Even the most idyllic looking relationships sometimes become abusive. When things start off well and the relationship is all sunshine and roses, it is hard to believe that your partner could land up being an abusive person. Even the most charming of people can become physically, verbally and emotionally abusive. Abusive relationships often result in partners suffering from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, low self-esteem and sometimes suicide. Often people get attached to the abuser before they realise things are heated, which makes leaving the relationship so much harder. Getting out of an abusive relationship before it is too late is of utmost importance.
Here are some tell-tale signs that the person you are with may be an abusive person:
Gets serious about the relationship too quickly
Abusive partners often fall in love quickly. They rush things in the beginning, claim their undying devotion and urge a more intimate relationship more quickly than others would. Becoming too serious too quickly is a definite warning sign of an abusive partner.
Plays the blame game
A partner who is never able to admit his/her role in arguments, is never able to say “sorry” and always feels like difficulties are as result of other people is a potential abuser. Be very aware of someone who blames everyone else around them for things going wrong. Eventually you will be blamed too.
Has a sense of entitlement
Another warning sign is a person who believes they should be treated in a special way or are more important than others. Typical examples of this are cutting in front of others in a queue, driving recklessly and swearing at others, doing or saying what they want to and when they want to without concern for other people.
Displays a sense of superiority
Implying through body language or tone of voice that they are superior to other people may be another warning sign to watch out for. Most abusive people have a hierarchical self-esteem and feel better about themselves when those around them are made smaller or less important. As such, they tend to make others feel bad about themselves to make themselves feel bigger, better and more important.
Often abusive people tend to be evasive and deceitful. Be careful of someone who always puts their best foot forward and acts like the perfect gentleman or lady in public yet seems to be hiding something.
Jealousy is a bug red flag – a partner who gets jealous easily and inappropriately is often one who becomes overly possessive and abusive later on. If your partner gets upset when you are simply talking to other people of the opposite sex, accuses you of cheating or believes that you have ulterior motives when you are simply being your natural, friendly self, then it is likely that there are going to be serious problems in the relationship later on.
A big red flag for an abusive partner is one who becomes possessive and disallows you to go out on your own, spend time with your friends and family without him/her and generally wants to keep you to himself / herself. Respectful relationships respect your space and need for social interaction. A relationship that encourages and fosters dependency is a dangerous one.
Is disrespectful towards you
Make sure that your partner treats you with compassion and respect, especially when you are alone. Abusive people often put on a good show for others and may treat their partners like gold when in public. If your partner disrespects you, says nasty things to you, swears at you or calls you names when you are alone, then you can be sure that bigger problems are on the horizon.
These warning signs that often show in the beginning stages of the relationship. People with abusive partners frequently shrug off their partner’s bad behaviour and ignore their inner instincts. As a result they become attached and are enmeshed in the abusive pattern. Noticing the warning signs and removing yourself from the relationship early on will save you the heartache later.
Clinical Psychologist Annabelle Young has extensive experience in working with people with depression, anxiety (including panic), adjustment difficulties, stress, trauma, PTSD, bipolar disorder, low self-esteem, grief and loss, interpersonal difficulties, as well as alcohol and drug use issues.