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First Lie – Say Goodbye!

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It seems that almost daily we are reading stories about a missing or murdered woman whose significant other is the prime suspect. From an article on the disturbing statistics on murders of pregnant women, similar to articles posted during the Laci Peterson case, some very useful information bears further analysis and application.

Most people are killed by people they know. Most people are harmed by people who have made threats earlier on and, in a situation where you’re in a relationship where you’re frightened of the person that you’re with, when a stress happens like a pregnancy, you really have to be careful, because the warning signs are there. People usually make threats of death or destruction.

Although we don’t have crystal balls or clairvoyant powers, we do have good, empirical evidence to reference when evaluating the potential danger of a relationship with our romantic partners, whether in the early courtship stages, cohabitating circumstances, or estranged. Dangerous men display a number of clues to their duplicity if one is forearmed with the warning signs.

From a list of these signs excerpted from an article appearing on ABC News, I have added some practical examples and commentary that apply to our specific cases. I’m not suggesting that if you recognize any of this behavior in your spouse, lover, or child that you call the marines, but often it is wise to accept that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

  • Loss of temper on a daily basis – I would amend that to be “loss of temper over incidental, trivial matters on an unpredictable but regular basis.” There are people with a short fuse who are not dangerous; in fact, they might be healthier than those who suppress their anger and suddenly blow. However, a person who has inappropriate overreactions to minor events (and who may not react at all to major crises) is someone with a personality disorder.
  • Frequent physical fighting. Treats you roughly – If you subject yourself to being smacked around or verbally abused more than once, something is seriously wrong with YOU. Get thee to a head shrinker.
  • Significant vandalism or property damage – I don’t think vandalism or property damage has to be “significant” in order for it to be alarming. Smashing your cell phone, punching a hole in the door, ruining (usually) your property is often the predecessor to physical abuse. They start with your stuff, then it escalates to your jugular.
  • Uses drugs or alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you. If you are in a relationship with a drunk or a junkie, you are already setting yourself up for a big fall. Give them an ultimatum and be prepared to abandon ship. This includes your teenage or adult child.
  • Increase in risk-taking behavior – What are some examples of risk-taking behavior? Reckless driving with you and/or your children in the car. Irresponsible spending. Unprotected sex. Substance abuse. Pyromania. Kleptomania. Failing to adhere to a medically prescribed diet, exercise or medication regime. Consider any self-destructive behavior that takes prisoners.
  • Announces threats or plans for hurting others – Did many of these men threaten their girlfriends/wives? Probably. In the case of the Columbine shootings, the perps left an encyclopedia of their plans.
  • Blames others for his behavior. Blames you for how they feel or act – This is an important early warning sign to heed. Within the first few conversations with an abuser, you will hear him blame everyone but the dog for his current woes. When instead of gaining your sympathy and indignation his self-pity triggers an alarm, you have the golden opportunity to escape.
  • Restricts your social life. Isolates you from your friends.
  • Stalks you or calls you incessantly during disagreements or break-ups.
  • Makes you feel like you are unable to make decisions.

    These are all classic examples of controlling behavior (from men and women) for which you should now have zero tolerance. Zero means zero. I don’t want to hear excuses about his being raised on sarcasm and that ridicule and demoralization is a lifelong habit of endearment. I don’t buy that he just “loves you so much” that he can’t bear to be away from you. Anyone who treats you like an object or a personal possession is a creep. Period.

  • Uses intimidation or threats to gain compliance – Threats are easy to recognize. They usually start off with “If you do/don’t do this, I’ll will/won’t do that.” If you find that your conversations with your significant other start to resemble hostage negotiations, you need to reevaluate your relationship.

There are many other warning signs not included in this list that are indicative of cheaters, narcissists, players, and other abusive people; but we can truncate that painful process with a very simple litmus test that he will fail rather early on that is 100% foolproof and upon which you should directly (do not pass GO, do not collect $200) exit the relationship. The first lie, say, “Goodbye!” It even rhymes. Let’s make a bumper sticker out of it. I can guarantee that every victim in the news heard and forgave a litany of lies from their eventual murderers. It is the common denominator. Chances are, anyone who exhibits the bad behavior in the preceding list has probably lied to you (and you knew it) long before he did anything else. It’s pretty simple: it is virtually impossible that an honest man, however flawed, will murder you.

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About Loretta Dillon

Loretta Dillon began her writing career publishing a neighborhood newspaper and handwritten and illustrated books as a child in a Cleveland suburb. Her strongest literary influences were MAD magazine and Mark Twain. When introduced to the internet, Dillon created a blog to showcase her satire that evolved into a popular forum on relationships, recovery and true crime stories, specifically spousal murder. Selected entries were published as a book in 2005 that was honored as a finalist for a non-fiction "Blooker" award. Dillon's comedy play, "The Smoking Diary" was produced off-Broadway in 2009.
  • Any one of your checklist items scares me. Together, they’re overwhelming. I’m guessing this common-sense isn’t as common as I’d like to believe? Very sad.

  • I don’t think anyone has a problem recognizing when a guy is a jerk. It’s practically intuitive.

    What prevents the woman from doing anything about is her lack of respect for herself, her lack of knowing that she deserves better, else why would she be with him?

    Your headline is right: First lie, say goodbye!

  • The things on your checklist aren’t exactly ‘first lie’ types of things. First lie is more likely to be something like saying you like Sushi because you think that’s what the girl you want to go out with likes. Surely the sign of a serial abuser.


  • ochairball

    why in the world would you lie to please someone? sooner or later they’re going to find out.
    Nah, first lie, say goodbye is a good policy. although, he might not be a serial monster, why be with someone who can’t be himself?
    i’m curious, tell me 🙂

  • What is wrong with women that they need to read a book to figure out that a guy who lies to you and beats you is not long term relationship material?

    I am serious. I want to know. I see this all the time and find it mind boggling. Someone tell me.

  • And what’s the equivalently stupid thing men do? I know we’ve got blind spots that women laugh about, right?

  • Or cry about, perhaps. I didn’t mean to imply that the situation with women sticking with utter losers is amusing.

  • >>why in the world would you lie to please someone?< < To be nice? She likes to eat something. You want her to feel positive towards you. You take her to eat what she likes, even if you don't really like it. It's a lie, but it's done to be accomodating. Not a damnable sin. >> sooner or later they’re going to find out. < < And chances are they'll think it was sweet. >>Nah, first lie, say goodbye is a good policy. although, he might not be a serial monster, why be with someone who can’t be himself? < < So you blow off the guy who cares enough about you to think of your needs before his own? Seems like a bad plan. >>i’m curious, tell me :-)<< Because he'd rather be a better version of himself to please you? Or just because he's considerate and sensitive? This whole first lie idea is exactly what's wrong with so many women. They have no idea what constitutes a good man, and this book doesn't answer the question any better. Dave

  • I think men tend to save their stupidity for ruining their important, lasting relationships.

  • Some men are so richly endowed with stupidity they feel no need to save it up for special occasions.

    Some women, too.

  • Loretta

    I think what I am seeing in these really dangerous relationships is the common denominator of dishonesy.

    So, rather than wait for something bad to happen, from a guy or a gal, just get out of the relationship when you discover the person is lying to you.

    Really, any lie is too many.

    I think this policy of “First Lie Say Goodbye” could save thousands, maybe even a million lives.

  • Loretta

    This First Lie Say Goodbye is my own little slogan.

    It isn’t from a book. The book shown above is just a book that relates to this subject. It’s not a book review.

    For those who are defending lying about sushi – me thinks the liar protest too much.

    An honest guy does not have to lie about anything – his academic history, his shoe size, his batting average, or his feelings about his mother.

    Early in a relationship with a liar, he will lie often and easily about seemingly innocuous things.

    The minute you realize he has lied to you about even something stupid like what he had for lunch – or ESPECIALLY about something trivial – GET OUT.

    If he will lie to you about the small things, he will lie to you about the big things.

    Good guys don’t feel the need to lie about anything.

  • Should he lie when asked if you look fat in that outfit? I don’t mean to sound entirely flippant, but all the examples you mention involve the guy lying about himself, trying to make himself look better. Such lies are effective warning signs, and on that much I agree with you. Many lies fall into that category, but not all.

    Most etiquette guides instruct people to lie for the sake of social harmony. Say the new baby is beautiful, even if you really think all babies are ugly. Say the wedding was beautiful, even if you really think it was a vulgar display of tasteless consumerism. Say you are sorry you have a prior commitment on the night of the post-vacation slide show, even if you really are happy to have any excuse to escape a boring evening.

    When people lie socially in this way, they hope to prevent needless conflict and avoid causing needless pain. Such lies may disqualify a person from sainthood, but they aren’t necessarily telltale signs of the abusive sociopathic monster.

  • Eric Olsen

    Victor has a point: some “honesty” is just another form of cruelty

  • Bennett

    I can count on one hand the times in my life that a woman turned to me and asked a wardrobe question that included the word “fat”.

    Even still, fat is relative, and it’s easy enough to say quite honestly “You look great!”, especially if you are attracted to the woman.

    Regarding sushi, Dave I disagree. If my wife said (even during our courtship) “I just LOVE sushi, let’s go to a sushi restaurant”, I could andser (if I didn’t also love sushi that is), “Sure, but I’m scared of raw fish so I’ll have something cooked while you enjoy the raw stuff.”

    Lies and exageration are telltales that shouldn’t be ignored, imo.

  • ochairball

    thanks dave, that was enlightening. really.

  • Human relationships are built on small, harmless lies and accomodations. Having a zero tolerance policy towards them is going to result in a long, lonely existence for any woman.

    The basic fact is that everyone lies occasionally for good reasons, and if you immediately reject them on discovering any kind of lie you commit the crime of lying to yourself by creating unrealistic expectations.

    Because the truth is that a few harmless social lies DO NOT necessarily mean that someone is abusive, generally deceptive or some sort of monster. That’s just ridiculous.


  • Loretta

    I think we all know the difference between little white lies used to save someone’s feelings, and real lies used to manipulate, obfuscate or misrepresent.