There's a group on Facebook of which I am a member, called Psychopath Free. The admin is the author of a book by the same name that offers advice to mentally abused women. I was introduced to this group by a friend after I had mentioned that my ex husband had almost driven me to a nervous breakdown. It's full of stories of broken hearts, broken trust, and advice on how to leave the pain behind and move on. While I have been free for 14 years there are many others who still suffer, and I don't hesitate to share my stories as a warning as well as a message to others to say, you are not alone in going through that.
Some abusers don't even realize that what they are doing is abuse. Others are well aware and every move is calculated to bring them the biggest advantage. Still others are immature children in an adult's body who cling desperately to anything that will help them get their way. My ex was all of the above, which made him the most dangerous kind of person. To everyone else he was a great guy, and his family thought the world of him. But in private he made my life a living hell.
One of his favourite tricks was to step quickly on the brakes while driving, which had the effect of jerking the vehicle. He knew that it was dangerous but it scared me speechless, which effectively allowed him to have the last word if we ever had a disagreement while on the road. He would just jerk the brakes to shut me up.
Another of his quirks was this: if another driver cut him off in traffic he would tailgate the offender and flick the high-beams at them, at the same time grinning like a teenager playing a video game. I was riding with him during one incident where he took things further. When my ex flicked his high-beams at another driver, the guy sped up and pulled ahead - obviously not wanting to get into a confrontation. However my ex refused to let it go and chased after the other driver at high speed through a residential area until the person pulled into a driveway. By the end of it I was terrified and sick to my stomach. From that day forward I feared for my life every time I had to ride in a vehicle with him.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
My breaking point came when he accused my friends of brainwashing me against him, and he refused to let me go anywhere unless he was with me, or unless I agreed to a list of demands that he made. I realized then that I had to leave him, or else I would go insane or turn into his slave, or both. As if to spite me he told his family that I had been having an affair, and they almost immediately cut me off - to their Catholic upbringing, cheating on one's spouse was one of the worst crimes. My attempts to explain fell on deaf ears.
So I left all that behind. It took years for me to recover, financially and emotionally, but it has made me a stronger person.