Unfortunately not many women can recognize signs of abusive relationship in the beginning of their romance with soon-to-be-abusers. We do not blame them. Abusers almost never appear cruel in the beginning.
In fact, they usually appear very passionate and very much in love. Soon-to-be-abuser may
- shower you with gifts,
- write you poems,
- take you to expensive restaurants,
- worry about your health,
- care for you like nobody ever did before.
Sounds like a dream man, right? Even your mom will begin to love him.
Now of course not every man who does this will necessarily become an abuser. The point is that if your man does this, he still can become or already be an abuser. Hot and passionate romance in the beginning of relationship is more of a rule than exception when it comes to abusive men.
They will tell you they love you so much, they will follow you everywhere until you give in. Even if you weren’t attracted initially, you might start responding, because his passion is so infectious and, unlike other men you could have known, he is always there for you no matter what…
Somewhere at the back of your mind you might realize that his dependence on you is weird, to say the least. You may even stare at yourself in the mirror trying to see what he is seeing, trying to figure out what is that feature of yours that makes him lose his mind… Little by little you give in, and you begin to date.
It can be very sweet for a while, but not for too long. Little by little his emotional volatility begins to wear you off, but you decide to live with it. After all, nobody ever loved you like he does…
Few months into relationship you might find yourself attached to him. This is where the nightmare starts. It starts when he senses his control over you. Now he cannot pretend anymore and signs of abusive relationship will become more and more obvious. Unfortunately you are so confused; you just don’t seem to be able to put the pieces of this puzzle together. You still believe he loves you madly. You don’t want to let him go. As a result, you fail to confront the issue immediately and continue dating him or even live with him.
Here are some signs you may see:
- He will be very controlling.
He will try to control every aspect of your relationship. He will tell you when to wake up and when to sleep. He will want to know where are you going and who you are seeing. He will want to know what you are talking about with your friends. He might dislike all or some of your old friends and insist that you do not see them anymore.
He might not allow you to make any plans on Sunday morning until he wakes up. Even with your family — your mom and your little brother.
He may be insecure about your work and ask you to stop working. Or he may allow you to work but will find a way to convince you to give him all your money. He might even tell you your money is safer with him, and it’s really in your interest to trust him all your financial matters.
- He will be extremely jealous.
Some tend to take jealousy for love, but extreme baseless jealousy has nothing to do with love. It is frustrated desire to control your environment and your every move. It is not meant to make you happy, cared for, loved and respected. It has nothing to do with you and your best interests. It’s all about him.
- He will try to isolate you.
He will try to isolate you from your family and friends, anyone who can support you or protect you. If you suspect your boyfriend might be abusive, do not make plans to move with him to another city or another country.
- He will criticize you and abuse you mentally.
Mental abuse is much more common than physical abuse. In fact, he might never hurt you physically, but mental terror will be present each and every day. He will criticize you, mock you, possibly openly insult you (although insults and bad language aren’t condition for mental abuse). When it happens, you will know it. You just won’t feel at ease. You will be constantly worrying about what he will say and how he will react.
- He may scare you by hurting himself or breaking or striking objects.
Some abusers will not hurt you physically, particularly when you still have some control over your environment or due to their fear of consequences. However, they might put on shows where they demonstrate their anger and frustration with you by hurting themselves or breaking furniture and other objects. He may hit his head against the wall or burn himself with cigarettes. Don’t worry. This is only a show. They know how to do this without any serious damage to themselves. What you should do is to go home.
Here are some helpful links:
- Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women (US & Canada)
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline (US)
- HopeLine (US)
- Women’s Aid (UK)
- 1800 Respect (Australia)
- Physical and Emotional Abuse Support forum by DailyStrength
- eHealth Domestic Violence forum
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