According to Jane Monckton Smith’s Homicide Timeline, “The most
significant red flag that warns of danger ahead is that they are controlling,
and have been controlling before.
“…If someone has a history, not necessarily of homicide, but of
controlling, possessive or jealous patterns, this is a red flag. Criminal
records are a good indicator, but they are not the best. Most histories and red
flags are revealed by the controlling person themselves in the way they talk
and behave, and by the people who know them, especially former partners…
Marcie met Lenny in a bar in town. It was a place where many of her
colleagues went and she considered it a safe place filled with nice people.
When Lenny approached her he was charming and friendly.
‘I’ll pay for that drink,’ he said smiling. ‘You go and sit down, I’ll bring
it over to you.’
Marcie thought that was nice; she thought about the lovely old-fashioned
approach and got that feeling she was being looked after. Lenny was taking care
of everything. So Marcie went and sat down. Lenny came over and sat down next
to her. He was chatty and funny and complimentary.
‘Let’s get you another drink,’ he said when Marci had almost finished her
glass. ‘Drink up – come on, slowcoach, I’m going to the bar.’
Rising from her seat Marcie offered to pay.
‘Absolutely not!’ Lenny said smiling. ‘That’s my job. Tell you what: you can
pay next time.’
Marcie thought that was okay, she would pay next time. When Lenny came back he started
talking about relationships. He told Marcie about his crazy ex-girlfriend who
made his life hell: ‘Yeah, she was a real difficult person,’ he
confided. She really used to press my buttons – on purpose, so I always ended
up looking like the bad guy.’
That’s terrible,’ Marcie said, letting Lenny know she would never behave
‘Then she cheated on me. I never want to go through that again.’ And
suddenly Lenny, this lovely man, was the victim of a manipulating and bad woman.
…First , he insisted on paying; he did not suggest he would or ask if he
could. He also told Marcie to go and sit down; he did not talk to her where she
was or ask if she would like to sit down. He manipulated the situation so that
things progressed quickly from two strangers at a bar to two people sitting
together and talking over a drink he paid for. He moved things at his pace.
Lenny continued to manipulate things: he decided when Marcie would have
another drink. He absolutely refused to let her pay, and made it seem
reasonable because he told her she could pay next time – he blocked her
potential objection and secured a second meeting. Marcie was in his ‘debt’ now,
and she would have to actively refuse a second meeting, which might be awkward.
He said that paying for the drink was ‘his job’ – testing if Marcie thinks that
it is okay for men to be in control.
The conversation about his ex-girlfriend is more concerning. He says he
knows his behaviour was bad, but it was his ex-girlfriend’s fault. He takes no
responsibility for behaving badly. He reveals that he has ‘buttons’ that can be
pushed… Lenny was controlling the interaction – the location where they
spoke, the amount of alcohol, who would pay, and the conversation. Lenny sent
warning shots about what he expects in a relationship and made it clear he
thought he was a victim of injustice, despite behaving badly. He actually
revealed that he has a history….Lenny did not show these red flags in a
deliberate way, but show them he did…He also revealed how he interpreted that
history, so he was showing Marcie who he was…
If we accept that for some people control is important, we probably accept
that control will be important in all their relationships. This is part of who
they are and they will not change spontaneously. If they needed control in
their last relationship, they will need control in their next relationship. If
they put the blame for their behaviours on someone else, that may reveal they
do not take responsibility for their actions, or that they feel entitled to act
the way they do. What has happened in the past is so strongly predictive of
future behaviour that we should take the time to listen to what we are being
told and see what we are being shown. People can change, but blaming the ‘crazy
ex’ for your own bad behaviour is not a sign that there has been any reflection
and change since that relationship.
#CoerciveControl #Control #JaneMoncktonSmith #HomicideTimeline