Domestic Abuse – Early Warning Signs

Domestic Abuse – Early Warning Signs, By Lee-Anne Van Den Broek

People that abuse others are masters of manipulation, and generally do not want their abusive behaviours displayed for all to see. The mask worn by these people ‘sucks you in’, they feel so right in the beginning!

Behind that mask lies ugliness that has no boundaries, and does not care about yours.
Relationships don’t become abusive, they always have been abusive, but the tactics used are less severe in the beginning of the relationship.

So, what are the early signs that a person may be setting you up for abuse? Strong signs of an abusive (controlling) disposition might be apparent even when the person is ‘being nice.’

Controlling disposition in early days might include:
- Flattering (but a little overboard).
- Planning fun outings or getaways where you feel a sense of obligation to look forward to, or enjoy their plans.
- You may be kept busy so that your usual activities can’t be pursued.
- He may assume levels of intimacy that you don’t feel.
- Gifts and other nice things are given but there is a strong pressure to accept and like his gifts.
- Needing constant contact (calls, texts, insisting on accompanying you to all appointments and interviews, visiting your place of employment etc.).
- Jealousy without reason (this is not love, this is angry attachment for all women expressing itself).
- Pressure for early commitment (desire to marry, move in together, buy property together, or have a child). The abuser may assume or insist commitment exists even when it does not. This is evidence of a desire for complete and total control.
- Blaming everything external for his feelings, life situation, disturbing actions toward other people, particularly previous partners as this is closely linked to abusive behaviours.
- Too good to be true and claims of grandiose can be a warning.
- Name calling (especially in fields of your interest).
- He shows a strong and manipulative interest in managing impressions on other people-if he is doing this to them, he is doing it to you.
- Isolating can be a gradual process, but can also show up at lightning speed when someone expresses doubts or a critical view of him.
- Suggestions of people being a bad influence on you.
- Frequent talks and argument about trust and betrayal. This indicates the abuser believes others are not doing what he wants them to, and this is a crime. This is the beginning of justification of abuse.
- Ingratiating manner when he wants something. Friendliness is common when requesting something, but ingratiating is not sincere and overdone by friendliness. This is a will to get what he wants at all costs.
- Claiming previous partners cheated on him. While this might be true, it is likely to be his imagination rising from pathological jealousy.
- Secretiveness. Next to brute forces, the second most effective building block of power is to know what someone else doesn’t. Secretiveness in relationships, is an attempt to create the feeling, or reality of power by compartmentalisation, a mild state of disassociation.
- Showing up unannounced or uninvited. This is to keep you off balance. It is also a sign of pathological jealousy and an act of stalking.
- He has few or no male friends.
- He has difficulty cooperating with others.
- Mood swings (Jekyll and Hyde behaviours).
- He has to be right. This is an effort by the abuser to make what he wants into something more, he feels it is something others must give him.

While some of these behaviours may be difficult to detect, if you do observe any potential warning signs, please take heed.
The abuse within unhealthy relationships increases over time. Being in an abusive relationship will eventually suck you dry, in every aspect. It will damage you until you are questioning your own sanity, yet you were never to blame for any of it, your abuser was.

Van Den Broek, L. (2017). [blog]. Domestic Abuse – Early Warning Signs.
Samsel, M. (2013). [article]. WARNING SIGNS: Abuse and Relationships. Retrieved 16.2.2017 from:

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