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Early signs of abuse???


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Curious as to what the early signs of a controlling man are.


Interested to hear from those who have experienced abuse themselves, witnessed it and counseled others through it etc.


Pretty much all of my past relationships have been abusive so I have no healthy relationship to compare my current one against.


Also would like to hear positive early indicators of a healthy relationship. Not just to look for in my partner, but to model myself on, as they say, you attract who you are. Just want to make sure I'm on the right track with my behaviour and who I'm dating.



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I think someone who is overly jealous or unreasonable jealous in the very beginning of a relationship is a big red flag.

Disapproving of your friends and family is another one

Someone who want to occupy your time to the exclusion of everything else. While it might be flattering to some a healthy relationship and partner will respect your need for personal space.


Any types of lies is a red flag as well even if they seem inconsequential it doesn't bode well for the future.


Someone who has extremely old fashion views of what a woman's place is (your the homemaker, you shouldn't be going out all the time with your friends, you don't need to go to college I'm the bread winner) those kind of men worry me


Edited to add: it's fine if that what the woman is fine with that its ok but anyone who tries to limit your personal growth is a worry

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Well, I've only had one abusive relationship, and I've only had one healthy relationship, so these are the major differences I've noticed:


The abusive one:

- told me within the first week of our relationship that we would get married

- told me I "wouldn't have time for other friends" now that I was with him

- very selfish, for example: wouldn't let me share his food but would steal mine

- would act like everything was fine around our friends, but would shame and humiliate me when we were alone

- would sulk or even cry when he didn't get what he wanted, in order to manipulate

- would deliver a balance of both compliments and insults

- would force me to drive him everywhere, and wouldn't give me gas money

- would give me "rules" to follow, but wouldn't follow them himself

- wouldn't let me go to my church, I had to go to his church

- OVERALL, I think the main red flag that I should have seen from the very beginning was that he tried to ensure that I never saw any of my friends or family. He wanted all of my time, and everything had to be on his terms. He would make sure that he took up all of my free time, and he would manipulate me in every way he could. But it was my first relationship and I didn't know better.


The healthy one:

- doesn't get jealous

- doesn't ever complain when I spend time with the other people in my life or try to get me to choose himself over them

- is generous

- never delivers insults, only compliments

- puts thoughts into his words and actions, and will be noticeably hard on himself if he hurts me by accident

- spends time with people in his life other than me

- sees me as an equal

- is patient and understanding of our differences

- OVERALL, he is not perfect, but he tries to be a good man, not only in regards to our relationship, but also in regards to the other parts of his life.


Abusers will try to make you feel special for a while, but then they will start to change, and you will feel trapped into staying with them even though you aren't happy. A healthy partner won't try to change you or your lifestyle, but will love you and will go out of their way to ensure that you are happy.

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First off, you need to be happy with yourself and love yourself before you could find someone whom will tr eat you with respect and love you. I'm speaking from past experiences. A healthy relationship is one with trust, good communications, compromise and balance.


An unhealthy relationship is when one of you is giving more than the other. I don't mean material things, I mean always compromising with what the other person wants and ignore your own needs. The list could go on and this will be a long story. So to make a long story short, you will feel loved and yes there will be arguments, but they will be constructive, it will not be calling each other names, hitting each other or any kind of manipulation or abuse. When any of those signs occur, it is a red flag and the relationship is toxic and has ran it's course.


There is a difference between being upset over an argument and being upset because you are abused. I suggest you reading some self help book on abusive, co-dependent relationships, you will get a clearer understanding. Good luck.

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I've only been in 1 abussive so I can only speak about that one. It's was mostly jeliousy. I never dealt with it before i didnt know the signs. Its nice at first cause you are getting alot of attention. They try to make them the center of everything. They say your friends are no good. Your vehicle is no good. Your job is no good. The place you live is no good. Your parents are no good. So basically everything sucks except for them. They try to alienate you from everyone and everything. They will accuse you of everything and anything. They will put your physical looks down say that no 1 else would like you. They will say you are the one with the problem and try to convince you of that.


Good luck.

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Majority of abusive relationships start off with over the top romance and THAT is your biggest red flag. Basically, majority happen in three stages:


Stage 1: He will chase you hard, tell you quickly that you are a couple, exclusive, that he is in love, talk about a future together even request to live together withing a short time. He may also romance you, treat you like a princess, buy you stuff, bring you flowers, etc., etc., etc. Again the issues is not the action but how much and how quickly he is moving with all that trying to unbalance you and sweep you off your feet and it works. For women who feel low about themselves, lonely or have a rom com ideas of relationship all that is irresistible and they are the perfect victim. Someone who is more grounded is actually going to get freaked out and suffocated from all that attention, not to mention they will not trust it. For example, someone who barely knows you as a person can't possibly be genuinely in love with you.


Stage 2: Slowly starting to chip away at your friendships, other relationships and your self esteem. This comes in many forms and it is slow and insidious. It starts out with little things. Like you are going to go meet your girlfriends and he may put on a big show how he had plans for you two tonight that were going to be a surprise and he is kind of hurt you'd rather head out, aka some form of guilt cloaked in caring about you. Then of course jealousy, which also may be cloaked with he is just being protective. Something along the lines of he trusts you but not other men out there who might hit on you. So the isolation starts out quietly and well disguised and after awhile you will find yourself not going out because you don't want to upset him or disappoint him, or make him worry, etc. Notice how you are taking on his issues as your problem? Once, he has you isolated, then comes the chipping away at your sanity and self esteem, changing your perceptions on what's right and wrong. The problem with that is that since you are now isolated, you have no sounding board to check your views and perceptions against, so what he says is right/wrong, goes.


Stage 3. Abuse, either emotional or physical or both. You see at this point you are still in love with the guy he pretended to be in stage 1, and you no longer feel good about yourself or think that you can live without him in stage 2, so now you are ripe for taking abuse because you have no place to go and it will be unleashed. Granted, if you find it in you to threaten leaving him, he will quickly go back to stage one to keep you hooked. Abuse is not constant, it's intermittent precisely so you are forever stuck on the idea that there are good times....when he is not beating you....so you keep sticking around.


So basically, to avoid bad relationships be highly suspect of anything going too fast. It may be flattering, the idea that you are so amazing that this guy is just instantly in love and see a future with you, BUT you better run away from that screaming. If you do make the mistake of getting involved, then have a firm rule for yourself - any sign of jealousy and he is out, any words of putting you down and you are out, and of course if he physically threatens you or actually touches you, you are most definitely out that second. NO and's or but's about that, no giving him any benefit of the doubt. You have to learn how to weed out that stuff ruthlessly for your own sake and well being.


Healthy - slow and steady. He will ask you on dates, do what he said he will when he said he will but no rushing into instant relationship, no declarations of love when he hardly knows you. Compliments are genuine - meaning that if you put in a lot of effort to look great for the date, he'll tell you look great. It's a real compliment that you actually earned rather than empty flattering on the basis of nothing. He will have a life of his own, friends, hobbies, etc. and while he spends his time doing that, he will expect you to do the same - go pursue your own interests, hang out with your friends, spend time with family, etc. In other words, there is a balance of time spent together and time spent apart. No tantrums, no guilt trips, no fake concern about you because he respects the fact that you are an adult and perfectly capable of handling yourself. He won't put you down or tell you that you can't do better than him or live without him. Conflicts will be resolved more through conversation and discussion rather than fights where he has to win.

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Dancing Fool pretty much nailed it. I don't think I can add anything to that, and I worked at a women's shelter for years so yeah I know the signs. But here's my own take on it based on my own experiences.


One of the number one things I'd tell women AND men (yes, men get abused too, way more than anyone ever wants to talk about or think) is to watch out for the person who ignores your boundaries and wishes. It's a really subtle thing, but it's something most everyone picks up on and then tries to explain away. The sudden unreasoning jealousy (they yell at you for eyeballing that clerk in the store, the waiter/waitress, get angry when your brother or boss calls) or the insistence you go here, do this, dress only this way and not that, must eat only this and not that OR insist they're moving in with you, want to see where you live, push you hard to come over to their place, insist you are the grand love of their life when you don't even know each other etc.


All while ignoring your comments, refusals and or asking for more time or that you don't like what they've done or said.


The ignoring what you say is the integral thing. They don't respect your boundaries and that will be very clear, early on, if you speak up and don't just stay silent knowing it'll upset them. Which is again, yet another red flag. If you don't feel comfortable saying no, if you can't say no or are afraid to say no - something is wrong. Very wrong.


Listen to yourself and listen to the person in front of you and neither gloss over or try to read anything else into what they're saying, but what they're saying. If they brag about hurting someone, if they think misfortune is funny, if they are rude to the person waiting on you or the clerk or anyone in a service position walk away right then and there.


Most of all, listen to yourself, to your own instincts. I see way too many people on this forum who will go on to describe some big red flag of someone who is not respecting their boundaries, pushing too hard, or showing signs of being irrational about something and the person knows this is a problem, BUT because the first meeting went so well or they're just hungry for it to work they then go on to discredit their own feelings in the matter. And that is something you should never do, because your feelings count first. If you don't want to go out with that guy that keeps pestering you then don't. If you don't like that girl telling you that from now you aren't going back to that restaurant, because the waitress was eyeing "her man" all night and it's a first date, then don't do what she says. Heck, don't even call her again.


Every single person that ever walked through the doors of the clinic I worked in said the same thing over and over. "I knew something was off from the start, but I chose to ignore the signs and thought I was the problem instead."


So my biggest piece of advice is listen to yourself first, not anyone else, yourself. People are glib, it's easy for someone else to tell you, "Relax, why not give him/her a chance. You're too picky" Or "I'm sure you're just imagining things..." Or even "Wow, if he's this jealous of you and wanting to move in he must really love you, he's cute, you'd be crazy not to say yes."


Don't listen to others, listen to what your gut is telling you. I have yet to ever meet someone who told me, "Well, I followed my instincts and cut that person out of my life and found out later they were just a really great person and I was paranoid for no reason." But I have met way too many people who have said the exact opposite. And over and over again I've heard, "I should have listened to myself." So listen always to yourself first.

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Hi everyone, thanks for your replies.


My gut feeling actually is a good one overall, entirely different in fact to the feeling I had (even just two weeks in) about my ex, who was very manipulative and abusive. Lots of things he did, I knew were totally wrong at the time but I made excuses, told myself if only I did this he wouldn't react that way or he's just like that because of his past/family and he will change when he learns to trust me. Actually cringeworthy.


Just occasionally when something he does makes me think OMG!!! Somebody controlling would do that, I start analysing every tiny detail of what he does and overlooking the positives.


I decided to look back on my previous correspondence with him against all the details of everybody's description of abusive behaviour signs and tbh I feel a bit like I was over thinking it. There isn't that much to go on and some of it contradicts the signs mentioned.


However!!! My ex also was totally opposite most of the main signs mentioned in this thread so I'm not sure I feel reassured in that instance.


I think I need to take a step back, gather my thoughts, continue to pay attention and ensure I am firm with my boundaries as I have struggled with that before. I am going to write down a list of his characteristics and types of behaviours he displays, pro's and cons if you will and see how I feel about it when they are in black and white in front of me.


I also need to bring up my fear of men with my counsellor as it has got worse despite being split from my ex for about a year and a half. I'm starting to see that my past relationship is starting to affect me very much in my everyday life. I really don't want to bring it into this relationship, perhaps it already is?


I understand how ridiculous this must sound. I really ought to be enjoying getting to know this man, not analysing every other breath he takes for signs he might turn out like my ex lol

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  • 3 weeks later...


Here you have the ultimate reply to your OP.




Thanks, I read it shortly after you posted and was happy to find that more of his personality traits contradict the warning signs in the article, than correlate with them.


Will re-read it to see if things have altered at all.

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