10 Warning Signs That Suggest You're In An Abusive Relationship

Please note, before reading further: This article might induce feelings of anxiety for abuse survivors. I am discussing the warning signs for abusive relationships. I am sparing no detail. Viewer discretion is strongly advised.

How many of us have wound up in an abusive relationship, before we even knew what was going on? Whether you feel alone or not, the truth is that almost everyone has at least one relationship that completely blind-sides them. We either missed the warning signs, or just thought they didn't apply. On the other side, you look back and realize: They always apply. Even if you're positive this person "isn't like that", if you see the warning signs, you need to get out. You don't want to risk not being able to further down the road.

I've seen it too many times, people losing themselves in the shadow. It doesn't always lead to physical violence, but it doesn't have to either. You can lose your spirit without even realizing. You can completely fall apart before the pain even surfaces. But if you recognize the warning signs, you can save yourself a lot of pain.

Of course the warning signs differ from person to person. Not every abusive partner is going to raise a hand or punch a wall. That's an intimidation tactic, but it's very clearly a sign of abuse. The other signs, they aren't quite as clear. Sometimes, you may shrug it off as your partner "had a bad day". But knowing the difference between a warning sign and a bad day can possibly save your life.

I've sourced many websites for this list of warning signs that you're in an abusive relationship:

1. Quick Involvement

An easy-to-miss warning sign is when someone pushes for a quick involvement. They want to meet up quickly, instead of taking time to talk (assuming you're meeting online). They want to put a title on the relationship early on, instead of letting things progress naturally. While this can also be a sign of someone who is just excited to be with you, it's also a sign of an abuser. The idea is that they are "taking you" off the market, and claiming you. A cute idea, in theory. But scary in practice.

2. Jealous & Controlling

This one is a little more obvious. If your partner is jealous, it's usually a sign of their own insecurities. But many abusers will make that your problem, instead of facing the fact that it is within themselves. These people will also control how you speak, dress, act, etc. They want to be the puppet master, after all. You are nothing more to them than a toy on a string. If you stop doing what you're "supposed to", they will get bored and leave you behind. This may cause a panic inside of you, not wanting them to leave. As much as we associate that with love, it's actually closer to Stockholm Syndrome. The abuser convinces you psychologically that you cannot exist without them. Therefore, you become desperate to hold on to them, going as far as sacrificing everything about yourself to make them happy.

3. Isolation

These types of people will also limit how much you talk to/see other people. If you're a parent, this includes limiting communication with your children. They don't want you socializing without them, or at all in many cases. They want to stay home and watch TV. Sometimes, an abuser will play this off, like they want you "all to themselves". Again, cute in theory. You'll notice many of the abuse tactics are actually things we *want* to hear. But the way we envision these sentences is much more sincere. The way an abuser means those words is nothing less than terrifying - Do not convince yourself they are innocent comments. They never are.

4. Critical

An abusive partner is often a critical one.  They will comment on how you don't look "as good as you used to", or say they don't like your hairstyle. They will mock you wardrobe. They will tease you for having fragile emotions. They may even go as far as hating on the things you love (such as your hobbies or your pets). While each and every one of us have a critical side, an abuser is almost always using theirs. Everything from the small to the big is something they feel they have the right to analyse and judge. If someone is critical of something important to you, they just aren't compatible. It's that simple. Abusive or not.

5. Unrealistic Expectations

Another subtle sign of abuse is that your partner expects unreasonable things from you. For instance, expecting the floor to always be clean when you might have children or pets running around. Another example is expecting dinner on the table when you're busy running a household. Abusers never consider what you are doing in your own life, or how busy/sore/tired/depressed you might be. They only see you in terms of how you are improving their life. It's sad, but it's true. If you don't meet these unrealistic expectations, you're often blamed and judged.

6. Casting Blame

Abusers will always blame someone else for their own problems. They never take responsibility. That's not saying an abuser won't say "it's my fault I was so angry yesterday, and I apologize for taking it out on you." Some actually use the false apologies to catch you off guard. It's not just saying sorry, but acting it and not repeating the same actions. Someone who is consciously taking the blame will avoid making the same mistakes again. They will work on themselves. That's not an abuser, that's a human being. I mean, we all make mistakes. An abuser will blame anything and anyone. They will blame current politics for hating their job. They will blame you for the house never being clean enough. No matter what the problem is, it will always be someone elses' fault.

7. Easily Offended

Another sign of an abuser is that your partner is easily offended. You may comment about a lack of flavor is something they made for dinner and their response could be "then make it yourself next time". This is a typical abuse tactic, because you're instinctively going to apologize for offending them. Therefore, they win. No matter what the argument is, they will always win. They see to that by putting you in a mental cage that only they have the key to. Now, there are many reasons a non-abuser could get easily offended. Insecurities tend to make people more on edge, looking for their own flaws. Pointing out flaws to these people could send them off as well. If this is the only thing matching the list, it's probably not a cause for concern. Counselling or a deep conversation between the two of you might fix these issues. But this is only one of many things an abuser does.

8. Threatening

Never shrug off a comment like "I'm going to kill you next time" or "call me that again and I'll punch you". No loving relationship should ever involve threats of physical or emotional violence. An example of emotional violence is: "If you leave me, I'm going to kill myself". This is another psychological trap that forces you to submit to their will. No comment made with the intention of hurting/scaring you is every worth looking past. There is no excuse and no valid reason for saying something like that to someone. Period.

9. Past History

Most of us don't want to know where our partners' come from. But, if they have a history of abuse, that's something you want to know! It's proven that many past abusers are repeat abusers. Often because they didn't seek treatment, or something more serious is wrong. In many cases, abusers will refuse to admit there is something wrong with them, even faced with the legal proceedings. It can be hard to force someone like that into therapy. At the same time, therapy can do wonders to help undo that abusive behavior. However - Remember that it's not your responsibility to help someone. You may love an abuser and want to "see them through" their issues. But at the risk of putting your entire existence on hold, having to walk on eggshells in your own home, and having someone constantly checking your phone - ask yourself: is it worth it? The answer is no.

10. The Sex

Alright, so who doesn't like a little bit of rough-play in the bedroom? If the sales of 50 Shades of Gray are anything to go by, it's a popular fantasy. But, know the difference. There's harmless "playing around" and there's "this is getting serious". Many abusers don't care if they push your boundaries. This may mean trying something without asking you first. It may mean a bit of force. It differs from case to case, but they all have one thing in common: They aren't asking you. They take liberties without previous communication. This is because in the eye of an abuser, they don't care about how you feel, whether you're uncomfortable or not. They want what they want and are simply using you to get it.

Ladies and gentleman: An abuser is only USING YOU to get what THEY want/need. Love does not put you through this kind of emotional turmoil. If this is similar to what you're experiencing: It's not love. Maybe you love them, but I can tell you: They don't love you.

(Let's be honest though, many of them are incapable of feelings of love)

If you answered "yes" to two or more items on this list, you need to get out of the relationship. Here are a few resources that might be able to help you:

10 Warning Signs That Suggest You're In An Abusive Relationship 10 Warning Signs That Suggest You're In An Abusive Relationship Reviewed by Ali Larsen on July 22, 2017 Rating: 5

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