Warning signs of abusive relationship

The control freak clearly exhibits abusive signs. Controlling behavior is common among angry people. Abusive men and abusive women can be helped if they are willing.
There are many individuals we encounter in our lives and can readily identify them as being very controlling and manipulative people. However, when at the starting gate of an intimate relationship often these identifiable warning signs are blanketed with charm, good looks and good sex. Often it isn't until the relationship progresses into marriage and the honeymoon is over that the controlling behaviors fully blossom.

Warning Signs

There is a plethora of warning signs to be on guard for. Some signs are subtle, some are not. Jealousy is a huge warning indicator. Often behavior will be justified as signs of love and concern. If there has been a good level of communication then being interrogated about time spent with family, friends or on hobbies and interests is wrong. Constant “checking up” phone calls when you are out is also a warning bell.

Many victims of abuse knew their abuser less than six months before they were engaged or living together. Quick involvement generally means desperation to be in a relationship.

There may be an expectation to be the perfect spouse. They become very dependent for all their needs. The partner becomes the lover, companion, financial supporter, and the only one for spiritual and emotional support. When things go wrong then the partner is blamed for not living up to the perceived expectations.

Other Warning Signs

  • isolation, curtailing your social interactions
  • hypersensitivity, claiming their feelings are hurt when they are really angry, taking unrelated comments as personal attacks
  • aggressive sex, forced or violent acts during sex, demanding sex when you are ill or tired, refusing any form of intimacy, sulking or anger to manipulate the partner into sex
  • rigid gender roles, male abusers will see the woman as inferior, female abusers expect the man to fully provide for them
  • verbal abuse
  • drinking or substance abuse
  • history of violence
  • threatening violence
  • negative attitude toward the opposite sex

Why do they Abuse?

Not all abusers are bad people. More often than not they are individuals who had a very tumultuous childhood and still carry that baggage.
One common thread that runs through all abusers is that they are angry people. Most of the anger stems from:
  • witnessing abuse in the home growing up
  • growing up with an alcoholic (or drug addict) parent
  • being abused as a child
  • being a child of parents who had little or no parenting abilities
Many abusers are alcoholics or substance users as they become dependent to a substance to escape their pain. They control people in an attempt to gain a perceived greater sense of control over their life.

Some individuals who have experienced horrendous childhood abuse suffer from personality disorders.

Mending an Abusive Relationship

Every relationship is unique and therefore what solutions work for one couple, will not work for another. One thing is certain, no amount of intervention will work unless the abuser admits he or she has a problem and wants help.
Communication is essential. Talk about your feelings. Be sure to remove “you” and take ownership of your feelings. “I feel there is a problem” will provide more mileage than “you” have a problem.
If an abusive partner is wanting to change and save the relationship then start with talking it out respectfully. Chances are the abuser will need some form of counseling to overcome the childhood issues that linger. Start with a visit to the family doctor or to your clergy. There are numerous counselors that are fully qualified to help. When choosing a counselor be sure you feel a “click” right away.
Remember, there is always a root to abuse. Underneath the turmoil of most abusers is a good person.