What are the signs of abuse to watch out for when you meet a new guy or gal? We know you cannot tell who will abuse you by looking at them. Well, if she’s wearing a bathrobe, dirty slippers and has a cigarette in one hand and whiskey in the other…you may assume she might abuse you. Or, if he smells like alcohol, thinks he’s God’s gift to women and displays tasteless tattoos degrading women on his sleeveless arms…you could assume he might abuse you.
But those stereotypes don’t work in the real world. Most likely, the new person in your life will sweep you off your feet and make you feel like a million bucks before taking off the mask and revealing the abuser within.
For some time after leaving abuse, many former domestic violence victims find it difficult to trust other people, especially other people of the same sex as their abuser. Actually, it isn’t so much “the other people” we don’t trust. Really, we survivors find it difficult to trust our judgment of other people. Our abuser horribly deceived us. What’s to keep it from happening again? For now, lets focus on “the other person” instead of our inability to trust ourselves.
These red flags may take some time to show themselves to you, and that is a great reason to take things slowly and get to know the other person before deciding that you are in love.
12 Signs That Your New Partner Will Abuse You
- They abuse you in any way during your dating period. If they abuse you while you’re dating, they will abuse you worse after you’re married. It’s a fact – no one changes because they promised to love, honor and cherish you. It’s up for debate whether abusers know what those words mean or not. Perhaps abusers know what the words mean, they just don’t mind lying in front of God and everybody. Either way, you’re headed for a nightmare. Want to be sure it’s abuse? Check out the quiz.
- They have a horrible temper. If you think their temper will never be directed at you, think again. Eventually you will be on the receiving end. Watch how men handle themselves – are they always looking for a fight? Abusive women could partake in brawls too, but that is less common. Even so, a “cat fight” indicates violence directed at you in the future. Watch each gender to see how they respond to anger. Do they want revenge or do they want to solve the problem?
- They have a sarcastic or cruel sense of humor. Abusers adore using cruel sarcasm to cut people down. Sarcasm coupled with the absence of other sorts of humor is a telling sign of future abuse. If your partner cannot laugh at innocent jokes, silly faces, slapstick or any other sort of humor, then they could be abusive. “Aw, come on, I was just teasing!” is verbal abuse disguised as a joke.
- They blame someone or something for their every problem. Abusive people do not take responsibility for their personal problems. Someone is out to get them. Something made them make a wrong decision. Everyone and everything “makes” them have problems. If left to their own devices, they would have the perfect, problem-free life (or so they think).
- They use or abuse substances, then blame their behavior on the substance. Abusers will say things like, “Hey, I was drunk and didn’t know what I was doing,” or “You can’t expect me to act like normal when I’m high.” These excuses are bullshit. Did you know that if you ask an intoxicated person “What happened here?” before they black out, they will know what happened? After they awake from a black out, they won’t remember. This little fact tells you that everyone knows what they’re doing when they’re drunk. Intoxicating substances lower inhibitions. Intoxicated people aren’t afraid to be themselves. Abusers aren’t afraid to let their monsters show when they’re intoxicated.
- They are prejudiced against people who are not like them. If your partner cannot stand people of a different religion, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, etc., then your partner has the ability to cut down a human being to less than what they are. You, the intimate partner, probably have similar interests to them, but in time your differences will become your partner’s focus. Your partner will try to make you like themselves, and when you don’t conform, you will become the object of hate and ridicule they normally reserve for “the others”. Abusers show a sense of entitlement – because they are “special” in their own minds, they feel they deserve more than other people. Especially other “types” of people.
- They are jealous of others who show you attention of any kind. Yes, some people find it flattering when their partner gets jealous. Some even go out of their way to try to make their partner jealous as a test of love (by the way, this is manipulative and you need to stop doing it if you do). However, jealousy is a hallmark emotion of an abusive person, and it doesn’t happen because they love you. Abusers act jealous when they feel threatened. The true emotion is fear that the interloper may “take you away” as if you are a possession. Or worse, the object of their jealousy could show you the abuser’s game. Soon enough, you will receive the wrath of your partner’s jealousy in the form of accusations of infidelity – and you won’t be able to convince them otherwise.
- They don’t “like” your family or think your friends are bad for you. This is “loving abuse” in which the abuser initially tries to convince you that you deserve better than the friends/family you have currently. Later on, you could face your partner’s anger and revenge for seeing the people he doesn’t “like”. Jealousy and not liking your current set of social contacts go together like peanut butter and jelly. Both serve to isolate you from anyone you could ask for help later on when the abuse worsens.
- They mistreat or are cruel to animals. People who mistreat animals or pets will abuse you eventually. Animals are the most innocent creatures among us. Anyone who would abuse an animal will have no problem abusing you, a less-innocent creature. Abusers may keep pets just to have someone on whom they can take out their frustrations. Look for signs of physical abuse, but also pay attention to possible malnutrition, lack of reasonable veterinary care, or people who hunt game out of blood-lust.
- They threaten you. If your partner holds a butter knife to your throat, they could hold a butcher knife to your throat. If your partner points a gun at you “in fun” then they will point the same gun at you in anger. If your partner play-acts strangling you, then…well, you get the picture. Your partner’s body is their most available weapon. Therefore, if your partner stares at you in a threatening manner, you can be sure they will eventually use their body to carry out your “punishment” for disobedience. And if I’ve said it once I’ve said it ten times: do not tolerate women who slap, punch and hit. Women are as dangerous as men (waiting behind a corner with a frying pan, attacking you in your sleep,…). Women are not pansies and we demand equal treatment! Dump us if we hit you!
- They say one thing and do another. Anytime someone talks the talk but can’t walk the walk, then there is a problem. We all make mistakes, but the abuser does not take responsibility for their mistakes. An abusive person can lie through their teeth while demanding your complete honesty because they “had to lie” for some reason other than the fact that they’re a liar. You don’t get that same luxury. Abusers also like to demand your respect while not giving you any in return. They’ll also say, “I’ll never do it again” and then, you got it, do it again.
- They are quick to commit to you. Dr. Joseph Carter, PhD, says abusers have “very shallow emotions and connections with others…It’s true that we can become infatuated with others quickly – but not make such unrealistic promises and have the future planned after three dates. The rapid warm-up is always a sign of shallow emotions which later cause [your partner] to detach from you as quickly as they committed.” You decide when it is okay to say, “I love you.” You decide when it is okay to believe it when someone says it to you. (Watch a short video about commitment to abusive people.)