Warning signs of Abuse: Dating
The most important thing to note about about ABUSE is this: You will never accept more abuse from another than the amount of internal abuse you dish out to yourself. So while this list is to help you spot potentially unhealthy people, it can also be lovingly used as a reflection for how your own subconscious thoughts are keeping you locked in unhealthy external relationships.
If you would like to explore this more, please consider reaching out to me for your complimentary coaching session where we can uncover the stories that are keeping you trapped in unhealthy relationship.
The is information is taken from Steven Stosny’s article “Are You Dating an Abuser?” Please refer to this link for the full description of each warning sign, as these are just my notes on what I have seen and experienced.
#5 Pettiness – Most of us have heard, “pick and choose your battles”…this person has not. They pick every battle they possibly can, and sometimes just make them up. This could exhibit in the form of having high standards, being a perfectionist or being OCD. If you make an honest mistake – and even if you realize it and apologize for it…often times you are reduced to feeling like you are worthless and no good at anything.
#6 Sarcasm – for me, this one hits home like none other. Often times these people are often very engaging and maybe you even find them extremely funny. The sad thing is their humor is very well masked little glimpses into their very distorted sense of entitlement. If they tell crude jokes or even jokes that make you feel even the slightest bit uncomfortable, question them on it and watch closely how they react. Instead of laughing, ask, “Why would you say something like that?” Their reaction will tell you A LOT. If they get defensive and tell you that you don’t have a sense of humor…my advice is find your way out of the relationship and don’t look back.
#7 Deceit (Intentional or unintentional) – a very tricky one as we all put our best foot forward when “dating” another…and that best foot forward can last a while. But if you find out that you partner has even remotely bent the truth on something to you…I would take my time to really investigate this. Get to know his friends and family and ask questions about him/her, what they were like growing up, what they were like before they met you; why did their past relationships not work. Of course if you feel unsafe going to his/her friends and family to do your homework – that could be your answer that you are NOT with a safe person
#8a Minor Jealousy – this is very common in would be abusers…you even as much say hi to another person of the opposite sex and you might get a look, a kick under the table or a sarcastic joke either in public or in private later.
#8b “Pimping” – I don’t know what else to call this one. A certain amount of jealousy in a new relationship is bound to happen, especially if you haven’t “defined the relationship” officially. However, if you find your partner wants to show you off – wants or buys you things that you would never buy for yourself and pleads with you to wear them even though they can see you are uncomfortable in public with their attention and what you are wearing – this can also be a very serious warning sign that you are becoming the “Trophy” partner.
#9 Rusher (I call the “pursuer”) – This is probably the HARDEST one to resist as a young female. Many of us come out of the awkward phase of our adolescent and teenage years damaged and wanting attention from males in some way, shape or form. Maybe you have had a string of disappointing interactions with the opposite sex and all the sudden you meet someone that just seems to get you right off the bat. They want to talk to you as often as possible, listen to you and ask very engaging questions about you and your life – seem extremely interested in your emotional life as well; they go out of their way to let you know they are thinking about you and will do whatever they can to prove it. What girl wouldn’t want to fall for this? However, life isn’t some short 1.5 hour fairytale where things need to be rushed and you get to know someone over a matter of a few days to weeks. If you try to set healthy boundaries to get to know someone of the opposite sex slower and they don’t respect you…I would again advise you to get out before you get hooked. And if you don’t know how to set healthy boundaries on sharing with others, get into a counselor or ask a good friend that does have good boundaries to help you. Bottom line, don’t spill all the beans on your entire life in just one night…for that information will literally be the information that the abuse will start with. They get it out of you under the disguise of caring, but they really know they will be able to trap you later using your weaknesses.
The important thing to remember is many of the traits I list and warn you about above in and by themselves don’t necessarily indicate your partner is a potential abuser. Most of them are human tendencies we all struggle with. However, if you see even one of the big ones I listed or a culmination of a couple…I would seriously think about exiting the relationship as early and safely as possible. There are good men and women out there, sometimes it just takes a while and some dedication of weeding through the bad ones first…and in my book — taking everything you see about yourself and the person back to the standard of the Bible and asking your partner to do the same. Lastly, for those that aren’t married yet…but even if you are engaged and see these signs for that is not too late – please, please get to a quiet place and listen for that still small voice you know you hear in your spirit. That is the voice of God and He WILL tell you. He will lead you “to a place of consolation” where there is peace about your decision…if you have any fear or feel stuck like you don’t have a choice – that is not where God wants you to be and is your sure “sign” that the relationship as it is isn’t right.