I worked for my ex-husband in my twenties but I left the firm after a very short time. I found the whole running of the business unprofessional and the last step was seeing my boss and what was to become my, husband take his brother by the throat.

Anyway, why is this relevant? I should never have let that vision leave me as some 12 years later, around July 2004 I was to receive a phone call from this man, my ex-boss and the events that were to follow would break me and destroy my life – not an understatement. My life was about to become all about power and control from someone who had a highly inflated sense of self and entitlement.

He had seen an Art School newsletter that I had produced with my picture, job title and direct dial telephone number on it and out of the blue he called me up, using this past, insignificant work connection between us to probe about my life. I had certainly climbed the career ladder since working for him.

This was the start of the grooming, he found out the information he needed and with the excuse of getting inside my life by suggesting that his partner’s daughter would be happy to babysit for my son, which I actually never needed or wanted. He arranged to come to my house to introduce this girl, I believe her name was Sam.

Of course, at that point, already armed with knowing I was the Business Manager of the Art School (now University), he saw my two bedroomed semi-detached thatched cottage in Thorpe End and my car, an SL320 Mercedes. He had all he needed, I can see now that he had already decided the outcome, I just had to be further groomed to make sure I was compliant regardless of my wishes.

It was an extremely vulnerable time for me, as my father, of which I was extremely close to, had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, so this was devastating.

I had already been in talks with the then Principle of the Art School about the possibilities of ending my fixed term contract early. I also spoke to my son’s father who at this time (before he became friends with this awful man) was supportive of me finding a school for our son. So, the decision was made for me to temporarily move in with my parents in Highlands of Scotland to assist my father with appointments and treatment which were generally in Aberdeen, some 60 miles away.

I found a part-time job working for a poverty agency in Elgin and an independent primary school for my son, so in February 2005 I made the move and left my job in Norwich.

Just filling in the gaps, I of course was not left alone by this man throughout any of this. I remember having a conversation with him in October 2004 telling him that there would be no relationship between us, as whilst he had been very kind there was no chemistry or attraction to him – he was just an ex-boss and already in a relationship. I was happy being on my own with my son. He sat on my sofa, in floods of tears and I remember thinking the reaction was completely over the top, as there had been nothing between us but being the eternal empath then felt sorry for him.

The phone calls of course continued, with the offer of a works van to help move some bits up to Scotland, which I stupidly agreed to. Then in March 2005, I received the penultimate phone call. It was a Friday and he called me to tell me he was at the local railway station in Elgin and he was here to help support me and of course was it OK to stay as the flights/train had been costly.

I was in disbelief, my father was dying of cancer and there was only 2 bedrooms and a box room, which he knew from helping with the removal, but I felt I had no real choice but to agree.

The next set of events are not really worthy of mention apart from to state that the first wedding was planned for Brodie Castle in Scotland in March/April time 2005. This was postponed due his son having a serious car accident, but the next wedding was quickly re-arranged at Norwich Registry office for July 8th, 2005.

At this point the brakes should have been fully on, we both had more serious issues to deal with than a wedding, but his determination to push through, I now see it as the behaviour of someone with a seriously disturbed mind. A bespoke made and designed engagement ring was ordered.

My father was dying, his son had had a car accident and actually there was still no attraction or chemistry perhaps the word I could use at best was grateful, as he was helping me at a very difficult time. My emotions were heightened and I should never have been put in a position to even consider marriage.

Well I married him, on this fateful day of 8th July 2005, dressed in black, with my father also dying that evening.

I was highly ashamed and humiliated at the events that happened behind closed doors as this was not the face he presented to the rest of the world. My solicitor noted 22 incidents in 2 a year period, with him being arrested twice and finally being removed from the house with a Non-Molestation Order. The destruction was not to stop there as he destroyed my business, declared himself bankrupt, which led to me losing the family home by using my equity to pay off these debts.

The job, the house, the car, my life, my self-respect, my confidence, all disappeared and equally he continued to hold an audience with my friends and some of family members conning them also, that he was abused and attacked victim and of course ensuring he became friends with my sons father – the only way he could continue the abuse. It is only now, some several years later, after much self-repair, that I am strong enough to face him and tell my story, the truth.

You might think that is incredibly weak, to not just say NO but when you are dealing with serious defective personality disorders, I am not sure many of us are apt to deal or respond appropriately to this level of obscurity and confusion with continuing and constantly changing, abnormal behaviours.

Years later, it is clear to me that I was groomed. Narcopaths stay within the shadow of another relationship, not marrying, so they are ready to make the move when they successfully manage to groom another woman which they will. You might think you have just a purely business relationship/connection, but just think, are they really over attentive, going well above and beyond a normal business relationship and you think they are utterly charming – well send an emergency flare up. This is an obvious mask, as with their belief of male privilege and entitlement, they are on the look-out for the next empathetic and successful victim, as this is the feed they really desire.

End Notes:

Just to explain, I have previously used the word “narcopath” and this is a word used to describe a person who has both Narcissistic Personality Disorder and has the profile of a Sociopath. So below gives an explanation of these:

The profile of a SOCIOPATH?
• Glibness and Superficial Charm
• Manipulative and Conning – they never recognise the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviours as permissible
• Grandiose sense of self
• Pathological lying, Lack of remorse, shame or guilt
• Shallow emotions
• Incapacity for love and the
• Need for stimulation
So, what are the characteristics of NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER (NPD)?
• Lack of empathy
Exaggerated sense of self-importance
• Feelings of entitlement
• Selfishness in relationships
• Enviousness and suspicion of other people’s motivations
• A need for excessive praise, admiration and attention
• Arrogant and judgmental in attitude

And finally and most importantly, definitions of grooming?

“GROOMING refers to the process of manipulating and manoeuvring a person, adult or child, into a position that creates trust and vulnerability. A toxic person’s grooming tactics are manipulative and psychologically damaging to the target. The toxic individual creates an atmosphere ripe for his or her own purposes…to gain power and control over the target. “

“GROOMING YOU AS AN ADULT means creating a situation where you can be abused and exploited for the narcopath’s purposes. This is done by “love bombing”, seduction, charm, giving you gifts, being very charming, and flattering. This may be followed after a time by threats, gaslighting, and forced keeping of secrets, which become the victim’s “new normal.”

Terminology used