Dear Abby’s List of Signs of an Abuser

(1) PUSHES FOR QUICK INVOLVEMENT: Comes on strong, claiming, “I’ve never felt loved like this by anyone.” An abuser pressures the new partner for an exclusive commitment almost immediately.

(2) JEALOUS: Excessively possessive; calls constantly or visits unexpectedly; prevents you from going to work because “you might meet someone”; checks the mileage on your car.

(3) CONTROLLING: If you are late, interrogates you intensively about whom you talked to and where you were; keeps all the money; insists you ask permission to go anywhere or do anything.

(4) UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: Expects you to be the perfect mate and meet his or her every need.

(5) ISOLATION: Tries to isolate you from family and friends; accuses people who are your supporters of “causing trouble.” The abuser may deprive you of a phone or car, or try to prevent you from holding a job.

(6) BLAMES OTHERS FOR PROBLEMS OR MISTAKES: It’s always someone else’s fault if something goes wrong.

(7) MAKES OTHERS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS OR HER FEELINGS: The abuser says, “You make me angry” instead of “I am angry,” or says, “You’re hurting me by not doing what I tell you.”

(8) HYPERSENSITIVITY: Is easily insulted, claiming hurt feelings when he or she is really mad. Rants about the injustice of things that are just a part of life.

(9) CRUELTY TO ANIMALS OR CHILDREN: Kills or punishes animals brutally. Also may expect children to do things that are far beyond their ability (whips a 3-year-old for wetting a diaper) or may tease them until they cry. Sixty-five percent of abusers who beat their partners will also abuse children.

(10) “PLAYFUL” USE OF FORCE DURING SEX: Enjoys throwing you down or holding you down against your will during sex; finds the idea of rape exciting.

(11) VERBAL ABUSE: Constantly criticizes or says blatantly cruel things; degrades, curses, calls you ugly names. This may also involve sleep deprivation, waking you with relentless verbal abuse.

(12) RIGID GENDER ROLES: Expects you to serve, obey, remain at home.

(13) SUDDEN MOOD SWINGS: Switches from sweet to violent in minutes.

(14) PAST BATTERING: Admits to hitting a mate in the past, but says the person “made” him (or her) do it.

(15) THREATS OF VIOLENCE: Says things like, “I’ll break your neck” or “I’ll kill you,” and then dismisses them with, “Everybody talks that way,” or “I didn’t really mean it.”

Readers, if you feel you are at risk, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or http://www.thehotline.org.

Reading this list gets me EVERY single time.  While it might seem like love early it can be terrifying in the long fun.  I was especially challenged because my parents marriage dissolved when I was very young, so I had nothing to model and at times our CRAZY relationship seemed very normal to me.  I wasn’t allowed to wear make-up because I looked “too good” to go to work.  The mood swings were out of control, everything was fine, I was a crazy bitch, I didn’t love and support him enough, no physicians would provide the care he needed.  I am SO blessed to have escaped.  I was afraid for so many years.  The best advice I can give is, don’t ignore Abby’s list.  Listen to your gut.  If you want out early get out early, there is nothing that will change his treatment of you.  If he hits you once he will do it again. If he screams and throws things don’t stick around to find out what happens next.  There is nothing sexy or loving about pain and drama!

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