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Parasitic Boyfriend Won’t Leave

Over the weekend I had an exchange with “Cyn” — a woman being threatened by her parasitic, live-in boyfriend. As we corresponded, more details about her situation came out, so instead of my usual letter format, I’m posting the exchange between us. Then my follow-up commentary, and then yours. CN, please give Cyn some hugs, courage and BTDT-have-the-restraining-order advice to get out of this scary situation. — Tracy


Hi Chump Lady,

I’ve been reading your website and blog on and off. I have only commented once, a silly poem about dumping my partner and getting my life back to the tune of the Shake n Vac commercial. But I love your wit, wisdom and straight-talking advice.

But I’m afraid I have taken my financially and emotionally abusive partner back and am a chump again. He claims he has never cheated on me, but I’ve come to the conclusion he has been gaslighting me in other areas. I’m definitely the victim of coercive control. He lives in my rented home without being on the tenancy agreement and contributes £300 a month, grudgingly. This comes from money he inherited after his father passed away last year. He has been here on and off for 3 years and refused to work. It’s got to the point now where he is mocking me for having to work for a living. He does exactly what he liked whilst I am out at work, with the heating blasting and running up huge monthly bills.

We split up last June, after his behaviour escalated into cruelty about my appearance and weight. I have a lot of body image issues due to bulimia and past trauma. He was also keeping the fact he is bisexual and a cross dresser from me, but was perfectly happy to blame the arguments that occurred due to his moods on my mental health and “Being difficult.” He eventually came out to me and as I am pansexual and non-binary, I wanted to support him. I ended up taking him back last September.

We cannot have a night out without his pushing me out of conversations, being creepy and inappropriate towards folks younger than his oldest son and making me feel humiliated and embarrassed.

I’ve told him I don’t love him anymore and want him to leave. He keeps threatening to, but I know for a fact he will stay.

Getting to my wit’s end to be honest. I have lost friendships because of him and have to lie to my family and remaining friends about him being here. He has aged me. I’m not me anymore.

Any advice would be gratefully received. I’m in the UK.




I’ll run your letter Monday.

The good thing about him not being on the lease is you can change the locks. Talk to your landlord and make a plan. He needs evicting. And you don’t consult him, you just DO IT while he’s out. All his shit on the curb. If you want to be kind (I wouldn’t), you can move it to storage and pay the first month.

Then send a text where he can find the key to the locker and he’s on his own after that.

The only thing stopping you from doing this is that you don’t think you deserve to do this.

You deserve to do this. He’s abusing you in every way. This shit stops when YOU SAY IT STOPS.

I’m sure those friends and family would help and are waiting for the chance to help. But you gotta end it and block him and go no contact. YOU DO NOT NEED THIS CREEP.



Thank you, I appreciate it and you’re right.

So, Edit: I’m not proud of myself but I looked in his phone last night. He is texting someone else, presumably one of the many people he claimed couldn’t leave him alone on New Year’s Eve (After we argued about his creepy behaviour, he yelled at me to fk off at the club and I left.) They were just silly, flirty messages. If anything though, the person messaging sounds a bit desperate and likely to annoy him given time. It’s OK. They are welcome to him either way. It’s just he is pretending to care about me and offering to send me to visit my parents. He makes my skin crawl, he really does.



Do NOT leave your home.

Throw him OUT. Who cares what he’s up to?

As the rap lyric goes, you’ve got 99 problems and this bitch ain’t one.



Sound advice, and I thank you. He’s a nasty piece of work unfortunately. I work for the Courts, and he has threatened to create all kinds of shit and cause me to lose my job if I throw him out. He is a chronic weed smoker, and I wouldn’t put it past him to hide drugs in the place in case it gets searched.

When I made him leave last June, he pocketed a key and refused to give it back to me. He said he was entitled to come and go as long as he had belongings here.

My landlord lives in Germany, charges me for any repairs or alterations he can get away with and doesn’t know he is here. He wouldn’t have allowed him to move in without proof of permanent employment.

I’m not making excuses, but it’s a Hella mess. He doesn’t go out all that much. He has also said if I have someone come and sit with me when he removed his stuff, he will “bring people” too…Inferring it will get ugly.

I feel defeated and over a barrel. I don’t deserve this.



Have you spoken to the police? It sounds like you need a restraining order.

I don’t know about the UK, but in the US, the cops come and do the evicting. And if he violates the order, he goes to jail.

He’s threatened you. That’s enough where I’m from.

When you find yourself in a problem that feels bigger than you, you gotta call in the professionals. Reach out for help. I’m a blogger lady. Please call the cops and explain your situation.

This is a domestic abuse situation. (Link to UK domestic abuse How To Get Help resource.)



I know, I appreciate your advice and understanding. I’m crying in the bathroom and I’m having to keep silent because he gets angry with me for being upset. I was so stupid to have him back. I know he is beyond help

Life is like some weird Russian play you’d see at the theatre and not really understand, but never forget either. When I was younger, I used to work in outreach support with survivors of domestic abuse, addiction and mental health challenges.

I went into that field because I survived a horribly abusive relationship in my mid 30s which led to a breakdown and suicide attempt. I did not come through that shit to let this other person break me


I think they seek out the strong.

Of course it’s not going to break you. Chin up. He’s a common problem for which there is a common solution. That’s why we have DV laws and support.

Big ((hugs))

More to come on Monday when I’ll run your letter. So let us know how you’re doing.

It’s so big when you’re in it. And don’t beat yourself up about taking him back. That’s also REALLY common. It takes women an average of seven times to leave an abuser. They’re convincing liars. And they make it harder each time. But he can tell it to a policeman’s boot.


And now I’m putting on my Chump Lady hat.

Cyn, I know it feels frightening to leave, or throw him out, because it is, in fact, dangerous. That’s why I’m urging you to get professional help from a domestic abuse center and the police. Make a plan and get toward safety.

My initial exchange might seem flippant — LEAVE — but I’m writing this as someone who had several protection from abuse orders. I’ve both thrown a cheater/abuser out with a PFA and the cops, and I’ve also left stealthily and moved out with no forwarding address.

I totally understand your hesitancy to protect yourself, even as the situation may be exasperating to your friends and family. He’s got you mindfucked. Feeling responsible for him. And feeling defeated.

You can’t start to heal until you get away from him and go no contact. And he’s making that impossible by not leaving the premises. So, you’re going to have to channel your inner badass.

FUCK HIM and fight back. Do it strategically, however. By marshaling support and calling in the pros. Statistically this is the most dangerous time — the act of leaving, and right after, as he’s losing control.

He’s not going to want to lose his meal ticket and comfy bed. So he’ll get ugly. But another way to look at this, Cyn, is YOU HAVE THE POWER. It’s YOUR paycheck. YOUR apartment. Plus, you’ve got forethought and the ability to surprise him. (Fuckwits always underestimate their chumps.) He’s a loser, who needs you far more than you need him. So do NOT pull your punches.

Do not tell him you’re getting help or threaten in anyway that you’re ending things, or throwing him out. The element of surprise is your friend. You’re not seeking consensus. Let him think you’re chumpy and defeated. Be an actress right now.

The hardest thing, in my experience, is shifting your thinking.

He eventually came out to me and as I am pansexual and non-binary, I wanted to support him. I ended up taking him back last September.

His sexual identity is not your problem. He can be a cross-dressing asshole. The one thing has nothing to do with the other. He’s abusive and does not DESERVE your support. You’re not allies.

He’s a nasty piece of work unfortunately. I work for the Courts, and he has threatened to create all kinds of shit and cause me to lose my job if I throw him out.

This is a threat. You too can create all kinds of shit. Get in front of this. Tell your employer you’re leaving an abuser, and he is not to show up at your workplace. (I’ve had to do this. It’s survivable and far scarier in your mind. My coworkers were horrified for me and very supportive.)

Document ALL threats. Put it in the order. You’ll be shocked to learn that people around you will see this as the scary, creepy situation it is. To survive it, you’ve probably minimized it.

He has also said if I have someone come and sit with me when he removed his stuff, he will “bring people” too…Inferring it will get ugly.

Well, this is why you need a plan. Either he leaves and the locks change and he can have a tea party with His People on the sidewalk, or you get an order and he can whinge to the cops. Mine sat in the back of a police cruiser and wailed, “How could you DO THIS TO ME?!”

Besides which, does a weed-smoking parasite even have friends? Like people who would move a sofa? I tend to doubt it.

It’s just he is pretending to care about me and offering to send me to visit my parents.

I have no idea what that’s about, but it sounds sinister. Pay attention to your skin crawling feelings. Read Gavin DeBecker’s Gift of Fear.

I’m going to open the floor up to CN, but before I do, I just want to share this youtube clip of Billy Connolly talking about the terrorist attack in 2007 on the Glasgow Airport. It’s one of the funniest, FUCK YEAH stand up to your fears masterpieces of storytelling I’ve ever witnessed. This is the energy you want — a Glaswegian giving some miscreant a right good shoeing.

“Scary-wary-woo!” Stand up to this creep!

And, Cyn, please let us know how you’re getting on.

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  • When I went to get my belongings out of my house (where STBX was living at the time), I brought two friends to help move (my son’s babysitters, whom FW wouldn’t want to make a bad impression on), movers, a police chaplain, a DV advocate, and a cop. FW was furious that I had brought a policeman (and tried to tell me later that he and the cop had a good laugh over the fact that I thought police necessary, though honestly I think he was making that up, since FW and his attorney brought up the police officer several times in later communications – it clearly really upset FW). I DIDN’T CARE. Your FW boyfriend can threaten all he likes that he will make things ugly, but you can still be prepared and have your own team present. You have the advantage that you aren’t married and he isn’t on your lease. I agree with CL – change the locks. Get security cameras. Document EVERYTHING. Get ahead of the threats. Inform your job, inform the police, get a temporary restraining order or similar, get evidence of his drug use in case he tries to pin that on you.

    Don’t beat yourself up that you took him back. I did the same thing, and my ex’s abuse got far, far worse the second time around. We all make mistakes. You can still decide you want him gone.

    He’s a parasite, and a scary, dangerous one. You don’t need him. You deserve better.

  • Cyn,

    You are UK based, and so I’d suggest contacting the Citizens’ Advice Bureau to see what help they can give you.


  • Cyn, your situation sounds very much like that of a woman who posted to the (then) Straight Spouse Network some time ago (abusive cross dresser who wouldn’t leave; worked in victim support/court services). Chump Lady has offered you the same perspective and advice that posters on the SSN offered to that poster: you are being abused and need professional help in ejecting him from your life (and mind).

    CL’s advises to work with your landlord, your place of employment, and the police to secure protection and backup, and I think that is the best advice. Despite knowing he needs to go, you are unable to manage this on your own, because he has you foiled. So work with those he hasn’t foiled and can’t control. They are your best backup here. You may not be able to oppose him, but you can ask for help from others, and you can do this when you are at work, or he is away from the house.

    CL is right, too, that gender identity and sexual orientation–his or yours–is irrelevant: abuse is abuse, and he’s an abuser.

    • Straight Spouse Network is also a great support system for those of us who were manipulated by allegedly “bi” partners. I put “bi” in quotes because I’m not going to argue the dictionary, but these are people who have so thoroughly managed to lie to themselves that they’re hardly even aware they’ve dragged us into their universe of twisted logic and false reality.

      The more immediate problem you face is your physical safety — an issue you have in common with many of us here.

      • Bisexual does not equal unfaithful Bisexual doesn’t equal “lying”, to yourself or anyone else. I’m bi, and I was married to a man for over 10 years (together 15). I was completely monogamous. I vowed to “forsake ALL others”, and I did. That’s what marriage means, whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever. If you’re poly, then you put that out there too and agree with your partner(s) on what that means. My ex husband was straight. He was the one who cheated.

        People lie because they are liars. People cheat because they are cheaters. Sexual orientation is not the reason. If OP’s bf is using that as an excuse for his cheating, it’s because he’s a cheater and cheaters use whatever justification they think will work on their victim (since OP is pan, I guess he figured he could play on her sympathy for his “plight”). Even if for some reason a gay/bi/queer person marries someone who is not their preferred gender, because of family, religious, or societal pressure, there are honest, ethical ways to end the relationship rather than choosing to cheat. It’s the DECEPTION that’s the problem, not the sexuality.
        I’m sorry you were manipulated by someone who claims to be bisexual, but please don’t paint us all with the same brush. It’s exhausting to keep explaining this.

        • I certainly don’t equate “Bi” with “Lying and cheating.” My profound apologies if that is how it came across. The fact my ex hid his sexuality and gender identity is relevant as I wanted to support him when he eventually came out to me.

          It started as my trying to provide friendship and support. I then offered to take him to a local Pride event. When we arrived, he didn’t want to go to Pride so we went to the pub. He made a speech about how I was too political, my fight was not his and he would speak for himself. Despite the weekend being a pretty horrendous disappointment to us both, we got back together.

          I digress though. I am pansexual and Non-Binary. I was upset to think of him going through the shit I did at 30 in his 50s. No amount of support, kindness and taking care of him is ever good enough though. And that would be the case regardless of his sexuality or gender identity.

          The last thing I set out to do was alienate marginalized folx. I just need a little guidance in getting away from this person in their entirety.

          • My comment wasn’t addressed to you! I was replying to walkbymyself.

            I totally understand why you would want to provide support, and that speaks well of your character. But as you say, nothing you do would be enough. And regardless, this person is is someone who is using and abusing you and you need to get him out of your life.

            • Based on years of reading on the Straight Spouse Network open forum, I have a hunch walkbymyself wasn’t casting aspersions on folks who are bisexual per se, but was referring to the phenomenon of closeted and/or in denial gay husbands who try to pass themselves off as “bi” when their wives discover they are having sex with men. She did, after all, say “allegedly” bi.

            • Thank you – I didn’t realise this until last night. I used to write a blog and had a selfie set as my avatar. I’ve changed this and am going to use a different email address from now on. Thanks 2 CL for messaging me about this also.

          • I know what you meant and I think that, in your state of entrapment with this abuser, part of you was understandably looking for hope he would change by addressing whatever he said was wrong with his life as an alibi for his abuse (the classic “self pity setting” on the abuser/cheater channel of rage/charm/self pity). The problem is that abusers, if they’re “political,” only use it to feign the hero role the better to entrap future victims. But they’re never political in the deeper sense, like how civil rights activist James Baldwin put it– seeing politics in themselves and themselves in politics. Abusers of power don’t like reflecting too deeply on abuses of power and that’s always going to be the focus within any equality movement.

            Some of the scariest abusers manage to tolerate the cognitive dissonance and can talk a good game in public while abusing in private. In the resources of this blog there’s a book titled “The Batterer” which, in one chapter, mentions how many abusers have a kind of alacrity or attraction to absorbing material related to the interests of their designated targets. For instance, het male serial batterers may be more likely than average men to read up on feminism and domestic violence information. It’s chilling.

            But it sounds like your abuser is a bit sensitive to being in social contexts where he risks being reminded that abuse of power is bad. That’s to your advantage since he probably isn’t that great at gathering flying monkeys outside a few messed up randos. The downside is that he’s even more likely to eventually resort to extremes or even violence to compensate for his lack of social power to quell and destroy you. Be careful and protect yourself against any possibility.

            • “Some of the scariest abusers manage to tolerate the cognitive dissonance and can talk a good game in public while abusing in private.” This perfectly describes my ex. An outspoken “feminist”, involved in charity work, etc. but a monster behind closed doors.

          • Of course. It’s okay 😊

            “Despite the weekend being a pretty horrendous disappointment to us both, we got back together.”

            Cyn, as you’re probably realising, it’s actually easier and happier to be single and have some really enriching friendships with SAFE people. It’s better for your health and for your bank balance.

            Please don’t be afraid or ashamed of being single. ‘Single’ doesn’t have to be ‘lonely’.

            He sounds like an angry and controlling man. Lots of us were raised to see these opinionated and parasitic loudmouths as “strong”.

            But they’re actually dangerous and nasty bullies. God speed with getting his stuff out on the pavement and changing the locks.

    • Yes. And there’s a particularly ugly trick that LGBTQ abusers pull: shaming their victims into thinking that putting up with their abuse is an act of community solidarity and “support”. It isn’t.

      Cyn, the idea that you have some kind of moral obligation to be a victim is an ugly lie. It is in fact homophobic – it’s the old lie that this is all ‘you lot’ can expect from a relationship, or even deserve.

      If he needs support, there are community organizations and therapists for that.

      • Agree with this. Right after I filed for divorce, my first husband declared himself trans (spoiler alert: he wasn’t, he just wanted the attention) and dragged out the proceedings by insisting that I first go to therapy with him to “discuss the origins of my transphobia” – because I couldn’t *possibly* be wanting to divorce because of his abuse, but that I was being non-supportive of his supposed gender identity. He purposely chose a therapist whose strongly held opinion was that spouses of transgender people should absolutely stay in the marriage no matter what, because they are obligated to support the spouse in their identity. He then told everyone in our mutual circle that I was the one ruining the marriage (spoiler alert #2: he did it all by his narcissistic self) and tried to get the divorce sidetracked by alleging, with the help of a very young law clerk, that since same-sex marriage wasn’t legal in our state at that time, we weren’t legally married and therefore couldn’t get divorced. (He had gone so far as to legally change his name in the midst of proceedings!) The judge took a dim view of his actions and granted the divorce without any further discussion. Lo and behold, as soon as the divorce was final, X “realized” that he wasn’t trans after all. [Note: I realize that this is a definite outlier, and that some people truly don’t fully realize their gender identity/orientation until later in life, and that’s OK. X was abusive in general – regardless of his declared identity – and had a lot of psychological issues that he managed to keep hidden for years; I’m still salty about the whole thing. I don’t feel obligated to “support” someone in their abusive behavior.]

      • Yes – and that’s why it took years for the research literature on DV and intimate partner violence in the non-heteronormative community to start reflecting reality.

        It’s one of the best case studies of social desirability bias I know of. It took some very brave people to start talking about this openly, and to be accused of breaking ranks, to get anything done.

        Abusers and predators exist across all communities. They can always lever the community’s own issues to their advantage, no matter what those issues are.

    • I agree with what CL said and Adalante said. Get him out of there and take all precautions you can TODAY. Take action TODAY to get this going and get all the help you can for you. This guy is not someone you want to spend time with much less have a future with. His sexuality, etc. is irrelevant. What is relevant is this is not how you want to be treated, not have someone mock you for any reason. His behavior toward you is not acceptable. Start the process now. Get to a better life for you. Hugs and best of luck.

  • I only have a quick second to respond, but my guess is you might have friends family or parts of your support circle who have been waiting to be asked back into your life and might be ready to help. There is no shame in figuring this out after letting him back in…we have all done it. But now is the time, don’t underestimate yourself. You can do this. I like icstl posse idea. Better safe than sorry

  • Cyn, you CAN do this. You are a survivor. Make a list of the steps you need to take and start making those calls and sending those texts and emails. You don’t have to do everything today, but you need to start today. It doesn’t matter if he’s cheating or not cheating. He’s abusive. You know he’s abusive. And you know you need to remove him from your life. Abusers only get worse over time. The sooner you end this madness, the sooner you’ll be safe and happy again. I believe in you. I KNOW you can do this.

  • Cyn – sending prayers for you from the US.

    For me, leaving a fuckwit can feel like climbing Everest. And, the thing is, it is. But you don’t climb Everest in a day. You make a plan. And then you work the plan, one step at a time. So – make your plan as CL says. Line up your support systems; get the professionals involved; document; meet with HR and get the abuse documented to protect your job; take one step at a time.

    Often, but not always, these fuckwits crawl off because they have another host waiting in the wings.

    I was married to mine, but that didn’t stop me from changing the locks once he moved out. He thought he could pop in to see our son whenever – maybe stay for dinner. My first step was shutting that down. And, that small act of changing the locks was me saying “NO MORE”… it empowered me and it showed Mr. Sparkles that I was changing, I was getting stronger… and then I took the next step and filed pro se… Mr. Sparkles ignored it… so I took the next step and hired an attorney and updated my filing… one step at a time, I divorced; went grey rock for parenting thanks to software; and went no contact except for email about our son. It wasn’t easy. It took 2 years to get the first steps done… but I’m almost 9 years out from discard… and I’m as free as a bird… while parasite is still a parasite.

    Make you plan. Work the plan. You can do this and you’ll be stronger when its over!

  • When the partnering ends & the mothering/parenting begins….romantic relationship over. Oy. How many of us get suckered going down this road?

    • P.S. I don’t have much to add as you’ve been given great advice already here. Just wishing you spirit & success!

  • Cyn, he wouldn’t be threatening you if he weren’t on some level scared of you. It really jumps off the page when he’s warning you not to have people come to protect you while you remove his stuff. I vote for Tracy’s response: move his stuff to a storage unit, send him the key and let him pay to retrieve everything, change the locks, and be done with him. And by all means, have good reliable people protect you while you’re removing his stuff.

    • I changed locks every time I moved into a new apartment. I never asked permission to do it even if that was stipulated in the lease. The only way a landlord would know I’d done it is if they tried to enter without permission. I’d just leave the new keys when I moved and never had any trouble over it.

  • Today’s post didn’t show up in Facebook for me. I had to click on the website to get it. Not sure if others have had the same?

  • I think your worn down by his behaviour. You dont think you deserve any better. of course you deserve better. hes with u because hes sponging of you. he doesnt even work because he doesnt have too. hes threatening you and living with you. Hes secretly laughing at you and you know it.
    you deserve better.
    My ex’s ow, used to show up across the road, and say, steal from her, and they would both laugh. ex being in the house at the time.

  • Because you are not in the US I don’t know if this is the same where you live. I live in a semi-rural area and unfortunately we have a huge drug problem here. Consequently, we have a very active drug enforcement agency which is sheriff departments, police departments and the DEA. Here they can confiscate your property. I want to repeat that one. I know someone I was trying to work with who got their property taken. Anything that’s taken is auctioned off.
    Do you have the right to evict? Can you do it immediately? If so do it. If you think he’s going to tell tales on you the first thing you need to get in touch with the cops and tell them they have your permission to search your entire house because you don’t know if he’s stored drugs there. The more you cooperate with cops the better off you are. (Speak to an atty about this first.)The second thing is to do exactly what CL said and get his stuff out of that house. He sounds really dangerous if you want to know the truth. He sounds like he was so spoiled that he doesn’t understand his rights stop at your rights because he just bulldozers right over them.

  • i would likely:
    1. change the locks
    2. remove his belongings and leave them on the curb
    3. text to tell him about 1. and 2.

    then i’d block him and go to work and tell them about what’s happening for you. they will support you. people are good hearted.

    but if you need the police, then call the police, and have him removed. then,
    1. change the locks
    2. remove his belongings and leave them on the curb
    3. text him to tell him about 1. and 2.

    the advantage of the police is the NEUTRAL THIRD PARTY. a neutral third party is a good thing. it’s businesslike. so, if that appeals to you, then use the police.

    stop talking to him about leaving and just do the work. talking is an opportunity for him to wear you down further, control the situation, and potentially hurt you.

    cyn, you don’t deserve this. it’s time to make a plan and move on it.

  • This is what happens when consequences arrive for bad behavior. One of the many problems is that you let him do this for so long, he thinks you will continue. He’s entitled, don’t you know? He thinks if you love him he can abuse you. It is difficult but stand your ground. Eventually, he will go away. He may hoover in the future. Stand your ground.

    He will find another free comfy bed. He is constantly looking for the next best thing. He is never satisfied. Other “partners” will put up with this for a while, then they won’t. It is a constant turnover game for him. He will not change. He will not think of your best interest. He will only think or his ever-present NEED. He does not want to work or pay his own way. He likes spending other people’s money.

    Just be glad you figured it out, and know you are worth loving. Make that your mantra. Seek help, it sounds like you need help avoiding him. No contact is the cure for this. You can do this, just be very careful. He is capable of far worse things than you can ever imagine. You never knew him. You knew a projected faux image of him. CN is living proof that bad times can be conquered.

  • Once you throw him out, Cyn, there will be an extinction burst of trying to win you over, and then when it doesn’t work he’ll move on to another victim. One of the ones he’s texting, I reckon. It will happen so fast you’ll be hurt that the man who wouldn’t leave you alone found it so easy to move on.

    But you can’t wait until he’s good and ready to wander off on his own. You need the help of professionals.

    Also, you may find this resonates:

  • Cyn, he’s bullying you into letting him stay by scaring you into thinking he’s going to make it bad for you. He’s not going to do a damn thing (including planting drugs) because he’s too lazy to even do that. I love CN’s first suggestion. The moment he’s out of the house, gather his stuff together, and get it out of your house. Text him where it’s at and block him on your phone and social media. If he comes banging on your door, call the police. You need a clean break from him, don’t give him any inroads to create a situation that he can make more difficult. You have power…don’t be afraid to take a stand for yourself. No is no!!!

    • I disagree on blocking – if he threatens that could be used to help get a Protection Order. Definitely do not respond – but if he comes unhinged best not to be blindsided 💕

  • To add: ask a friend, family member or neighbor to change the lock on the door, if you are not comfortable doing it yourself. Locks are relatively inexpensive and quick to change. It’s a small investment into your security, and you can mail the landlord a key if they need one.

  • Cyn, you remarked that you cannot change the lock because the landlord resides in Germany. Usually it is just changing the cilinder and a locksmith should be able to do it easily. Alternative could be to add your own padlock – I assume the creep is not a professional burglar so he should not be able to open that.

    Also, can you reach out to any organization helping battered women in you town? You are in an abusive relationship and they are there to help.

    I second the notion to change the locks and put his things out of the house. Do not tell him you are going to do so – the majority of violence against women is in a forced leave situation.

    • Also, if the landlord lives in Germany, he’s not going to do much about you changing the locks. Get them changed, send your landlord the new key with a letter explaining that you had security concerns about the old lock. All a landlord really cares about is having a copy of they keys.

  • Please lock that leach out. Once he is gone. May take a restraining order, as in my case. But once he is gone the fog of abuse will lift and you will slowly but surely move into a better state of mind. It’s amazing how space works that way. It’s not easy but clarity is possible. So many hugs to you. Please kick him out!!!!

  • Cyn, a lot of us were treated like appliances, convenient ‘things’ of use. It does not feel good, and erodes your worth slowly but surely. I really cringe at the thought of you going to work every day, while he stays at your place! My X did that man of leisure crap , too, and it’s such a mind fuck. He can find his own apartment! Make him lose you like he deserves. Follow CL’s advice, be quiet and stealthy, and then drop the hammer.

  • Please be careful. My ex was never violent towards me until I asked him to move out of the house. I never saw it coming. Call your local domestic violence shelter for advice. I never went to a shelter but they provided legal advice and support. I had a lawyer as well because we were married but the advocate from the dv shelter was an invaluable resource.

  • Cyn, I hope you called the police, a locksmith, and a lawyer this morning. Act now even though you are scared and confused. Your life depends on it. Once the locks are changed and the protection order is granted, it sounds like a retreat/rest is in order. Get a house sitter and go… travel to somewhere warm and sunny. Sleep. Eat nutritious foods. Sit on a beach and contemplate waves. Call friends. Read a good book. You might consider some trauma therapy. There are plenty of online sources these days.
    Sending you strength!

  • I don’t even think I would try to kick him out, because even if she is successful, he will know where she lives, and it could become a stalking situation. I would terminate my lease, move out, and not tell him where I am going. This writer needs to get the hell away from this nut job.

    • This was my thought. He sounds dangerous and if she gets him out he’s going to come back. After all he knows where she lives.

    • I had to do that. I told him I was going out of town for a week to do a gig, but was, in reality, moving out. I moved to a different city, got an unlisted phone number (prior to cell phones – today I would block him), and a PO Box. When I went back a few months later to gather my furniture, I had a police escort. The peace of mind was worth it.

  • Ugh…this woman is not ready to leave unfortunately. I have a few friends just like her, their partners have taken everything from them, they support them fully and get nothing but abuse in return, but they just won’t leave and make a million excuses. For some women, it seems the only way they will leave these men is if child welfare forces them if kids involved or police remove him and press their own charges. But yes it comes down to them not thinking they deserve better and it’s sad.

    • “This woman” wrote to The Chump Lady for support and guidance.

      “This Woman” is the sole name on the tenancy.

      “This Woman” does not have the means to pay for another deposit and months rent.

      “This woman” does deserve better than the situation she is in.

      She also deserves better than your patronising comments and sweeping generalisations. They are pretty sad too, Raven.

    • Actually, Raven, sometimes its safer to stay. I know that is really hard to comprehend when you haven’t been there, but when the abuse escalates to someone’s life ending, many times its because the woman finally left. Restraining orders are pieces of paper and it takes minutes at best for police to respond. It only takes seconds to do the unthinkable. I live in constant fear, I moved halfway across the country, but none of that matters. Its when, not if. When I was there, I at least knew where he was, and he didn’t decimate me and my children financially like he did when I had the audacity to leave. I am not advocating staying, I am just telling you one of those excuses you speak of is staying alive.

  • There is a benefit in a fresh start. If you can afford the deposit find somewhere new and change the locks on your current flat as you move out. The landlord lives in Germany and won’t care provided he or she gets the new key.

    Speak to the court security guards. They are more than capable of refusing entry should your abuser turn up at your workplace. Then speak to a manager and/or HR. Hand them a letter explaining you are ending a romantic relationship and your ex has threatened to make accusations about your character to your employer’s.

  • First, big hugs!!!! Any kind of domestic abuse situation is scary and difficult on multiple levels. Hang in there and remember covering your ass is now more important than ever. Speaking from personal experience, here are my recommendations:
    1) find a domestic abuse group. (Where I live, we have the YWCA who works in tandem with the Family Safety Center). Meet with them and they should help you:
    a) get your evidence/experience documented so you can either get him evicted or a restraining order based on the laws of the UK.
    b) get a safety plan in case he flips out (which it sounds like the kind of person that would)
    c) work with either a law group that helps domestic victims in situations like these or be the liaison between you and law enforcement so when this idiot tries any of his fucking games (like say that you are a drug abuser…you will be one step ahead of him and they will know exactly what this piece of shit is capable of).
    2) video and voice recordings cameras need to become your new bestfriend. Figure out the laws about video cameras and use them to your advantage. Ring has some excellent not so pricy options and have them mailed to your work if need be. In my state, only 1 person has to know about the recording for it to be upheld in a court of law.
    3) start telling your story but ONLY to safe people (your domestic counselor and corresponding law enforcement preferably)
    4) you need to be prepared for your landlord to not be happy about this and go ahead and have an alternative place to live in case he finds out and kicks you out.
    5) on that note, here in the states if there is a domestic abuse situation or any kind of danger, you can break the lease. That said, you need to read your lease up and down (see what clauses are in there about breaking the lease) then read your countries lease laws.

    Last but not least, have all of your ducks in a row and your domestic abuse liaison/police contact on high alert when you plan on him to be kicked out. In my opinion, you need someone there physically that has your back and knows his shit so when he does act out they can have him arrested on the spot.

  • I would definitely start recording all interactions with this individual. While there may be laws against recording someone without their consent, I think most jurisdictions would allow if it demonstrated threatening behavior. Especially if you think they’ll try to lie and turn things back on you.
    Ultimate VR is a phone app that allows you to record conversation while you are doing other things on your phone or even just have it sitting or in your pocket with the screen off. Turn it on when you get home, record any interactions – you can delete them if conversation is benign. There is a small red or orange highlight on your screen when it is running, but if you change your background picture to something the same color it would be difficult to detect.
    Call Record is an app that can be used if he is making threats during phone conversations. I highly encourage you to learn to use this app with a trusted friend first before trying it with the roommate, so you can understand how it works. It can be started before you place a call to him, or even started up during a conversation however there will be a pause in the conversation – “hang on I have another call coming in” – mute – start record – then you can return to conversation.

    • Also – store any incriminating recordings on a cloud server, not your phone. A friend’s abusive husband used to smash her phone to smithereens if he caught her recording his abuse. Do not let him know you’re recording, even if you have material that will help your case. Take it straight to the authorities.

  • >>He eventually came out to me and as I am pansexual and non-binary, I wanted to support him. I ended up taking him back last September.

    This is why it is dangerous for abusers to know our values, our buttons. It sounds like he knew you had a soft spot for LGBTQ and manipulated it. Maybe “soft spot” isn’t the best phrase, since it is really a strength to want to support people in tough situations. But as Don Hennessey says, they ruthlessly manipulate your values to their advantage.

    Another sign that the abuser got into your head is the reaction “how can I have been so stupid?” It means you’ve been manipulated into seeing the situation as you failing your values, rather than “what a bastard to have said these things to me”. Don Hennessey’s books can change your view of past bad relationships.

    • Chumpkins , thank you for this – “Another sign that the abuser got into your head is the reaction “how can I have been so stupid?” It means you’ve been manipulated into seeing the situation as you failing your values, rather than “what a bastard to have said these things to me.”
      I am 2 years out from leaving the FW I was married to, and divorced for over a year, but some days I still get intrusive thoughts of “why was I so stupid?” I can begin to feel depressed & hopeless. The progress is that I don’t spiral down for days anymore. Sometimes I feel bad just for a few minutes. That’s why I keep reading here – it’s helping to reprogram my brain after over 35 years of manipulation & emotional abuse.

      • Thanks UpAndOut! ((<3)). It sounds like you are progressing indeed. Seeing how the dirty tricks worked really helped me too. Reading sites like CL, CaptainAwkward, LoveFraud, & books from authors like Don Hennessey & Shahida Arabi.

        I can hardly describe my lightbulb moment when Lundy Bancroft's book told me that doubting myself was the one of the goals of abuse. To know that it was intentional and not due to my own mismanagement was life changing. It's so great to see other similar awakenings here.

  • Cyn: I’m suspicious about why he’s suddenly willing to send you to visit your parents. I’m concerned that *he* may change the locks on *you* just to keep the drama going longer. Please be super-careful.

    • I agree. My ex asked me if I could stay with my mom for “a few days” so he could have some time to think. Once I had left the home, he told me not to come back. Although I legally could have, I didn’t feel safe doing so because he could be violent.

      I don’t know where the letter writer is from, but where I am (Maryland, USA), if your name is on the property, you have the right to get a locksmith and break in if someone changes the locks.

    • Agreed. This caught my attention, too. He’s up to something. If she decides to travel and leave him there along she needs to bring some documentation (i.e. lease copy) that the place is hers. He may intend to squat there.

      Upthread she mentions she rescues cats. He may also intent to harm/get rid of the kitties.

  • Dear Cyn,
    I have been in this situation with a man who would take his finger and run it across his throat when I would say he needed to move out. (Mimicking murder and slashing my throat).

    CL is spot on about moving his shit to a storage. I had an older, stout friend name Barbara who rides horses help me. When I would start to waiver, she would remind me to keep going. Girl, we were throwing those boxes out of my house in a frenzy. We did not stop until his shit was gone, down to a toothbrush.

    We put his stuff in the back of her truck and then we put it in a storage. They usually will not put a storage in someone’s else name. You may have to put it in your name. But that’s ok. You have control then. If he does not come get his shit, he will lose it.

    My abuser worked out of the country. I was terrified that he would beat me when he found out I had moved his stuff.

    Here is what I did: I left the area and was gone when he discovered the locks changed and his things gone. It is not being a coward- it is just smart. These people love drama and you don’t need to be around when he flips out.

    If you can swing it, charge it if you have to- mail him the key and instructions to his belongings. Have the locks changed. Then leave. Do not be reachable. Do not swing by your place to see what is happening. Remember- the locks are changed. If you have a neighbor who is a good person, ask them to call the police if he starts beating on the window or doors. Instruct them to state: He does not live there. That is all they need to know because he is not on the lease.

    Do not check your email or VM. He will throw a tantrum and act out. You will not be around. If you do not have a good friend like Barbara, strong and resolute, hire movers.

    If I can get through it, you can too. My cheater was Special Forces and coming back from Iraq/Afghanistan. I got away and you can do it. 💕💕💕 It is scary but once he is gone, you will feel like a relief like a cool drink of water.

    • It sounds like Cyn’s FW is a leech who sits around all day (probably jerking off to porn – voice of experience, here) while she works. At any rate, if she can figure out in advance when he is going to be out, she is going to need to be FAST to get his crap out. I’m thinking garbage bag fast. Don’t bother gathering boxes, since they could tip him off. And the locksmith will need to basically be on call, if such a thing is possible.

      It is possible that the FW will take it out on whatever he can destroy that, technically, belongs to the landlord (windows). Installing security cameras where the FW can’t easily reach them will be important.

      He knows where you work, so make certain your car – if you use one – is readily seen if he decides to take vengeance on it. My guess is he is too lazy to do so, but you never know. As said multiple times above, he will simply move on to his next victim. At any rate, he won’t be your problem any longer.

  • “pushing me out of conversations”……. good words to describe these crazy-making things they do! This one really caught my eye because I could never explain it.

    I am one of the chumps on here who was very surprised to find a whiney, cowardly, pouty brat under all of that threatening, big man, “you’ll be nothing without me” farce he had me believing for 40 years. But, as chumplady says, there is a point in the timeline where they are very threatened and unstable and violence is something they aren’t afraid to use.

    Be very very careful, and very quiet. Get things locked down so you can be safe. NO CONTACT is your best friend. The abuse fog will clear as you quit letting him inject you every day with his poison.

    I’ve read that the universe sometimes sends tests…..did you truly learn the lesson? You did! You didn’t spot him for what he was immediately – that’s because he has a full lifetime of experience in tricking others. But, you did put the pieces together rather quickly. You held on to your independence through it all. You reached out for help early. Please pat yourself on the back!! You won! At this rate of recovery, the next one will barely get a glance from you.

    We do get better at seeing them, thankfully. And they are everywhere……sneaky damn snakes.

  • Cyn,
    You don’t have a lock problem, you have a fear problem. I know because I did, too. If you could change the locks, you would have already done so. But the person you love has told you how ugly you are, how fat, how stupid. He has embarrassed you and humiliated you. In order to survive, you have kept it a secret from your family and now you feel helpless and trapped.

    You are not stupid, Cyn. You are afraid. I was afraid of my mild-mannered, college-educated, upper middle class, church-going husband. I found every reason to stay married (3 kids, stay at home mom, finances, culture) but really, I was paralyzed by fear. Like you, I could verbalize that I needed to end the relationship but I could not start the process. Because I knew how bad his rage would be.

    It took the threat of losing our house,(since he was too good to work) for me to take action. I finally confided in my father. My father did not say I deserved it for marrying a loser. He steered me to a lawyer and said he would support me through the process. My husband found the papers in my bag that Friday night. He detonated. It was as bad as I feared and then some.

    You are not wrong to be afraid. In fact, it’s the only logical result of his treatment of you. But you have taken the first and hardest step. You have told somebody. Chump Lady does not think you are stupid. She thinks you are worthy of help and so does the entire Chump Nation. You don’t really need advice on what to do. You need people to believe you and in you. And we do. You are worthy of being saved, Cyn. It’s going to be hard, yes, but you ARE worth it.

    • Terrific points about fear being the underlying reason for paralysis within abuse. By demonstrating any level of callousness or cruelty, abusers set off the caveman/lizard parts of our brains that specialize in risk assessment and the message is simple: “Lacks empathy = could kill.” That risk assessment faculty is blunt and ancient and deaf to civilized denial or whitewashing the character of someone who lacks empathy as “Well he’s not THAT bad/would never go that far.” The lizard brain risk assessment faculty goes straight to logical extremes and fires up the whole fight/flight or fawn/freeze mechanism that creatures under threat go into. Abusers can count on most normal partners tilting towards “fawn/freeze” traumatic response at first. But even abusers who were never previously violent can quickly become so if they sense victims are starting to shift into “fight/flight.” Proof of this capacity is that they were cruel and callous to begin with and on some very deep level, we can all feel this potential even if it’s never spoken.

    • Eve this exactly. Telling someone who believes you is the biggest first step. Breaking the wall of shame and pride. Acknowledging that you have to get away from a cruel, abusive, scary person and you need help to do it.

      Cyn I hope you are able to use some of the advice here to get him out of your home and your life.

  • Not sure what your lease agreement is. If you are able to break it, or if renewal is coming up soon. You could move his stuff out. You can move and dont tell him where you went, change your phone number, ect. I rent 2 apartments and I know if my tenant was going through this, I would not have a problem letting them out of the lease. Especially if the abuser is not on agreement.

  • Thank you to the majority of commenters that posted helpful advice and supportive words.

    Whether or not it sounds as if I am making excuses, my situation is this. I am the sole tenancy holder. My landlord makes repairs and changes difficult. I do not have the money to move. I need to hang onto this place. It is my home. Without wishing to bring a tirade about responsible animal ownership on my head, I have rescue cats which my landlord allows me to keep here. Unfortunately, fresh starts are a luxury that cost money.

    It is my ex who needs to leave this place, not me. That isn’t making excuses, that is stone cold fact.

    First thing tomorrow, I will be approaching Citizens Advice and Womens Aid. I will take their advice as a starting point. Thanks again to those trying to help ☺️

    • Please keep us posted on your progress. It IS scary, and we truly do care. Hopefully the organizations your mentioned have locksmiths they can recommend for emergency situations.

      I’m a landlord. Getting a new lock/keys can interrupt my “system”, but it is only an interruption. I have to throw out the old keys, and replace them with the new ones. The worst thing your landlord can do is not return your security deposit, right? I think, in this case, it is worth it.

    • You should be able to change the locks by yourself, likely at your expense, and then just eventually tell your landlord that you changed the locks because you had security concerns, and give them the new key. If they kick you out for this small transgression, I’d be shocked. You’re actually saving them hassle. I’ve changed my locks myself several times. In the states, you can buy new locks for pretty cheap at any hardware store and then just follow the instructions. A little DYI here can work just fine.

      Like many of us chumps on here have done, you seem to be fixating on reasons why you cannot kick this guy out instead of ways to do it. Fear may be why you’re doing this, maybe part guilt for throwing this guy on the street. I dunno. For me, I was just frozen and not wanting to deal with things. I had a kid, he was her dad, etc.

      But the other side is so much better. And, you’re at immediate risk. So, be prepared to change the locks yourself at a moment’s notice and elicit friends to get this guys stuff out. Sounds like he’s a homebody but it appears he does enjoy a good night now, so capitalize on a night out by changing locks and getting most of his stuff out of the house (on the curb, in a storage locker, etc.). Leave a simple note on the door addressed to him that says “I’ve changed the locks, your stuff is located [here], and this relationship is over. Please do not return here. You’re not on the lease and have no right to be here. I’ve allowed you to stay here as a courtesy but that courtesy is gone. I will not be answering the door or your calls/texts. Stay away from me and this house or I will get the police involved.”

      Done and done. He’ll throw a big ole fit probably in front of your house, and that’s when you call the cops and show them your lease WITHOUT HIM ON IT and say he’s trespassing. Let them deal with this asshole.

      Sounds harsh? Well so is being an abuser. The only way to deal with the bullies is blunt force action (not words) and immediate consequences.

      With a different type of person, you would tell them that the relationship is over and that they need to move out and give them a reasonable amount of time to do so. If you think that would work here, go for it. But this guy sounds a little unhinged, so this is probably not a good idea.

  • Dear Cyn,

    Two part response so look below for the rest.

    Dear Cyn,

    I was also an advocate for domestic violence survivors but one common hazard of those of us who worked in the field prior to changes in domestic violence theory and changes in laws in some places is that we tend to set the bar of what constitutes abuse at violence and broken bones. But things have changed. Now it’s known that most victims cite psychological abuse and control as the most paralyzing and damaging parts of abuse even beyond physical violence and this understanding has set off the movement to criminalize coercive control or “sub-violent” forms of abuse and coercion.

    You mentioned coercive control so you’re likely aware that, in the UK, coercive control has been criminalized and can get prison time. I think he straight-out broke criminal law when he threatened to destroy your work. Add to that the “pattern of coercive and controlling behavior”– refusing to leave, attacking your self esteem, gaslighting, etc.– and, as the law is written, he could potentially end up in prison for what he’s doing to you. Of course, laws and enforcement are two different things. Since you work for the courts, you have more access than average for getting advice on what kind of evidence you’ll need to get him charged and whether you can legally wire up your house to discretely record any threats or abuse he engages in.

    I think one thing that confuses and confounds both victims of intimate partner abuse and bystanders– including helping professionals who should know better– is that the “last straw” for victims is often infidelity by abusers. Bystanders and even victims themselves may mistake this for evidence that victims “accepted” (hints of masochism theory, ugh) all other forms of abuse but that– merely out of territoriality, jealousy and dependency– cheating was the bridge too far. But because, in my experience, virtually all batterers and “coercive controllers” cheat as part of the general frog-boiling process of paralyzing their prey as well as a peculiarity in the psychology of abusers (abusers tend to mask their own shamefully infantile, pathological dependence on partners and, by way of concealing it even from themselves, will “dilute” the dependency by spreading it out among more than one partner), I see the “last straw” reaction differently. Instead, cheating is a clear warning that an already vicious or dangerous abuser will escalate abuse. As long as an abuser still has some sexual “use” for their victim,  the victim might have a small window of assurance that the abuser won’t thoroughly destroy them. But once an abuser starts seeking replacements, that tiny window of safety is gone and the risk of being destroyed or killed skyrockets.

    Generally victims will be triggered into action when the risk of staying starts to exceed the considerable risk of escaping. Cheating signals that the risk of staying is rising. But it’s a dangerous moment because this reaction can teeter between “fight or flight” or “freeze and fawn”– aka, Stockholm syndrome.  What’s more, to the degree that Stockholm syndrome hinges on the effective trap that victims find themselves in, cheating deepens the tendency to captor bond because– tada– it creates a situation in which victims risk being disbelieved, discredited and *not helped* as they try to reach out for social and practical support because of the danger that bystanders and would-be helpers may assume victims fabricated abuse “out of jealousy.” You’ve got to hand it to abusers that it’s fucking diabolical to use a tactic that has the built-in ability to silence and neutralize their own victims. No joke– I’ve seen DAs refuse to try well documented cases of domestic violence simply because victims alluded to cheating as one of the abuses. The built-in trap is why victims are mostly discouraged from including cheating in their reports of abuse. Unfortunately this means that cheating is rarely included in the clinical literature on tactics used by abusers though there are some hopeful signs this is changing (see the resource section of this blog).

    As a former advocate myself, I also understand the added shame of being fully familiar with how captor bonding/Stockholm syndrome works and knowing that I’m in the grips of it but being unable to instantly will myself out of the mental state. I likened it to being half-anesthetized on the operating table, able to feel and hear everything going on as they’re preparing to cut me open, but too paralyzed to move or call out “Stop.” That’s what boiling-frog coercion and control does over time. It’s frustrating but the added burden of being ashamed of the possum mode is just more stones in our pockets. Abusers dole out enough shame without adding more of it to the burden. At least studying the issue helped me bear in mind that even veteran intelligence professionals are never given whole parcels of state secrets but only bits and pieces because, if captured and subjected to professional interrogation tactics (even non-physical ones if the interrogators as particularly talented), it’s predictable that spies will break, bond with captors and spill all the intel. Special knowledge of the mechanisms of captor bonding only provides limited protection from it because this survival mechanism is hardwired in humans to the extent it generally works to “inspire” a bit of mercy in most captors. That’s why, on release, political captives are routinely deprogrammed to break the bond. The otherwise effective “mercy-inspiring” mechanism outlives its usefulness when the prison gates are left open and the captive finds themselves too “bonded” to take the opportunity to escape.

    • Part deux:
      But the good news is that this state of mind is the farthest thing from love and, if someone manages to escape and get to safety, the “bonding” fades faster and more thoroughly than genuine love would have. The captor bonding mechanism probably goes back to our ape roots when evincing seamless loyalty (only seamless to the degree that captives fully believe it) to violent alphas was the only way to keep from getting killed. Modern primatologists who study our closest ape cousins, regular chimpanzees, can observe how alpha chimps are almost preternaturally alert to the merest hint of disloyalty in underlings.  Didn’t grovel low enough or sniff the alpha’s knuckles in just the right way? Off with your head. But the fact that the rule of fear doesn’t inspire genuine love can be seen in the behavior of beta male chimps who, right up to the very second they took advantage of the momentary weakness of an alpha and killed and took the place of the alpha, had probably been so thoroughly captor bonded they exuded it on a cellular level (which is the only way it works).

      You could say that breaking out of the cellular level ruse of captor bonding hinges on victims’ sense that they can win the coming death match much like beta apes who take on the big honcho. So one strategy to throw off captor bonding is to assess the opponent’s vulnerabilities and to break down all the various, complicated threats that are either made directly by “captors” or hinted at and, one by one, dispel and neutralize those threats either through victims taking preemptive action to protect themselves against each threat or by realizing the threats are empty.

      Real threats: STBXFW has threatened to destroy your work and has shown the capacity to do things like criminally frame you which in itself shows that, on a gut level, you sense he could be violent and dangerous (attacking someone’s means of making a living is officially viewed as a form of IPV or intimate partner violence). Response: Get ahead of it and gather evidence and support to bust him for attempting either. Set up hidden recording devices around the house to capture evidence of abuse or unlawful behavior if, as the named party on the lease, you can lawfully do this (or do it and worry about legality later because it’s better to have evidence and not use it than need it and not have it). Get police backing.

      Empty threats: His relentless and repeat message that you’re nothing without him and will never have a happy life or find love again. Response: Seek support for what you’re going through and, as you find it, illustrate to your own psyche that he’s full of shit.

      You can make your own list of risks and dangers since you know the situation best.  Address them and protect yourself from them one by one and watch the actual and psychological chains begin to melt away and watch your inner rebel start to rise up. There may be lingering symptoms of captor bonding– yearning, “what ifs,” etc.– but it’s a matter of degree and percentages. The goal is to tilt the odds of winning the fight in your own favor and thereby hacking the hardwired trauma programming enough to get yourself into a state of taking action. At least that’s how it works for me.  I think something else most of us fear is suffering debilitating depression in the wake of escape– that moment when adrenaline fades and we find ourselves alone, depleted and feeling hopeless. After years of being triggered by an abuser into states of chronic and even low level anxiety, part of that crash is just physiological adrenaline withdrawal. But building a support network can be a net for the coming crash and can shorten the “despair” stage.

      I write all of this with the understanding that none of this might be new news to you.  But I write it all the same just as a reminder that other people get it. When fomenting rebellion, it helps to be reminded of the existence of like minds who will join the “cause.” We may not be that visible but we are legion. Sort of like how the defense of democracy takes perpetual vigilance from every generation, defending against abuse and the predators who always exist among us is a permanent state of revolution that has to be sustained for a lifetime. Temporary or half measures won’t cut it. Building a network (“revolutionary cell” lol) of people who get it and have your back is a worthy lifelong goal. Groups of people like this can accomplish so much even aside from defending themselves. Everything good comes from positive coalitions. You already made one attempt to get involved with creating solutions to this problem before. I suspect that’s where “your people” are gathering. I wish you safety, strength, peace and the best company in the future.

    • Correction: Baldwin wrote about people needing to see “history” in themselves and see themselves in history. I’ve used that quote so much in political contexts that I think it mutated over time it but the meaning is the same.

  • There is alot of undercurrent pulling hard in your story.

    People who don’t know who they are become the target of those that exploit others.

    He’s now finally coming out to you that he’s a pan sexual, cross dresser, non binary, and bisexual . Not only have you taken on his unwillingness to work and contribute fairly to financials; he’s a content doper, gaslights you knowingly,
    threatens you with retaliation, and checks all the boxes as an abuser.

    There’s too much settling for dysfunction and disorder here on your part. You’re all-in for ‘supporting’ people with these problems…until they wreak havoc in your life as consequences of these choices always do.

    Don’t personalize these freaks and bring them into your fold in the future. Take the time you need to know yourself inside and out, build a fortress of strength and confidence in who you are, know your boundaries and limitations, learn to hone your intuition and listen to your gut more, and look for a partner next time – not a project.

    If you don’t change yourself, the next opportunist is waiting in the wings for the pleasure of your exploitation.

    • Being nonbinary or pansexual or whatever one’s orientation doesn’t make someone a freak.

      Also, plenty of confident people become victims of predators. Let’s please not generalize. I agree with the don’t date a project advice, however.

      • Your gender and sexuality are yours. There are jerks everywhere in the world, even here in Chump Nation, but I stand with you and support you. You, and we all, deserve goodness and not badness no matter what’s in your pants and what’s in the pants of whoever you like and love, period. (Same goes for all the other garments. I don’t care what people wear as long as they aren’t assholes.)

        It’s easy for people to think their specifics are equivalent to others’, but things like local laws and rental realities and such vary widely. I trust you to figure out how to navigate yours. The point of this whole conversation is that you (we all) deserve better than what this abuser has to offer, and you are taking scary and necessary steps toward the changes you’re making, which is not easy. You’re so strong.

        Pulling for you all the way, Cyn!

      • Enough with the hurt feelings over online commentary. You’re an adult in complete control of your own life. Your anger should be directed toward the person causing you misery. Get off the internet and kick his dumb ass out.

        • No right to reply to incorrect assumptions, slurs and passive aggressive word salad? Interesting.

          I’ve spent time reading through the responses and collected the valuable information contained within. That, after all is why I wrote to CL in the first place.

          Your comment didn’t feature amongst the useful ones, but that’s ok. You’re entitled to a smart device and an opinion. Enjoy your day, Ezra.

  • Agreed, CL. I stand corrected for lumping this person’s myriad of sexual orientations with his cheating, gaslighting, failure to financially support in a partnership, threating, and abusive behaviors. I know nothing of his sexual behaviors other than what the writer identified.

  • In the USA I had to get a protection order first, talk to the police second warned them about possible retaliation and then i could legally change the locks. Because I was married the house belonged to both of us so he could break in if I did not have a protection order because it was still his house!
    The police were made aware so that if he did break in and they knew it it was legally not allowed as long as I had my order in hand. Go get some legal advice first protect yourself next and make sure you can come down like a hammer. Another important thing is never to take him back or communicate with him because he will play with your brain as Tracy says and make you uncomfortable and weak again. If he’s let back in he will know all the tricks he’s almost like a caged lion that knows you even better to harm you more…
    and will use it against you. Please be careful, a protection order and police awareness are extremely important as well as your friends

  • I wanted to second CL’s mention that abusers may seek strong prey. The old, moldy, victim-disparaging thinking in domestic violence was that perpetrators seek out the weak and broken but newer thinking is that many abusers hunt “big game.” DV expert Lenore Walker discovered that more victims than average had higher *pre-abuse* self esteem and, in terms of hard statistics, more victims than average had careers prior to abuse.  Why abusers seek out strong prey is up for the debate. I have a few theories:  

    –A tiger skin rug has more ego kibble or bragging rights than a bunny foot key chain. Victims who also endured past trauma may feel more like limping prey but, in Cyn’s case, to the extent that they successfully fought off past abuse and obviously have a career and means to live independently, this makes them, if anything, a “limping tiger” but still a tiger. Of course hunters, like all predators, are looking for a target which is off its game and momentarily disadvantaged but that striped pelt still looks awesome in front of the fireplace or gets a good price on the fur market.

    — Victims come from all walks and all backgrounds but abusers predictably grew up with domestic abuse. Because not all who grew up with DV become abusers, it’s not an excuse but it always helps to size up the opponent and their MOs. If an adult abuser formerly witnessed one parent being abused by another adult, they might blame the victim parent for “breaking” and, as adults, develop a demented fantasy of finding a perfect and “unbreakable” partner who would protect the former-child-victim-cum-adult-abuser and “inspire” them to be better people. But when the abuser abuses and “tests” their formidable-seeming partner, the abuser feels betrayed and enraged that their victims break like everyone else and weren’t the perfect, bulletproof, protective mommy/daddy figures they hoped for.  

    — And/or some abusers might choose formidable prey out of a subconscious wish to be caught and stopped because they know they won’t stop themselves. Since Cyn had previously gotten a restraining order against another partner and, furthermore, works for the courts, it’s almost as if the abuser in this case is tempting fate that Cyn might– as Cyn feasibly could– muster professional contacts to protect themselves and even bring him to justice. It sounds like he wants this to happen on some deep level. And as the Taoists say, “Never rob anyone of their consequences.”

  • Hello, Cyn.

    I can somehow relate because I am also in the legal field. My ex also threatened to ruin my name in my workplace. Legal field is different because there is supposed to be a higher standard of right and wrong. Then, your cheating FW will make you the immoral one in the smear campaign. Please never lose the confidence that we believe that you are the real victim here. I think what you can do is to continuously rebuild your reputation after you leave him. Please leave him immediately because you will remain afraid either way- if you choose to stay or choose to leave. At least if you leave, you will have the chance to find safe people.

    I hope you will update this group. I feel worried about you because I can relate to you. 🙁

  • Dear Cyn,
    I can relate. I had a ton of terror when my ex and I were finished. Mine iwas different because I was abandoned but it was so scary. It’s still too much to just talk about and I’m still really healing, but praying that you find the way and that each step is revealed to you. Hugs.

  • If you cannot leave yourself, I would become totally transparent with your work, let them know the situation, and the threats and your fear about drugs. They don’t need to know the editorial content, just that the relationship has turned toxic, you have decided to go your separate ways and you have asked him to leave because you are the leaseholder, he refuses, he is trying to extort you with threats, to your workplace and implied harm to you, and you require assistance. If you work for the courts there must be someone in the building who can offer legal advice. Then you can gather your people and make a plan.

    I would be inclined, if practicable, to ask your largest, strongest, most ballsy/mouthy friend to come and stay with you for at least a couple of weeks. Also, if you have supportive neighbors who would be willing to stand at the windows and take photos, if he did appear when you were out, or appeared when you were home, that might be a deterrent too.

    As to the logistics of getting him out, there are many good ideas here, I would also be inclined, even though no-one really likes their business in the streets, to make it quite clearly known that the two of you have parted ways, in no small part because he has been unwilling to contribute as an equal financially in the relationship and when asked to step up has turned nasty, to the point of threats. Those that know you two well enough will know he’s inherited money, and this may be enough to embarrass and shame him to stay away, without having to go into the messy interpersonal politics involved. A bit of a round-about way to go about it, but it keeps the whole ‘bi-shaming’ (according to him) dynamic out of the equation and just might work. Be safe and take care.

  • I’ve only just caught up with these comments. I’ve read every one, and you’ll note that I put “like” on all that are helpful and supportive. Thank you for your words of empathy, helpful advice and insight into the reasons that may be behind the abuse.

    I have only responded to comments which I felt needed my input so far. Unfortunately the bulk of those were negative. People need to realise though – abuse survivor does not equate to being “weak” or having no voice.

    I feel better equipped to change this situation for the positive input from Chump Lady and in the comments. Starting today. Thanks again.

  • Cyn,

    With my last relationship I was at a milder place then you were. Everyone told me to kick him out but I knew he would fight me and make my life miserable.

    I bid my time. When the lease was almost up I quietly hunted for a new place all my own. I found a lovely little place back in my home state near my family. I applied for and got a new job in the area.

    I got some financial help from family and a small assistance grant to pay the security deposit. I told him I was sorting out my items and donating things to get rid of them. Really I was moving them a uhaul POD before work every day. I focused on sentiment things, legal documents, clothes, my laptop and sentimental items. I kept up appearances at home and appeased. I socked away any money I could. I got my cat her last vet appointment and a mild travel sedative and hid her travel stuff in the back of my car.

    When I was finally ready I dosed her in the evening. I woke up early, packed her in her travel crate, and drove away. I texted him that I was gone, everything left was his if he wanted it and to never contact me again. I drove like hell for the state line, and met the moving POD at my new apartment. My old friends and family all showed up to help, and many gifted me spare furniture.

    I got a new number and he doesn’t know my address.

    Maybe if I was stronger I would have kicked him out, sued him for unpaid rent, etc. But I was the expert in how he would react, and I got out in the safest way I knew how.

    I don’t regret it, and I am safe back home near my family. If someone else’s plan won’t work for you, that’s ok. But make your own plan. You don’t need his permission, you don’t owe him anything. If you can get him out then do so. But if you need to run, then run. My furniture that I left can be replaced. But I have my freedom, safety and peace of mind.

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