How does one know when a relationship is abusive?

Physical abuse is easier to spot. But what about emotional?
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  • SpiderSpider Posts: 3,381Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I would say when the person feels worse from being around that person than better ( neglected, harrassed, controlled, fearful....)
    Don't let your heart be broken. Let it love.
  • NetGNetG Posts: 8,116Registered Users
    Spider wrote:
    I would say when the person feels worse from being around that person than better ( neglected, harrassed, controlled, fearful....)


    I don't think that necessarily means abusive.... but if it's not, it's at least unhealthy for you, and regardless of whether it's abusive or not, it's a good sign to get out of a relationship.


    My general rules are that no one is allowed to make me feel bad about myself, and if they do so either consciously or not they have to go (that's different from pointing out something I do wrong, in which case I try to fix a situation); if I like myself less when I'm around someone, they have to go; if I feel as if someone's presence in my life is sucking joy out of life they have to go; if I feel I'm being pressured to pretend someone I'm not, they have to go.

    If you're questioning if a relationship is abusive or not, chances are it's unheathy, whether the answer to your question is yes or no.
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    -Speckla

    But at least the pews never attend yoga!
  • SaraNEvansMommySaraNEvansMommy Posts: 73Registered Users
    I think consistent name calling, being degrading, controlling one's every move, and *intimidation* are big red flags.
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  • CynaminbearCynaminbear Posts: 4,476Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Spider wrote:
    I would say when the person feels worse from being around that person than better ( neglected, harrassed, controlled, fearful....)

    NetG wrote:
    My general rules are that no one is allowed to make me feel bad about myself, and if they do so either consciously or not they have to go (that's different from pointing out something I do wrong, in which case I try to fix a situation); if I like myself less when I'm around someone, they have to go; if I feel as if someone's presence in my life is sucking joy out of life they have to go; if I feel I'm being pressured to pretend someone I'm not, they have to go.

    If you're questioning if a relationship is abusive or not, chances are it's unheathy, whether the answer to your question is yes or no.
    I think these are definitely hand in hand. They're also the gauge I used when I ended a relationship that had incredible potential to be abusive. Turned out I was right.
    Stick with your gut, you're better off being safe and wrong.
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  • StarrwithoutniteStarrwithoutnite Posts: 1,732Registered Users
    I would say go with your gut, I got out of a relationship that I felt was heading towards abusive allthough he never hit me...he was so controling and so....evil. I was depressed the whole time I was with him and felt so ALIVE once I came home. I knew I made the right choice, but I can see why some stay with these guys, it wasnt like he was ever outright abusive..it was just a feeling. He always had a way of turning things into my faault or making me feel less of a person, like I needed to prove myself to him. I was always walking on eggshells. Then I caught on that that isnt what a relationship is all about. I loved him, but not enough to put up with him any longer :)
    "Someday love will find you...break those chains that bind you!!"


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  • luvmylocsluvmylocs Posts: 7,578Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    this was an excellent book when i went through that years ago...

    The Emotionally Abusive Relationship
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  • cymprenicympreni Posts: 9,609Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I was in an emotionally abusive relationship and I didn't even know it until after I got out.

    It doesn't always have to be the typical stuff, I had a "sensitive" guy who gradually whined me into submission. Not really whining, that's what I call now, but he always had some reason for something to be upsetting to him, or was able to twist logic to make me see things his way. Next thing you know I changed from an outgoing crazy fun woman with lots of friends and treasured belongings, to a quiet shy girl with no friends and very few possessions and always bitting my tongue.

    I think one good thing to remember, all abusive people I think are very self-centered, it's always me me me, they take all, and give little. Not all self-centered people are abusive, but they aren't the best people to be in a relationship either.

    Use your gut, if he doesn't make you feel good about yourself, your in the wrong place.
  • SuburbanbushbabeSuburbanbushbabe Posts: 15,402Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Kimshi42 wrote:
    Physical abuse is easier to spot. But what about emotional?

    When there is just as much (or more) fear, panic, anxiety as there is love, it's abusive.
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  • MunchyMunchy Posts: 5,206Registered Users Curl Novice
    cympreni wrote:
    It doesn't always have to be the typical stuff, I had a "sensitive" guy who gradually whined me into submission. Not really whining, that's what I call now, but he always had some reason for something to be upsetting to him, or was able to twist logic to make me see things his way. Next thing you know I changed from an outgoing crazy fun woman with lots of friends and treasured belongings, to a quiet shy girl with no friends and very few possessions and always bitting my tongue.

    Yep. I dated the same guy!
  • Oregano  (formerly babywavy)Oregano (formerly babywavy) Posts: 5,297Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    When somebody is able to make you feel bad for something wrong that they did, and YOU end up apologizing - when you start not acting like yourself, and feeling intimidated and shy, when you never used to act that way - when you know you're not happy in the relationship, but you keep convincing yourself that this is how relationships are, relationships are work, and sometimes they're difficult - when part of you wants to get out of the relationship, but you don't feel like you can pick yourself up and leave.
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  • roseannadanaroseannadana Posts: 5,632Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    This is the best list I've ever seen. It's been around for years! This was adapted from "Signs to Look for in a Battering Personality," Project for Victims of Family Violence, Fayetteville, Ark.

    1. A PUSH FOR QUICK INVOLVEMENT: Comes on very strong, claiming, "I've never felt loved like this by anyone." An abuser pressures the woman for an exclusive commitment almost immediately.

    2. JEALOUSY: 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: Interrogates you intensely (especially if you're late) 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 woman and meet his every need.

    5. ISOLATION: Tries to cut you off 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 AND MISTAKES: The boss, you -- it's always someone else's fault if anything goes wrong.

    7. MAKES EVERYONE ELSE RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS FEELINGS: The abuser says, "You make me angry" instead of, "I am angry" or, "You're hurting me by not doing what I tell you." Less obvious is the claim: "You make me happy."

    8. HYPERSENSITIVITY: Is easily insulted, claiming that his feelings are hurt when he is really mad. He'll rant about the injustice of things that are just part of life.

    9. CRUELTY TO ANIMALS AND TO 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 partner will also abuse children.

    10. "PLAYFUL" USE OF FORCE DURING SEX: Enjoys throwing you down or holding you down against your will during sex; says he finds the idea of rape exciting.

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

    12. RIGID SEX ROLES: Expects you to serve, obey and remain at home.

    13. SUDDEN MOOD SWINGS: Switches from sweetly loving to explosively violent in a matter of minutes.

    14. PAST BATTERING: Admits hitting women in the past, but says they made him do it or the situation brought it on.

    15. THREATS OF VIOLENCE: Makes statements 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." If he has come this far, it is time to get help, or get out!

    I was born to be a pessimist. My blood type is B Negative.
  • yagottaloveyacurlsyagottaloveyacurls Posts: 5,766Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    roseannadana... that's an awesome list! I'm printing this out for a woman I know who is NOT good at seeing the signs. Maybe if she has this to refer to, it will help open her eyes when they need opened!
    Thanks for posting it.
  • quickcurlquickcurl Posts: 1,310Registered Users
    I feel that if you think it's abusive, it probably is and that's good enough to get out ASAP. NO relationship should make you think "hmm, is this abusive?". If it does, something is wrong and you need to go.
    "It's hard to remember a time, when I didn't have you", Richie Sambora
    "Boys are bad and men are stupid", WB's
    "After a while, you just want to be with the one that makes you laugh" Mr. Big
  • violetsviolets Posts: 1,689Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Name calling. "you are trash, miserable, imbecil"
    Excessive screaming
    Innapropriate touching. Doesn't have to be hitting - most men know enough not to out right hit a woman. It can be grabbing you, restraining you, pushing, chasing you, cornering you in a room.
    Won't let you out of the argument when you ask to stop.
    Is mean in his verbiage - "I can make you have a panick attack"
    Eternal promises of "I will never do it again"
    Twists logic to make what he is doing your fault.
    Often says at you " I wouldn't get angry if YOU didn't do x, y or Z"

    An abuser will always dismiss his behavior by saying that everyone "fights", that they had a bad day or some other way.
  • g-stringrannyg-stringranny Posts: 2,701Registered Users
    quickcurl wrote:
    I feel that if you think it's abusive, it probably is and that's good enough to get out ASAP. NO relationship should make you think "hmm, is this abusive?". If it does, something is wrong and you need to go.
    ITA! One thing to remember is that the abuse is usually gradual, so you become use to it & are desensitized to it as it accelerates, which it usually does.
    AKA lotsawaves
    AKA new2curls
  • multicultcurlymulticultcurly Posts: 5,136Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Abusive relationships rarely start off as physically abusive. Like others have said, it's gradual and it changes your behavior. And like others, I have dated the "sensitive" guy who over time, displays more and more abusive behavior. The thing that I have noticed is that when a person has low self-esteem, she is less likely to see the warning signs until the behaviors escalate. If it doesn't feel right, then get out of the relationship.
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  • NetGNetG Posts: 8,116Registered Users
    I recently had my first interactions with a "sensitive" guy. Not romantic.... and I knew he was far too immature for THAT. But I hadn't been exposed to that kind of manipulation to know there were warning signs! I do see now, though, that I should stay away from people like that in the future!


    It's al about "me" and using the "I'm so sensitive, be nice to me" to attempt to make you feel guilty in order to maintain some control over you. Like many women, my tendency is to want to nurture and care for someone else. Luckily, though, I also want to take care of myself now, and eventually he wanted nothing to do with me due to my failing to throw myself at his mercy, asking him to forgive my not being worthy of his company or whatever. I feel for a woman who falls for a guy like this, because I can see how the manipulation could REALLY get to someone!
    The pews never miss a sermon but that doesn't get them one step closer to Heaven.
    -Speckla

    But at least the pews never attend yoga!
  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,059 Administrator
    Actually, I'm trying to determine if my mother is abusive not a man. But thanks. I'll read over these all more closely.
  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,059 Administrator
    I think a lot of the criteria mentioned could apply to a parent-child relationship as well.
  • luvmylocsluvmylocs Posts: 7,578Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    roseannadana you've done a great service by sharing that list. thank you!
    a dreamy pisces :fish:
    please recycle, it matters...
    i change lives...through fitness
    i'm more relaxed being natural
  • cymprenicympreni Posts: 9,609Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    SuZenGuide wrote:
    I think a lot of the criteria mentioned could apply to a parent-child relationship as well.

    Yes it would. Emotionally abusive parents can be worse then partners I think. Parents know every mistake you ever made, are more likily to know your faults and what will work with you. And I also feel that the "blood is thicker then water, family is everything" views that society has can give people pressure to put up with it, or to try and make it work "because their my parents"
  • kurlskurls Posts: 843Registered Users
    Emotional/verbal abuse goes across the board - yes, even parents can and are guilty of this!

    Toxic parents is what they're called!! Mine are...and it was NOT pleasant, trust me.
    People will always do what they want to do...no matter what you say!
  • luvmylocsluvmylocs Posts: 7,578Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    just some revealations this weekend after reading and referening a book i have called why does he do that?

    an abusive guy can seem "great" to everyone else on the outside particularly to his friends, family members and coworkers.

    turning things around so that he is the "victim" is a common theme with abusive men. they often use things that you share with them against you during their abusive times.

    having children with an abusive man can create a nightmare for you and your children. abusive men can not be good parents and they can totally wreck havoc on the mother/child relationship.

    there are lots of good guys and non-abusive guys. if you're struggling to understand your guys behavior and it's hurtful and toxic he's probably NOT a good guy and you shouldn't feel bad about it but you should move on. it gets harder to leave the longer you stay.

    abusive men will rarely change unless the people closest to them hold them accountable and unless they get serious help.
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  • YolyCYolyC Posts: 3,758Registered Users
    Munchy wrote: »
    cympreni wrote:
    It doesn't always have to be the typical stuff, I had a "sensitive" guy who gradually whined me into submission. Not really whining, that's what I call now, but he always had some reason for something to be upsetting to him, or was able to twist logic to make me see things his way. Next thing you know I changed from an outgoing crazy fun woman with lots of friends and treasured belongings, to a quiet shy girl with no friends and very few possessions and always bitting my tongue.

    Yep. I dated the same guy!


    That SOB gets around, doesn't he? I've made the same mistake. Stupid me, I've even made it more than once. :angry7:
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  • merynmeryn Posts: 1,807Registered Users Curl Novice
    Silent treatments should be included on that list. It's the passive-aggressive's weapon of choice.

    Being quiet because you're upset is one thing. Insisting nothing is wrong, to the point that you DO think it's all in your head, is crazy-making behavior, and that's abusive.
  • luvmylocsluvmylocs Posts: 7,578Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    meryn wrote: »
    Silent treatments should be included on that list. It's the passive-aggressive's weapon of choice.

    Being quiet because you're upset is one thing. Insisting nothing is wrong, to the point that you DO think it's all in your head, is crazy-making behavior, and that's abusive.

    you're right!! that's EXACTLY what i had to deal with over and over with my ex. him getting mad over nothing then not talking to me for days. telling me i wasn't what he "needed".....then coming back, apologizing and telling me he loved me and he got "it" and that he wanted to be with me so he wasn't going anywhere again. i would forgive then set myself for an even bigger hurt the next time he got upset.
    a dreamy pisces :fish:
    please recycle, it matters...
    i change lives...through fitness
    i'm more relaxed being natural
  • LucilleLucille Posts: 588Registered Users
    If you think it might be abusive, it probably is.
  • ninja dogninja dog Posts: 23,780Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    A woman I know was in an abusive relationship. He was always accusing her of acting like a "slut" and dressing in a provocative manner. Then he got her to go to a new church where gender roles were more rigid. It was.....really disturbing.

    They're divorced now, but they sue each other for various things all the time.:sad6:
  • g-stringrannyg-stringranny Posts: 2,701Registered Users
    YolyC wrote: »
    Munchy wrote: »
    cympreni wrote:
    It doesn't always have to be the typical stuff, I had a "sensitive" guy who gradually whined me into submission. Not really whining, that's what I call now, but he always had some reason for something to be upsetting to him, or was able to twist logic to make me see things his way. Next thing you know I changed from an outgoing crazy fun woman with lots of friends and treasured belongings, to a quiet shy girl with no friends and very few possessions and always bitting my tongue.

    Yep. I dated the same guy!


    That SOB gets around, doesn't he? I've made the same mistake. Stupid me, I've even made it more than once. :angry7:

    I'm sorry, I should have killed him when I was with him, then you ladies wouldn't have had to go thru this.

    I made the mistake twice. My husband was verbally abusive. I was suicidal thru most of my marriage. My love for my children kept me alive. When I left him I got into a physically abusive relationship. It took 2 years for him to show his true colors & I'm amazed I'm alive today, as are my friends. Thank God that is way in my past & I make good choices today.
    AKA lotsawaves
    AKA new2curls
  • O d d i s y~O d d i s y~ Posts: 1,042Registered Users
    I love this thread, especially now that my ex is coming back in the picture.

    1. He wasn;t always like that , but he gets explosively angry and uses all the bad words on me. It happened twice , but i was really in fear of him. I was so afraid he was going to hit me. eventually he shoved me till i got bruises , and his reason was " i was trying to stop you". I did fight back though. the second time was when we broke up , in the midst of argument , i asked him if he doesn't love me and to prove that , and i got slapped on my face.

    2. I always felt he had 2 different lives. One is just with me. No one knew i existed. Another with his friends and family. He is extremely nice to them all the time, which of course i don't have a problem with. But mostly I become the victim of his stress. whenever i try to address any problem , he shuts down on me. he says i never understood him or his work time and he needs constant rest and i should know that.

    3. like someone posted earlier , i feel alive when I'm at home. I feel that i was constantly trying to prove myself so that he will treat me better. In time , i just felt as if i didn't know who the person i became. I constantly felt that i was endlessly giving but not getting much in return. I knew that he loves me , but it always a question why does he react in so and so way if he did..

    4. There is always this constant feeling in my gut , i'll be much happier if he wasn't there in my life. But i just couldn't find the courage to leave. Then finally i did.

    Now he is coming back , begging me to take him back. There is just so much of hatred in me.
    And the end of the day , all you've got is yourself..:headbang:
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