“Ours were false relationships from the very beginning in which we were targeted, exploited and betrayed.”
~Donna Anderson, LoveFraud
The quote above gets right to the heart of the matter of emotional rape. These were never normal relationships that started with love and then just went wrong. Far from it. The psychopath is a predator who completely hides his true identity and motives as he targets a victim with the intent of seriously harming her.
Contrary to what many believe, he is not out to use her for sex or anything else. His goals are to dominate, control and humiliate her so he can diminish her in every way, while he savors watching it unfold. Using her is only secondary.
He only pretends to love her — and does a convincing job of it — in order to gain her love and trust, which is what makes carrying out his hidden agenda possible. He gains power and control through manipulation tactics and uses her for whatever he desires without any remorse, while he creates an ever-worsening emotional hell. He is entertained as he watches her trying in vain to save the relationship she truly believed was the best one of her life.
The predator gets bored with her after hooking her, inflicting his intended damage and getting whatever else he wanted, and he needs the thrill of a fresh new victim. The predator ends the relationship with a stunning and completely abnormal display of contempt as his final attempt to harm her. If he is using the relationship to provide an illusion of normalcy, he can stick around long-term.
She is devastated as she may come to realize that it was never real and that he purposefully and heartlessly hurt her and used her. If she doesn’t realize it — and many victims don’t understand what really happened until years later, if ever — she blames herself, which makes healing much more difficult or even impossible.
Either way, she is left with a heart, soul and psyche ravaged by the predator.
The aftermath of emotional rape often includes rage, obsessive thoughts, lost self-esteem, fear, anxiety, the inability to love or trust, use of alcohol or drugs, physical illness, and irrational and extreme behavior such as total isolation and withdrawal or even suicide.
A lack of support from friends and family makes things much worse. Some will blame her for choosing to have a relationship with a “jerk,” because they don’t know or can’t believe he was a predator capable of hiding his true identity. Some blame her for staying with him when she knew it was going bad, because they are unaware or unwilling to believe she was controlled like a puppet by his systematic manipulation. Others who fell for the psychopath’s charisma and powers of persuasion may blame her for losing a “good catch.” Whatever the case, no one realizes how severely traumatized she really is.
The trauma is severe, and the victim should pursue professional psychological help.
“Sadly, some victims of psychopaths attempt suicide as a result of hopelessness, helplessness and the belief there is no way out. Some have reported to us that psychopaths have actually encouraged them to take their own lives or have indicated that they would put them through so much turmoil that their only recourse would be suicide.” ~ From Aftermath: Surviving Psychopathy, a website founded by professor of psychology and psychopathy researcher, David Kosson, Ph.D., to provide help as well as education to those whose lives have been impacted by psychopathic individuals.
Please read “The Emotional Rape Syndrome” if you suspect that you or someone you know has been through this horrific experience. The book describes emotional rape and its effects in detail, and contains several chapters on healing from emotional rape.