According to Lisa Aronson Fontes, in an article published in Psychology today, “Intense romance can be a form of grooming.”
Grooming can include any of the following actions:
- Your partner gives you undivided attention e.g. putting their phone away when you are together, their attention fixed on you
- Your partner moves into your apartment in the initial stages of the relationship
- Your partner puts their name on your bank account
- Claims your every second when you’re not at work
- Requests access to your social media accounts
The grooming does not stop with the victim they are targeting, but extends to people closest to the victim and their community. The aim with this is so that other people do not identify the abuse.
Signs of grooming your community include:
- The abuser acts charming and helpful when surrounded by others. This includes being an active member of the community e.g. helping charities, doing chores for the neighbour, coaching sports teams in the community and being actively involved in the church etc.
- They ruin the victim’s reputation by spreading false rumours about the victim e.g. questioning the victim’s sanity amongst friends, expressing concerns about the victim’s mental wellbeing, creating stories that shows the victim as being incompetent saying that the victim is neglecting the children etc.
- The above-mentioned actions are often subtle and unnoticeable, it is done in such a way so that the recipient of the rumour believe that the abuser is speaking from a place of true concern for the victim, without any malice intended.
Fontes says that “grooming helps explain why people may stay with abusers, submit to their demands, and push away others who try to help.” According to her victims of domestic violence are vulnerable because they have been groomed, not because they are weak, character-deficient or mentally unwell. To read the full article click here.