E-Course, Class 1

“Stop Dragging My Heart Around”
(Song by Tom Petty)

E-Course 1, Class 1

Women spend years and thousands of dollars trying to heal from dangerous and pathological men. If they are lucky, they only encounter one in their life times. If they aren’t, there are many more…

That’s because women haven’t really verbalized what they think constitutes a dangerous man or what pathology actually ‘is’. When I interviewed women most of them thought that the ONLY thing that made men dangerous, or not dangerous, was the issue of violence. If there was no violence, well then…he was probably ‘fixable’ in the long run.

For 20 years I have been the not-so-silent witness to women’s choices. As a therapist, I watched women whose childhood included abuse grew up into adults who were abused. I watched adult women choose over and over again one version or another of a dangerous and pathological man. Often only the face changed but since there are 8 types of dangerous men, often women would move all over the continuum dating men from all categories.

The end result was always the same:

  •   Misery
  •   Pain
  •   Took a long time to heal, if ever
  •   Often went on to do it all over again

Before we go any further, answer these questions:

1. __ I believe a dangerous man will eventually be violent.

2. __I believe that if I was hurt by one I would be able to spot him the next time and avoid him.

3. __I believe that dangerous men are notably gregarious, aggressive, narcissistic and abusive.

4. __I don’t believe that anything in my past has predisposed me to dating dangerous men.

If you answered ‘YES’ to the above, you are indeed at-risk of dating ‘a’ dangerous man or ‘more’ dangerous men, which ever the case may be for you.

(Although number 3 can often be ‘yes’ it is not only ‘yes’ and we will cover that in more detail later.)

The lack of a solid definition of what constitutes ‘dangerous’ for women is probably at the heart of what keeps us in these dangerous relationships. So let’s nail down what ‘is’ dangerous.

The word danger means ‘the state of being exposed to injury, pain, or loss.’

Synonyms for the word include

  •   Hazard
  •   Jeopardy
  •   Peril
  •   Risk
  •   Menace
  •   Threat
  •   Emergency

Notice the word doesn’t merely mean ‘when someone is violent towards you’ nor do the synonyms indicate this is strictly limited to violent behavior. Yet, women let lots of men and their behavior off the hook simply because ‘well, he never hit me so I didn’t feel like I could say he was abusive.’

Year after year my practice filled up with women who would never ‘label’ or ‘define’ the men in their lives. When asked if he was dangerous, they would hem-haw around looking for loopholes to say he wasn’t dangerous, but not really knowing what ‘dangerous was’ or behaved like. Women are most at-risk for picking, marrying, or staying with dangerous men when they don’t have a concrete idea of what dangerous and pathological would be like. The words listed above give good clues to what dangerous would be like “injury, pain, loss, hazard, jeopardy, risk…”

So let’s define that for you: “A dangerous man is any who harms a woman,

  •   Emotionally
  •   Physically
  •   Sexually
  •   Financially
  •   Spiritually

This definition immediately broadened the field experience of dangerousness. It added emotionally, financially and spiritually—three areas that women often let men off the hook from being labeled as ‘dangerous’ to a woman’s well-being.

But we already determined that the word danger means ‘the state of being exposed to injury, pain, or loss.’ Simply being ‘exposed’ to the possibility of being injured, experiencing pain or going thru loss IS dangerous to a woman’s mental health. Women often discount that just the exposure to the possibility really constitutes ‘danger.’ Later on in some of the E-courses (if you continue on with them) we will talk about why women discount that and just what the exposure really leads to.

But let me suffice it to say that any exposure to dangerousness has an effect of a woman’s:

  •   Self Esteem
  •   Ability to disconnect and move on
  •   Future relationships
  •   Trust
  •   Fear
  •   Intimacy issues
  •   Depression & anxiety

…just to name a few.

Women who came into counseling were often women who had only ONE exposure to a dangerous man and yet the after-effect warranted psychological help in order to heal. Other women had multiple exposures to dangerous and pathological men, choosing one after the other not spotting the signs. They spent years in therapy.

Dangerous men are not just the psychopaths you see on the nightly news, although it could be him. But a dangerous man is just as likely to be the ‘nice man at church,’ ‘the smooth boss at work,’ or ‘the girlfriend’s athletic trophy-winning brother.’ He is just as likely to be a social worker, cop, doctor, or mechanic. The fact is, he could be ANYBODY.

The only defense is self defense. And the only self defense is knowledge. This E-course will teach help you realize your potential need (or not) for future insight into the area of dangerousness. Perhaps it will illuminate areas that you need more knowledge about, more insight, or just information.

If after reading this first installment of the E-course, you recognize your own patterns, please avail yourself to more information through our products, or through your local women’s organizations and counseling programs.

Our hope is that this information is used for a woman’s relational harm reduction and education for healthier relationships. Please pass this on to other women who need this life-saving information. Be the beacon to other women…

This information is a companion and support material to the media-attracting book ‘How To Spot a Dangerous Man BEFORE You Get Involved.’ You can order the book, our companion work book and our ‘How To Break Up With a Dangerous Man e-Book’ at www.saferelationshipsmagazine.com.

**Workbooks are on back order. In the meantime, you can order them at Amazon.com or HunterHouse.com

Stay TUNED for the next installment Class 2 of our E-course coming to you next week!