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He’d Like to Apologize for ‘His Role’ in Breaking Her Arm

Universal Bullshit Translator
The Universal Bullshit Translator

Dear Chump Lady,

I received this letter from my ex after he physically assaulted me and fractured my elbow and then broke 3 necklaces from pulling me by them to hard, first time he got violent but I have zero tolerance so I left his ass. Mind you — this all escalated because I wasn’t playing into his “bad mood” and instead I was just spending time with friends and ignoring the mood altogether. Definitely got upset he couldn’t trigger me… was so shocking though.

When dropping off my stuff two days later he tucked this in one of my bags…. Just found it and I am screaming. Such a narcissist. I do love how he FINALLY admits he never says sorry though? Or treats me well? Nice to have a little change up from the classic “I’m not ignoring you/ I have no idea what you’re talking about I never said that/etc” bullshit, yanno?



Dear Sandra,

The Universal Bullshit Translator has overheated (it’s August, and that’s too much bullshit), so it’s left to me to decode your fuckwit.

I hope you’re pressing criminal charges and have a protection from abuse order. Because stuffing that letter into your duffle bag is contact, and Mr. Creepy should be in jail.

What this asswipe needs are consequences. The kind delivered via the crushing boot of law enforcement. The UBT is just a mere machine that works for cookies.

(When it works. Right now it’s having a lie-down and moaning about the humidity.)

A basic tenet at CN is the Three Channels of Mindfuckery — charm, rage, and self-pity.

Your broken arm has already experienced rage. Now the dial is fully set at self-pity. Building you up might be “charm” but you’ll notice how it quickly devolves into self-pity again. The sadz is intended as chump bait. Waah! Kiss his boo-boo!

It’s just another form of attention-getting. What enraged him in the first place? Being ignored. Rage didn’t work, so he’s trying self-pity.

Nice to have a little change up

No. It is not. Go cold, hard no contact.

I shall untangle his ugly little skein, and then please stop wondering/marveling/reacting to this creep. Instead, full speed ahead on criminal charges.


You’re a big meanie who is canceling him.

You’re going to burn his letter! Block him! “Scrap his entire existence from your life.” And he is but a sad, loving sausage who just wants to compliment you with cliches. How could you ever be so cruel?


Who’s the mean one here? Hello DARVO my old friend.

Confusion on why he’s a dick dribbling FW.

For “whatever reason” he “couldn’t fix his issues.” Who knows the reasons he beats his girlfriend? (He gets off on the power.) Doesn’t matter! Forgive him! If you can find it in your cold, cruel canceling heart.

Faux empathy he cannot sustain. Apologies he doesn’t mean.

He begins by saying your pain “kills” him and then goes on in an entire letter about how this is all so very hard on HIM. Slathered under some bullshit of how wonderful you are (I’M LOSING PREMIUM KIBBLES.)

But the WORST is this line:

“I’m sorry for my role in what happened.”

His ROLE? That implies YOU had a role. And cannot even NAME WHAT HAPPENED.

“I’m sorry I shattered your arm.” Better. Still criminal. Still shouldn’t be contacting you, but at least it would be a proper apology sentence.

He doesn’t call it an assault. He calls it “escalating the situation.” Assaulting you is a “situation.”

This is grotesque blameshifting. It stands in stark contrast to his bullshit that your pain “kills him.” (Ah that it did.) No, your pain turns him on. Come back, he wants to slap you harder.

He thinks his approval matters.

You’re beautiful on the inside! You’re a good friend! You light up every room you walk into!

I was fed that exact line in 1989 by a fuckwit I broke up with. This playbook is very stale. Someone got fed that line in 1939. Could we have some new platitudes, Fuckwits?

What his “compliments” signal is that he thinks you care. He’s a very important person bestowing his favor on you. And aren’t you lucky! A golden kibble for YOU.

Why do you think I give two shits about your opinion of me? You BROKE MY ARM. You’re a common thug I have zero respect for. 

His entitlement — to your forgiveness, to his centrality — is still very much intact. That makes him a dangerous person to be around. Block, block, BLOCK.

I would hate for him to “escalate the situation” again. Please, press charges.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Oh he was seething at every word…!

    “This cost him a lot and you better appreciate it (cause he’s not falling for this again)” is the underlying sentiment in every sentence.

    What a fucking lunatic, Im so glad you’re out!!! Hope you sued him

  • Damage control. He’s really hoping you won’t press charges. Block him. Contact your local domestic abuse program. Were you given their info at the hospital or doctor’s office?

    • This. The letter is an effort to butter her up so she won’t press charges. The police need a copy of this because he does admit to the crime, albeit indirectly.

  • He’s sorry that it took place in front of your friends because that means you have witnesses.
    If the first time he “escalates” he breaks your arm, what will he break the next time?
    Please, please press charges while you can, and stay no contact.

    • And I suspect that is the ONLY part of this whole thing he is sorry for.

      No way would I burn that letter.

    • Yes. And don’t minimize it by calling it a “fracture”. He broke your arm. Keep the letter (and hidden and digital copies of it), keep the medical records, file the police report and press charges, and get a lawyer and a restraining order. And no contact, of course. Good thing you have witnesses and that letter.

      • If he did that with witnesses, that were your friends, no less, just imagine what he would have done, or will do without witnesses. It only gets worse. Press charges and get a restraining order.

      • That’s what my sister the nurse always says: “A fracture is a break!”

      • And if he tries to screw you over on income taxes during or after the divorce use all of the above in your Innocent Spouse filing. I did and not only did it resolve the tax nonsense it’s available by FOIA should his next victim go looking.

      • Broke your elbow, put welts on your neck, and horrified you and your friends! This guy is out of control, and he’s hoping you come back so he can continue.
        Scary. Stay away!

    • Excellent point, GF. I’d say this is a guy capable of even worse. Sandra needs to go straight to charges and an order of protection before he does something else.

  • Forgive me, I’m stuck on “No matter how much we debate what happened on Saturday . . .”


    A physical assault resulting in serious injury took place, but obviously there were extenuating circumstances that must be presented, considered, questioned, analyzed and deliberated so that . . . what? Some degree of understanding can occur?

    It fits perfectly with the “your role” bullshit, but still.

    • Yes exactly. The you made me angry and you made me do it. You made me angry so you deserved it. The you made me angry so you made me push you down and I didnt mean for you to get hurt. It just happened from the fall. OK.

      They never take responsibility for their actions. They want you to carry their load for them, scapegoat you. Its amazing how these people walk amongst us.

      • Precisely. They never “mean” for you to get hurt. They always “lose control” or it is an “accident.” This is why Lundy Bancroft’s book is so eye opening.

        As Lundy says, this guy has control over his actions and took it just as far as he wanted to and felt justified to. If he had no control over his actions he wouldn’t be functioning in any area of his life, yet, I bet this guy holds down a job and manages not to physically assault anyone there, or assault a stranger in line at Starbucks. No, he stops himself from doing those things – but he doesn’t stop himself from hurting her because he feels entitled to.

        • Spot On!! It is the ” I don’t have a problem. You do!” game. It is just repulsive.

      • “You deserved it [being used as a punching bag] because you made me look bad.”
        I cut off all contact with the sibling in 2007. From what I’ve heard from a family member ,he treats my sister-in-law like shit and has a creepy relationship with my niece.
        Sometimes it’s a matter of self-preservation.

    • Exactly. Totally. Yes. He’s totally setting up plausible deniability. If it’s debate-able, then she can be painted as deserving or at least accepting half of the blame. Thing is, when you commit a crime, the motivation isn’t really a factor. A crime is a crime. (Theoretically, anyway — it does often seem to matter who has the better lawyer, but that’s not something we can solve in this forum, LOL!)

    • And he could just as easily have damaged a kidney, a liver or your eye, and might have given you a concussion or broken your neck since he was yanking on necklaces. You really need to look at this as assault and battery and it should be a felony. Please contact the cops.

    • Right, UX. He’s inviting her to “debate” it so as to convince her she also had a “role” in it. Instead, he can debate it with a judge. Let’s see how that works out for him.

    • Oh my FW absolutely wanted to debate that he did not hit me. The charge I pressed was “hit and wound” (approximate translation). He grabbed my shoulders strong enough to leave bruises. He was adamant he did not hit me. Well I was adamant not to grace him with a debate. I discovered Chump Lady’s blog that very night or in the few weeks after. My timeline is a bit blurry for those early days. It became one of my favorite quip: “I left at first bruise”. I never had a DD, but the gaslighting and harassment had been there for the entire 10 years wedding. I had been slowly realising it was not acceptable, but my setting boundaries was not exactly welcomed 🙄

  • He is terribly sorry he got caught abusing you and wants to make sure there are no consequences.

  • Christ on a cracker! Is this guy for real? He breaks your arm and he writes you a note?
    He ought to turn himself in to the nearest police station. “I’d like to report that I’m a domestic abuser and I deserve to be thrown under the jail, please.”

    He’s not going to do that. So you do it. Today. Get one of the witnesses to be with you when you do. Bring the medical records.

  • This guy is terrifying. If he broke your arm in front of witnesses the first time he “escalated,” the second time he might kill you. It’s not unusual for bad guys to go from no violence to murder. Truly. You need to press charges and get a protection order. Immediately.

    • Yep. Gabby Petito was made to look like a hysterical woman and her killer played the calm collected man in front of the whole country, she was arrested, and then he killed her as soon as he could.

  • I sure hope you have plenty of photographs of the damage he did, and that you sue his ass for felony assault.

  • What a scary man. Please stay safe. His printed out, unsigned letter is harder than, say, a text message or voicemail would be to document and authenticate as coming from him as evidence for court – this format therefore seems creepily strategic of him.

  • As someone who was on the receiving end of domestic violence for years (try twice a week for years), please take this further. I kept backing away from going to the police because he was American and I thought he would get kicked out of France (stupid, I know). I did however document it at work, with the staff counsellor, the doctor and got everything I needed until the day I actually did go to the hospital and then to the police. They picked him up that same night and eventually when he admitted that “I slapped her around a little” he was charged with – and eventually convicted of – domestic violence. I should have done it ages ago and yes, believe me, it really does escalate. And to think your FW actually STARTED by breaking your arm!!!! Keep the letter and please file!

    • Whoa. That is terrible and I can’t imagine how you lived thru years of it.

      It does point out that if a chump accepts ANY MISTREATMENT it will escalate, as the perp feels you’ve somehow agreed to it.

      • It WAS awful – and all the more stupid because I had a good job (I actually earned more than him) and strong backing. BUT, he was diagnosed bipolar and was capable of going 3-4 days without sleep. Therefore I had to go 3-4 days without sleep. At most I got 4 non-consecutive hours a night and was so exhausted I couldn’t think straight enough to fight. The only good thing I did was I NEVER covered for him!

        • Omg Attie, your beater cheater was simply The Worst!! You are just inspiring and amazing for how your survived it all and escaped that nightmare….and now giving back to help Sandra.
          Hugs and love to you 💕

  • My Xh – a serial cheater diagnosed as narcissistic with BPD – likely a sociopath, attacked me in a crowded elevator over our 10 year old’s head to wrench his phone out of my hands (cheater texts to AP were visible). He hurt me. I stepped out of the elevator and pretended for the night (we joined a big group of sport parents at an away tourney) that I was ok. That was the HELL of 18 weeks of wreconsillyation. I wish to God I’d told him to GTFO on Dday. 😭😭😭

  • Well, she did have an arm. (Even two of them.) So I guess that is her part in the ‘situation.’ He is truly dangerous (and proved that already). It would only escalate.

  • this is scary. i hope charges are pending, and you have support. given this is the first incidence of violence and how serious it is (broken bones), i’m worried this could escalate to the worst. please, please, please use the police to track this patterning. because he’s patterning a new behaviour here.

    i hate this for you.

  • Crazy. Yes, I hope this letter helps in his assault charges and shows the judge/ jury his crazy. What gets me most is the second paragraph in his high praise of her and how great she is. Flattery will get you back. Catch more flies with honey. If I didnt know he broke your arm, I would think hes such a great guy isnt she so lucky. WTF? Hoping he can butter you up so you dont press charges? He will assault or do worse to future victims, so I hope you press charges. Even with assault charges he will schmooze future victims and explain away the arrest. Someone will be stupid enough to fall for it. I guess they need to see it for themselves and end up with broken bones before they believe it. There are people who pursue convicted murderers who are behind bars.

  • The sucking up here is so creepy.

    What stands out to me is how he’ll praise her beauty and kindness with superlatives and platitudes, but when it comes to talking about the fact that she’s smart, he can’t help but say that it’s annoying. This is a deeply insecure man, who knew that he was with someone of quality and resented her for it. He’s describing his own jealousy and sense of inferiority as though doing so is a concession, an assessment of their relative worth that is humiliating to admit to.

    I remember after a certain former friend raped me during what was explicitly just supposed to be a snuggle, I got many emails/letters of apology telling me how beautiful and wonderful I am. I got an offer to marry me. He also deigned to tell me that I was a better writer than him. I laughed out loud at that one, because this was a man with a much more lucrative and powerful byline, but I already knew that I was a better writer than him!

    That’s what’s going on here. He’s also showing that to him, his violence comes from something you did making him feel insecure, which he retaliated punished you for. That’s why to him, you had a role in what happened by your resistance to his will and he needed to show you your place. Now as he fumbles, he can’t even allow for the fact that he caused physical pain, never mind that he dented LW’s and all witnesses’ faith in human trust and decency. He can only conceive of the injury as him having exposed to you how beneath him you are/he thinks you are. As in, “I humiliated you, so let me tell you how much the idea of your worth humiliates me, as a kind of peace offering. I need to feel superior, so others must also wish they could feel as superior as me, and because I usually have done all I can to make sure you don’t, I’m strategically bigging you up a little bit now to see if it gets me what I want.”

  • You gotta love that he says how perfect Sandra is — kind, beautiful, smart, a best friend — but says near the end: “but for whatever reason, WE just couldn’t get it right.” Geez, it’s so hard to determine who the problem is here — oy. This isn’t WE problem. Yikes

    Sandra — I hope you report him, you protect yourself, and stay safe. This guy seriously creeps me out. Your friends and family were there? If the police need any witnesses — you got it. I’m betting this letter was partly out of FEAR because everyone saw him brutally attack you. Hard for him to pull a “he said – she said.” In his sick head, he is protecting himself by saying nice things to you afterwards and pseudo-apologizing. He’s an idiot.

    And one more thing on this letter… I’m betting it’s saved on his computer. He has likely used much of this BS on others … or will in the future. Get yourself to safety from this horrific abusive FW.

  • Dear Sandra–

    You’re in considerable danger as are the people around you and any police called to the scene of the next assault. To protect yourself and people you’re close to, the felony assault and any past assaults and threats of violence should be reported to police and the district attorney. Your broken arm, related medical reports and any witnesses to assaults are admissible evidence. You’re eligible for a protective order and may be eligible for your region’s victim/witness compensation for many costs related to the crime (US website:

    Given that domestic batterers also tend to cheat and cheating is often part off the coercion, control and emotional destabilization that all batterers engage in in order to psychologically stun and paralyze their prey, you may be a survivor of infidelity but, more importantly, you’re a battered woman. I know that term– like the term “victim”– has been smeared with all sorts of negative assumptions and cultural meanings but, technically speaking, all it means is that you were hapless bystander when a violent, dangerous psycho erupted, that’s all. The idea that there’s any consistent psychological profile for battered women or that they “draw” abuse to themselves on Voodoo tractor beams is a victim-blaming myth stemming from debunked social science assumptions. In truth, it can literally happen to anyone, including the strongest and most psychologically healthy people. If domestic violence survivors show any traits in common, these relate to the traumatic effects of abuse and aren’t contributory factors because, again, there are no common denominators predicting who will or won’t become a victim. In actual fact, researchers have found that, if anything, battered women tend to skew towards higher than average “pre-abuse self esteem” (which even your abuser seems to be acknowledging in this love-bombing attempt to reel you back in). In other words, many abusers may prefer “big game” and challenging prey, not weak targets. I say all this because the first step to protecting yourself is to accept that you are, through no fault of your own, a victim. If you’ve internalized any cultural biases against “victim status,” it may require rejecting those concepts to take that first step. Seriously, throw all that old-timey, blamey bs into the nearest bin and set it on fire. It’s all total hogwash and meant to discourage survivors from coming forward. You’re no more the cause of this than a pedestrian who happened to be standing on a sewer main when it blew up.

    The fact that he went so far as to break your arm just elevated your statistical risk of being subsequently killed several fold. Author of a Lancet study on domestic violence, Dr. Mohit Bhandari, states: “By the time a woman receives broken bones, she’s at sharp risk of being killed by her partner. That’s why orthopedic surgeons need to get better at noticing the signs. This for us has been a red flag to say ‘This is an opportunity we cannot miss.'”

    As far as a batterer’s ability to “work on” their problems, the recidivism rate of domestic batterers is about 98.5% even after jail time and anger management therapy, the only two things which, statistically speaking, have been shown to slightly dent recidivism. But another, more recent study cast doubts on the effectiveness of current therapeutic approaches to aggressive and violent individuals which are based on assumptions that aggression stems from “poor self control”:

    “A new study contests the belief that aggression stems from poor self-control. Instead, it suggests that aggression is often a deliberate, controlled act, inflicted to maximize retribution.
    This finding, based on meta-analysis of multiple psychology and neurology studies, contradicts the traditional approach of treating violent tendencies by boosting self-control. It implies that such interventions may even enable some people to better execute their aggressive instincts.
    Key Facts:
    –Aggression does not necessarily arise from poor self-control. Instead, it can be a calculated act of retribution, requiring self-discipline to carry out effectively.
    –Evidence suggests that self-control training programs do not necessarily reduce violent tendencies.
    –Research indicates that the brain’s prefrontal cortex, a center of self-control, shows increased activity during aggression, further debunking the association between poor self-control and aggression.”

    I’m with everyone else on this page that the assault needs to be addressed as criminal and this categorically criminal individual needs to be contained for your safety and everyone else’s. Batterers, like serial killers, are unfixable. This only gets worse and, in your situation, could end in great tragedy. Please get yourself safe.

    • This is true in my experience. It was power over me he wanted. For me to beg for mercy. For me to tell him I needed him more than I could love myself. It is not low self esteem but feelings of superiority and entitlement that lead to aggressive acts. If these acts are public there has been much covert action behind closer doors so that he feels it is his duty to keep you in your place in his worlds pecking order. You are a threat and not afraid enough. He will make you pay. Frightening

      • According to researchers who study domestic batterers like bugs on slides, most seem to operate on a “beat by need” basis. In other words, if they can keep victims in check using psychological coercion and abuse, most abusers will find that preferable to the legal risks and physical exertion of using violence.

        The big question is, what does “in check” mean? After doing advocacy for several years, I ended up concluding that, if it’s boiled down to brass tacks, DV is really nothing more than the violent enforcement of sexual double standards and one-sided monogamy. It seemed pretty elemental since I never encountered a survivor who hadn’t also been subjected to various forms of cheating. So, through that lens, you could argue that “in check” means the victim is put in a position where it would be difficult for them to serve the abuser in kind by cheating or moving on themselves. If that’s the goal, the abuse would logically entail social isolation (lack of access to potential replacement partners) and overtly or covertly threatened smear campaigns against the victim (to ensure no one else will support or date the victim); control over finances, earning power and appearance; damaging the victim’s self esteem to the point the victim doesn’t believe anyone else would ever want them, etc.

        That’s the thing that always boggles about Perelian apologias for FWs. If these characters were really just free love mavens seeking liberation, why wouldn’t they build up their chumps’ self esteem along the lines of saying “fly be free”? Why do we always hear the same story that FWs aggressively decimate chumps’ self esteem in the course of cheating? I think it’s because, like battering, it’s really about enforcing one-sided monogamy– give or take broken bones and lacerations.

        • Anyway, secondary point is that damage to victims’ self esteem can be the result of abuse but is never the cause.

        • Thank you so much for your posts on this. It made me understand some things about what happened to me in my marriage and how I am so confused about how I’ve realized I am not shy and socially awkward (well this a little but in a funny way I like) and full of joy and the ability to relate to people. But in my marriage I had only 2 friends by the end and was a shell.

          I am saving your post. You helped me today.

        • Hell of a Chump, thank you THANK YOU thank you for eloquently formulate a compelling theory! It makes very much sense. I feel like scaes are falling from my eyes, and now I have plenty of “ah? ha!” moments. Hindsight is 20/20…

  • Sorry to hear you went through that. He’s clearly nuts. Stay away.

    This really resonated with me: “No, your pain turns him on. Come back, he wants to slap you harder.”

    That’s the message I got from my last interaction with FW when he took something of mine and smashed it in front of me and my mom while calling me every filthy curse in the book at the top of his lungs.

    I said, “I’m calling the police. You have to leave.” He did eventually leave the next day. No rush, right?

    Then my mom said, DO NOT LET a HIM COME BACK! It will get worse!!

    Nonetheless like the sad sausage letter writer, my STBX tells our kids that I kicked him out! How dare I do such a thing to his highness? And sadder still, one of my sons totally buys it. He says, “dad didn’t beat you.” No son, only emotionally.

    • “…my last interaction with FW when he took something of mine and smashed it in front of me and my mom while calling me every filthy curse in the book at the top of his lungs.. And sadder still, one of my sons totally buys it. He says, “dad didn’t beat you.””

      What he did there was threaten to beat you and your mom or worse. It was a warning. And it is emotional abuse and a precursor just shy of physical abuse. I hope your son takes some time to learn about domestic violence so he stops supporting abusers or repeating their behavior.

      • Thank your for pointing that out. I see now that he totally wanted my mom to see him in his crazed rage. My mom lived with us for 9 years and had no idea that he was emotionally abusive to me. But when she saw him go into his rage, she finally understood.

    • Every abuser denies on a progressive scale. I didn’t hit you, just the wall. I hit you but I didn’t punch you. I punched you but I didn’t kick you, etc., etc., ad nauseam, ad mortem.

      I saw a report that, in up to 60% of domestic violence murders, there were no reports of physical violence until the final lethal assault. Breaking objects and punching walls in a rage are symbolic assault and clinically viewed as “warnings” of pending assault. Those gestures fall under coercive control which is legally considered to up the risk of domestic violence and murder. Legitimately terrifying behavior.

  • And if you do end up deciding not to press charges now, my two cents are:

    Please, Do. Not. Discard. That. Letter.

    Put it in an envelope along with a write-up of the date and time and the name of every person who even may have witnessed it, and your exact factual (not emotional) recollection of the exact series of events. Sign it. If you have friends or family who want to write their own entries, put those in there too. Seal the envelope if you want it to stay out of your awareness, but put it someplace safe and don’t discard it.

    People like that can hold grudges for a very, very long time, and memories can fade.

    Ask several of us how we know.

    I’m so sad that he did this this awful, cruel, traumatic, abusive thing to you on top of all the other things he has clearly done over time. His actions belong to him alone. I hope you’re able to stay as invisible to him as possible. I hope he never reads this site.

    But, as he has — in his desperate need for any attention and centrality at all whatsoever at all times — handed you evidence, definitely don’t discard it, says me.

    • At the very least the letter will contradict any attempts he makes later to launch an intense smear campaign against Sandra and claim she’s a crazy freak which is what all abusers do when thrown out.

      I suspect that each itemized bit of love-bombing in that letter– each compliment and bit of admiration– corresponds precisely to reverse things this abuser shrieks at Sibel while he’s in the throes of being abusive. So he just blew up all future smears with it, hah.

      More seriously, the letter looks like part of an obsessive pattern of behavior and could probably help gain a protective order.

  • I didn’t read this at all after the first paragraph. Over my career I had the unfortunate opportunity to learn about domestic violence in all of its terrible forms. I toured and learned about safe houses where women and their children literally hid from their boyfriends, husbands, relatives, etc. until law enforcement and the courts took care of the abuser. The first paragraph of this contribution reads like classic physical abuser material and the ONLY thing the writer should do is go no contact, report the violence and get the fuck away from this guy.

  • Ah, the passive voice. Such a useful grammatical device for FWs. Before he even gets good and rollin’, he whips out the passive voice to completely separate himself from any culpability.

    No matter how much we debate WHAT HAPPENED on Saturday. [The police can name this amorphous thing-that-happened for him.]
    I’m not innocent… [Can’t say “I’m guilty”.]
    I’m sorry that THIS TOOK PLACE in front of your friends … [I didn’t do it; it “took place.”]
    It ESSENTIALLY ENDED UP TAKING PLACE in front of your family … [He didn’t “essentially” hit you. He hit you. He didn’t “end up” in the middle of some vague thing that was “taking place.” He decided to hit you. Period.]

    Stay far away.

    • I am a writer for a living and the passive voice used by FWs everywhere just stands out so starkly to me. I got it so much after my own DDay. It was all about him and his needs and then all these things just happened. He just happened to cheat for 7 years. And he had to pay for it somehow so money just transferred itself out of joint accounts to his and somehow he had secret credit cards and all his affair charges just showed up there.

      Weird how these things all happen and they never have anything to do with it, right??

  • Gaslighting, love-bombing, minimizing, faux apologies are all acts of war. Find a bomb shelter, hire some warriors to protect you and enforce the law. You are under siege. Heed Chumplady. According to some domestic violence books I’ve read the initial period when you leave an abuser is the most dangerous for you. Please take care.

    • Yes, the first two weeks after leaving, the risk of survivors being killed rises something like 70 fold and, for up to two years after leaving, victims face a 75% increased risk of being killed by former partners.

  • “You’re such a great person” is the rallying call of guys who are in the middle of doing something douchey to you so they can feel less bad about it.

    Dumping you for another woman?
    “Listen, you’re a great person, you deserve so much better than me…”

    Refusing to commit after umpteen dates and 6 months?
    “Look you’re a great person an all, but I’m just not looking for anything serious…”

    Non apology after hurting you (in this case physically)
    “You’re a great person! I just can’t control myself sometimes…”

    It’s their all purpose excuse for being a dick.

    • You’re a great mom and a good wife but I needed to f 20-something-year-olds. It’s not your fault, you’re so talented and kind and loyal, but I needed more. Like someone who would indulge me in my newfound kinks and also take Visa.

      *A little of what I got post-DDay, with some embellishment 😉

  • Sandra,
    He could have killed you if you were alone. Easily. In front of people he assaults you? I cannot even imagine what else you have lived with behind closed doors. This cannot be the first red flag. He is too brazen too sure of himself too entitled to keeping you in your place. My therapist told me to file immediately when he heard my back story. He told me to get a protection order STAT, Not to wait for faux self centered : “sorries”. Your situation is STAT self protection..This kind of a man will cry the loudest at your funeral. My 2nd cheater was a creep who preyed on woman, he hated woman and felt threatened by anyone stronger or better. They all diminished him. Your abuser sounds mortally wounded by your goodness. That is not cured and he is not sorry. HE SHOWED YOU.AND YOUR FRIENDS AND YOUR FAMILY, WHO IS THE BOSS . There is no 22 step program that can turn this around. Not for you, never for you. File, do not STOP do not fall for the lies. Get a protection order, get police support. You are in trouble. He does not love you, he has zero respect for you. He is dangerous to any woman but most of all to you. My therapist told me NO CONTACT breaks the spell these crazies have over us. It is a binding spell that needs breaking because you bonded with a sick, jealous, revenge full, disrespectful, dangerous angry man.. YOU DO NOT deserve this. He is not capable of love or of being sorry.There is nothing to save. Danger,get out NOW. YOU CAN DO IT. I was 69 when I locked my angry and armed husband out. Divorced at.70. Living on Social Security
    Worth it all to live in peace.Go with trust God will lead you every step. No second chances

      • It certainly does!
        The longer I go without contact with STBXFW, the more clearly I see what he really is, the relationship for what it really was, and the way I feel about him becomes more realistic i.e. any love I felt for the old, pre-cocaine addiction man he was when we married, on the day I threw him out ( and when he came back hoovering a month later) is moribund. Not totally dead yet, but dying, a terminal case.
        I can clearly see he demonstrated many signs of being a batterer, but the signs were so subtle that in my lack of knowledge and understanding at the time, plus being so isolated and ground down, I hadn’t realised he was an abuser with the potential to be violent towards me!
        I do now though and the way I see him has totally changed!

  • Sandra, that letter oozes psychopath out of every line.
    Everyone else has already given you great practical advice. My addition would be to go away for a while, get distance to the whole thing, preferably not alone. Then perhaps you can see what we can see, and that you really need to consider police protection and a name change and to move away permanently. But also, let the police know about this guy. You won’t be the only woman he is abusing and he sounds like a potential murderer. I have seen this situation a couple of times in my life, the danger to you and other women is very real.

  • This essay is mostly him crafting the lies he is going to pass on to the next girl unlucky enough to meet him. He’ll say, “For whatever reason, we just couldn’t get it right.”

    Sandra, I hope you are far, far, away because a guy who will break your arm will do so much worse. Change your numbers. Change your locks. Make your social media private. Get cameras. Stay safe.

  • Sandra, your role was having an arm for him to break! How dare you have limbs! That’s downright provocation. He couldn’t help himself. But, never mind, at least you and your limbs light up rooms. You are well rid of that abuser.

  • “I’m sorry for my role in what happened.” That nebulous ‘thing’ that happened. What thing? Did he leave the toilet seat up? Did he leave the cabinet door open? He’s not going to say what ‘actually’ happened, he’s just sorry about it. But he wasn’t the only one that had a ‘role’ in what happened. Sibel had a ‘role’ too. It was her fault too for what ‘happened’! What a fucking coward! Kind of like my ex when he said, “I’m sorry you’re having a difficult time dealing with this.” What was ‘this’? Whatever ‘this’ was (I’m thinking that ‘this’ was him sticking his dick where it shouldn’t have been…), he was sorry that I had a difficult time dealing with it. Fuckwits are morons. Sandra — press charges just so it’s on his record when someone else in future is hurt by that asshole. Nothing may come of this episode, but at least he’ll have a history.

  • Her ex sounds exactly like MY ex—same language, same words, etc. i wonder if she lives in Houston? May be the same guy. If so, I’m glad she got out. If not, it’s creepy how abusers all sound alike!

  • Someone who feels entitled to break your arm poses an immediate and ongoing threat to your safety. Nor is it a coincidence that many domestic abusers also engage in infidelity – the fuckwit I was involved with grabbed my by the collar and held me in the air while raging at me when I discovered his infidelity, and many other individuals here have experienced similar or even worse violence from a partner.

    It's never their violence that is the issue, it their victim's reaction to it and their desire to avoid any consequences for their conduct. Keep the letter as evidence, please contact a domestic abuse advocacy group and consider criminal charges.

  • Years ago, my second cheater threw me down the cement stairs of our front stoop. I cannot remember the “transgression” on my part — I may have asked him what time he wanted me to have dinner ready or if he was planning to be home for dinner. The tumble down those unforgiving stairs may have broken my bones or even killed me. Luckily, it did not. It wasn’t the first time he crossed the line into physical abuse — he’d been throwing things at me for a couple of months. It was the first time he did it where others might see. It was not so very much longer that he made a deliberate, evidently premeditated attempt to strangle me to death. (His mistake was letting up the pressure when I passed out, because that’s how they do it in the movies.) Then he tossed me out of the car and left me on the highway, like a piece of litter he’d tossed out the window.

    Until that moment, I was sure that he’d never deliberately hurt me, and that the problem was anger management. I was wrong.

    The police did not even show up. Hopefully times have changed in the intervening 39 years. I have hope, but very little faith on that regard.

    Sandra, this man does not have your best interests at heart. There is nothing to work with there. Do not EVER interact with him again unless you’re in a court of law prosecuting him for his crimes. You have witnesses, a medical record and that marginally incriminating letter on your side. Do not hesitate to seek a restraining order or to prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. Don’t let him keep assaulting women.

    • OMG ExMSP!! I’m so glad you survived and can be an advocate for other women in this situation. Yes, times are getting better in this regard but not nearly enough. We need people like you who know what to look for and what it really looks like.

  • If he can get her to be compliant it will get him off the hook (he thinks) for the assault, legally and with regard to friends and family. He’s plotting.

  • Actual OFW email from X:

    “I wanted to apologize for what I said to you on Saturday, January 10. I knew the divorce papers would arrive on Monday morning and I was angry. Anything that happened on January 11 had nothing to do with you and you know it. I just gave you ammo to shoot me in court.”

    Saturday, January 10 = I told him I had been to see a divorce lawyer
    “What I said to you” = verbal abuse so traumatizing I still dream about it
    Sunday, January 11 = I refused to back down
    “Anything that happened” = physical abuse, threatened me with multiple guns, all in front of our teenagers
    “Ammo in court” = police, documented DV, Permanent Protective Order, bench-ordered psych eval, batterers prevention program, anger management classes, loss of custody and 55-45 split of property)

    Court was the first time in his life someone with power held him accountable.

  • Thank you for everyone’s comments and support! You are all correct, it wasn’t the first sign that he was abusive, just the first physical attack. In hindsight, the emotional and verbal abuse (mostly emotional abuse & gaslighting) was RAMPANT. After I ended things, I reviewed my old journal entries, as I like to do from time to time, and I found the most chilling entries (written over a span of 3 months)… Creepiest part is that I don’t recall writing them (or, I didn’t recall them until reading them at least):

    “I had a nightmare last night that (the abuser) is a narcissist”
    after 3 weeks of officially dating, our first “argument” because I was 20 minutes late and we had planned to go shopping … “It felt like he was intentionally trying to make me feel like a bad person… like no matter what I said or how many times I apologized, it wasn’t good enough—it would only be enough once he sufficiently broke me, exhausted me, ruined my mood, etc. I tried to be understanding and sensitive, but it feels like he’s more interested in my spirit as payment instead” … “he only stopped being angry once I felt so exhausted that I felt myself deflate… all of a sudden, he wanted cuddles.”
    “I’m starting to worry this is a pattern of abuse that he has…”

    After a few more months, the journal entries began to change:
    4. I began referring to myself as “poison,” and saying “my moods ruin everything good.”

    I was so right!! My moods were totally ruinous – how DARE I be happy, energetic, excited, loving, concerned, curious, or anything else positive! How truly poisonous of me. LOL.

    I have only spoken to him once since this event (and never plan to again), only so that I could tell him that I knew exactly what he was and that there was 0 chance we would ever be together & to stop sending me gifts. I didn’t expect any apology or empathy, nor did I expect any self-reflection/self-correction. What I met on the other side of the phone was truly chilling – a cold, emotionless, almost robotic, remorseless voice. During this call, I learned some interesting things that he lied to me about during our relationship:

    LIE: He and his gf broke up because they were “unhappy” and “bickering all of the time towards the end” of their relationship.
    TRUTH: His gf broke up with him because she couldn’t deal with his temper anymore. What do I mean by temper? Oh you know, the casual yelling/intimidating, throwing things, hitting walls…

    Turns out they DO learn!!! He learned how to hide his rage/temper, he never yelled at me or threw anything (and if he did, I would have been out then–which he probably knew). He learned how to torture in other/more covert ways instead. All the while, the rage was still there, bubbling just below the surface.

    When I learned this, I decided I needed to reach out to every friend of his – even though he tried to keep me away from them (and then blamed it on his friends), I managed to build relationships with a few of them that I thought I could trust. I knew I wouldn’t file a report with the police, because truly I wanted him out of my life and was so worried what he would do if he truly lost everything (as he’s a lawyer, and I’m not sure his job would allow such a thing). But I also couldn’t allow him to do this to another woman, so I told each friend I trusted the following: 1) we broke up because he physically assaulted me (I detailed the assault, which lasted ~40 min), 2) he has a history of this violence, 3) he can never know that I have sent this message (for my safety), 4) that all I ask is for the next girl to receive a warning IMMEDIATELY. And for this warning to be blunt and clear—he does not have “anger problems” or a “temper,” he is a “physically abusive man with a history of abuse,” 5) that he will likely tell a story of becoming a “changed man” and seeking help; and that this is a lie and my message needs to be carried to any and every girl (regardless of how many years go by), and 6) I then sent photos of my bruised arm and back (mainly because I was afraid nobody would believe me).

    I did not expect a response from anyone – every single friend replied. I did not expect anyone to believe me – every friend began their reply with some rendition of “First off, I believe you, and I am so sorry this has happened to you.” I did not expect any acknowledgment of his temper/rage – every friend had their own story about his temper/rage, a bouncer he got in a physical fight with, a friend he became aggressive with, etc. Every friend also replied confidently that they would pass my message along, regardless of the circumstances.

    I am too afraid of him to file with the police (and too aware of the statistics of escalated abuse/attacks that go along with filing restraining orders), but I have no shame. I did nothing to deserve this type of treatment. Nobody does. His behaviors are his own shame, and I refuse to stay completely silent and become complicit in his abuse. I did the best I could, I’m hoping it will be good enough…

    • Anybody who is a friend of this abuser isn’t someone you should trust. You want to help the next woman? Document the abuse and press charges. He should’ve thought about his law degree when he BROKE YOUR ARM in front of witnesses.

      Look I’ve had PFAs, and it was against a lawyer, I know how scary it is.

      • He only lives ~12 min walk from my place. He owns his place. Do you know how that would be handled? I’m scared of retaliation he’s extremely smart and calculated but also has a drinking problem that escalates his anger even more/ makes him even more unpredictable….

        • I want to second what CL said about reaching out to a domestic violence center. They are experts on this topic and understand the kinds of risks you are facing with going to the police and otherwise. I used to be a peer counselor with one.

          I just want to bring up that telling his friends was similarly a massive risk. Please note that they are more than likely loyal to him and they may very well turn on you and tell him what you have told them. That retaliation you fear may already be in motion. Do you have the option to flee town for a while until things calm down? The immediate time after leaving is the most dangerous time. But also, same with ruining this narcissist psychopath’s reputations with his friends. Having been there, I can guarantee that the friends will not keep this from him and they will choose his ego over your safety.

          The police may not protect you either, studies show 40% of police are domestic abusers themselves, but I think you have a better chance with the police than his friends/flying monkeys. And the best chance, in my opinion, is fleeing for your safety. A domestic violence center can help with the logistics and may be able to offer a safehouse or other options.

        • “I am too afraid of him to file with the police (and too aware of the statistics of escalated abuse/attacks that go along with filing restraining orders), ”

          Ugh. This is just sounding worse and worse. Sandra – call the domestic abuse hotline. Be aware that they have a Security Alert on their website that says: “Internet usage can be monitored and is impossible to erase completely. If you’re concerned your internet usage might be monitored, call us at 800.799.SAFE (7233). Learn more about digital security and remember to clear your browser history after visiting this website. Click the red “X” in the upper-right corner or “Escape” button on your keyboard twice at any time to leave immediately.”

          You should not be afraid of him at all. You need to be in a safe place and if you are scared then they will help you find a safe place. Do not trust anyone who has contact with your boyfriend. He assaulted you, broke your arm, dragged you around by your jewelry. Your relationship with this guy is over – everything gets worse from here. Charm is one of the manipulations of an abuser. Apology, flowers, love bombing that can go on for days or months and then BOOM! It is a cycle and for some women and men the cycle can go on for years before it becomes too much. This isn’t about “cheating” the way most of us on here experience it – this is about pathological violence.

          Please be safe

        • Sandra, a restraining order often restricts the person from coming within 100 meters. Since he lives fairly close, it’s possible he could accidentally run into you out walking. So you are ideally placed to get him on a violation even if he does not intend it. 😈 Don’t be afraid to be ruthless in the pursuit of your own safety. Fuck his legal career. If you want the danger out of your life, use the law to defang him. You can stay at a shelter or with friends/family in the interim in order to be safer while pressing charges. Then use the opportunity of him being occupied with fighting the charges to move far away to where he can’t find you. Do not give anyone in his life your new address. Cut them all off. Also cut off any marginal friends of yours he knows who might be persuaded to tell him. Makes sure your family swears to never speak to him under any circumstances, otherwise you do not tell them where you are either. It’s the only way to be safe. It will mean disrupting your life, but it could also mean saving your life. I would even go as far as to say you don’t tell a single soul your new address for a few years. Give him time to cool his jets on getting revenge first.

          Do not trust anyone who is still willing to be friends with a man who beat you up for 40 minutes! They are not good people. They will not warn his dates about him. They are either too scared of him themselves or they just don’t give a shit. They’re shining you on. Sorry hon, but you are going to have to become cynical and unstrusting in order to be safe.
          I know it’s a lot. It’s a whole boatload of a lot. Please keep us updated. We want to know you’re safe and sound. 💜

      • The friend of an abuser could very well report back to the abuser what you said and wrote.

      • Dear Sandra,

        It’s great that his moniker is now “the abuser.” Just as it should be and may it cling to him forever. It sounds like you also survived coercive control on top of violence. Like others, I think it would be a good idea to seek support from organizations that specialize in DV and coercive control (which is increasingly being criminalized around the world).

        Just like you don’t remember making some of those diary entries, consider the possibility that you’re still in deep shock. Not because you’re mentally “weak” but because this experience is absolutely shocking. I remember being rear-ended in traffic once and, after trading insurance info with the other driver, I looked at my rear fender and saw nothing. No damage. I shrugged it off and went home. But when I got out of the car, I saw– plain as day– that the entire rear fender was caved in. I’m not prone to delusions or hallucinations, can’t even be hypnotized but man were my perceptions off. The same thing happened after I was assaulted by a workplace stalker. I went dancing after the police dragged the perp away because knowing he was in jail was the first peaceful moment I’d known in a month and I felt elated. The next day I couldn’t walk. Cracked ribs and a dislocated knee. Shock is weird. It makes us temporarily blind and numb to certain factors. I think it’s the body’s mechanism of reducing stress by sort of time-releasing certain perceptions. People who specialize in this kind of trauma can help with clarity.

        In that regard, I’m on the fence about whether your hesitation to report the crime to police is coming from uncanny intuition about this guy and what will set him off or is a result of shock. As a mom who knows how instincts are sometimes smarter than our rational minds, I thoroughly believe in intuition– not as something magical or mystical but probably related to quantum physics. Intuition is sometimes mind-blowing and I don’t scoff at it. But I worked as an advocate for survivors of DV and was a victim myself so also know the impact of trauma on perceptions. When I did advocacy, we would never bully survivors to report but, in cases like yours, we’d strongly recommend it for reasons of safety. The risk of further assault and murder increase 70 fold merely because you escaped so that horse already got out of the stable. You’re already at such a high risk that inflaming the fucker a little more than that might not tilt the balance. That risk remains sky high for the first two weeks but still remains elevated by 75% for the next two years. So while filing a criminal report with police might inflame an abuser’s rage, this is often mediated by the abuser’s increased risk legal consequences of acting on that anger because he’s now on the radar and Joe Law is watching him. If he’s someone who went to law school and values his career, he might have more hesitation to rashly destroy all this than someone with “nothing to lose.” If you report, any ruminations he’s having about murdering you by stealth might be pulled up short since he’ll be the primary suspect and is, again, already on the legal radar. The sad fact is that he likely will not spend serious time in jail or be disbarred even if convicted of DV. Disbarring him would require another procedure. In other words, reporting him doesn’t really increase his technical incentives to do more harm to you such as “disappearing a witness.”

        His friends knew he was violent and abusive yet continued to remain his friends. They will not protect you and most will not warn other woman just as they didn’t warn you. At least one of them is going to tell him what you said. Again, the “horse” of his rage may already be out of the barn. You can at least talk to experts or police to find out how things work in your state and what your options are.

        • Thank you for your reply, I appreciate your acceptance (even though not your preference) that I do not (yet) report the event. I work in mental health (I know I know, there is such shame that creeps in with me being fooled by this STILL even with all of my knowledge of these behaviors, but yes, even MH practitioners can be fooled) and we are always taught to never try to persuade or force the victim to do anything (when it comes to the law) (even though we often feel the event should and needs to be reported). But from the victim’s point of view, we understand that 1) they may have a deeper understanding of what their abuser might do 2) the victim has often had so much agency stripped from them, it is important we are not just another person telling them what they must do 3) most victims just want to begin their life again, and they have the right to do so, and 4) there is no correct way to respond following any type of attack, and forcing our personal beliefs on them is simply a form of shaming the victim (“if you don’t do this, they will hurt someone else” “If you don’t respond in this specific way then you have done something wrong”, etc.). Victims don’t need to be told what to do with absoluteness and certainly do not need more shame or negative feelings/thoughts.

          I went outside of my comfort zone disclosing the information to his friends because I realize he will likely do this again and my guilt and shame of doing absolutely nothing was too great. I have very little faith in the police, I’m not sure how many people here have actually reported incidents, etc. but the emotional and financial toll of doing such a thing is beyond my capability right now (and the emotional toll of nothing being done by the police, or a report being filed, which he then wipes away so easily, is even worse). But, mostly, I just want to move on with my life and begin my healing. Even as I write that I feel selfish for it. But I believe I did what I could, as of right now.

          Nobody’s recovery looks the same, and I don’t believe that my act of not reporting is me being stuck in any kind of delusional love thoughts/etc. (though I would agree with what you shared, I am still very much in shock/feels as if the entire relationship was someone else’s entirely).

          I see what he is, I know it to be true, and as much as I want to stop him from future acts, I know that shaming myself into doing something my entire body and mind are saying “no” to is not the way to recovery for me.

          But thank you for your post, I have been shaming myself all day for not reporting and I appreciate the reminder that I have a choice, and it is my choice. So, thank you for that.

          • Hey Sandra–

            A high percentage of police are domestic abusers themselves which may be why many drag their feet in enforcing these cases. I think the only reason the police and detectives did their jobs when I was assaulted by a workplace stalker is because my closest ally at the time is the daughter of a judge and grew up around law enforcement. She was the cop whisperer. The guy still only got a slap on the wrist so I sued on top of the criminal proceeding.

            But I did these things because my gut told me it had to be done. If your entire body and mind are saying no, that’s the verdict. It’s intuition. Who knows how we know what we know when we have no reason to know it but it’s always going to be the survivor on the front lines of an abuse situation who knows more than any onlooker. Unless someone plans to stand outside your door with a shotgun for the next two years, fund your relocation, ward off any consequences of the actions they’re suggesting and cover all your legal bills, no one can say “boo” about whether you file a criminal report. I think the only reason to file is for the safety of the survivor themselves, not for the public good. Survivors have been through enough without being required to do public service on top of it.

            I know that “I should have known better” feeling. I worked in advocacy, yet married an abuser. I think part of the problem was back when I did advocacy, the bar for DV was literally in hell– black eyes, skull fractures and murder. Nonviolent abuses were treated pretty dismissively and there was little understanding about the buildup to violence beyond cartoon batterer stuff like pathological jealousy. There was little acknowledgement that psychological abuses are more than bad enough on their own. I have a lot of “aha” moments these days reading about coercive control behaviors, policies and legislation. That legislation and public awareness of “subviolent” domestic abuse are moving at a snail’s pace but at least some headway is finally being made.

            Only you know your situation and you’ve already done the hardest thing. Wishing you strength and a safe and joyous life moving forward.

          • Sandra – I’m glad your intuition feels respected here. As Lundy Bancroft says, the abuser tries to destroy your sense of trust in yourself. Don Hennessy says that too. Your gut knows the risk better than experts.
            However, we’re right to be worried. Have you talked to local DV help? To at least plan if he tries to escalate? People in these situations freeze in shock because they don’t have a plan. Also it’s good Polyvagal therapy to talk to a supportive someone in person. Good luck!

    • Also consider the services of a domestic abuse center. Often they have free counseling and legal help.

    • Sandra Here, sorry to be so blunt, but as I believe your life may be in danger, I have to say that to my mind, your response to the attack and your justifications here show that you are like a deer in the headlights. You are still trapped into believing that this dangerous psychopath is all powerful. He isn’t. He is dangerous, yes. But not ALL powerful. Otherwise the prisons wouldn’t be full of them.

      I know how frightening it is, I’ve been in your shoes, but what you are still not realising that your fear is dictating your actions and choices, and actually putting you in more danger, not less.

      I suggest you try and get some physical distance from him/where you live, as abusive psychopaths have a kind of energy field of power over us which lessens when we get physical distance between us. Then you might be able to see more clearly what I am talking about. I sincerely hope so.

      • Amen to the physical distance. It’s quite extraordinary how perceptions shift radically when we’re actually, finally safe.

        • It was only when I had physical distance that I began to be truly afraid of my ex. It’s like my mind wouldn’t let me feel fear while I was still in danger. After a few months of separation, I started to experience symptoms of PSTD (panic attacks, shaking, racing heart) if he ever texted or called, or even if I heard the phone. I started to understand just how much danger I’d been in. He’d come very, very close to killing me (he picked me up by my neck and threw me across the room and I landed with my head only INCHES from the sharp corner of our piano, which would have caved in my skull had my head hit it, since he threw me with enough force to knock the wind out of me). I didn’t ever call the police on him either, and I wish I had. But he was the sort of man who could turn off his rage like a switch and become calm, rational, and very charming. I was worried the police would end up arresting ME (maybe that wasn’t rational, but still) and I risked losing my job (security clearance) if that happened. But it would have made our custody battle go differently, I think.

          My “love” for him evaporated with enough time and distance. And when he died, I felt so much relief.

          • “I was worried the police would end up arresting ME (maybe that wasn’t rational, but still)…”

            Unfortunately that is completely rational. As a child, the police came after me rather than my rapist/abuser classmate. They threatened to put me in juvenile hall. I was a child. I did nothing illegal. Studies show that 40% of police officers are domestic abusers themselves and they are not exactly known to be sympathetic or kind to victims by and large. I am deeply sympathetic to Sandra’s desire not to trust the police and I don’t think for a minute that the police are necessarily a way for her to protect other potential victims. That said, I do think however that the police are a much safer bet to trust and look to for help than his friends. And that the physical distance (where he can’t find her) and working with a domestic violence center are the best options in my opinion.

            ISawTheLight, also I am so sorry for what your abuser did to you!!

          • ISTL–

            You’re lucky to be alive. How incredibly harrowing.

            It wasn’t irrational to fear police would arrest a victim. I was almost subjected to dual arrest because the stalker who assaulted me (oh so calmly and credibly) falsely claimed to police who arrived at the scene that I’d kicked him in the balls. I don’t know what made him back down from that claim. I think it was when the cops started laughing loudly and menacingly at him. If they were sending a message with that, the perp caught it. I might have lucked out in terms of the cops who showed up. Near miss. When I did advocacy, we would coach victims to go generally boneless and sit or lie on the ground if police arrive, claim that walking is too painful (not unwise since even very serious injuries may not be felt for 24 hours and can be exacerbated by movement) and say “yes” to the ambulance because it can reduce the risk of dual arrest.

            I don’t think our bodies can handle the stress of constant, extended danger so there’s that tendency to go into brown out in those circumstances. Your description of how any feelings of love disappeared after time is familiar. I think one sure way to know that an attachment was Stockholm syndrome and not love is that “love” may dry up and blow away the second someone is assured of safety. If that doesn’t happen, they individual may not yet feel safe enough for whatever reason. I think it can depend on social circumstances– for instance, if the victim can’t escape the abuser’s flying monkeys or is in a society which punishes victims who “tell.” They’re not safe if surrounded by the abusers’ clones or henchmen. Maybe it can depend on the intensity of the abuse and the determination of the particular abuser. Some may be able to instill terror that lasts beyond the grave which can be seen in some survivors of extreme childhood abuse. They spent so long feeling convinced of the abuser’s omniscience that they can’t shake the feeling off.

            Stockholm syndrome is probably a hardwired human tendency in captive circumstances to the extent that it’s successful. But I imagine it’s only successful if the captive believes the ruse down to a cellular level. Abusers notoriously have uncanny radars for hints of rebellion in their prey but may still be moved by displays of loyalty from victims, maybe just enough to spare a victim’s life. The syndrome only becomes a problem when the gate is left open and the captive still won’t escape. But this is why captured intelligence agents are routinely put through deprogramming on release from captivity because, if they’re still alive, chances are it’s because they bonded with captors. We do it because it’s pretty effective.

      • That’s probably why I’m always a bit nervous when going to local shops or even the nearest town. I’m always looking around to make sure he’s not about, nor any of his family.
        I could do without it, but have to for the time being.

    • I agree with CL Sandra. Your best bet to keep him away from you and protect yourself is to press charges and get a Barring Order/Injunction against him. You’ve witnesses and that letter so you’ve evidence.
      My STBXH made what the guards told me is an assault and threatening behaviour but I’d no witnesses, so I didn’t press charges. Nevertheless, the guards took it seriously and told me I was to ring them at any time should I feel I needed to. I also spoke to a woman from the DV charity in the city and she took me seriously too. Now he knows the guards have him in their sights, he’s being much more wary and trying to be a good boy. I’m not fooled and do not communicate nor see him at all. I wouldn’t hesitate to bring the Law down on him should he give me any more cause!
      If you don’t press charges, the message you give to him is that he’s got away with it, even though you had witnesses. You’re then even more at risk of him watching for when you’re alone and I don’t even want to think about what he might do to you with no witnesses!
      Please talk to your local DV shelter or Women’s Aid and they will support you and help you protect yourself whilst the police investigate. I bet the Prosecution Service will decide there’s grounds for prosecution. You really need to stand up for yourself against him, and you will have support in doing so, just ask for it! All the best Sandra, God bless you.

  • I have this exact letter from 14 years ago.
    Don’t believe anything out of a narc.

  • I also received a “woe is me” letter from my FW telling me how I light up any room I’m in, how my fire just burns so bright, I deserve so much better than him, blahblahblah.

    Seriously, has anyone found the manual these FWs use??

    • Lol, I have skeins of these. I don’t hang on to them for sentimental reasons but purely as evidence.

  • Sandra, I hope you are able to get help from a DV shelter so you can safely get away from this horrifying FW!
    Agree 💯 with CL and Marissa and all the chumps here who say the best thing is to press charges and get a protection order.

    I had a friend who was picked up by her husband and thrown into a wall in front of friends at a birthday party. I wasn’t present when it actually happened as we had left earlier but it was captured on CCTV footage and witnessed.

    She called me in the morning confused and distressed and asked me to meet her. I met her at the beach and she showed me all the bruising on her body and her face and grab marks on her tiny arms. I was shocked and deeply worried for her. I told her “Your marriage is over… you can’t continue as you will be killed. He is escalating. You have to allow the police to charge him.”
    Then I photographed every single bruise on her body and drove her to the police station and held her hand while she filed the report. We submitted all the evidence.
    She got her restraining order. She took her abuser to court. He was convicted. It was the second time he was charged of DV assault. He was found guilty both times and now they are divorced.
    You CAN do it.
    People WILL support you.
    PLEASE let the police do their job.
    Sending you strength Sandra 💪🏼🩷

    PS Just also had to applaud CL for this line “Hello DARVO my old friend”
    Now that abuser needs to hear “the sounds of silence”!!!

    • Samsara– if only every abused person had a friend like you. <3

      • Thanks HOAC 💕 This friend is the only person I knew personally who was clearly in harm’s way and to me (even not knowing 1/10 of what I’ve learned here from you and other chumps about this topic) at that time it was beyond urgent. I also got her a lawyer (a relative) to give her the legal strength to pursue it. But I do understand there are so many barriers for victims to truly see the path out sometimes…

  • No contact and file charges! Show the police this letter. He doesn’t actually admit to anything, but they should see it anyway. He’s dangerous and shouldn’t be walking around free.

    And yes, I’d talk to an attorney about filing a civil suit for damages. If he has any assets, it might be worth it. If he has renter’s or homeowner’s insurance, or an umbrella policy, that’s an asset!

    • Sometimes it’s worth it to sue simply for the searchable public record even if you don’t bother to collect. Because “first time DV offenders” (please, most had long histories but prior victims were too terrified to report) often get their criminal records scrubbed or at least rendered difficult to search in public databases, suing is another means of providing a paper trail on dangerous perpetrators.

      • Excellent advice! Could CL perhaps have a searchable list of this kind of advice for DV sufferers? I shudder to think that the abusers I survived are out there pretending to be “normal” people. I want them to have a broad tattoo across the face so no woman (or child) could be taken unawares.

  • Sandra, please press charges, get a restraining order, install a security system, and buy a gun and get trained on proper firearm use. That he did this in front of your friends and family (likely the only thing he is really sorry for) shows just how out of control her is. I think that if he’d caught you alone he’d have killed you.

  • Sibel
    You are in a very dangerous situation and you must protect yourself. This man should not be any where near you much less coming to your door. Please call law enforcement and get this man out of your life. Your life is worth it.

  • He literally says he knows he never apologized or “built you up”… then goes on to do both… that’s not a nice change!

    Basically he knew perfectly well that he should have been giving you compliments and apologizing. He knows how to passably fake compliments and apologies. He just was choosing not to! For how many years again??

    Is it because he’s lazy? A narcissistic man baby? Because he knows he can get away with it? Who knows! But this particular thing about the letter really got under my skin.

    Colossal fuckwit. Cancel immediately.

    • YUP. My thoughts exactly. He used to always gaslight me saying he would always compliment me, etc. And then if I did get a compliment it would be in a sarcastic tone of voice.. when I asked him why he used that tone of voice (or when I told him it hurt my feelings when he did so) he would always say he wasn’t being sarcastic/using any tone, or would deny any change of tone at all. So stupid to have fallen for all of his bs. Every time I asked him why he couldn’t just say “I’m sorry” he would laugh and say “he’s always apologizing for something (implying that I was always asking too much … who knew asking for empathy was “too much”!). so stupid, again. Basically, this letter just confirmed everything I ever questioned about him… is he a narcissist? 100000000%. Am i crazy? Nope. Has he been intentionally torturing me and withholding the things that make me feel valued/loved? most definitely. Freaking loser psychopath. Only good thing that came from this was my eyes being pulled wide open.

      ps. my comment on this being a “nice change” was definitely sarcastic/if anything, referring to it being a nice change to be told anything other than my reality not being real. definitely will NEVER be seeing him again (if I have anything to do with it) and have bought 0 of this BS attempt at lovebombing and damage control.

  • I’m so sorry OP, he’s an absolute pig! It really annoys me the way certain types say the wrong or immoral or cruel or criminal thing they did “happened”!
    No Mate, it didn’t “happen”! You feckin’ well DID IT!!!
    And you knew it was wrong but you did it anyway!
    And you did it because you WANTED TO!
    This creep is dangerous OP, press charges- I’d say this would be Actual Bodily Harm, maybe even Grievous Bodily Harm. It’s certainly a crime, also get a Barring Order because this might not be the end of it and your safety is your primary concern now!
    I hope you make a speedy recovery OP, look after yourself!

  • This one hit home emotionally. I had a similar experience, and got the same kind of response; but, without the apology.
    For someone who actually tries to be a good person, it is hard to fathom these thinking patterns.

    Super kind (aka lovebombing) hiding maliciousness, for years. Been there, done that.
    Lovebombing, contrary to the opinions on the internet, can last decades. It gets turned off in seconds.

  • My FW went as far as planting a mix of, you are great, and you are horrible letters and poems around the house for me to find. He planted them strategically when he fetched his things. I had someone around to make sure that I was safe, but we kept away from his packing.

    I found the last woe is me, and you are the reason, poems 9-to10-years out, because he hid one halfway down in a stack of printer paper (and I don’t use the printer very often). I lost count of how many I found.

    It was not sadistic enough for him to screw at least 5 of the neighbourhood teenagers, and the neighbours wife, and drop it on me the same day he told me how much he adored me; He had to intentionally torture me mentally on the way out.

    Don’t even talk to me about physical and telephonic stalking!

  • He’s so sorry that things happened that he chose his words verrrrrry carefully to avoid admitting to his violent act and culpability for breaking her arm — because that would definitely get him in trouble with Johnny Law.

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