The thing that hurts most about an abusive relationship is realizing that you were tricked into it. Most abusive relationships don’t start out with a black eye. Commonly, they begin just like any other relationship or may seem too good to be true, but slowly, your partner may begin to subtly blame you for things beyond your control or pick at your faults. This may slowly evolve into full blown verbal or physical abuse.
The trauma suffered in an abusive relationship gradually ramps up. It slowly drains you of self worth and alienates your support system, leaving you feeling trapped and miserable before you even realize the signs.
Regardless of if you suffer from emotional, verbal, or physical abuse, it can be difficult to comprehend that someone you love, and who claims to love you, could victimize you. And sometimes, your partner may not even realize what they’re doing is wrong.
Here are ten sneaky signs that you’re trapped in an abusive relationship…
Humiliation as a form of abuse may start out with subtle jabs or insults in private and then become full blown yelling and embarrassment in public before you even realize it. It doesn’t take much for an abuser to get angry for the smallest of reason and convince you that you’re the guilty party. This type of humiliation is meant to make you submissive and to control you in front of others if they know that they’re public outbursts will make you subservient to their wants and needs.
2. Verbal Insults
You or your partner may lose your cool in an argument, but that never excuses name calling or foul language. Verbal abuse can range from insulting your looks, your intelligence, or your worth and it doesn’t always include foul language. The main purpose of verbal abuse is to wear down your self esteem so that you’re compliant and reliant on your partner—and no one else.
3. Physical Violence
Physical abuse almost never starts with a busted lip. Abusers typically begin subtly with an intimidating stance, a hand raised, a grab at your arm, or a quick slap to get your attention. This almost always graduates to harsher physical slaps, chokes, grabs, or even punches if you let the previous abuse slide. Abusers know that it takes time to breaking their spouse or partner down so they think they deserve the abuse.
4. Controlling Behavior
The controlling abuser aims to alienate you from everyone else in your life other than them. That way, your friends or family won’t recognize the signs of abuse or come to your aid. Most abusers want you to be totally dependent on them and no one else. At first this may appear that your partner is just really invested in your life and your decisions, but it will slowly spiral into them being in total control.
5. Unpredictable Mood Swings
The mood swings of an abusive individual can be staggering. For instance, they can go from pleasant and romantic to total rage in a matter of seconds. This extremely unpredictable behavior is almost only aimed at a submissive partner who they know won’t challenge them.
6. Picking at Faults
Does your partner treat you like a child? Most abusers who use verbal abuse as their prime tool will treat you like a misbehaved child, yelling and disciplining you as they demean and point out your every fault. However, if you try to correct them, get ready for a seriously defensive and angry backlash.
7. Alienating Your Friends and Family
An abuser knows that they won’t get away with mistreating you if you have supportive friends and family in the picture to challenge their behavior. That’s why they will slowly try to convince you that others don’t appreciate you or value your relationship. Soon you will lose all sense of yourself and only have them for support. What better way to control your every behavior, right?
8. Placement of Blame
You can bet if you choose to stay with an abusive partner that you’ll be blamed for everything that goes wrong in their lives. An abusive lover will never accept personal blame for anything. They are masters at turning things around on their spouses so they never assume any guilt.
Abusers are skilled at manipulation—so much so that they actually convince their partners that their physical or verbal outbursts are the result of misbehavior on your part. The aim is to make you doubt yourself and your self worth as a good person. That’s why most victims of abuse continue to excuse or forgive their partner’s cruel behavior.
10. Calculated Outbursts
Doesn’t it seem strange to you that your partner only demeans you, yells at you, or hits you in private? They will try to convince you that they have no control over their violent or verbally abusive tirades, but ask yourself why they never lose their cool in front of others or in public.