16 Ways To Spot An Emotionally Abusive Man

10 May 2016

Unfortunately, the 16 ways to spot an emotionally abusive man are not nearly as widely known as they should be. If they were better known, then many women would likely walk away from danger early on.  Instead, a lack of  awareness, in society as a whole, leaves women unnecessarily vulnerable. Worse still, it is the victims who end up being penalized – for what was never their fault .

Abusive relationships leave the abused partner with a heavy burden of shame, fear and trauma.  You feel ashamed that you allowed yourself to get trapped in an abusive relationship.  Then you -wrongly – take the blame for your partner’s bad behavior.  Plus, you are left with the fear of messing up again and getting into another abusive relationship.   Additionally, you are left with the trauma of not really knowing, liking, or trusting the person that you believe you are in the light of that damaging experience.

Besides, the pull of old patterns can be very strong. So,  abused women often do find themselves attracted to another abusive man.  This only happens because most women have not been educated to recognize the tell-tale 16 ways to spot an emotionally abusive man.   What follows are some of the things that people don’t tell you – but should – about spotting an emotional abuser.

16 ways to spot an emotionally abusive man

  1. You may be attracted by his apparent ‘strength’, ‘confidence’, determination, aggressive masculinity.  The real appeal of these qualities is this: they are precisely the kind of qualities you know you lack.
  2. Or it may be his vulnerability that appeals.  You might find yourself saying: “He just needs someone to really, really love him (and heal his pain.)” But here’s the thing, why do you  need to be the one who tries to  nurse him to wholeness and happiness?   Trying to heal your partner is bound to fail. Feeling sorry for someone is no basis for a loving,  relationship of equals.
  3. You put him on some kind of pedestal and make the relationship all about him. When you do this your focus has shifted from you, your wants and your needs, to his.  He has replaced you as the center of your universe.  That probably works for him.  However, you end up feeling that you’ve lost your center.
  4. He really, really wants to hear about all the problems you’re having at the beginning of the relationship.  He may even say he has the same problems himself.  Still,  you need to be very wary.  He may be be learning all about your Achilles’ heel and  which buttons to push in the future to humiliate and control you. Or else, he may be encouraging you to feel that he alone truly understands what you’re going through. Either way, you are giving him way too much information, too soon.
  5. He expects a big return on his investment. He may seem happy to put your needs and wishes first for a little while, but it won’t  last.  Before long he’ll throw it in your face saying,  “Look at everything I do for you. You should be doing X, Y and Z for me.”
  6. The relationship moves very fast.  An abusive man progresses the relationship as fast as he can. Hey knows that he can’t – or won’t – sustain consistent good behavior for very long. Good behavior doesn’t give him the pay offs he wants.  Where he is concerned,the Love’s Young Dream routine is only a means to an end.
  7.   He talks at length  about himself.  He may even be interesting enough to listen to, at first.  But what he is really doing is making sure that the two of you share a common interest: him.
  8. He tell you that the women in his past didn’t understand him and let him down or behaved badly.  This is your cue to feel afraid, NOT sympathetic.  Instead of seeing this man as a tragic hero victim, you need  to see him for the jerk that he is. If he’s happy to badmouth them, he’ll surely do the same to you, if you just stick around.
  9. His relationship with his family has broken down.  Not all families are perfect and family relationships do break down.  However, someone  who takes the time and trouble to tell you how beastly his family are early on is working on establishing his “Poor me” credentials.  Why would you make his unresolved problems your problems? 
  10. He’s got a history of alcohol and/or drug abuse, and possibly violence. Yes, he may tell you that he’s over that now. But you only have his word for that.  You have problems of your own, adding his to the mix is a very bad idea.
  11. When you first meet him, there’s something about him that you don’t like. That’s your intuition cutting to the chase, and warning you.  When you don’t trust your intuition there is always a hefty price to pay further down the line. Every client I’ve ever worked with ignored that moment of intuition because it didn’t say what she wanted to hear.  Instead, she spent years of misery discovering what her intuition already knew: that his man was wrong and would make her VERY unhappy.
  12. He’s all sweetness and light with you, but he shows quite different behaviors with other people.  For the moment, he’s playing Prince Charming with you.  But rest assured that, in time, you’ll become ‘other people’ and be treated accordingly.
  13. You’re in the honeymoon period but there are odd ‘blips’ when his behavior leaves you feeling you’re dealing with someone you don’t even know.  The ‘good’ behaviurs that you love are his best – courting – behaviors. They have a very short shelf-life.  The  ‘blips’ are flashes of his real self and what your
    future together will hold .
  14. He finds fault with your friends and family.   He may well dislike spending time with them.  He may try to discourage you from spending time with them also. His plan is to isolate you, so he can exert more power over you.
  15. He doesn’t accept you just the way you are. Maybe he says that he can see all your ‘potential’ better than you can. Maybe it’s because, with his input, you could present yourself so much better to the world.  Allegedly. In reality, he’s giving you a clear message that, in his eyes, you’re not good enough – and never will be.
  16. He’ll remind you regularly what a wonderful guy he is and how lucky you are to have him.  (Although he might also admit that he’s a loser when he’s feeling low, or else when he needs to get you back on side.)

If you have any doubts that your partner may be, or may become, abusive, chances are he is showing at least one of the 16 ways to spot an emotionally abusive man.   You just haven’t registered what is going on, yet.  

Any of the 16 ways to spot an emotionally abusive man should be considered an important red flag.  But the 16 ways to spot an emotionally abusive man are rarely ‘lone riders’.  They tend to travel in gangs

The damage an abusive relationship will inflict on your life is cumulative. You cannot make an emotionally abusive relationship work by trying harder.  It will suck you dry. It is quite possible to break away from the hooks of abusive relationships, but it can be very hard to do without help.

Leaving an emotionally abusive relationship is always going to be much harder than recognizing that relationship for what it is before you invest in it body, mind, and soul.  Use the 16 ways to spot an emotionally abusive man to keep you safe.  And share them so that other women will find out about them before they go through the grinder that is an emotionally abusive relationship.



Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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