KNOWING the tell-tale signs of an abusive person could save you heartache and worse in your relationship.
Here are 10 signs to look out for, especially as you start your relationship:
1. Jealousy
At first, jealousy may be seen as proof that the person loves you. But really it’s not a sign of love – jealousy is a sign that the person is insecure and possessive.
If your lover constantly demands to know where you’ve been, who’ve you been visiting, or in other obsesses about you when you’re not with him/her, this is a bad sign.
2. Controlling behaviour
This can be misinterpreted as concern. The person will be constantly on your case about your safety, your decisions, what you do with your time.
But ultimately this is a way of oppressing you, as every step you make is controlled and judged.
3. Isolation
Abusers don’t want you out in the world, experiencing social relationships. They will demand you stay home, spy on your phone to see who you’re in contact with, and do their best to keep you trapped at home with him/her.
4. Refusal to take responsibility for feelings/problems
‘Blame-shifting’ is when a person refuses to recognise that they are the source of the difficult feelings or problems. The abuser will say, “It’s your fault I hit you – you made me angry”, and blame you for negative feelings like depression or sadness.
If something goes wrong in the person’s life – like they lose a job or argue with a friend – they will always blame someone else for the problem.
5. Oversensitivity
Most abusers are easily upset because they are insecure and don’t have confidence in themselves. Watch out for innocent remarks you make being interpreted as personal attacks.
6. Unwanted “playful” force used during sex
Being made to engage in forceful or violent sex is a dangerous sign. Also take note if the person started sex while you were asleep, or demands sex when you don’t feel like it.
7. Verbal abuse
An abuser will constantly undermine or insult his/her lover, both in public and private. If you are constantly being called “stupid” or being verbally humiliated in front of your friends, you could be heading for real trouble.
8. Threatening violence
This is a very important warning sign, especially if the threats of violence are made during an argument. Don’t accept any pushing, shoving, yelling in your face, or any other behaviour that makes you feel scared, as normal. They are signs of abuse.
9. Breaking or bashing things
An abusive person may smash your things or beat their fists on a table or a chair. Breaking somebody’s things is a way of humiliating and oppressing you.
10. Cruelty to animals and children
Abusers often also inflict pain and humiliation on those less powerful then themselves, such as animals and children. They are the kind of person who will tease a child until he/she cries, or viciously beat the dog. These are warning signs of a destructive personality you should take note of.