Dating after a controlling relationship

Many violent men seek out confident, attractive women who happen to be going through a difficult patch.’ So what is it that makes women stay?

Kelly Watson, 36, an accountant from Manchester, was physically and emotionally abused by her ex, for seven years. She explains to Marie Claire what stopped her from leaving earlier.

We as adults, having lived through it, have a hard time understanding. Our abuser may turn into the "model" parent after divorce; spending time with the children, either in visits, on the phone, writing letters and a lot of times, trying to buy their way to their hearts.

They may tell them mom or dad's keeping me away, its mom's or dad's fault, I really want to be with you all the time, if mom or dad would change their mind... Our children may get angry at us, even turn on us - for making mom/dad leave. Most of the time they are too young and immature to even begin to comprehend these issues.

Meanwhile, star’s alleged outbursts have been doubted by millions or simply excused as the actions of a grief-stricken husband attempting to control his ‘out of control’ wife while struggling to come to terms with the death of his beloved mother.

Then came the army of friends, confidantes, and exes prepared to consign Heard to the ‘manipulative crazy girl’ scrap heap, suggesting she’d faked the whole thing.

Well for anyone buying this line, it’s time to wake up.

We have been through all the hurtful, horrible things our abusers have done to us... They are so sure of their power over us, they feel if they can say and do everything we want to hear and see; we will go back to them. Made them our center, everything we did was to make them happy, to adjust to their wants or demands. They will listen when YOU speak and be more caring and understanding. They may go the opposite, ignoring the children and acting like they don't even exist.

And how to spot the signs None of us will ever know the truth about what went on in Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s 15 month marriage, but what is certain, is that that Heard has been on the receiving end of some pretty bad press.

From screaming tabloid headlines about her rampant bisexual affairs, to the age-old insinuation that she’s just a gold digging wannabe trying to take down a great actor, there’s been a concerted effort to undermine serious allegations of domestic violence (and generally discredit her as a human being).

Slowly, I’m rebuilding my life and looking forward to the future again.’ Experts say that ‘emotional abuse’ or ‘coercive control’ are the first signs of domestic violence.

Unfortunately, the controlling behavior of an abuser will often continue even after a woman leaves the abusive relationship. The abuse escalated and he thought he could get away with anything. We have to be honest with ourselves, we know they won't change. I decided, after leaving and falling for his sweet talk, I'd do things differently this time. That was on March 2nd of this year and I have held that promise as the most important thing I can do, for me and my daughter. Big gifts mom/dad can't afford anymore - is a favorite with many of them.

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