Warning Signs

Red flags & abusive characteristics
  • UPD: 03-17-14
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Potential male abusers will give you warning signs. If the abuse has occurred during dating, it is very likely to continue after marriage. Once physical abuse become a part of emotional and psychological abuse, it is likely to occur again and to escalate over time.

This is also true of emotional, mental, spiritual and financial abuse. Once he knows you are accepting his abuse, he'll keep on abusing you. Why would he stop? He gets what he wants and gets his own way each and every time. It's all about him and it always will be unless there is some type of successful, professional intervention. You cannot change his behavior. You can only change yourself.

You have the right to choose how you wish to live. You have the right to end a relationship anytime you want to end it. You have the right to decide to leave your relationship.

Be aware that with emotional and psychological abuse, the longer you stay, the more difficult it is to leave. This is mainly because the Cycle of Abuse wears you down day by day, incident by incident.

Sometimes the signs of an abusive man are blatantly obvious - right in your face. Most often, the signs appear as small isolated incidents. Remember, he doesn't want you to find out who he really is until he's got you hooked so he going to hide behind his mask of "The Perfect Man" or your "Soul Mate."

Unfortunately for you, by the time you figure out what's going on you are already suffering the effects of repeated abuse - making it difficult for you to assess your situation clearly. Your self-confidence, self-respect and self-esteem have all been damaged. This causes you to doubt yourself and warps your ability to make good judgement calls.

WTF? Pay close attention to your feelings - the little "twigs" - and fire up the horns and sirens when you experience the the "WTF" feeling. All of these are telling you something is way, way wrong. Learn to trust yourself and your gut instincts. If something doesn't feel right - it isn't.

Remember: Abuse affects every aspect of your life - abuse changes you.
Love is in the Air

Ideally, a good time frame to be alone and work on your recovery is two to three years. An old adage states that we should live through the four seasons before becoming involved with someone new.

The four seasons lay down a fresh life-page upon which to paint - providing you with valuable healing time to do your inner work; time to rebuild your life in a positive, healthy way.

If and when you do become involved with someone new, please keep in mind abuser's acting abilities. In most cases, you won't experience his abusive side until he's sure he has you "hooked." He'll be a chameleon - changing himself to become exactly what you want him to be - that's his ticket to winning you over.

Listed below are some clues to help you identify an abuser. Abusers generally exhibit the same type of behavioral patterns. If you learn to recognize those patterns and signals, you can help yourself to stop unhealthy relationships before they begin.

Abusive Relationship Warning Signs

The person in your life is warning you and telling you he has an abusive nature:

1) If he emotionally abuses you. This includes insults, belittling comments, ignoring you, or acting sulky or angry when you initiate an action or idea.

2) If he tells you who you may be friends with, how you should dress, or tries to control other elements of your life or relationship.

3) If he talks negatively about women in general.

4) If he gets jealous when there is no reason.

5) If he drinks heavily, uses drugs, or tries to get you drunk.

6) If he berates you for not wanting to get drunk, get high, have sex, or go with him to an isolated or personal place.

7) If he is physically violent to you or to others, even if it's "just" grabbing and pushing to get his way.

8) If he acts in an intimidating way toward you by invading your "personal space" [ sits too close, speaks as if he knows you much better than he does, touches you when you tell him not to. ]

9) If he is unable to handle sexual and emotional frustrations without becoming angry, sulky or withdrawing.

10) If he does not view you as an equal because he's older or sees himself as smarter or socially superior.

11) If he goes through extreme highs and lows, is kind one minute and cruel the next.

12) If he is angry and threatening to the extent that you are changing your behavior so as not to anger him.

Relationship Red Flags
  • Were you the 'love of his 'life', his 'soulmate' or new best friend within weeks?
  • Was he initially charming, saying all the right things, "mirroring" your hopes, desires, and feelings?
  • Is he jealous and possessive?
  • Does he have few friends or long-term relationships?
  • Multiple failed relationships?
  • Does he badmouth his ex or other friends?
  • Does he tell lies, big and small?
  • Does the relationship veer from hot to cold? Does he "Jekyll and Hyde"?
  • Does he have an unstable work history, frequent unemployment or job changes?
  • Do you find yourself "covering" for him, making him appear better than he really is?
  • Does he have constant financial problems?
  • Are people mad at him because he doesn't honor his debts?
  • Does he have a lack of realistic goals? A history of living off others?
  • Is he comfortable taking money from you?
  • Has he ever used your credit cards without your knowledge?
  • Does he make you feel guilty about your outside interests, time spent with friends or family?
  • Does he make you feel you're not good enough, that you're lucky to have him?
  • Has he ever humiliated you in public?
  • Does he withdraw love, friendship or approval as punishment?
  • Does he have a bad temper triggered by something seemingly insignificant? Do you often not even know what set him off?
  • Does he always shift blame onto you? Is whatever's wrong always your fault?
  • After raging, does he act like nothing at all has happened?
  • Do you ever feel "smothered" by him?
  • Does he ever threaten, hit or shove you, punch walls, break your things or call you names?
  • Is he always on the "outs" with someone?
  • Does he pressure you to quit or change jobs/friends/relationships/homes?
  • Does he have problems with authority figures?
  • Has he stalked anyone for any reason whatsoever?
  • Has he had Restraining Orders placed on him?
  • Is your self-esteem eroding?
  • Do you sometimes feel you're the crazy one?
  • Is the relationship affecting other aspects of your life?
  • Do you have a gut, "sick" sense that things just aren't right?
  • Do you sometimes wish it would just all "go away"?

[ Relationship Red Flags from Loser Rx by Clinical Psychologist Dr Joseph M. Carver, PhD.  Thank you for making this information available ]

Signs to Look for in an Abusive Personality

Many people are interested in ways to predict whether they are about to become involved with someone who will be physically abusive. Many victims do not realize that these early behaviors are warning signs of potential future physical abuse, such as the last four listed behaviors [numbers 13-16.] If the person has several (three or more) of the first 12 listed behaviors, there is a strong potential for physical violence -- the more signs a person has, the more likely the person is a batterer.

In some cases, a batterer may only have a couple of behaviors that the victim can recognize, but they may be very exaggerated (e.g., will try to explain hsi behavior as signs of his love and concern), and a victim may be flattered at first. However, as time goes by, the behavior becomes more severe and serves to dominate or control the other person.

Below is a list of common behaviors that are seen in abusive people:

Jealousy: At the beginning of a relationship, an abuser will always say that jealousy is a sign of love. In truth, jealousy has nothing to do with love, it is a sign of possessiveness and lack of trust. He will question the other person about whom you talk to, accuse you of flirting or be jealous of the time you spend with your family or friends.

As the jealousy progresses, he may call frequently during the day or drop by unexpectedly. He may refuse to let you work for fear you will meet someone else, or even do strange behaviors like checking your car mileage or asking friends to watch you.

Controlling Behavior: At first, he will say that this behavior is because he is concerned with your safety, your need to use your time well, or your need to make good decisions. He will be angry if you are late coming back from an appointment or a class, he will question you closely about where you went and whom you talked to.

As this behavior gets worse, he may not let you make personal decisions about your clothing, hair style, appearance.

Quick Involvement: Many people in abusive relationships dated or knew their abusive partners for less than six months before they were married, engaged or living together. Red flags if he comes on like a whirlwind, claiming, "You are the only person I could ever talk to" or "I've never felt like this with anyone before".

He will pressure you to commit to the relationship in such a way that you may later feel guilty or that you are "letting him down" if you want to slow down involvement or break up.

Unrealistic Expectations: Abusive people will expect their partner to meet all their needs; he expects you to be the perfect girlfriendfriend, the perfect wide, the perfect friend or the perfect lover. He will say things like, "If you love me, I'm all you need and you are all I need." You are supposed to take care of all of his emotional needs.

Isolation: An abusive man will try to cut you off from your support network and resources. He accuses you of being "tied to your mother's apron strings," or your friends of "trying to cause trouble" between you. If you have a friend of the opposite sex, you are "going out on him" and if you have friends of the same sex, he may accuse you of being gay.

Blames Others for Problems: He is chronically unemployed, someone is always waiting for him to do wrong or mess up or someone is always out to get him. He may make mistakes and blame you for upsetting him. He may accuse you of preventing him from concentrating on school. He will tell you that you are at fault for almost anything that goes wrong.

Blames Others for Feelings: He will tell you, "You make me mad," "You are hurting me by not doing what I want you to do," or "I can't help being angry." The truth is that he makes his own decisions about how he thinks or feels, but will use feelings to try to manipulate you.

Hypersensitivity: An abusive person is easily insulted, and he will claim that his feelings are hurt when really he is very mad. He often takes the slightest setbacks as personal attacks. He will rant about things that are really just part of living like being asked to work overtime, getting a traffic ticket, being asked to help others with chores.

Cruelty to Animals or Children: This is a person who punishes animals brutally or is insensitive to their pain and suffering. He may tease younger brothers or sisters until they cry.

"Playful" use of Force in Sex: This kind of person is likely to be abusive during making out or he may want you to act out fantasies in which you are helpless. He is letting you know that the idea of sex is exciting. He may show little concern about whether you want affection and may sulk or use anger to manipulate you into compliance.

Verbal Abuse: In addition to saying things that are meant to be cruel and hurtful, this can be seen when he tries to degrade you, curses you, calls you names or makes fun of your accomplishments. He will tell you that you are stupid and unable to function without him. This may involve waking you up to verbally abuse you or not letting you go to sleep until you talk out an argument.

Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde: Many people are confused by their abusive partner's "sudden" changes in mood - you may think he has a mental problem because he is nice one minute and the next minute he is exploding. Explosiveness and moodiness are typical of people who are abusive to their partners, and these behaviors are related to other characteristics like hypersensitivity. See Borderline Personality Disorder

Past Battering: He may say that he has hit girlfriends or wives in the past but the other person "made him do it." You may hear from relatives or past female friends that he is abusive.

An abusive person will be physically abusive to any one they are with if the other person is with them long enough for the violence to begin; situational circumstances do not change a person into an abuser.

Threats of violence: This could include any threat of physical force meant to control you: "I'll slap you," "I'll kill you," or "I'll break your neck." Most people do not threaten their partners, but he will try to excuse his threats by saying, "Everybody talks that way."

Breaking or Striking Objects: This behavior is used as a punishment (breaking loved possessions), but is mostly used to terrorize you into submission. He may beat on the table with his fists, throw objects at or near you, kick the car, slam the door or drive at a high rate of speed or drive recklessly to scare you.

Not only is this a sign of extreme emotional immaturity, but there is great danger when someone thinks they have the "right" to punish or frighten you.

Any Force During an Argument: This may involve him grabbing and pulling on your clothing, any pushing or shoving, locking doors or hiding the keys to your car or truck so you can't leave. He may try to back you up against wall, corner you and say, "You are going to listen to me."

[ Signs to Look for in an Abusive Personality © by Knoxville Police Department Domestic Violence Unit website. Thank you for making this information available. ]

Traits and Characteristics of A Violent Offender

One more time: If the abuse occurs during dating, it is very likely to continue after marriage. Once physical abuse has occurred, it is likely to occur again and to escalate over time. You cannot change his behavior.

You can only change yourself. It is not necessary to stay in a relationship of fear. You have the right to choose how you wish to live.

The list below provides you with some extremely valuable information. Use it to help you determine if the person you are dating is already an abuser or has the potential to become one.

  • Low Frustration Tolerance - Reacts to stress in self-defeating ways, unable to cope effectively with anxiety, acts out when frustrated. Frustration leads to aggression.
  • Impulsive - Is quick to act, wants immediate gratification, has little or no consideration for the consequences, lacks insight, has poor judgment, has limited cognitive filtering.
  • Emotional Liability & Depression - Quick-tempered, short-fused, hot-headed, rapid mood swings, moody, sullen, irritable, humorless.
  • Childhood Abuse - Sexual and physical abuse, maternal or paternal deprivation, rejection, abandonment, exposure to violent role models in the home.
  • Loner - Is isolated and withdrawn, has poor interpersonal relations, has no empathy for others, lacks feeling of guilt and remorse.
  • Overly sensitive - Hypersensitive to criticism and real or perceived slights, suspicious, fearful, distrustful, paranoid.
  • Altered Consciousness - Sees red, "blanking," has blackouts, de-realization or de-personalization. ("It's like I wasn't there" or "It was me, but not me"), impaired reality testing, hallucinations.
  • Threats of Violence - Toward self and/or others, direct, veiled, implied, or conditional.
  • Blames Others - Projects blame onto others - Is fatalistic, external locus of control, avoids personal responsibility for behavior, views self as "victim" instead of "victimizer," self-centered, sense of entitlement.
  • Chemical Abuse - Especially alcohol, opiates, amphetamines, crack, and hallucinogens (PCP, LSD), an angry drunk, dramatic personality or mood changes when under the influence.
  • Mental Health Problems Requiring In-Patient Hospitalization - Especially with arrest history for any offenses prior to hospitalization.
  • **History of Violence** - Towards self and others, actual physical force used to injure, harm, or damage. This element is the most significant in assessing individuals for potential dangerousness.
  • Odd/Bizarre Beliefs - Superstitious, magical thinking, religiosity, sexuality, violent fantasies (especially when violence is eroticized), delusions.
  • Physical Problems - Congenital defects, severe acne, scars, stuttering, any of which contribute to poor self-image, lack of self-esteem, and isolation. History of head trauma, brain damage or neurological problems.
  • Preoccupation With Violence Themes - Movies, books, TV, newspaper articles, magazines (detective), music, weapons collections, guns, knives, implements of torture, S & M, Nazi paraphernalia.
  • Pathological Triad/School Problems - Fire-setting, enuresis, cruelty to animals, fighting, truancy, temper tantrums, inability to get along with others, rejection of authority.

[ Traits And Characteristics Of Violent Offenders © by Knoxville Police Department Domestic Violence Unit website. Thank you for making this information available. ]


A random selection of posts from our site:

Detecting lies » - Many abusers have a specific body language. It comprises an unequivocal series of subtle - but discernible - warning signs. Pay attention to the way your date comports himself - and save yourself a lot of trouble ...

Cycle of abuse » - This insidious, repetitious wheel will break you so smoothly, there's an excellent chance you won't realize you've lost yourself. For some people it may take years... but it will break you ...

Abused women speak up » - As you read, you will feel an unspoken connection with each one of these women on an emotional and psychological level. You will come across an experiences which mirrors your own ...

Rationalizing abuse » - Am I or am I not in an abusive relationship? It is often helpful to look at some specific questions that can bring abuse to light more subtly by getting past the minimizing, rationalizing and justifying ...

Leaving - think ahead » - Always remember: Safety First. Leaving an abusive partner is a very difficult thing to do. It frequently feels like you are failing, or destroying your family, or not trying to work things out, or not giving your partner a second chance. It hurts, and it's scary ...

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These people are here for you. Call them. Explain your situation honestly and openly. This is not the time to defend or protect him or to downplay the extent of abuse you are living with. The bottom line is that abuse is abuse - you don't deserve it.


If you need immediate help contact your local police department or emergency services. Hold him accountable for his actions. DV laws protect everyone. This includes you and all abused women. Claim your rights.

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You Deserve A Break

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    • His beard alone has experienced more than a lesser man's entire body
    • When it's raining, it's because he is thinking of something sad
    • His shirts never wrinkle
    • He is left-handed and right-handed
    • If he were to mail a letter without postage - it would still get there
    • The police often question him just because they find him interesting
    • His mother has a tattoo that says "Son"
    • He once taught a German Sheppard to bark - in Spanish
    • On every continent in the world, there is a sandwich named after him
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A random global spin is sharing this day with you:

Apr 2  World Autism Awareness Day

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Of Special Interest
  • Why do women stay in abusive relationships when it is so very obvious we should leave.

  • Loving and fulfilling or controlling and stagnating. Which relationship are you living with?

  • The quiz results will provide you with valuable pieces of your puzzle - leaving you no doubt.

  • Do you seem to have a pattern of abusive relationships? Find out what might be going on.