Being young and in love is like a drug. You're willing to do whatever it takes to be with that person, to get the next hit. When you and your love are together, all is right with the world. The rest of the world starts may start to fade away. So many people have experienced this feeling. But what happens when a dark cloud starts to creep into that relationship? It may start out with small comments... perhaps expressing concern about a friend who you your partner feels you spend too much time with. Maybe looks of disgust or snide remarks after you express an opinion about a presidential candidate or a world event. All of the writing is on the wall, we just need to figure out where to shine the light.
RED FLAGS of a Potential Abuser
*They speak disrespectfully about their former partners
If your partner has a difficult time accepting responsibility for what went wrong in previous relationships, calling their ex names, or constantly blaming the other party for everything negative in the relationship, how will they react if things go sour in their current relationship? Do they call their ex derogatory names, or attack their character?
*They are disrespectful toward you.
If your partner puts down your opinions, or makes you feel like your opinion is not valid if different from theirs, this is a sign that your partner does not value what makes you unique. It may also mean that they wish to have direct control over what you think, say and feel.
*They do favors for you that you don't want or put on such a show of generosity that it makes you uncomfortable.
Many times when someone does something extravagant and unexpected early on in a relationship (expensive jewelry, paying rent, bills, etc), they may be doing this as a means to control you later on, or prove their value as a potential partner. For example; if they treat you unkindly, call you a derogatory name, or disrespect you in any manner, this show of generosity may be used as a means to redeem themselves later. "I can't be a bad boyfriend, look at all of the wonderful things I have done for you and all of the ways I have taken care of you". Money isn't everything.
*They are controlling.
This often begins in subtle ways; negative comments about your friends or family, pressuring you to spend more time with them, impatient when you don't share their opinions or take their advice. They may also feel that they are to be consulted about your comings and goings, or become easily frustrated if you don't text or call them right back. They may question your loyalty and your dedication to the relationship as a means to get you to check in more regularly. You may feel isolated and spend less time doing things you love to avoid getting into an argument or altercation with your partner.
*Their possessiveness masquerades as love. "I just can't stand thinking of you with another partner".
Jealousy is a normal human emotion. We all feel jealous from time to time. What matters is what you do with it and how you react to it. Many people think that if their partner is openly flirting with someone, than the natural course of action is to do it back to them so that they can feel jealousy in return. Do we ever want that for someone we love? Talk to the person about how their actions made you feel and see how they respond. Do they respond by respecting your reaction and trying to change their behavior? Think about your own reaction as well...
*Nothing is ever their fault or they are very self-centered.
If they have a hard time accepting responsibility for anything, then how can you ever compromise a dispute? Does your partner find a way to make everything bad that happens to him or her, your fault somehow?
*They use/abuse drugs or alcohol.
Substances do not cause abuse, but they do go hand in hand. When our brains are chemically altered, we are much more likely to have an emotional reaction, rather than a logical reaction. In other words it's easier to abuse, both physically and verbally.
*They pressure you for sex or want a "playful" use of force in sex.
Sexual aggression is not healthy. Period. Consent in a sexual relationship is vital. In a world where one in 4 girls will be sexually assaulted or the victim of intimate partner violence, we need to spread the message to everyone that our bodies belong to us. Permission and respect does not go out of the window once you are in a committed relationship.
*They get serious too quickly about the relationship.
Are they trying to create an emotion bond before you can assess their character? If they tell you that they cannot live without you after week one, they may be trying to get you to fall in love with them before you really know what they are all about. They might also need a kitten or a puppy.
*They intimidate you when they are angry
Do they get too close to you when they are angry? Do they poke, push, put fingers in your face, raise their fist, shout, put you down, make you feel afraid? Do they corner you so that you feel trapped, or punch the wall next to your head? This is just as emotionally damaging as someone hitting you. Many victims of abuse find it to be worse. After enough intimidation many victims find themselves not wanting to argue back, giving in to the abusers demands to avoid any type of altercation. This greatly diminishes your power in any relationship. Compromise is a huge part of love.
*They have double standards.
Men have negative attitudes towards women and vice versa. It may be perfectly fine for them to go out until 3:00am, but if you were to even dream of doing this, trouble would be sure to follow.
I have heard so many young ladies tell me that they feel that the "power of their love" can change a man. Girls saying things like 'I like the bad boys", or "I like to tame them" are all to common in high schools and college campuses and let's face it... with adult women too. The only one who you can change... is you. The fact of the matter is that if they are disrespectful to you on day 3, they will be disrespectful on day 300.
***No one deserves to be hurt. If someone is hurting you physically, mentally, or otherwise, please know that you do not deserve it, no matter what decisions you have made. It is never your fault. Please get help.***
CVAC Crisis Line: (607) 722-4256
National Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE(7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.
Rape Abuse & Incest National Network: 1-800-656-HOPE