Signs of An Abuser in a New Relationship
Do you know the signs of an abuser? Once you are ready to begin dating once more, make SURE you and your children never again have to face any kind of domestic abuse. It is important to heal yourself, and to know and understand your boundaries. Testing and attempting to invade your boundaries is one of the signs of an abusive man that shows up early. Also, you must improve your self esteem before beginning to date. It is critical that you use your past experiences and KNOW the warning signs of an abusive relationship. Seeing more than a couple of the below signs when you are dating allows you to exit the relationship early. BEFORE you, your kids or your pets experience escalation into traumatic domestic abuse of any kind.
It is critical that you break the cycle of attracting abusive partners. You must set an example of how a healthy relationship is to your kids. The below signs of an abuser may help you confirm that what happened in the “honeymoon” aka “love bombing” phase of your past abusive relationship was a textbook warning you were then unaware of. Like me, I bet you never thought to look up “What are the early warning signs of an abusive relationship?”.
PLEASE understand there are no mistakes in this life, only learning opportunities! Use your past experiences to arm yourself. Information IS power, so lets arm ourselves with what we need to learn. Nobody ever deserves abuse, and we NEVER need to go back to an abusive situation. What follows is a primer so you will know the warning signs of an abusive relationship.
Classic Signs of An Abuser in a New Relationship
Below are signs that your partner is likely to be emotionally, mentally and physically abusive. In ALL cases of abuse, the perpetrators will test your tolerances and boundaries and violence always escalates over time. All abusers have low self esteem, and there is a very high correlation between abusive behavior and codependency. If you recognize more than a handful of the below signs within the first 6 months of a blossoming relationship, exit stage left and keep yourself and your kids safe immediately!
You may want to print the following list and keep it in a safe place for review. Before you commit to a long term, exclusive relationship with someone- review it! These can be warning signs of an abusive relationship, so I beg you to be vigilant.
- The “Insta-Relationship”- If your new partner wants to cohabitate within 6 months of your relationship- watch out! In my case, because of circumstances, my abusive ex “had” to move in literally before we were even together! I wish I had known the warning signs of an abusive relationship before he ever moved in.
- Co-Parenting you children too soon. If your new partner steps in to discipline your kids quickly. Perhaps he does not respect your boundaries or agree with your parenting ideals. Maybe he wants to be a “father” to your kids instead of what a step parent should be- like a loving, fun uncle. GET OUT and protect your babies. My ex was telling me ‘how” I “ought” to parent my daughter within days- he hardly knew either of us! Let alone anything about my belief in attachment parenting and gentle, learning based discipline.
- The “soul mate scam”. I worked for my ex prior to our “relationship”. Exactly how he got into relationship with his wife before me! I know realize his “friendly boss” act was fishing for my limits. I will never forget the first “personal” call we had when he professed his “love” for me. Gross, because he recorded it! He made me listen to it on our “anniversary”- and by that time I was beginning to catch on to him. It actually freaked me out to realize that he had been mirroring me- I said I liked something, or had that experience and he jumped on with the “me too”. Oh, my prince charming, my PERFECT partner! My soul mate! Once reality hit- he wasn’t what he claimed in ANY regard. He just wanted to reel me in, like every predator.
- The “switch-o-change-o”- For example-you discuss getting together later in the week to stay in and have dinner and a movie date. You decide together on a netflix movie. So you plan a meal, grocery shop and prepare. He shows up and tells you he made dinner reservations and wants to go to the theatre and insists even though you have dinner in the oven and netflix primed up. When you express your confusion- HE acts confused and INSISTS it go his way.
- Invasive, controlling or manipulative behavior. He shows up at your workplace uninvited. When you are visiting a friend, he magically appears. He calls you at all hours. He text bombs you when he knows you are out spending time with others. Or, he may invent some kind of “emergency” he needs YOU to help with. You may think he is sweet to be giving you all that attention! The many “I love yous” and “I miss yous” seem sweet! Your helping type personality may have no problem running to his aid. He is just testing your boundaries and priming you- unconsciously or on purpose. It actually reveals his distrust and insecurity.
- 50 questions about everything! When you have been apart, or have a new interest, job, friend, car, haircut etc you feel like you are in a one sided conversation that is similar to the spanish inquisition.
- Isolation. He wants to be with you ALL THE TIME. He criticizes or is “teasing” in an unkind way when you want to enjoy your “girl time” by enjoying your hobbies or friends. Mine would never let me have a bath alone- my “relax me time” before bed after another busy day of work and mothering. When I asked for alone time, I was asked every 5 minutes “are you done yet”? Rather hard to RELAX! He also made it clear he did not want me speaking to or visiting my friends, and heavily criticized my hobbies and spiritual beliefs and prayer time. If he does NOT respect your normal and natural need for alone time- get out!
- The green eyed monster- He is jealous and possessive of you. He may say things like “I don’t want other men to notice you” or “are you sure that dress isn’t a little too tight”? When you dress professionally for work, he asks “why are you so dressed up?”.
- He angers easily and cools down slowly. He may sulk or give you the “silent treatment”
- His Romantic past is unknown or “fuzzy”- Do you know how he treated his previous exes? Does he say why they broke up? Does his explanation sound reasonable and respectful? Think about it- if you dated someone, broke up for whatever reason and got over it to begin dating again- would you not be more likely to say something factual and respectful like. “We had different goals but are still on friendly terms” or “She had trouble staying loyal, we had different values”. It ALWAYS takes two to tango- does he share ANY responsibility for the break up or was it all her fault? If he says a bunch of nasty, angry sounding things about his ex or calls her swear names- it is NOT a good sign. My ex said many distasteful things about his wife and mother of 2 children- whom he NEVER divorced.
- Respect for Women: Does he make krass or disrespectful comments about women in general? For example, a movie star on TV- he says something like “She has great tits” or “I’ll bet she is hot in bed”. Does he watch or use porn which is very disrespecting and degrading to all women. Just remember, when I man degrades OTHER women,,he is also degrading YOU, his Mother and his daughter.
- He is a selfish, self absorbed and self centered. Its always about HIM! Even though you are sick with a fever and gastro symptoms, he asks WHY you did not make dinner because HE is hungry! He hardly notices you are green about the gills. He tells you what you want, without asking for your opinion.
- Do as I say not as I do! Double standards much? He expects you and everyone else around to live by HIS standards, but he can do what he wants. Another example, he expects the house to be clean, but is a total slob. He buys whatever latest and greatest gadget he wants, but criticizes when you buy the kids new back to school items from the school provided list. BTW, its not recognized in the medical field, but in my experience narcissists are either completely disorganized slobs-their homes, cars and work areas are a health and safety hazard OR they are neat nicks. I believe it depends on if they are covert (slobs) or grandiose (hyper tidy).
- Alcohol and Drug Use- not necessarily full fledged alcoholic and drug abusers but inappropriate use of those substances. Does he drink as fast and as much as possible to “have a good time”? Or want to celebrate some “event” that may or may not be celebration worthy? Maybe he gets high on date night. If he won’t admit to being under the influence when you can tell he is- that is a strong yellow light. NOTE- alcohol and drug use will not MAKE an abusive man. However, there is a very high correlation between substance abuse and domestic violence. Unhealthy coping skills on both accounts. Abuse often escalates or is instigated when an abuser is intoxicated. Certainly the case with my ex, who has been using marijuana since he was a 13 or 14 year old teen. According to him! He was proud of it and maintained “pot was healthy”. Ummmm…
- He is always the victim. Everyone else is always to blame, and he doesn’t accept responsibility for his choices or actions. For example- You were LATE, that is why I yelled at you! My boss was a jerk! Thats why he fired me! This is one of the common signs of an abusive man. So watch what he says in everyday conversations.
- Denigrating or Inappropriate/Painful Sexual Contact- He cajoles you into sex and pouts or has a black mood until you comply. He asks you to do painful or inappropriate sex acts- my ex wanted me to “reenact” some of the very lude and dark “barely legal” porn he watched by dressing like a school girl etc. /and doing things I found repulsive etc. He would badger me and had no regard for my feelings or wellness. My therapist believes he should have been charged with rape, but in my culture such things are not spoken of.
In Conclusion of the Signs of An Abuser in a New Relationship
Know you know and understand the signs of an abusive man. If you shows signs of being an abuser, you can stay safe!
However, I know that having to stay in contact with a toxic and abusive ex can be very challenging. Understatement of the year! THey will lie, dramatize and scrap at every opportunity. Manipulative behaviors like gaslighting and fact manipulation will wear you down over time. Feeling drained of energy is a classic sign of an emotionally abusive partner. I remember getting a gigantic energy “boost” about a month after I have finally managed to leave him, when we were still blissfully “no contact”. The physical aches and pains practically disappeared without constant stress. So I understand how exhausting and wearing constant contact with abusers really is! They can really affect your self esteem and make you question reality.
No contact with toxic abusers can be the only way to prevent continuing emotional harm. Its awful when going no contact is impossible as you have shared children. This is why grey rocking, when you have certainty you want out of the relationship permanently is a way to protect yourself and your children from further abuse. Grey Rocking can be very effective if consistently applied over time to cause the abuser to lose interest in you as a target. When he can not get anything save boring, unemotional responses from you- he may give up and find a new target to feed his ego.
So, here is to your success and sanity!