Monday, June 8, 2015

How To Spot Abusive People BEFORE They Abuse You

Abuse is a rampant occurrence these days. So many people, male and female alike are caught in webs of abusive relationships, and very often, they find it hard to leave. While some people may believe it is simply a result of weakness on the part of the victim, I believe abuse takes time to build up; it slowly lowers inhibitions, break confidences and self-esteem, leading to the suppression of a person’s natural instinct to fight for themselves. Most people in abusive relationships often ask “how did I get here?” or say things like “he changed suddenly” or “she was never really like this. I don’t know what happened”. This is simply because abuse does not reveal itself in all its ‘glory’ right from the beginning; it is a silent visitor that slowly takes over.

It is difficult to spot abusive people; there are no stamps to show who’s who, and there are certainly no records that you can check at a state library to check if your new partner is abusive. However, there are simple signs we often overlook, carelessly disregarding them with a tiny wave of the hand and a “that’s just how he is” disposition, or “don’t judge people by their attitude” quote. These are signs that should not by any means be disregarded; they should not even be discussed. It is in your best interest to look out for yourself. In order to determine if your new acquaintance, friend or partner is an abusive person, pay attention to the following signs:

·         Abusive people are into themselves… in a way that borders on narcissistic. They are people who want you or anyone to bend and twist into whatever shape they want without giving up anything. Strangely, abusive people tend to think the best of themselves. On a first date, they will go on and on about their achievements and drum it into your ears any chance they get that there’s no one out there who’s better than they are. Many of us mistake this kind of talk as confidence. We think it shows a high self-esteem. Sadly, it doesn’t. What it shows is a person who believes he or she is the centre of the solar system, and should be treated as such. This kind of person can become abusive emotionally and psychologically by constantly putting you down or belittling your dreams.  It’s a trait that has escaped  the confines of the definition of arrogance, and is usually the first trait abusive people show their prospective partners.

·         Abusive people make demands, not requests. I know many women like the idea of a man who takes charge, a man they can respect and submit to, and really that’s OK. However there is a thin line between taking charge and making demands. This character trait is difficult to hide in abusive people, and again, many of us dismiss it as unimportant. An abusive person make demands of you that he or she knows you’re either uncomfortable with, or simply unable to do. Such demands are often posed in the form of a challenge e.g. “I thought you were this and that, so why can’t you do a,b,c?” Of course satisfying our human ego is a basic need, so we often find ourselves blurring the lines in a bid to prove a point, not knowing that we are submitting to someone else’s wishes and slowly becoming pawns.

·         Abusive people belittle others. Never mind them belittling your dreams, they will belittle your individuality or your gender. This trait starts to rear its head after a couple of intelligent conversations mostly led by you. Instead of bringing constructive counter-arguments or supportive talk points to the discussion, abusive people are quick to dismiss the opinions of others with the most annoying sentence I think I will ever hear - “You don’t know what you are saying because you’re young, or immature, or a certain gender (fill in the gap). This is because abusive people do not like to be challenged. They find it hard to accept that someone else whom they regard as a lesser being compared to them, seems to be more intelligent. Many people tend to keep quiet in these discussions. I used to be one of those people, but now, I speak and ask them to elucidate what they mean by me not knowing what I am saying. It is a trait that is so easy to miss because we might just think the person is opinionated and does not listen to others. Always bear in mind that “you don’t know what you are saying” is not an opinion irrespective of what the subject matter may be.

·         Abusive people have a trail of broken exes. Being a heartbreaker is probably the new ‘in-thing’, but there’s a difference between hearts being broken because of irreconcilable differences, and hearts being broken due to oppressive actions. Has he hit his ex in the past? He will probably hit you one day too! Has he oppressed and suppressed his exes in the past? What makes you think you will be any different? I once met a potential suitor who told me he believes every man should clip the wings of his woman so she can’t fly. He bragged about how he broke his ex’s 'wings', causing her to care to his every whim, and submit herself to his every demand. I thanked him for a good cup of coffee and the best red velvet cake I’d ever had, grabbed my keys, and blocked his number as soon as I got into my car. The way a person talks about his/her ex is a little preview of what that person is like in a relationship. Sure, people fight and things sometimes get ugly, but bragging about breaking a person’s spirit is not the type of ugly you want to stick around for. Trust me.

·          Abusive people are mini-gods as far as they are concerned. I often hear people say things like “when I’m married, my wife MUST do 1,2,3… for me to keep ME happy”.  Abusive people want to be worshipped, and they always make it clear from the beginning. They want partners who settle their bills, clean up after them, cook their meals, massage their necks should they have a knot, and basically do whatever it is they want so that they, and they ALONE can be happy in the relationship. This thought often comes from the idea that they are doing their partners a favour, hence they should be thanked every single day for it.

Abusive people tend to see no value in others, and even if they see any value in you, they try their very best to belittle that value as much as possible. They might say “You can be beautiful when you want to be”…. (That’s not a compliment ladies, and I hope you know why!), or say things like “you’re intelligent but you sometimes don’t know what you’re saying”. Abusive people also tend to point out flaws; pointing out a person’s flaws is like chipping away at that person’s self-esteem, and they know this! They start chipping away slowly until there is nothing left, and they have a fully obedient pawn. They will point out every physical flaw, emotional flaw, and even mock you based on your past decisions. A relationship with an abusive person is an imprisonment of the soul. It’s better to run as fast as you can once you see the signs, than believe you can cope. All you’ll end up achieving is becoming a shadow of yourself. XOXO

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