6 Early Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship


Abusive Relationship

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, female or male, and it’s often overlooked, downplayed, denied or excused. If you are experiencing physical harm or emotional abuse, or even threats of abuse in a relationship, you should seek immediate help. Noticing the signs of an abusive relationship and acknowledging it are the first steps to ending it.

While we primarily think of men as the abuser, that isn’t always the case. And relationships that end in abuse often don’t begin that way. The abuser may be on their best behavior at the beginning of the relationship. It’s only after they feel they have the upper hand that their true self emerges. And victims usually don’t know what they are getting into until the abuse begins. However, there are some early warning signs that you should be on the lookout for that may indicate you’re in the beginning stages of an abusive relationship.

6 Early Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship

1. You Experience Controlling Behavior

In the early stages of a relationship the abuser is usually on their best behavior, but they still want to be in control. This behavior can come across as selfishness, someone who always has to have their way and make all of the decisions. They may also try to control your other relationships, isolating you from family and friends and be overly possessive. As the controlling behavior grows, they may check-up on you to confirm where you have been and who you’ve been with.

2. Your Partner is Disrespectful

They won’t be disrespectful to you at first because they are trying to impress you and win you over. However, if you notice your date begin to become disrespectful to service staff or others they feel superior to, it can be a sign of things to come. This disrespect may extend to your friends and family, so pay attention to how your partner talks about them. Also note how they talk about past dating partners. If they are disrespectful of others, they will eventually be disrespectful of you. If they call you demeaning names, ridicule you or make jokes that hurt your feelings, you should reevaluate your dating situation.

3. They Play the Blame Game

Abusers often try to show they are superior to everyone else. Thus, when things go wrong, they can be hypersensitive and it is never their fault. They will shift the blame to others, often their partner to keep from accepting responsibility for anything negative. It is not uncommon for an abuser have unrealistic expectations that can never be met, so blame becomes a common occurrence.

4. Too Serious, Too Fast

Abusers need to have a partner that is committed to the relationship quickly in order to gain control. If you feel that the relationship is moving too quickly and your requests to slow down are ignored, that should be a warning sign. Abusers want to move quickly to an exclusive relationship and will often pressure their partner to have sex to move the relationship along quickly.

5. Negative Attitudes Toward the Opposite Sex

Pay attention to how your partner talks about and to members of the opposite sex. Again, this can be service workers, family members or other strangers. Are they always negative in their perceptions? Do they make inappropriate, derogatory jokes about members of the opposite sex? Biting humor can revel underlying anger and frustration that may eventually be released on you.

6. Inconsistency

Does your partner talk to you and treat you differently when you are around other people? Abusers are great at hiding their abuse in public settings. They will brag and show you off to their friends, but in private may criticize your looks and behavior. They may also experience severe mood swings. One minute they can be Prince Charming, the next they can be exploding with anger.

Talk To Someone

If you notice any of these behaviors, we encourage you to talk to someone you trust, someone who will help you determine if the relationship might be headed toward abuse. But even they might not see the behavior as abusive. Remember, the abuser is great at hiding who they really are. If you see these signs, even if those close to you don’t, trust your gut instinct. It’s much easier to get out of an abusive relationship early on.

If you need someone to talk to, our staff is always available and we can provide referrals to other agencies and counselors who can give you the assistance and resources you need.

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Category: Relationships

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