Most people who have experienced love in a romantic way know that love is blind. It sees no colors, religion, gender and sometimes focuses only on the good in people. Focusing only on seeing the good can lead to trouble, however. “Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year,” says the Love is Respect organization.
Abuse is also very high in college students as well. Half of college students said they had experienced abuse in a relationship, says the Love is Respect organization.
The long term effects of abuse is a whole other story in itself. Most people who have been a victim to an abusive relationship are at higher risk for abusing drugs, substance abuse, eating disorders, sexual behavior that may be risky, such as not using protection, as well as more abuse. According to the orginization Love is Respect.
“Relationships don’t become abusive, they start out that way,” says RN and therapist Michael Samsel. He warns that if any of the following behavior shows up, you could be dating an abuser. The list below comes from Michael Samsel, and it has my commentary as well as his quotes.
Abusers will be unusually and uncomfortably involved in your life. If you’re dating an abuser, you might find that his or her life revolves around you. You are all that matters. The abuser needs to be with you every minute of every day. It may seem sweet at first as the abuser will continuously want to do fun things, go on vacations, dates, or just go out on the town. It may seem harmless at first, but it all about getting the control over your life that the abuser wants says Samsel.
Abusers will always need to be in contact with you. This also goes a lot further than phone calls and texts. This includes constant texting, long phone calls, Facebook messages, Snapchats or whatever way the abuser can find for communicating with you. If the abuser thinks it is best to go with you to appointments, interviews or even visit you at work, this could be a red flag too. “If he panics or rages when he cannot contact you immediately, that is a very strong warning sign indeed,” says Samsel.
Abusers will get jealous for no reason. It is simple; jealousy is not a way of showing love. “This is angry attachment,” says Samsel.
Abusers will want you to commit …fast. Abusers might want to move in, get married or have a child. These huge commitments will help him gain more control over your life, says Samsel.
An abuser plays the blame game. It is also a huge warning sign if an abuser blames other people for his feelings or life situation. Blaming past partners is also a huge red flag, says Samsel.
Abusers will try to isolate you. If an abuser thinks that a person also has a lot of your attention, the abuser might tell you that he doesn’t like that person and ask that you do not talk to them anymore, says Samsel.
Abusers will argue that there is no trust or that you have betrayed him or her. What this means is that people are not doing what abuser wants, it’s a “crime”. This is a red flag because abuser is justifying abuse, says Samsel.
Does the abuser have road rage when driving? “A road rage incident can be a preview of how this person will act when abuser perceives a fault from you, once you too have become an acceptable target,” says Samsel.
Abusers have an ingratiating manner. People usually are nice when they want something from you; that is understandable. Ingratiation is being insincerely nice in order to get something, so nice in fact that if the person were to say no this would come off as cold and unfriendly. This tactic is to ensure that the abuser gets what the abuser wants, says Samsel.
Abusers will you tell you that all their previous partners cheated on them. Abusers will never be in the wrong. This is also a form of jealousy. “If a man reports that multiple ex’s have cheated on him, it is very likely that the abuser will come to believe that you are too,” says Samsel.
Abusers might try to get back with their previous partners. Getting back with the ex while dating you just shows how desperate the abuser is. Abusers never want to be alone, says Samsel.
Abusers will also be secretive. Abusers wants to know something that you don’t know. This ensures power. “Secretiveness in relationships is the plain attempt to create the feeling or the reality of power by compartmentalization,” says Samsel.
Abusers will show up places when not invited. This is stalking, says Samsel.
Abusers lack cooperation. Abusers will be unable to cooperate with you, even in a job position. Cooperation shows that the abuser has no control and the abuser never wants to be in that position, says Samsel.
“Attachment Swings,” says Samsel, are different from “mood swings. Mood swings go from sad to happy. Attachment swings go from pleased with people to suspicious and blaming people. This can also be referred to as Jekyll and Hyde behavior,” says Samsel.
Abusers have to always be right, says Samsel.
If you or someone you know has a partner with these red flags, don’t dismiss it for anything else. Call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline 1-800-799- 7233 or seek help with a licensed counselor.