|Mr Credible - is he?!|
Did you have a thing for the boy
next door, a fellow uni student, a colleague at your first job, a friend’s
friend or maybe your boss? Was it mutual
or one sided? Did you say a tentative yes or a firm no? Did it become a
dalliance or dangerous liaision?
The meeting of a potential partner relies on
many factors, fate, synergy, chemistry, the meeting of eyes and minds. What attracts us to people is buried so deep
in our psyches that we’ve got no inkling that those deep eyes, dimples and a
winning smile can be the forerunner for relationship doom. Dysfunctional
characters are no more men in dirty raincoats or down and out saddos. The dark
side of human nature flourishes in intellectuals and educated men as much as
those at the lower end of the social stratum.
Our fallibility and psychological
triggers lie at the heart of the matter. Lack of experience in youth means that
we just fall in with the crowd. We’re
encouraged to network and create an online social identity and, in all
innocence, we share and pass on sensitive information. We know the rules but we flout them for the
sake of not being left out of the media loop. When you’re young, anything goes
and warnings from elders usually fall on deaf ears.
There’s a new awareness in
society about insidious forms of harassment and bullying, effectively the
trespass of your personal space, but more the invasion of your mental and
emotional recesses. A large number of the perpetrators of stalking and cyber
bullying happen to be men and the macabre terminology of psycho, freak, creep
have evolved from these practices.
Statistics reveal that 36% of
women aged between 18 to 45 have been on the receiving end of this new wave of
misogynistic cyber-terrorism. Many
divorced and separated women, following a relationship breakdown, have endured
a backlash from a husband and partner.
If “hell hath no fury than a woman scorned” then some men are putting on a
great show for equality!
The knock on effect of mass
communication in the Information Age is that via mobile phones and computers we
are accessible 24/7. 36% of teenagers are reported to have received an explicit
text or email and the senders are alleged to be from their social circle.
Empowered women as we may think
of ourselves, we don’t like to acknowledge our physical and psychological
vulnerabilities. If we’re harbouring feelings of low self-esteem then we’ll
read something more into a stranger’s smile or fleeting glance. It might be an attention seeking ploy when we
mistake need for love. It may be
flattering at first to have an admirer but don’t let all your defences down. In your eyes this may be a casual encounter
as you spy him at the gym, the station or in the supermarket. By the time
reality bites, a sinister chain of events is in motion.
Take the case of Ruth Jeffrey, a
student, who had been with her boyfriend Shane, since the age of fourteen. Her
mobile phone number and pictures were sent to adult websites and shots of her
face were superimposed onto glamour models. She endured a long campaign of
cyber stalking that near destroyed her emotional well being. If not for the intervention
of her parents who hired a company to put tracers on the origin of the messages
and sites she may have never have discovered the truth. This psychotic
behaviour earned him a spell in prison but the judiciary are still a long way
off from providing effective sentencing and rehabilitation.
Obsession can be fatal as we saw
in the tragic case of Jo Yeates, a 25 year old landscape architect, who was
murdered by her neighbour, Vincent Tabak. It was a week before Christmas and,
whilst her boyfriend was away, she had invited her Dutch neighbour one evening
for a festive drink. No one knows what
transpired but it appears that Vincent Tabak may have tried to make sexual
advances towards Ms Yeates and her rebuff sent him into a violent rage that
resulted in her death. He is now serving a life sentence.
Each psycho, freak and creep you
may stumble upon is unique. They’re charming and persuasive or anti-social and withdrawn. Most of these disturbed individuals seem
harmless in appearance and have higher than average intelligence but there’s a
short in their emotional circuitry. Psychiatrists will have lengthy case files and
may offer eloquent prognosis on the motivations but none of this bodes well for
the woman in the street who just wants to get on with her life. Who knows what
the combination of selfish genes and a malfunction of testosterone will throw
The only advice I can give is to
be aware of the first signs of an abusive and oppressive personality.
If he calls or texts
just a little too much and becomes angry if you don’t reply instantly.
If he tries to
isolate you from friends and tries to come between you and your girlie nights.
If he makes you feel
guilty for wanting to spend time on your own pursuits.
If he never allows
you to be alone.
If he accuses you of having an affair when you work late.
If he calls and texts
repeatedly and wants an instant reply
If he ever uses violence against you, verbal or physical,
then it’s time to leave.
Avoid mixed messages and be clear
in your intentions, in word and deed. Limit your social networking (you don’t
need 740 friends on Facebook or 2000 followers on Twitter!). Put your security
and dignity first; resist divulging personal information and use networking
sites responsibly. Switch off your
mobile and gadgets and have some down time. Never reply to malicious
communications and report them to the police.
Improve your self-esteem and you’ll attract a like-minded partner; not
just someone who’s distraction from work and social obligations. The
maladjusted will continue to be fodder for movie makers. Freddie of Elm Street
and Michael from Halloween may have achieved Hollywood infamy but do your
utmost to ensure that they don’t have a starring role in your life story.