Here's a true story of "Crazy Love" which illustrates the
importance of being able to "Spot The
Crazies" and of "Qualifying
Helga, a tall, slim television anchorwoman with sharp
features, intelligent green eyes and red hair, came to see
me with an ugly cut on her nose. When I heard her story, I
think I was more upset than she was.
"I've been telling my friends that my shower door broke and
I got cut by a piece of flying glass," she said, "but the
truth is Bob bit me."
"He bit you? On the nose?"
"Well, he was trying to get the ring, but I'd better start
at the beginning.
"I met Bob at a car wash while I was waiting for my car to
be done. He's tall, slim, really good looking and about six
years younger than I am. I was flattered. We started to
talk, and he asked me out to dinner.
"The first night he told me he had seen me on television and
had always thought I was very attractive. As a matter of
fact, he was a big fan. Usually, I'm not interested in men
who want me because they've seen me on television, but Bob
is different. He's deep. Committed. He served in the
Peace Corps in Angola and works with underprivileged
children in Watts.
"He runs and works out and has a great body.
"Anyway, he started calling me a lot, and we had these long
talks on the phone. Our relationship became obsessive. I
didn't think about anything but him. I bored all my friends
talking about him all the time.
"We began to have dinner every night. He said he loved me.
Then he gave me his grandmother's diamond ring and asked me
to marry him. We moved in together.
"At first we were inseparable -- always in each other's
arms. He wanted to hold me and have me next to him every
second. I thought this was terrific, because my ex-husband
never wanted to be that affectionate. My ex was very self-
centered. He spent hours and hours at his computer and
never gave me the kind of time or attention Bob did.
"Bob was pushing me to marry him, but I didn't want to rush
"I was enjoying the `being engaged' period too much. I went
to lunch with my girlfriends and showed off my new diamond.
Much bigger than the one my ex had given me. I felt really
smug and couldn't wait to show off my new young lover to my
ex and all my friends. Here I was a woman of thirty-five
being adored by this handsome twenty-nine-year-old.
"Then he started to become more and more possessive, and
angry and demanding. He'd expect me to take his shirts to
the laundry and do all sorts of things for him.
"On New Year's Eve he'd been drinking more than usual, and
he started asking when we were going to get married. We
were sitting in a booth in a hotel dining room when it
"I said I didn't want to rush into marriage, and he went
into a rage. He reached over and tried to pull the ring off
my finger. When he couldn't get it off, he grabbed me by
the hair and bit my nose.
"I was so shocked I didn't know what to do. I ran out of
the dining room with blood all over me and everyone staring.
I went up to our room, put a towel and some ice on my nose
and then got out of there before he showed up. I found an
all-night emergency room to stitch me up and give me pain
pills, and they also gave me a tetanus shot.
"Anyway, Bob's been calling me. He's been all apologetic,
and he says he loves me and wants me back. The reason I'm
seeing you is that I want to go back.
"Everyone says I'm nuts to want to. But I saw him the other
day, and the passion's still there. I've never had anyone
so in love with me. I'm drawn to him. I think about making
love to him all the time.
"I don't think I can stay away from him. What do you think?
What should I do?"
"I think he's crazy and you should absolutely stay away from
him," I told her, "Sane men don't bite women."
"He's never bitten anyone else before. He's not a violent
man. He says he's just so passionately in love with me that
he can't help himself." Helga actually seemed a little
pleased with the idea that a man was so driven with passion
for her that he'd bite her nose off rather than lose her.
"Are you sure he hasn't left a whole slew of women behind
with parts of their noses, ears, fingers missing?" I asked
her. "Maybe there are women with bitten noses all through
his past. Usually a man doesn't act violently just one
time. It's almost always part of a learned behavior pattern
he has with women.
"If you let him get away with this, you'll be doing a
disservice to yourself and to every other women who comes
into his life in the future. The reason he does it is
because there are no repercussions. Have you thought of
suing him or filing a police report?"
Helga looked stunned. How could I think of doing such a
terrible thing to this man who was so sorry and who loved
her so much? "Oh, I couldn't do that. I don't want to do
that. I don't want to make him angrier. I'm just not sure
I should go back to him."
Helga did go back to Bob, and continued coming to me for
therapy. Soon it came out that Bob not only had a violent
temper and was a heavy drinker to boot, but that he had
borrowed quite a bit of money from Helga to finance his move
into a bigger apartment so they could live together.
In spite of everything, Helga hung in. She thought she
could reassure Bob enough to overcome his violence. He
promised to stop drinking. He promised not to be
possessive. But of course, overwhelmed by his passion for
Helga, he got abusive. He called her names -- "always out
of jealousy," she assured me.
"He's insecure. He wants me there every day when he comes
home from work. He wants to know where I am all the time.
He's so different from my ex-husband, who never cared where
I was or what I was doing or who I was with. We had a `you
do your thing, I do mine' relationship. I always wanted a
man like Bob who really cared passionately for me."
"You must talk to other women in this man's life," I told
her. "What about his ex-wife or his last girlfriend? Can
you talk to them?" I was sure that once Helga found out
Bob's passionate violence was not unique to their
relationship, he'd lose a lot of his charm.
"Easy, look in his phone book. If you're really thinking
about spending the rest of your life or even another month
with this man, you have a right to know if he's always been
violent with women."
Needless to say, when Helga contacted Bob's soon-to-be ex-
wife, she got the real story. He'd been violent many times,
and that's why she was divorcing him. Bob's ex told Helga
that she was lucky she didn't get more seriously injured by
Helga wanted to know if I would talk to Bob, but I told her
I don't do nosebiters or other violent people. I refused to
condone her relationship in any way, not even to talk to the
two of them together. I suggested that Bob get help from
someone else, and gave Helga the name of a pyschiatrist.
Eventually, Helga talked to Bob's mother, his sister and an
ex-girlfriend, and they all agreed that Bob was definitely
disturbed. Although it was hard for her to accept that her
passionate, adoring lover always hurt the ones he loved, she
came to realize that the longer she stayed with him, the
more danger she was in.
She moved out and gave him back the ring. Still, he
followed her. He called her day and night. He cajoled and
pleaded; he flattered her. They met for lunch. "I saw him,
and I want him again."
"Avoid him," I persisted. "Protect yourself. How much does
he have to hurt you before you say goodbye for good?"
Eventually, Helga got an apartment Bob didn't know about and
an unlisted phone number. Then, just three weeks after
breaking off communication with him, she was tempted to hear
his voice and she called his apartment. A woman answered.
"I'm Bob's fiancee," she told Helga. "He gave me his
Related Keywords: Bad Prospects, Fighting, Sexual Attraction, Love Addiction, Over-Romanticizing
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