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As we argued in the living room, I never saw it coming. I never thought he’d do this to me. I mean, he didn’t hit me, but there was a huge gaping hole that was now in the wall next to my head.
Sometimes it’s hard to see red flags in a relationship especially when you’re in love. A lot of times these behaviors can escalate to abusive situations, whether that be emotional, psychological or physical. Trust me, I’ve been there. You can read a post called A Letter to My Ex-Husband or read the full story of my abuse and how I got out here. Below are 17 warning signs to look for in your relationship.
In the beginning, this would come across as a sign of love. In reality, it is insecurity and possessiveness.
If he gets angry when you go out with friends, throws a fit if he catches you talking to another male friend or coworker, or if he wants to check your computer or phone. Take these as huge red flags!
2) Controlling Behavior
“Concern” is the word often used, but it quickly becomes evident that freedom of choice and respect is going out the window. This can be anything from how you wear your makeup. to what clothes you wear, to the friends you keep and what time you need to be home.
3) Quick Involvement
In other words, going too fast in a relationship. It takes time to get to know someone, jumping ahead into intimacy or living together is often out of pressure with abusers.
4) Unrealistic Expectations
They become dependent on you for all their needs. Starting off as “You’re all I need” will turn into, “It’s your fault” because no one can be everything to anyone. Expecting you to know what he’s thinking.
Every moment has to be filled by the abuser, this can become a habit during the “Quick Involvement” stage and before you know it any relationship with friends or family is considered as interfering. This can go to the extremes of moving to an isolated area, not allowing transportation or having a job.
6) Blaming Others For Problems
It is possible that accountability is not in the vocabulary of abusers. If they do something wrong, it’s not their fault. It’s because of something you did. Remember only you can control your own reactions and only he can control his.
Another sign of this is if they use gaslighting.
Gaslighting is when someone uses manipulation to make it seem like the other person is crazy and at fault.
7) Blames Others For Emotions
Extreme emotions are used as a tool for manipulating their partner, work environment, and family. And more often than not, they are always your fault.
Again, gaslighting can be used here. They will deflect any responsibility and shift the blame to you.
They are easily insulted and angered. He will rant and rave about the injustice done to him over matters that are just a part of life or accountability.
You will feel like you have to walk on eggshells around him to try not to upset him.
9) Cruelty to Animals or Children
60% of People who abuse their partner also abuse their children. Seen and not heard is their motto.
They may expect children to do more than their age can understand or be capable of. Can be cruel to animals and even be insensitive to their pain or suffering.
10) “Playful” Use of Force in Sex
They may hold down a partner during sex, show that rape excites them, want or demand unnatural sex acts.
They may start having sex with the partner while they are ill or sleeping and use sulking, anger, or guilt to manipulate them into compliance.
11) Verbal Abuse
Saying things that are meant to be hurtful and cruel. Running down any accomplishments, making things up and twisting events to suit them. They may also cause a fight to suit their own purpose, such as an excuse to leave without communicating with their partner.
12) Rigid Sex Roles
They expect their partner to serve them and obey them in all things – even things that are criminal in nature. They see their partner as inferior, stupid and unable to be a whole person without a relationship.
13) Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde
Sudden behavior changes that are not some mental problem. Emotion and mood swings are typical of people who abuse their partner. You never know what side of them you’re gonna get.
14) Past Physical Abuse
Anyone they have ever hit in the past made them do it, they will say.
Watching a movie may bring out a remark that shows their true heart towards women and violence. They do not volunteer this information, usually.
15) Threats of Violence
Threatening to hunt you down if you ever leave. A fist raised, doors slammed, punched walls, objects thrown, loud intimidating behavior. Threatening to commit suicide if you leave them.
16) Breaking or Striking Objects
Such as breaking your possessions as a punishment, used mostly to terrorize the partner into submission. Puts holes in walls with a fist or throwing objects at you, animals or kids to threaten into compliance.
17) Any Force Used During an Argument
This may involve a person holding their partner down, physically restraining them from leaving. Pushing, shoving, slapping or hitting.
Protective behavior can turn to control for instance and at first feel secure and be justified in some way. However, there is that instinct telling you that something is not quite right. Is there unbalance in the relationship? Do you find yourself saying they will change? Do you find that you will do almost anything to please them, things that you would not normally do?
Trust your gut in these situations. If you have to ask if something is abuse, it probably is.
If you feel that you are in an abusive relationship, please read my post on How You Can Out of an Abusive Relationship.
If you are not sure if you’re being abused or not I highly recommend the following book.
It was after reading this book I realized how much abuse I had actually been enduring.
Remember, if you do not feel safe you do have options and resources. Contact your local abuse shelter or if you’re not sure you can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) to find a local resource. You can also go to the National Domestic Violence website. You can text someone, read research regarding abuse and find many other resources. You’re NOT alone, you can get help. Everyone deserves to live a safe and happy life.
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