The story's abuse narrative doesn't start with John Meehan’s fiery temper or checking his partners' phones in the middle of the night. It doesn't start with degradation or cruelty or control. What it does start with is with kindness, courtesy, an abundance of attention and being spoilt.
And that's the problem, isn't it? We deserve kindness, courtesy, an abundance of attention and being spoilt. Why should we be wary or suspicious of that? That's not a way to live, is it?
But I guess the lesson here is that there's kindness and there's kindness, there's courtesy and there's courtesy, there's an abundance of attention and being spoilt and an abundance of attention and being spoilt. What's normal, what's reasonable, and what's a red flag?
When we 'fall' in love we can't help it, we can't control it and we can't stop midway through the fall. And that's what we've grown up to accept, expect and believe. After all, every fairy tale, every Disney movie, every romcom has taught us that falling in love is [read 'should be'] immediate, swift and overpowering.
And it can be. But it can also be a red flag of a potentially abusive relationship. It might be the beginning of control and threats and emotional abuse and if it is that beginning, by the time it is, the victim is in far too deep.
Dr McMillan makes the point, "For too long we've told women to be careful, but we only gave them the warning signs about the negative behaviour. We haven't shown how the over the top positive behaviour is also an indicator."