Are You In An Abusive Relationship?

Diana WinklerDomestic Violence



Originally posted on May 26, 2012

Maybe you can relate to this scenario:

  • A significant other who is always jealous.
  • Makes you spend all your free time with him/her
  • overly clingy or devoted boyfriend/girlfriend
  • ignoring the obvious warning signs because you are in love
  • Furious at petty things that go wrong
  • Thinking things would get better with time.

 What does an abuser look like?

He/she looks like everyone else, but has some telltale signs of an abuser:

1. Dashing/Charming. Good looking, smooth talking, lots of gifts and praise. Wants to be with you every waking moment, and won’t give you any personal space. The abuser gets overly clingy or needy, threatening to kill himself  or herself if you leave. That’s a red flag something is wrong! Sometimes a person will stay with an abuser out of pity or fear, not love!

2. Insanely Jealous. He/she views others as a threat to the relationship and constantly accuses you of flirting or having an affair. The abuser never allows any plutonic friends of the opposite sex.

3. Manipulative. Abuse and manipulation go together like peas and carrots. This person seeks out weak, vulnerable people to control, belittle and demean.  Abusers usually have poor self esteem, and the only way to make themselves feel better is to put others down.

4. Controlling. Constant tracking the victim wherever he/she goes is common.  So is check the mileage on your car or reading your emails and texts. A male controller doesn’t allow her to attend any outside activities because she might “cheat on him.” Constantly calling on the cellphone to check up on them, or following the victim is a common control tactic.

5. Never at fault. An abuser doesn’t take any responsibility for his/ her poor choices. Someone else is always to blame. “You make angry” or “You made me cheat on you because you won’t have sex with me.”

6. Power hungry.  This person is invigorated by the fact that the victims “walks on eggshells” and lives in fear of what will happen next. It is usually over something very petty.

7.  Mood swings. This is a common trait for an abuser. One minute he/she is kind and pleasant, the next minute throwing a tantrum. Some are bi-polar, and may benefit from professional treatment or medication, but many will not admit they need help.

8.  Verbally assaulting. It is a way of life for the abuser. Being called stupid, fat, or a whore is always abuse! Another example is, “No one will ever love you”, or “You’re not a real man.”

 9. Isolation. Keeping you from family and friends is always used by the abuser because it keeps any help far away. The victim becomes very dependent on the abuser with few resources to get out. “Your family doesn’t like me, so I don’t want you seeing the anymore.” Family members can usually see the abuse happening when the victim doesn’t. That’s one reason why the abuser doesn’t want them around to blow the cover.

10. Super sensitive. The slightest thing sets off the abuser’s rage. Everyone is out to “get him/her.” “The world is out to get me”. “My co-worker got me fired.” Always negative about everything around them.

11. Cruelty. If you read about the biographies of serial killers, they all start out harming animals first, then children, and ultimately they harm a partner. Intimidation and inflicting pain fuels his/her power.  An abuser even threatens harm to him/herself as a means of keeping the victim compliant.

12. Fake repentance. “I’ll never hurt you again, I promise.” An abuser requires professional help and solid accountability in order for anything to change. Don’t fall for the crocodile tears to trick you into believing his lies. A severe wake up call is needed before this pattern of behavior is broken.

Are you a Christian who believes that domestic violence, abuse and manipulation doesn’t occur within the church? Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Abusers deceive and manipulate the church all the time. He/she often knows exactly what to say and do to get the church “on their side.” Christians should not ignore toxic, sinful behavior.

Churches need to stand behind victims and not tolerate abusive behavior from anyone!

These behaviors always escalate, therefore it’s crucial to recognize the warning signs now. Get help right now. And don’t believe the lie that it’s not abuse until he/she hits you. Abuse is about control! You can make someone’s life miserable without laying a finger on a person.

When an abuser loses control they often react with rage and the abuse intensifies.

  • Make a plan before breaking off the relationship.
  • Contact a counselor or local domestic abuse hotline and/or safe house in your community.
  • Do not let the abuser know you are planning to leave!

One of the shelters I work with here locally is Sojourner Center. 1-888-886-8793 or 602-244-0089

24 hour national hotline 1-800-799-SAFE

Maricopa Shelter hotline 1-800799-7739

Legal Advocacy line 1-800-782-6400