Monday, 30 March 2015

Fatal distraction.......Mr Wrong-For-You!

Image result for good looking man
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 up?

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.




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