Bonnie Koehn, in her article, Early Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship, writes about how abusers can be very charming in the early stages of a relationship and for this reason women are usually drawn to them. Therefore, it can be difficult to identify signs of abuse, and often it is only identified when the partner has already become the victim.
Below is a summary of some of the early actions of someone that has the potential to be abusive namely;
When the partner is lovable and sweeps you off your feet, continuously compliments you and makes you believe that you are the world to them, but it feels a bit too exaggerated, then it probably is. This is a tactic commonly used by abusers, placing their target on a pedestal, so that they can become dependent on their approval.
If he constantly wants to know where you and what you’re doing, it could be a sign that he is too intrusive. Koehn suggests paying close attention to how he reacts when you set boundaries regarding your privacy and whether it is respected.
Recruiting for cheerleaders
Abusers often recruit good, respected people around them that will vouch for them. These people genuinely believe the abuser to a kind-hearted person based on their interactions with the abuser. The abuser keeps these people on his side to ensure that whenever he is confronted about his behaviour, the cheerleaders will place doubt into everyone’s mind.
Abusers are very critical of others. They find something wrong with anyone and everything, yet they are not perfect. To abusers, criticism is a way to divert attention from their own flaws. By criticising others, they redirect people’s attention away from them. This way abusers can go unnoticed for long periods of time.
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