This information is from the Houston Women's Center. The first 4 are often present in emotional abuse, If 3 or more are present, the person is abusive and you are probably dealing with narcissism or emotional abuse, someone who will not change. If only 1 or 2 extreme reactions exist, the person is still abusive. The behavior becomes more extreme with time and is meant to dominate. It can lead to death.
The first time I read this description of abuse, I felt validated. I was not selfish for tearing my family apart. I was not crazy. I was abused. The article was written without knowing me. They didn't know how I felt, yet there it was in front of me, saying, "It's okay. You did the right thing getting away from it."
1. An abusive past. Circumstances don't make a person abusive. Nobody made them become abusive toward another person, no matter what they say.
2. Jealousy. This person says it is a sign of love, but is really a sign of insecurity and possessiveness. Questions about whom you talked to or why, accusations of flirting, jealous of family, friends, children, frequently checking up on you, signs of dominating behavior.
3. Threats of violence. Any threat of violence. Most men don't threaten other men.
4. Controlling your behavior. He says he is protecting you, helping you make good decisions, gets angry when you're late, wants to know where you went, whom you talked to. The behavior will worsen until he will control your every move.
5. Breaks or hits things. This can serve 2 purposes. It destroys something you like or care about and it terrorizes and frightens you.
6. Using brute force during a discussion. Throwing the person on the floor, shoving, pushing, and holding against the wall and saying, "You're going to listen to me."
7. Abusers expect rapid commitment. Many abusers know you for less than 6 months and want a commitment from you. "Love at first sight," and you're the only person I've ever loved," are common. The abuser needs someone desperately and will pressure for a quick commitment.
Instead of negotiation & fairness, accepting change and compromise, the abusive person uses threats, coercion, control and violence.
Instead of a non-threatening behavior, talking so you feel safe and comfortable expressing yourself, the abuser uses intimidation, making you feel afraid, may smash things, abuse pets or anything you care about.
Instead of economic partnership, making money decisions together, making sure both benefit from the financial arrangement, the abuser uses privilege, treating you like a servant, making all the important decisions, telling you what to do.
Instead of treating you with respect, listening non-judgmentally, being affirming and understanding, the abuser uses emotional abuse, putting you down, making you feel bad or guilty, calling names, making you think you're crazy.
Instead of shared responsibility, making family decisions together, mutually agreeing on a shared work distribution, the abuser uses economic abuse, preventing you from getting a job, asking you for money, giving you an allowance, not letting you know or have access to family income.
Instead of trust and support, respecting your right to your own feelings, friends, opinions, the abuser controls with isolation, telling you what to do, read, go, think and limits outside involvement.
Instead of responsible parenting, being a positive, non-violent role model, the abuser uses the children, making you feel guilty about the children, using the children to relay messages, threatening to take the children away.
Instead of honesty & accountability, admitting to being wrong, communicating openly and truthfully, the abuser minimizes, denies, blames, makes light of the abuse, shifts responsibility for the abusive behavior saying you caused it. (This is emotional abuse and is very common.)
If you're in a physically abusive situation, get help. Don't do anything without first consulting an expert on the subject.
Realize that there several types of abusers. All of them are hurting, sick, fearful. They all tend to use similar methods, but their motivations are different. A narcissist needs recognition that he is very important. A gigolo needs to have someone available for sex any time he wants it. Others control out of some fear. The list goes on.
CALL YOUR LOCAL WOMEN'S ABUSE CENTER. LOOK UP THE PHONE NUMBER NOW AND KEEP IT IN A SAFE PLACE WHERE OTHERS CANNOT FIND IT.
DO IT NOW! SEE HOME PAGE FOR MORE HELP.
I am NOT affiliated with Life skills International at lifeskillsintl.org, founded by Dr. Paul Hegstrom. I help abused victims. I do not try to help abusers. That is beyond my scope.
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