Abuser On Audio
This audio clip, posted on YouTube, will make your blood run cold.
It's a pair of voicemails, left for a woman by a man over about a 72 hour period.
The YouTube poster provides the background. The woman was with friends; a total stranger accosted her; she gave him a business card with her work number [smart move, avoiding giving out her home or cell; smarter move would be to tell the guy to give her his number instead...].
And he called.
Boy, did he call.
This guy went from phony idealization to stark abusiveness in the span of 72 hours or less, without as much as seeing the woman again at any point during that time.
Listen to the messages.
The first one is a transparent attempt to 'set the hook'. He tries to position himself as important, desirable. To come across as a REAL man, available NOW and Ready To Commit! in search of a REAL woman, one who is "strong" and "independent". [And note the attempt to 'hook' her via appeals to unhealthy competitiveness vs. her women friends.]
It's precisely these attempts to 'hook' the prey that give the game away. And the mask slips quite badly at one point, when he insinuates that she is 'timid'. This is what a fiction writer would call 'foreshadowing'; I call it 'telegraphing his punches'. In this moment, he shows her exactly what he has in mind for her. He is already unable to resist the temptation to insult her, even as he ladles on the phony praise.
Sadly, there are women who respond to such poseurs. The innocent, the very young, the inexperienced, the desperately lonely, those who do regard their friends primarily as rivals... and those who have never known anyone but poseurs of this type... might hear the first message and be sufficiently deceived. Or, God help them, 'intrigued'. Or they might decide to disregard the obvious red flags out of misplaced decency, having been trained to always give others the benefit of the doubt - at their own expense. Even more sadly, there are plenty of poseurs of this type who have far more credible poses. This fellow is an amateur.
All pretense is gone in the second message.
You see, for whatever reason, the lady failed to take the bait. Perhaps she was on vacation, and let her office messages stay in the office. Or perhaps she was, in fact, genuinely "strong and independent", and knew exactly what she was dealing with when she heard his first commercial.
But one does not spurn this Lothario.
Listen to his abusive rage.
Listen to him as he begins in anger that is wholly inappropriate, out of all proportion to any possible provocation. Listen as he moves directly to insulting, threatening and abusing the very woman he was praising and pursuing not two days previously, a woman he does not even know, a woman with whom he has never had a single actual conversation.
Listen to the projection.
He's had an entire relationship with her, from romance to heartbreak, in the space of three days, exclusively in his own head. And now, as he insults and browbeats her answering machine, he is telling her all about himself.
This is an abusive relationship in fast-forward. This is the mentality of a stalker, of a batterer, from start to finish.
Including the fact that there was nobody on the other end of the line to hear either his blandishments or his rage.
That is the reality of interaction with an abuser. You, as a person, as an individual, as a separate self, do not exist. You are only a target. You are only prey.
Edit in, 05-Jul-2008: Jezebel.com provides the following transcript of this man's messages. I've pasted them here for easy access.
Message 1:These are, as Cinder Ella comments below, an amazing teaching tool. Abusers frequently rely on their ability to shock and daze us when they surprise us with outrageous criticism and demands; this works best when their outrageousness comes at us out of the blue, i.e. a verbal onslaught for which we have no prior warning.
Hey Olga, it's Dimitri.
Sorry I had to leave such a rushed message with you when we met the other day. I just wanted to quickly give you my phone number, and needed to get the heck out of the area. In any event, I thought I had better leave you a more detailed message and explain why I approached you. I am single. I have no trouble meeting women; I mean, women approach me six or seven times a day. But I'm extremely particular about what I like. You're an extremely elegant woman. I couldn't take my eyes off you, and your friends were very jealous — even if they say they weren't, they were envious of the fact that I approached you, and I was very taken by you. Elegant women are very rare. I'm Greek and I'm extremely particular about what I like. So I'm giving you an opportunity here. I don't know if you picked up the message on the weekend but I'm working on a movie script so I'll be doing that all weekend…
This looks like a land line, and if it is you may not get the message till Monday. But when you do, call me and we'll get together for coffee or drinks, and let the romance begin. You looked very taken aback by my approach, and I hope that wasn't timidness, I hope it was just shock at being approached so directly. Because I don't really date timid women, because I'm a very direct, very passionate, very assertive man, and I want a woman who is very independent and strong. So… we'll talk about that, but I just wanted to formally introduce myself. I leave the ball in your court. You call me as soon as you have the courage to. Okay, Olga? Talk to you soon, bye.
Hi there, Olga it's Dimitri calling again, the guy from the street. I left you a message several days ago you said you were interested.
Now, here's the way I work. I don't like leaving second messages but I like you, you're a very elegant woman, you're very attractive, but, you know, I don't play that game. I know your friends tell you not to return calls; you're playing games like you see in stupid TV shows. So here's how it's gonna work.
It is now 4:30 on Wednesday. Now I'll assume, I'll assume that you've already left work, because, you know, some people leave work early, so I'll grant you that. But if I don't receive a phone call back from you by 3 o'clock Thursday afternoon I'm no longer interested and I'm going to erase your number. I don't play games like that. I'm completely single, I'm very intelligent, I'm great in bed, I make great money. Believe it or not, I'm a complete catch. I've only been single four months; I had a long distance relationship for about a year, it's very tough to maintain it like that; there's nothing wrong with me. As a matter of fact I'm one of the few men in the city that has nothing wrong with him. So I'm giving you the three o'clock deadline. If I don't hear from you by then, you lose my number — I'm erasing your number right now, so you won't be hearing back from me.
So that's it: three o'clock tomorrow, or you can just completely forget it.
Now I understand if you've got other issues, maybe you're not playing games, I don't know… maybe you were abused in childhood?…Maybe your mother has cancer, and you're going to chemo…maybe you're just a person who's extremely frightened or has an anxiety disorder, maybe you're on some medication for that…I don't know, there could be another issue that I'm not aware of. But nobody says "Call me," hands a person a business card and then doesn't return calls. It's extremely passive aggressive. You should actually look that up, passive-aggressive personality disorder. You let me know, if you've got issues, psychological issues, if you're on any sort of medication for anxiety or depression, I'm not interested. But if you're psychologically normal, and you haven't called me because there's been some horrible thing that's happened in your life that's prevented you from returning my calls, that's fine. But otherwise? Don't call me. Okay, bye.
Reading the post above before listening to the voicemail clip helps you know what to watch for; seeing the actual transcript after reading a discussion of its abusiveness should be even more helpful.
There are Dimitris everywhere. And don't forget the rest of his family: the mothers, the fathers, the sisters. In a future post, I'll furnish some samples of less obvious, but equally abusive, language interactions from other types of relationships. It will be easy to see the abusive patterns, with this sample as a guide!