If you argue with him, he says you’re stubborn.
If you’re quiet, he argues with you anyway.
If you call him, he says you’re needy and clingy.
If he calls you, he thinks you should be grateful.
If you don’t act like you love him, he’ll try to win you over.
If you tell him you love him, he takes advantage of you.
If you dress sexy, he says you’re a slut.
If you don’t dress nice, he says you look bad.
When you don’t sleep with him, he says you don’t love him.
If you do sleep with him, he only does it the way he likes it.
If you tell him your problems, he says you’re bothering him,
If you don’t, he says you don’t trust him.
If you try to bring up a problem, he says you’re bitching.
If he brings up a problem, he yells.
If you break a promise, you “can’t be trusted”.
If he breaks it, it’s because “he had to”.
If you cheat, he wants to punish you by locking you up or beating you.
If he cheats, he expects to be given another chance.
COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF EMOTIONAL ABUSERS
* He was verbally abused as a child, or witnessed it in his own family.
* He has an explosive temper, triggered by minor frustrations and arguments.
* Abusers are extremely possessive and jealous. They experience an intense desire to control their mates.
* His sense of masculinity depends on the woman’s dependency upon him. He feels like a man only if his partner is totally submissive and dependent on him.
* Abusers often have superficial relationships with other people. Their primary, if not exclusive, relationship is with their wife/girlfriend.
* He has low self-esteem.
* He has rigid expectations of marriage (or partnership) and will not compromise. He expects her to behave according to his expectations of what a wife should be like; often the way his parents’ marriage was, or its opposite. He demands that she change to accommodate his expectations.
* He has a great capacity for self-deception. He projects the blame for his relationship difficulties onto his partner. He would not be drunk if she didn’t nag him so much. He wouldn’t get angry if only she would do what she’s supposed to do. He denies the need for counseling because there’s nothing wrong with him. Or he agrees to get counseling and then avoids it or makes excuses to not follow through. He might not want her to get counseling because, he reasons, she wouldn’t have any problems if she only turned to him.
* He may be described as having a dual personality — he is either charming or exceptionally cruel. He is selfish or generous depending on his mood.
* A major characteristic of abusers is their capacity to deceive others. He can be cool, calm, charming and convincing: a con man.
* The mate is usually a symbol. The abuser doesn’t relate to his partner as a person in her own right, but as a symbol of a significant other. This is especially true when he’s angry. He assumes that she is thinking, feeling, or acting like that significant other — often his mother.
Red Flags for Abusive Relationships
The following is a list of warning signs for potentially abusive relationships. They are presented as guidelines and cues to pay attention to, not as judgments on the worth of the other person.
Question relationships with partners who:
* Abuse alcohol or other drugs.
* Have a history of trouble with the law, get into fights, or break and destroy property.
* Don’t work or go to school.
* Blame you for how they treat you, or for anything bad that happens.
* Abuse siblings, other family members, children or pets.
* Put down people, including your family and friends, or call them names.
* Are always angry at someone or something.
* Try to isolate you and control whom you see or where you go.
* Nag you or force you to be sexual when you don’t want to be.
* Cheat on you or have lots of partners.
* Are physically rough with you (push, shove, pull, yank, squeeze, restrain).
* Take your money or take advantage of you in other ways.
* Accuse you of flirting or “coming on” to others or accuse you of cheating on them.
* Don’t listen to you or show interest in your opinions or feelings. . .things always have to be done their way.
* Ignore you, give you the silent treatment, or hang up on you.
* Lie to you, don’t show up for dates, maybe even disappear for days.
* Make vulgar comments about others in your presence
* Blame all arguments and problems on you.
* Tell you how to dress or act.
* Threaten to kill themselves if you break up with them, or tell you that they cannot live without you.
* Experience extreme mood swings. . .tell you you’re the greatest one minute and rip you apart the next minute.
* Tell you to shut up or tell you you’re dumb, stupid, fat, or call you some other name (directly or indirectly).
* Compare you to former partners.
Some other cues that might indicate an abusive relationship might include:
* You feel afraid to break up with them.
* You feel tied down, feel like you have to check-in.
* You feel afraid to make decisions or bring up certain subjects so that the other person won’t get mad.
* You tell yourself that if you just try harder and love your partner enough that everything will be just fine.
* You find yourself crying a lot, being depressed or unhappy.
* You find yourself worrying and obsessing about how to please your partner and keep them happy.
* You find the physical or emotional abuse getting worse over time.
Adapted from the Domestic Abuse Project (http://www.domesticabuseproject.org)