


So many times over the decades I've said to women whose boyfriends or partners were controlling, "Why do you let him get away with this? You need to be careful, these guys can turn abusive." I hope for their sake he didn't. It doesn't always. But isn't feminist empowerment all about making choices? I have always chosen not to allow controlling men into my life. Ergo, no abusive partners. I have my mother to thank for that.



Prevention, etc...


When the pandemic began in the spring of 2020, domestic violence advocates warned of heightened danger to women experiencing Intimate Parter Violence (IPV) with lockdown forcing abusers and victims into a 24x7 danger zone. To no one's surprise, domestic violence and femicides shot up in the last two years and shelters were overwhelmed.


I remember thinking: Damn, I'll bet they wish they'd left sooner.


Sooner is better when it comes to IPV, but many women wait until it's too late.


The abuse descent, one step at a time. Photo by sagesolar on Pxhere


Meanwhile, the authoritarian War on women, led by American Republicans' example, circles the world. The U.S. Violence Against Women Act was signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1994, and a year later Republicans tried to cut funding. It's had spotty support in recent years. It expired during the last Republican (natch) shutdown, was temporarily reinstated, and shut down again.


Democrat or Republican, Libertarian or contrarian, liberal or conservative, feminist or misogynist, men are never going to care as much about women's safety and protection as women.


We can't rely on The Government Patriarchy to protect us. Victim feminism sure as hell won't, with its incessant post-modernist navel-gazing blather about intersectionalism and power and its utterly defeatist whine that 'It's not our job to protect ourselves, it's men's job to stop raping/hitting/stalking!'


Women with a desire to not get raped or beaten can make a commitment to themselves not to tolerate controlling, and especially jealous, behavior in a man. Long before he gets to the partner stage.



Women have THE POWER


The obnoxious question "Why doesn't she leave him?" strikes a nerve in victim feminists.


They recognize the implicit acknowledgment: She has a choice. Or did.


Maybe she still does.


We must ask that question much earlier, when he's acting like Patrick before events get critical.


Here's what might have happened had Alyssa left Patrick before that fateful night. She had a burly big brother who engaged in muscular sports and would have happily kicked Patrick's shrimpy little ass had he hassled his sister.


Had Patrick murdered her, Ben might well have followed him to Florida.


Not every woman can't leave.


Young women don't always listen to wiser voices. They're still young enough to think they know everything. They think they know him better than others, are overly compassionate, hope to 'fix' him or have other mystifying reasons for allowing controlling, potentially abusive men into their lives. According to Ben, he and Alyssa grew up in a loving single mother home after their father died. He described their family life as warm and loving and I observed nothing to challenge that.


Alyssa wasn't beaten or abused growing up, but for some reason she found Patrick's jealous, controlling behavior acceptable, if unwelcome. It was the '80s. We weren't as sophisticated about relationships as every succeeding generation becomes, and maybe Alyssa's mother didn't drum it into her head she should never tolerate abuse.


My mother would have had plenty to say if I'd brought a Patrick home. So would my father.


Sometimes women learn the hard way they should have listened.


Make no mistake: It's always a choice. It may be an ignorant, uninformed headstrong choice, but it's still a choice. Instead of pretending it's not, let's be proactive with ourselves and each other, and especially the girls and young women in our lives, and make sure they know the score.


Maybe the first time she gets into an abusive relationship will be the last. Not every woman gets primed for further abuse. I've known women who said after the first time, "Never again!"


THEY MADE AN EARLY CHOICE.



Every Republican an incel!


Here's some good news from one quarter on how things have improved since Alyssa's and my day: Trump-loving young men are unhappy that liberal women don't want to date them.


Good job, ladies! Let's Drive Republicans To Extinction!


Seems liberal women eschew Republican, especially Trump-loving men because their values don't match up, and I hope they also recognize that today, a man who still supports the Republican Party is a man who may very well harbor repugnant ideas about women.


Identifying misogyny is difficult for many women, and victim feminism has muddied the definition to embrace anything annoying about men. There's a palpable sense of phallophobia in their mountains-out-of-molehills hysterics. Every interaction with a man turns into an Epic Battle With The Patriarchy.


Discriminating against Trump lovers is a great way to avoid potentially abusive men, since the Republican Party has given itself over to rank bigotry and misogyny. It's interesting how Donald Trump, but not Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, broke up marriages, families and friendships.


Let's not assume lefty boys are by definition misogyny-free. [See also: Misogynist 'Bernie bros'] But it illustrates a great point: Toxic masculine subcultures are herds to watch out for. These include:

  • Sexist, misogynist religions and cultures

  • Sports (male athletes have a long ugly history of sexual assault)

  • Muscleheads/gym rats

  • The military

  • Affluent, rich, men (white men are especially prone to this, but wealth [green] privilege works for everyone who has the green)

  • Homophobes. Underlying genuine homophobia is rank misogyny offended that a man would let another man 'treat him' like a woman (And what's wrong with penetrative sex, exactly?)

  • Men who fetishize women of other races

Not every man in these groups is a misogynist or a beater, but one must be especially wary and come down hard on any early misogynist treatment.


But hey, you don't have to listen to me. What would I know about abuse, having never been abused myself? Would you rather listen to Dina McMillan, a domestic violence social psychologist who's worked with over 600 abusive men, who says she can train women in two hours to avoid a lifetime of abuse?


How to not get abused



You decide


Three waves of feminism have failed to address the missing piece to the IPV dynamic: The elements in female psychology, apart from or missing a history of dysfunction, that encourage some women to allow abusive men into their lives.


As Dina McMillan notes, we need to impress this upon young girls and teens. My mother did, when I first showed interest in boys. She didn't want me to get 'played', a word that didn't exist back then, and she didn't want anyone pressuring me into sex and perhaps leaving me with a baby. She wanted me to have happy, functional relationships and impressed upon me that it's always a woman's choice to stay.


That's how I know something that a lot of abused women don't know: If you listen to trusted adults wiser than yourself, you can avoid a lifetime of pain and suffering.


Not everyone has my mother, but she's my hardcore evidence that IPV perpetuates because women don't recognize the primary early warning sign. Let's review:


Capiche? Public domain background image by geralt on Pixabay


My experience with Alyssa demonstrates there was something in her psychological makeup that allowed her to keep Patrick in her life despite a trusted older brother telling her otherwise. I wouldn't be surprised if there were others.


Some women have to learn the hard way. Some women learn their lesson the first time. Time for feminist response for growing IPV to become more proactive, rather than reactive.


'Don't blame the victim?'


Don't BE the victim.


It's your choice!



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