A couple years ago, my new friend, Terri, experienced prisoner love and actually married an inmate. The marriage ended up taking her on a roller-coaster ride through Hades.
With tears of anguish drenching her face, I listened as she revealed accounts of her involvement. Incredulously I wondered how such a warm, giving, beautiful, and loving woman could have been swept up into such a situation.
“How”? I pleaded to know.
These men, she said, become masters of the art of manipulation. I started corresponding with this particular man because I knew his parents and had known him briefly as a young teen many years before. I inquired about him one day and began to write.
I had recently ended a bad relationship and was so lonely that any contact with a man was welcome; however, I never intended to become romantically involved with a prisoner.
Little did I know I had just set myself up for the art of manipulation! It happened to me in 4 steps as he preyed upon my vulnerability. His goal was to:
1. Ascertain Weaknesses
2. Gain Trust
3. Initiate Control
4. Promote Isolation
It starts so innocently for a woman. Over a period of time he asks many questions to get to know you. And he listens to your every concern.
She’s thinking: At last I can talk and someone listens. I can reveal the depths of my heart because someone cares.
He’s thinking: Ah, now I know all her weaknesses.
With these tools in his hand he now begins to lead you to where he wants you to go. Gradually he convinces you that he loves you. You deserve love. You need to find a man who will take care of you–someone to be there for you in good times and in bad times.
Oh, if only he were free, he’d be that man for you.
He had my cell phone number and would call numerous times every day. Over time I racked up $3,000 in phone bills, but he convinced me it was worth it. After all, I was free to do what I wanted, anytime I wanted and he was so restricted, couldn’t I spend a little to comfort him as he had comforted me?
If I wasn’t available to answer his calls, he would question me as to where I had been and who I was with. After all, he was worried. He didn’t want any harm to come to me. Couldn’t I tell he really loved me?
In course of time he asked me to do things for him that maybe a rational woman wouldn’t do like drive down to visit him on a weather alert day that meant a 3-hour drive in a blizzard. “Why won’t you come, don’t you trust me?” he cried. “Don’t you trust that I would do that for you!”
I’m thinking: Oh, he cares so much for me. He just can’t wait to see me.
He’s thinking: Control.
The final step for me was isolation. This is when he manipulates you into cutting off friends and family. After all why do you need them when you have him?
Without counsel from others I was under his complete control. The art of manipulation had worked. Then when he asked me to marry him while he was still in prison to get a favorable review from the parole board, I eagerly agreed. After all, he was my prisoner love…wasn’t he?