Some time back, I was watching an episode of a true crime show on tv. The show is called “Evil Lives Here” & is about people who lived with someone who did terrible things, like being serial killers. This particular episode was about the Truck Stop Killer, Robert Rhoades. His ex wife was interviewed. She told the story of how they first met & about what it was like to be married to him.
Normally stories like these are disturbing yet fascinating, but I found this one especially disturbing. So many of Mr. Rhoades’ behaviors reminded me of my ex husband. The way he manipulated & shamed her was exactly the same as what my ex did. Even the words he said to her were the same as my ex said to me. Their behaviors were so similar that it really shook me up for quite some time. I didn’t even tell anyone for a while, because I was trying to process it all.
I didn’t plan on blogging about it, but recently I thought it might be a good idea. If these two abusive men used the same behavior, no doubt others do as well. These behaviors are also not really discussed openly. Most people know of the obvious abusive behaviors like hitting.
One behavior my ex & Mr. Rhoades shared was having extremely definite opinions on how they wanted their wives to look. I would guess most married folks like to see their spouses looking a certain way more than others, but both of these men took it to an extreme. My ex would make me feel as if what he wanted was the only thing looked good on me. What I liked didn’t matter. Mr. Rhoades took the behavior further. He did that plus laid out clothing for his wife to wear. I remember his ex wife saying he would lay out clothing on the bed & tell her to wear that specific outfit because they were going out. He wouldn’t tell her where they were going. While that could be a nice surprise, his wasn’t. One evening, his “surprise” was he took her to a swinger’s club.
That brings me to the main similarity these two men shared. Sexual preferences. Deviant sexual behavior like they shared is a red flag in a romantic relationship, but that red flag turns into more of a giant flashing neon billboard when they demand it from their spouse even knowing she objects strongly to it. Both my ex & Mr. Rhoades used the same tactic in order to get what they wanted – shaming. Both said comments like, “Any other woman would be glad to do this for me.” “Every other woman in the world does this!” “You’re so immature/prudish/boring in bed!” “You should be glad I want to involve you in this instead of just going behind your back to do it!”
When someone wants something so badly that they will shame someone else for not being willing to participate, that is abuse. Someone is putting their selfish desires ahead of their spouse’s, even though they know what they want will cause the person great physical or emotional pain. This shows a total lack of empathy, because no one who truly loves their spouse would want to hurt them or not even care that they are hurting them.
If someone you are romantically involved with behaves in these manners, they are definite warning signs of narcissism. If at all possible, get away from this person as soon as humanly possible! You need to protect yourself!
If you are unable to get away, start quietly planning to do so. If people like this change, it almost never is for the better. I’m sure Robert Rhoades’ ex wife would agree. So take care of yourself. Protect yourself from further abuse. You don’t deserve to be treated this way! xoxo