In the early stages of a relationship, many abusers may seem absolutely perfect on the surface – like they are the dream partner. Possessive and controlling behaviors do not always appear right away. They emerge and intensify as the relationship grows. For these reasons, it is difficult to tell at the beginning of a relationship if it will become abusive.
Too Much Too Soon You may want to take a step back if someone insists that the two of you are soul mates and professes their undying love for you when you are getting to know one another.
They Have Been a Victim…. A LOT Abusers who have experienced domestic abuse as a child tell the story repeatedly. Emotions intensify, they seem to be “stuck” in the story, and it isn’t about healing. They feel that the world is out to get them.
Drama, Drama, Drama Abusers may feel “victimized” in their relationships and on the job; they seem to thrive on drama. Their story is told with passion and shock appeal. They will pause to see if you feel disbelief, concern, empathy, or make an effort to console them. DRAMA is their middle name.
Negativity Abusers seem angry at the world, are pessimistic, complain and are negative about everything. The negative person may not even be aware how often these comments slip from their mouths. It is very habit-forming and it is easy to get sucked into someone else’s negative thinking.
Too Good to Be True Abusers are attentive, loving and charming. They put you on a pedestal and tell you that they have never felt like this with anyone else and did not know love until you. They make you believe that everything is perfect, until you are firmly enmeshed; then you will begin to notice that everything is either black or white in their eyes. It will be confusing for you to realize that they see you as perfect one moment, and worse than the devil the next.
Black/White Thinking When the abuser is stuck in black or white thinking, they perceive things to be all good or all bad. They may speak negatively about themselves, and your flaws will be exaggerated. “Too good to be true” now shows its ugly side as they paint a picture of you that is the lowest of low.
Intense Emotional Response With very little warning, abusers love intensely, cry intensely, anger intensely. This is where your gut feeling really needs to work for you. Your instincts will let you know when someone is behaving a little “off” in expressing their emotions.
Controlling Abusers may call you often pretending they miss you and will ask “innocent” questions about what you are doing, who you are talking to or what your plans are later. They may even suggest that you were cheating on them if you do not answer their call. Abusers may not like some of your activities, so you avoid conflict by not participating in them. You may stop visiting with family and friends to avoid conflicts. This is ONE OF THE MOST OBVIOUS SIGNS of an abusive relationship-abusers isolate the victim so they will not be found out or confronted. People who are controlling fear that friends and family will have too much influence on you. They will blame them and use it to convince you that “you don’t really want to break up” if you decide to leave the relationship.
Rough Treatment or Physical Abuse During an argument; if your partner hurts you, it is not a one-time thing. IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN. It may begin with grabbing your arm, and then it will most likely graduate to slapping, hitting, kicking and punching. Punching holes in the wall is an indication that they will have even less control later. Abusers “affectionately” hurt you after you have asked them to stop. Beware of denial on your part. You may think that the abuser “just wasn’t thinking”, or “it was the alcohol”; that it really is not how he truly is – this is denial talking.
Liar, Liar! You may not notice lies at first if you are a person who takes everyone at face value, trusts easily, and looks for the good in everyone. Eventually, the abuser will say something that just does not add –up. Hopefully your eyes will be opened when you realize what they said isn’t true. BEWARE: They embellish stories, tell lies to make you feel a certain way (emotional manipulation) to cover up something they did or did not do, or to manipulate others to do what they want. They cry or use emotion to make you believe them, to be more convincing and to direct your focus away from the lie. They want you to focus on their “need” to be consoled rather than to see the lie.
Scary Temper and Intimidation Goes hand-in-hand with #7: Intense Emotional Response and #8: Controlling. The intensity of their emotions can be really scary when he becomes angry and begins to slam his fist on the table. Abusers think it is normal to express anger that way because they have lived with their temper all their lives. They probably grew up in an abusive home. This IS NOT NORMAL, and IT IS NOT OKAY. Slamming doors, yelling and cursing, glaring at you with looks that could kill and shaking their finger/fist at you are all forms of INTIMIDATION, another form of abuse.
If you think you may be entering into an abusive relationship, please call the LaSalle Parish Sheriff’s Office Victim Advocate at 318-992-2067.