Game Over


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Category: Relationships 18 Jun 06


Being overcome with such national fervour when T&T played England on Thursday was like falling in love. It couldn’t have been about the football because my eyes have been known to glaze over with boredom at the footie talk. But for those nail-biting 90 minutes the world outside that game ceased to exist. Just when we thought we would make it, even win, on the 83rd minute England scored a goal and I felt as if I had the biggest tabanca.


Tears came to my eyes, and I couldn’t look at the shocked faces around me. And if we couldn’t believe that lash it came again. And the streets went quiet. And real life came flooding in. The television was just a television. A rag was just a rag. The flag was just a flag. The dishes needed washing, the baby cried. The clothes for work needed ironing, the children feeding. Once again you noticed the garbage on the highway instead of the flags on the cars. Like a love story gone sour.


Yellow Card of Love


The amazing thing about life is the curve balls it throws at you. We didn’t expect our team to shine the way they did, reducing the English manager to a lip-chewing wreck and frustrating the English team and we didn’t expect the lash. But they are still our team. And we can work our way back to them, perhaps not as starry eyed, but with a more realistic supportive love, that doesn’t have to do with what they do for us—taking us away from the squalor of the real world—but what they represent: Courage, teamwork, making the impossible possible.


This fits in with the last of this series on destructive relationships between men and women. The love turned sour.


Mr Lundy Bancroft, author of Why Does He Do That‚ tells us that men don’t abuse because of some emotional problem but because they play to win. In football that means yellow cards. In relationships it means power to the abuser in the following ways:


  1. The intrinsic satisfaction of power and control. He gets a potent rush and finds a momentary relief from life’s normal distresses.

  2. Gets his way.

  3. Someone to take his problems out on. The abusive man considers himself entitled to use his partner as a kind of human garbage dump where he can litter the ordinary pains and frustrations that life brings us.

  4. Being the centre of attention, with priority given to his needs. When a woman’s partner chronically mistreats her, what fills up her thoughts? Him.

  5. Financial control. This power makes it harder for her to leave him especially if she can’t support the children or if he threatens to take custody of the children.


He forgets that such behaviour may cause his wife to leave, land him in prison, alienate his children, crush his life.


End Abuse


Men change. They learn to play fair. Just in time.


They recognise yellow cards after their partner starts standing up for herself and her children. The steps to change include:



Admitting to his history of abuse, taking responsibility for and acknowledging that the abuse is unconditionally wrong.



Identifying in detail his pattern of controlling behaviours and entitled attitudes and replacing them with respectful behaviour, accepting that overcoming abusiveness is a lifetime process.



Empathising with the effect his abuse has had, including fear, anger, loss of trust, and freedom.



Making amends for the damage he has done by developing a sense of debt to you, accepting consequences and being accountable.


If he changes, great. But the game of love blows up in your face if the abuser is violent, threatens to kill you, has a criminal history, is abusive to children, has access to weapons. Then, Lundy says, leave. Game over.


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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur