It's Like Brainwashing
"It's like brainwashing," says Jill Murray, a California-based psychotherapist and author of But I Love Him. At first an emotionally abusive guy may seem caring, protective, and disarmingly in love. The fact that he wants to spend all his time with you feels charming, like he's just so into you that he can't bear to be away from you. He starts controlling you gradually so gradually that you don't notice you're spending less time with your family and friends and increasingly relying on one person him for advice, opinions, and help making decisions. Just as it's easy to believe "I love you," says Murray, "the girl starts to believe other things he says, like that she doesn't deserve to be treated better."
A guy who behaves this way may give the impression he's confident, but he's the opposite: insecure and dependent. He may come from a family where he's witnessed a lot of fighting, or where he's been verbally abused himself. And in some way, he might think that acting macho earns him his friends' respect.
EXCERPT FROM SEVENTEEN MAGAZINE, APRIL 2003
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