“Hey! How are you doing?”
“It’s him isn’t it?”
“What’s wrong? What happened?”
“He hit me”
HE HIT ME…
Considering the number of times I have had such phone calls with women, I have come to realize there are certain traits and behaviours which all abusive partners portray. Abuse can be both physical and emotional. Emotional abuse is the hardest to recognize and unfortunately most victims tend to only realize they are in abusive relationships when it becomes physical.
Most abusers are excellent manipulators who are exceptionally charming!
Here are some of the red flags to look out for:
Gaslighting is a term obtained from a 1938 play titled “Gas light”. It is when one distorts or denies how things really are. It is often used by unfaithful partners. Victims of abuse almost never realize when the abuser is gaslighting them.
Examples of phrases that could be used by gaslighters are
“That was not me”
“You saw your own things. That doesn’t exist”
“How can you even accuse me of that?! “
They make one feel like what they are saying is totally ridiculous and they instill self doubt on their victims when in reality, the victim’s suspicions are true. They also tend to make a victim doubt their abilities. Gaslighting can turn the most confident, intelligent and successful people into timid, self conscious people who are fully dependent on their gaslighter.
Abusive partners are usually controlling. They want to be in charge of every aspect of your life. They will want to know about your friends and colleagues. They want to know where you are and who are with whenever you’re not with them. An example is a partner who tracks your phone or car. Regarding your career, the more they are involved the better. They would want to either work with you or you don’t work at all. They will quickly offer to “assist” with your projects, as a way for them to know everything you are doing and get your contacts & passwords. If they get an opportunity to, they will even take over your projects all together.
If you and your abuser have a child/children together, they will often use that as a way to control you. They will accuse you of not wanting the best for your child if you threaten to leave them. & if you do leave, they will still use the child/children as a way to maintain control in your life.
You’re always scared of making them angry
Abusive partners make their victims always feel guilty. One becomes unable to voice their opinions or ask tough questions out of fear of their partner’s reactions. Victims will often ignore the abuser’s bad habits and convince themselves that it is nothing to worry about. An example is a partner always showing up late at home. A partner might want to ask “Why have you been coming home late nowadays? ” But out if fear, they will not say anything and will just hope and pray that things will get better.
These victims always find themselves walking on egg shells and going out of their way to maintain peace in their relationship.
Abusers criticize their victims as a way to “reduce their victim’s power”. Confident people are hard to abuse, so they need to be “tamed down”. Abusers do this by making you doubt all that makes you feel confident: your appearance, your skills at work or your social skills. They may say things like:
“You are not that ambitious”
“I don’t think you can handle that job”
“My friends don’t like you because.. .”
“I don’t like your hair”
Sometimes the criticism is brutal…
“You are useless”
“You are ugly and fat”
It is OK for a partner to tell you things they don’t like, but an abuser will do it frequently. They will be quick to criticize anything you do wrong, but rarely or never compliment you when you do things right.
Oh you should also know that abusers tend to be allergic to apologies!
Abusers use punishments to make you a little puppet. You see how you give a dog a treat when they do something good and deny them a treat when they do something bad? Well, abusers do the same though with much more focus on the latter.
Abusers will deny you affection, money, sex and more when you do not act the way they want. An example is a lady who once told me that her baby’s father threatened not to financially support their child if the lady refused to be with him.
Nobody who loves you will make you suffer. In fact if they love you, they will make sure you are happy, even when you disagree.
If you suspect you are in an abusive relationship, please seek help as soon as possible. Victims who wait too long to get help tend to either end up being assaulted or killed. Abusers have a dangerous hot and cold cycle. When they sense you are on to them, they become warm and charming. However, this doesn’t last long. They will go back to their abusive behaviour. This is not an exaggeration, please be careful!
This article summarizes just a few signs to look out for in an abusive relationship. If you need assistance, please contact Pendotalk on 0707899947 and we will connect you to a psychologist.
Pendotalk will also soon start support groups for victims of abuse.