We’ve all heard the stories about the woman struggling to get out of an abusive relationship. Maybe at first you felt sorry for her and wanted to help. Then, slowly your frustration started building, and maybe you even started to blame her. When you’re on the outside looking in at a woman who stays with an abusive man, it’s all too easy to pass judgment and let yourself think, “ How could anyone be so weak?” Hopefully something like this never happens to you, but if it does, getting out might not be as easy as you think.
Most women think they can spot an abusive man, no problem. But identifying an abuser is oftentimes much harder than people realize. Abusive men don’t go around yelling, screaming, and punching walls. Instead, they’re charming, polite, and seemingly mild-mannered. Then one night they morph into a monster and you never saw it coming. Many women say that it’s like living with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and they never know who they’re going to get. Knowing how to recognize a dangerous man is a skill that all women must develop, and share with each other.
Harder to Spot Than You Think
During the very early stages of a relationship, an abuser is not likely to show his true colors. These men usually wait until the two of you create a bond. He will slowly start taking more and more control of your life until he has you completely believing in everything he says. Almost like cult leader. Usually these men are very intelligent and can manipulate a person without them even realizing. Believe it or not, there are ways to tell if a man will hit you one day. From now on, pay attention to the following behaviors in your guy.
1) “It’s All Their Fault”
Blaming someone else for your circumstances is a sign of emotional immaturity. Adults know how to take responsibility for what happens to them, and know how to step up and change their circumstances if they’re unhappy. Stable, mature people know how to accept their part of a bad situation. A man who blames everyone else for his problems, is a man who is utterly incapable of seeing himself as being in the wrong. It’s a window into his delusional thinking. Someone with an ego this big, could very well be dangerous one day.
2) He Seems Spiteful
Does he talk about “getting back” at people who have wronged him somehow? Does he love movies centered around the theme of revenge? Did he stiff the waiter because he thought he gave him a weird look? A man who quickly forms petty resentments like these is not someone you can trust, or feel secure with. Anyone caught up in “what the world owes them” is not someone you want to have in your life. A sign of maturity is the ability to recognize the fact the the world owes you nothing. You have to earn things like respect, money, and power. Nobody is going to just give it to you. A spiteful man could one day be a violent man.
3) He Wants You to Be Possessive Over Him
First of all, jealousy is NOT cute, or romantic, or sweet. It’s a serious emotion that can sometimes have deadly consequences. A man who wants you to be jealous and possessive over him is deeply broken inside. He most likely wants you to behave this way so that he will feel justified express his own possessiveness over you. Jealousy is an irrational, unpredictable emotion which is usually indicative of an unhealthy future relationship.
A real man will know how to show you he cares without having to become a crazy jealous person every time you talk to another guy. Jealousy is an extremely dangerous emotion, as it can easily lead to obsession and stalking. If you find that your guy is dropping subtle hints about how he likes his woman to be “protective” over him, or that he doesn’t think it’s a big deal to look through your phone, or exchange Facebook passwords, that should be a HUGE red flag.
4) He’s Been Arrested Before
If it’s happened before, there’s a good chance it could happen again. If the guy you’re dating has a history of violent offenses such as assault and battery, weapons charges, or anything related to harassment or stalking, and obviously sex offenses. An arrest or conviction in any of these areas is something that can’t be ignored, or excused. An easy way to discover someone’s criminal history is to search their public records. There are many places online you can go to in order to perform a criminal background check.
If you do online dating, it’s always a good idea to check him out before you meet up with any guy in person. There are so many horror stories about women being raped or assaulted by a man they met online. It’s always a good idea to do your homework before you transition to an offscreen relationship.
5) He Wants to Rush the Relationship
One of the most common early warning signs of an abusive partner, is a person who rushes intimacy. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Did he say “I love you” way too soon?
- Did he talk about moving-in together after only a couple of dates?
- Has he brought up the subject of marriage very early on in the relationship?
While some women may see these things as signs that the guy is “really into them.” It could also mean that he is trying to force a closer bond with you in order to gain more control of your life. Did he want to move-in with you and became upset when you said it was too soon? Most men will respect a woman’s space and won’t mind progressing the relationship at a pace you’re both comfortable with.
Another sign that he might be controlling is if he gets panicked or upset when he calls and you don’t answer. Normal people call once and leave a message. Codependent, unhealthy people call over and over and become upset if they feel like you’re not constantly accessible to them. Make sure he respects your boundaries.
Most Importantly, Know Yourself
The best defense against an abusive man is to know exactly who you are, and what you want in life. Abusive men tend to prey on women who are insecure, financially unstable, or otherwise incapable of being on their own. A real man won’t want you to be completely dependent on him, he should want you to be a strong, equally valuable partner. A woman who knows herself and is unwavering in her values and self-confidence is much less likely to fall victim to the mind games that abusive men try to play.
Jessica Ruane is a writer for Instant Checkmate, an online background check company that reveals the arrest records of the person you’re dating.