I spent 3 years of my life in an abusive relationship. I allowed myself to be verbally, mentally and physically abused. Literally from the first day, there were signs that I noticed that something was off but I did not equate them to abuse. Here is a part of my story and some signs to look for that will allow you to access the risk factors for abuse in your relationship.
Plays Mind Games
This was the first clue that something was wrong in my relationship and it started within the first conversation. I remember we were talking and he started to act as if he was crying and devastated by a story he was telling me about his past. My signals went up because he was almost incoherent with his statements and after a few minutes he started laughing and telling me that he was a good actor. Then he told me that he was trying to test me to see how caring I was or to see what my boundaries were. I failed that test because when he admitted to purposely playing mind games with me, I should have realized this was a person that had a plan for me to see how much he could run over me.
Rushing the Relationship
Two days into our relationship he told me how much he loved me and three weeks later he asked me to marry him and move in with him. I listed this as a sign because in retrospect, sometimes when someone has so much baggage they try to seal the deal and sweep you off your feet before you can see what you are getting into. These types of people know that if you really knew who they were, that you would not deal with them. In a case like this, they try to lock you in on the honeymoon phase when everything seems perfect.
Demanding and Controlling
Within the first week there were seemingly impossible demands being placed upon me. I always felt as if I could never keep up with everything he needed or wanted. I was blinded by so many tasks and having to cater to him that I was not able to tell how suffocated I was in the relationship. From the get go, he tried to tell me that I should not have any male friends because he would be able to compensate for any male attention or comrodary that I would need. He also stated that other people would only get in the way of the special connection that we had.
A large part of an abusive relationship has to do with manipulation. There is a secrecy that goes along with abuse. The abuser manipulates circumstances to his benefit and manipulates you into thinking that if you tell anyone, harm will come to you.
When the demands that my ex placed upon me were not met right away, he would throw temper tantrums because he was narcissistic as many abusers are. They usually have no consideration for your wants, needs or desires. They only want what they want right away.
Incidents of Past Abuse
If you listen closely people will tell on themselves, and when they tell you who they are believe them. I asked him had he ever hit a woman before and he told me that in high school there was a girl that he had beat up, but according to him it was in self defense. As time went on, I ran into the girl from high school that he spoke about and she told me he was very abusive to her throughout their whole relationship.
Heavy Drinking or Other Addictive Behavior Traits
One of the biggest contributing factors of abuse in my past relationship was alcohol. He had anger problems when he was sober, but when he would drink he would act upon things that even the wildest mind could not conceive.
When entering into a new relationship, be sure that you do not get wrapped in the vortex that is love. Take a step back to access the situation and listen very carefully to the stories your potential mate tells you about their life. In those stories, is a blueprint to the man or woman that you will be dealing with. This is the person they cannot hide, be careful.