If you’ve read the article 10 Red Flags of an Abusive Relationship, then you know that many forms of abuse aren’t physical. Verbal and emotional abuse are common in the early stages on an abusive relationship and may be hard to see at first. In fact, people who are the abusers might not see the signs themselves. Which brings me to my next point. Not all abuse is thought out and calculated. Abusers can be sneaky but the abuse itself can be sneaky as well. In fact, over the course of a year, roughly 12 million people will become victims of abuse by their partner. With that, Psych2Go presents 7 signs that you’re the abuser in the relationship.
1. You’re overly critical of your partner
The presentation can present “constructive criticism” but it rarely ever is. You might even believe that you are being helpful by pointing out flaws or shortcomings. In many instances, the abuse comes with the presentation. Rather than talking to your partner about a situation or event you simply tell them what they did wrong. You might demand that they do better in the future while telling yourself you are only helping them. These thoughts are rationalizations for your actions and do nothing but mask the abuse. Offering up advice is one thing, pointing out every flaw and expecting them to change overnight is another.
2. You’re jealous
This doesn’t have to pertain to other men or women that your partner might be talking to. It can focus on any aspect of your partner’s life. Are you jealous when he or she talks to their mom on the phone? Do you get upset when he or she goes out with their friends? Or perhaps you find yourself checking in on them while they are out of the house.
Jealousy is one of those things that can worm its way into the relationship without you realizing it’s happening. You might rationalize it by thinking that you should be the most important person in your partner’s life now. You might assume that those who are in a relationship should be spending every waking minute together. These thoughts are fundamentally untrue. If you were to be the most important person or spend every minute together you may slip into some controlling behaviors as well.
3. You control them
Here we have one of those signs that might be hard to believe can be missed but that happens all the time. It can start out small with you not wanting them to talk to friends because they are men or women and can blossom from there. Telling them that they can’t talk to the people who were there before you is not fair to anyone involved. Especially considering you more than likely still talk to your friends that are of the opposite sex as you. You may be thinking that you are saving them from their ex, who dumped them but still wanted to be friends. This can also manifest itself in you telling them where they can go and when. It might seem that you have the best of intentions but this is really just numbers one and two on this list rolled together.
4. You manipulate them
You want to get something from them so you manipulate them to get it. Perhaps you use “I love you but…” as a way to make them feel bad for doing something that you don’t like them doing. Rather than having a conversation you simply react. You might use ultimatums like “I really want this relationship to work but…” as a way to get them to go with what you want. This is also a way to control your partner’s behavior and make sure that they don’t do things you deem inappropriate. Again, you might not even realize that this is abusive behavior. But keep in mind that anything you do to force someone to see or do things your way is not healthy for any relationship.
5. You feel like your partner pushes your buttons on purpose
There may be a time when you are the one abused in this scenario but for the most part then is the mentality of an abuser. You feel that your partner intentionally does things just to make you angry. Now, if this is a proven fact then there needs to be some evaluation of the relationship to understand why they might be doing that. But in this scene your partner doesn’t do those things on purpose yet you still feel that way. If you deem nearly everything your partner does to be wrong, that is abusive thinking. You might even call them stupid for pushing you to that level. This is direct verbal abuse, there is no getting around that fact.
Many times, an abuser doesn’t realize that this is abuse. They may not even bring it up to their partner so there’s no opportunity for it to become a verbal issue. Just because you don’t talk to your partner about it doesn’t mean that other behaviors don’t happen because of it.
6. You blame them for your actions
Do you find yourself thinking “I didn’t want to do that but they made me” right after an argument? Maybe you think “I wouldn’t be so angry if they just did it the correct way” when out with you partner. Do you place blame on them for your attitude? These are all forms of emotional abuse that you are inflicting on your partner. Chances are, if you are thinking these things then you have said them as well. Placing blame on the other person is a classic deflection tool for an abuser. If you place blame on the other person that you are absolved of your actions. Or at least that’s the rationalization that comes to light after the fact.
7. Everything just rubs you the wrong way
Are you easily insulted? Do you find yourself having exaggerated reactions to every day occurrences? Do you find yourself picking fights over the smallest of things? This is yet another form of emotional abuse. Your bad mood is not indicative of everyone else’s actions except your own. This goes hand in hand with blaming your partner for your actions. By not taking responsibility of what you do or feel you are absolving yourself of any responsibility. It is categorically impossible for your partner to make you happy one hundred percent of the time you are together. It is also impossible for them to make you unhappy one hundred percent of the time do to something within their control. If you find yourself on constantly angry or on edge around them, it could be time for you to talk to someone about anger issues you might be having.
This list is not meant to be accusatory in any way. There are no easy ways to deliver this information do simply to the fact that you might not be seeing these things happening. There is a shock involved with learning that you exhibit abusive behaviors and for that, we at Psych2Go are deeply sorry for that. If you feel that you identify with one of more of the things on this list, there is hope. You can talk to your partner about past occurrences. You can speak with a professional, such as a psychiatrist, to see if you really are abusive and what you can do about it. There are classes on anger management that you can take and couples counseling might help you as well. All is not lost but only you can seek help and stop these behaviors before they get worse.
Do you identify with any of these points? Were you the abuser in a relationship and feel comfortable sharing your story of self understanding? Please tell us here in the comments.
“Abuser Tricks.” New Hope for Women, New Hope For Woman, 2017, newhopeforwomen.org/abuser-tricks. Retrieved November 13, 2017
“Statistics.” The National Domestic Violence Hotline, The National Domestic Violence Hotline , www.thehotline.org/resources/statistics/. Retrieved November 13, 2017
Stosny, Steven. “Are You Emotionally Abusive?” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 24 Apr. 2010, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anger-in-the-age-entitlement/201004/are-you-emotionally-abusive. Retrieved November 13, 2017