OP: Warning signs - written for the ladies...

It is an unfortunate fact that the majority of women have suffered some kind of abuse at the hands of men at one time or another. While it is true that one person cannot know everything about another person, there are some things you can guess at with a fair degree of accuracy. If someone doesn’t seem quite right, chances are that hethat he isn’t ‘quite right’.
It is sometimes possible to predict the likelihood of the person you are currently or are about to become involved with of being abusive. Below are a list of behaviors and traits which are common in abusive personalities. These are commonly known as Warning Signs.

While not all abusive people show the same signs, or display the tendencies to the same extent, if you find that several behavioral traits are present, there is a strong tendency toward an abusive personality. Generally, the more signs are presenting themselves, the greater the likelihood of violence. In some cases, an abuser may have only a couple of behavioral traits that can be recognized, but they are verymuch exaggerated (e.g. extreme jealousy over ridiculous things).

Often the abuser will initially try to explain his/her behaviourbehaviors as signs of his/her love and concern., and the victim may be flattered at first, but, as time goes on, the behaviors become more severe and serve to dominate, control and manipulate the victim.

At the beginning of a relationship, an abuser will always say the that their jealousy is a sign of their love. He/she may question you about whom you have spoken to or seen during the day, may accuse you of flirting, or be jealous of time you spend with family, friends, children or hobbies which do not include him/her. As the jealousy progresses, he/she may call you frequently during the day or drop by unexpectedly. He/she may be unhappy about or refuse to let you work for fear you'll meet someone else, check the car mileage or ask friends to keep an eye on you. Jealousy is not proof of love, it is a sign of insecurity and possessiveness.

Controlling Behaviour
This behaviour is often disguised or excused as concern. Concern for your safety, your emotional or mental health, the need to use your time well, or to make sensible decisions. Your abuser may be angry or upset if you are 'late' coming back from work, shopping, visiting friends, etc., even if you told him/her you would be back later back than usual. Your abuser may question you closely about where you were, whom you spoke to, the content of every conversation you held, or why you did something he/she was not involved in. As this behaviour gets worse, you may not be allowed to make personal decisions about the house, clothing, going to church, or how you spend your time or money. You may even be made to ask for permission to leave the house or room. Alternately, he/she may theoretically allow you your own decisions, but penalize you for making the wrong ones. Concern for our loved ones to a certain extent is normal but- trying to control their every move is not.

Quick Involvement
Many victims of abuse dated or knew their abuser for less than six months before they were engaged or living together. The abuser will often claim 'love at first sight', that you are 'made for each other', or that you are the only person whom he could ever talk to so openly, feel so at home with, could understand him so well. He/she may tell you that they have never loved anyone so much or felt so loved by anyone so much before, when in reality you have really only known each other for a short amount of time. He/she needs someone desperately, and will pressure you to commit to him/her or make love before you feel the relationship has reached 'that stage'. He/she may also make you feel guilty for not committing yourself to him/her.

Unrealistic Expectations
The abuser may expect you to be the perfect husband, wife, mother, father, lover, and friend. He/she is very dependent on you for all his/her needs, and may tell you he/she can fulfill all your needs as lover, friend, and companion. Statements such as: :'”lf you love me”, “I'm all you need.”', and “'You are all I need.'” are common. Your abuser may expect you to provide everything for him/her emotionally, practically, financially or spiritually, and then blame you for not being perfect or living up to expectations.

The abuser may try to curtail your social interaction. He/she may try to prevent you from spending time with your friends or family and demand that you only go places 'together'. He/she may accuse you of being 'tied to your mother's apron strings', ‘not be committed to the relationship’, or view people who are your personal friends as 'causing trouble' or 'trying to put a wedge' between you. He/she may want to live in the country without a phone, not let you use the car, stop you from working, or gaining furthering your education, or qualifications.

Blame-shifting for Problems
Very rarely will an abusive personality accept responsibility for any negative situation or problem. If they are unemployed, can't hold down a job, were thrown out of college or University, or fall out with their family, it is always someone else's fault. They may feel that someone is always doing them wrong, or out to get thiem. He/she may make a mistakes and then blame you for upsetting him/her or preventing him/her from doing as they wished to do.

Blame-shifting for Feelings
The abuser will deny that any feelings stem from within him/her. but he/she will see these feelings as reactions to your behaviour or attitude toward him/her. He/she may say things such as; 'you make me mad', 'you're hurting me by not doing what I ask', or that he/she cannot help feeling mad, upset, etc. Feelings may be used to manipulate you, i.e. 'I would not be angry if you didn't ...' Positive emotions will often also be seen as originating outside the abuser, but are more difficult to detect. Statements such as 'You make me happy' or 'You make me feel good about myself' are also signs that the abuser feels you are responsible for his/her sense of well-being. Either way, you become in his/her mind you become the cause of all feelings both good and bad. Therefore transferring responsibility for his/her emotional well-being and happiness.

Most abusers have very low self-esteem and are therefore easily insulted or upset. They may claim their feelings are 'hurt' when they are really angry, or take unrelated comments as personal attacks. They may perceive normal set-backs (having to work additional hours, being asked to help out, receiving a parking fine, etc.) as grave personal injustices. They may view your preference for something which differs from their own as a criticism of their taste and therefore themselves (e.g. blue wallpaper rather than pink, etc.).

Cruelty to Animals
The abuser may punish animals brutally, be insensitive to their pain or suffering, or neglect to care for them to the point of cruelty. There is a strong correlation between cruelty to animals and domestic violence which is still being researched.

Cruelty to Children
The abusers unrealistic expectations of their partner are often mirrored in their attitude toward children. He/she will think of children as 'small adults' and blame the children for not being responsible, having common sense, or understanding. He/she may expect children to be capable of things far beyond their ability (e.g. is angry with a two-year old for wetting their pants or being sick on the carpet, waking at night or being upset by nightmares) and will often meet out punishments for 'naughtiness' the child could not be aware of. Abusers may tease children until they cry, or punish children much further, way beyond what could be deemed appropriate. He/she may not want children to eat at the table, expect them to stay quiet, or keep to their room all evening while he/she is at home. Since abusers want all your attention focused on themselves, they resent your spending time with the children or any normal demands and needs the children may have. There is a very strong link between Domestic Violence and Child Abuse.

To be continued...


Posted: 08 Oct 21:16


'Playful' use of Force in Sex
He/she may pressure you to agree to forceful or violent acts during sex, or want to act out fantasies where in which you are helpless. A male abuser may let you know that the idea of "rape" excites him. He/she may show little concern about whether you want to have intercourse or not and can uses sulking or anger to manipulate you into compliance. Starting sexual activities while you are sleeping, demanding sex when you are ill or tired, or refusing any form of intimacy unless you are willing to go 'all the way', can all be signs that he/she could be sexually abusive or sexually violent. This could lead to forcing you into sexual behaviors and situations with which you may be uncomfortable.

Rigid Sex Roles
Abusers usually believe in stereotypical gender roles. A man may expect a woman to serve him, stay at home, obey him in all things-even things that are to the point of criminal behaviors. A male abuser will often see women as inferior to men, more stupid, less intelligent, and unable to live as a whole person without being in a relationship. Female abusers may expect the man to provide for them entirely, shifting the responsibility for her well-being onto him, or heckle him as being 'not being a real man' if he shows any interpreted weakness or emotion.

Verbal Abuse
In addition abusers tend to saying things that are meant to be cruel and hurtful, which they will do either in public or in private setting. This type of abuse can include degrading remarks, belittling comments, or trivializing any accomplishments. Often the abuser will tell you that you are 'stupid and could not manage without him/her. He/she may keep you up all night to '’sort this out once and for all’' or even wake you at night to continue his/her verbal assault. The abuser may even say kindly things to your face, but speak badly about you to friends and family.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Very rarely do abusers conform to the stereotypical image of a constantly harsh, nasty or violent person, either in public or in private. More frequently the abuser portrays a perfectly normal and pleasant facade to the outside world (often they have responsible jobs or are respected and important members of the local community or Church) and while reserving the abuse for you in the privacy of your own home. The opposite is equally as true; abusers are not always overtly abusive or cruel, but can display apparent kindness and consideration when they deem it necessary. This Jekyll and Hyde tendency of the abuser serves to further confuse the victim, while protecting themselves from any form of outside suspicion. Many victims describe "sudden" changes in mood swings -such as one minute nice and the next explosive or hysterical, or one minute happy and the next minute sad. This does not indicate some special "mental problem" but is typical of abusive personalities, and can be related to other secondary characteristics such as hypersensitivity.

Drink or Substance Abuse
While neither drinking nor the use of drugs are signs of an abusive personality, heavy drinking or drug abuse may be a warning sign and will increase the risks of abuse, especially physical violence, taking place. Often an abusive person will blame the drink for his/her abuse. However, a person who, knowing there is a risk he/she could be violent when drinking or on drugs, chooses to get drunk or high, is in effect choosing to abuse.

History of Battering or Sexual Violence
Very rarely is abuse or violence a one-off event: a batterer will beat any woman he is with; a sexually abusive person will be abusive toward all his intimate partners. Situational circumstances do not make a person an abusive personality. Sometimes friends or family may try to warn you about the abuser. Sometimes or the abuser themselves may tell you himself/herself that he/she has hit or sexually assaulted someone in the past. However, they may further go on to explain that "he/she made me do it by ..." or in some other way shift the responsibility and the blame on to the victim. They may tell you that it won't happen with you because "you love them enough to prevent it" or "you won't be stupid enough to wind me up that much". Once again, this is denying their own responsibility for the abuse, and shifting the responsibility for the relationship to remain abuse-free on to you. Past violence is one of the strongest pointers indicators that abuse will occur.

Threatening Violence
This would obviously include any threat of physical force harm such as "If you speak to him/her again, I'll kill you", or "If any wife of mine acted like John's did, I'd give her a right seeing to". But can also include less obvious psychological threats, such as "If you leave me, I will kill myself". Threats are designed to manipulate and control you, to keep you in your place, and to prevent you from making your own decisions. Most people do not threaten their mates, but an abuser will excuse this behaviour by saying or using one or more of the following rationales: "everybody talks like that.", maintaining that he/she is only saying this because the relationship and or you are so important to him/her, telling you that you' are "over-sensitive" for being upset by such threats, or obviously you want to hurt him/her.

Breaking or Striking Objects
The abusive person may break your treasured object, beat his/her fists on the table or chair or throw something at or past you. Breaking your things is often used as a punishment for some imagined misdeed on your part. Sometimes it will be justified by saying that now that you are with him/her, you don't need these items any more. Breaking your possessions also has the effect of de-personalizing you, denying you your individuality or literally trying to break links to your past. Beating items of furniture or throwing objects will often be justified by saying you wound him/her up so much that they lost control. Once again an example of shifting the blame for this behaviour on to you, and it is used to terrorize you into submission. Only very immature or abusive people beat on objects in the presence of other people in an effort to threaten or intimidate them.

Any Force during an Argument
An abuser may physically restrain you from leaving the room, lash out at you with his/her hand or another object, pin you against a wall or shout 'right in your face'. Basically any form of force used during an argument can be a sign that actual violence is a strong possibility.

Regardless of which side of this equation you are on - get immediate help NOW! There is no future in this kind of relationship. You will not change either him/her or yourself. It is in your best interest to just to leave. Get out of there and file a police report. Any sign of gentleness/forgiveness on your part will only be seen as ‘weakness’ by him/her and he/she will continue to press, berate, and badger you into coming back to him/her for more abuse. Just be done with him/her. If you are the abuser – get help. There is something seriously wrong with you that only a medical professional can help you resolve.

There are women who do dreadful things because they think they’ll hold onto their abusive man by doing them. These include killing their own children, kidnapping and abusing other women/boys/girls, looking the other way when their abusive mate rapes. These women need professional medical help as well.


Posted: 08 Oct 21:17

EEK, this is an excellent addition to our collection of informative articles. Thank you for writing it!

Your descriptions and explanations should help many insecure teens and young adults understand the need for developing self confidence and self esteem and the benefits for doing so. This reinforces what I often mention about relationships being equal partnerships in which two autonomous adults choose to join together in order to create and enjoy lives much greater than the sum of their two parts.

Rewarding relationships are not founded upon what we do to each other; rather, what we do with and for each other. Every person should wake up in the morning and ask him- herself "what can I do to make my partner's (girlfriend/boyfriend, husband/wife) life better today"--then go about making it happen. We must give in order to receive, not take in order to get.

As nice as the words sound, I disagree with those in Barbra Striesand's song in which she states: "people who need people are the luckiest people...." We all desire happiness and fulfillment and purpose, yet not at someone elses expense; not by tearing someone down--by building them up! A needy relationship with another person is not a healthy relationship.

I encourage you to pen an article on bullying both from a young girl's perspective and that of a boy's.

Well done,


Posted: 08 Oct 21:17

Thank you, Doc.

But while I can speak something about bullying from a feminine perspective, I really have no experience regarding the masculine perspective. My son was far too large from a young age to ever be subject to bullying. Being 6' 4" in the 8th grade tends to prevent bullying esp if you're physically confident. Only his certain knowledge that there would be hell to pay if his parents ever heard of it kept him from being a bully himself.

But I'll think about it.


Posted: 08 Oct 21:17

Thank you for writing this article, EEK. It's very informative, and hopefully the readers will take heed.


Posted: 08 Oct 21:25

Really nice article. Balanced and informative. Especially for those new to this life.


Posted: 08 Oct 21:26

I for my part would like to know the flipside. That is, the signs of an abusive or dangerous female partner. I think I've seen the neurotic psycho. But there must be other types to be avoided. I did see a website with this info in the past, but can't remember it right now... Doh!


Posted: 08 Oct 21:27

WSO - the warning signs are the same regardless of gender.


Posted: 08 Oct 21:27

I got a question... What would you recommend to someone who thinks they are being somewhat abusive and showing some of those signs but they admit to it and want to get help?


Posted: 08 Oct 21:28

I'm not EEK, but if you want to get help... Get help. A lot universities will have their own clinical psychologists on hand, so if you are a college student you can get counseling for free. Either way, counselors can teach you the "tools" (exercises and the like) you can use to keep your own behaviors in check. The important thing here is that the person you're referring to has a genuine desire to better themselves.


Posted: 08 Oct 21:28

Wow...what a great article. I have been in an abusive relationship myself, and was stupid enough (and scared enough) to stick around for nearly 9 months. Getting out of that has to be one of the greatest decisions I've ever made in my life.

Thanks EEK. Really great information in here.


Posted: 08 Oct 21:29

My husband has exhibited many of the warning signs outlined by EEK at the beginning of this thread.We've been separated almost 10yrs and he's wanted to reconcile with me many times over the years.He says he's changed but i know he hasn't.At the mere mention of divorce he gets defensive,changes the subject and slams the telephone down in my ear.He just can't seem to let me go,yet he says he loves me a great deal.I have told him that if he really loves me as he claims,then he should let me go.But he seems to have no intention of doing so.

raunchy gal

Posted: 08 Oct 21:29

17 of those fit a guy i know. he seemed weird always but i figured maybe a rough past and being misunderstood. So when he asked me out, i said sure. he was a close friand and i kinda liked him and wanted 2 give it a shot. 2 days later, the abuse began. I want everyone that reads this to know to not brush off any of these signs ever. And does anyone know a good way to end it with a guy like that? itd end in argument and idk how 2 handle that. What helps?


Posted: 08 Oct 21:30

Walk away and leave no forwarding address.
Answer no emails, calls, or letters.
Cut him out of your life immediately and completely.
Never look back and never give an abuser a second chance.


Posted: 08 Oct 21:30

Point the person toward help then walk the other direction as noted, above. Give him/her encouragement yet do not have any further contact. Why?

As Dr. Phil has stated many times: "the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior." In order to determine if a person's behavior has changed, give them two years and then make an evaluation.

My worry is that they may change sufficiently for everyone but the person they were involved with. For me no person is worth that much worry. Move on.


Posted: 08 Oct 21:30

I do not completely agree with EEK's list of warning signs because it fits some stereotypes out there of abusive men also there are abusive women even though not physical they get men out of control for being manipulative amd contolling leaving deep pychological scars that cannot easily be erased from memory.
Little is mentioned about .

I disagree in EEK's comment on men's views of Rigid Sex Roles I personally would not seek nor approve of my wife if she was bisexual but that is me.
Is there anything wrong with my demands or I am behind times now?
I do not put women down but one must understand that there are societal influences where different cultures under different standards. That does not necessarily follow that abuse passes undetected in other cultures but standards are not the same such as in other societies feminist activities are not that relevant as gendr base descrimination is not really evident. Competiveness between male gender and female or even between same gender is minimal. I do not want to bring extreme cases like Afghanistan but more like Israel, Italy,Spain do not exhibit and share the same charcteristic of people in the UK, Canada or USA for example.
In our case
What's inside women's psyque that inspite warning signs etc women stil are drawn to half asses and bad stereotypes instead of chosing the good guys?
Why do the often pick the wrong personality over a good one?
Is it because women subconsciously assume the role of motherhood and look at their men as a father figure?
Or is it because the look up to their father's figure as a good example of what their boyfriend husbands should be?

I grew up as part of an abusive family my dad used to slap my Mum quite badly sometimes duringa heathed argument not very often but the act was there. He also used his thick leather honing belt to finish his razor blades to belt me up with whenever he thought he had a reason to do me for bad behaviour or escaping his orders .
I was brought in that kind of household and other abuses outside home caused for many years in my youth I tended to drown my sorrows in alcohol.
I have never abused anyone physically not quite built had to put up with ignorant high schoold mates calling me all kind of names being of Eastern European descent did not have and advantage in a Latin American country if you were not German or Anglo Saxon then one would fit stereotype of a hated Jew or or someone East of Germany I was a worthless piece of shit.
Still when came to Australia though blue eye and blonde I still be considerd shit and be referred pejoratively as "wog" because of my non Australian accent and that went of for years where I developed some sort of psychaitric condition and panic attacks followed.
All is over now the wog sterotype dissapeared even Italians are considered as the best in the world
Well some of them anyway:)
Even my wife who battled cancer four times left deep scars when HRT wasn't working she threw different objects even knives at me for four years our marriage was a sham I felt like leaving her for good but I stood by her side for fourteen years until the very end.

Personally I am quite confident, more discerning and well built guy now I take what I like and how I like it still attractive some may say that I am a creep because I like much younger women 22 to 30 well that is true but I get them out of their own will so it is not abuse anyway:)


Posted: 08 Oct 21:31

Wow. You have issues.
First, why are you telling us all of this - if you're "over it"? Your father was an abuser - that's HIS problem. DON'T make it your problem.

Secondly, "women drive men crazy by being manipulative." This sounds more like "Hey, I can't win a verbal argument so I'll just beat her up to get my point across." - an excuse. One of those "she made me do it". IF that's the kind of person she really is then why are you still with her? Don't whine, walk. Notice: this is the same advice I give to women - if your partner's not listening, is abusive or not working with you to resolve issues - walk.

Third: there are stupid abusive bullies worldwide so the first thing to learn is how to NOT become their victim. Assesing situations correctly and getting yourself out of them is something you have to learn - it seems you just kept on doing the same old thing, re: your behavior, yet expected different outcomes. If that person does not matter to you then don't care what their opinion is, period. If they don't matter then neither does anything that comes out of their mouth.

All of this may sound difficult given your background, but by just changing your attitude, you can change your life...for the better.


Posted: 08 Oct 21:31

I myself have just recently kicked my husband out for domestic abuse....I am now a single mom of 6...yes i said 6...kids. But I took a stand for myself and my children....
However I am already involved with another man...and to be honest i already was before i kicked my husband out...he gave me strength that i needed to do what i did....
Unfortunately I am also paying the price for that too now cause my ex is telling everyone he can that i'm a whore...but I deal with it day by day...
I was married 15 yrs, and I don't consider it a waste cause of my kids and I still have a great body and spirit...and my real love will come one day...i'm hoping it's this man, but I may not be ready for that yet, too much healing i need to do first.


Posted: 08 Oct 21:32

I have been abused from my cousin and my parents NO ONE should deal with abuse..I congradulate you and your children. just imagine if he raised a hand to your children your whole family has healing and it will take time. I am glad you have the support just be cautious and hope the relationship goes well after self pleasure if you feel safe with your new relationship go ahead and try it out so you dont always have to have fun by yourself it gets boring afterwards trust me...


Posted: 08 Oct 21:32

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