We can get a lot from a relationship: love, warmth, support and security. But in fact, we understand the meaning of these words in very different ways. There are people for whom security is power and control over a partner. They use a variety of methods of psychological abuse to get what they want.
When we hear about it we immediately feel uneasy. We want to be able to recognize which people who are dangerous to our physical and mental health. Often the victims of domestic violence say that in retrospect there were alarming signals in a person’s behavior, but they were not paying attention at the time.
Criticism, devaluation, “playful” (though, in fact, offensive) comments and remarks, nagging and convincing a partner of their own imperfection are the tools actively used by abusers. Gradually you get used to thinking of yourself as “not good enough”, and at the same time become dependent on the opinion of an aggressive partner. Someday they will be satisfied, you just need to earn their praise…
The power of the senses
Abusers are divided into two types: some accumulate anger for a long time and explode, others are more impulsive. The first type is dangerous, as while they accumulate their anger they look perfectly calm on the outside. No one would believe that such a level-headed person could be aggressive.
The second type cannot control their desires. For example, they often don’t know when to stop with alcohol (“I want to drink, and I will drink!”). If they need to let off steam they will immediately attack their partner verbally or physically. If they want sex right now, they will cheat (saying, “I wanted to” and “It doesn’t mean anything”).
“I know better what you need.” An abuser decides who you should talk to, what you should do, and how you should look. Most often it’s under the guise of caring that the abuser quietly removes their partner from their circle of friends and even relatives, so that there is no one to whom they could turn for help and support. In this way they cut off the oxygen and increase the victim’s dependence on their opinion.
As a rule, dating an abuser looks almost like a fairy tale. Your “perfect one” surrounds you with care and convinces you that you need no one else but them. Then you quickly move in or get married, but the honeymoon doesn’t last long, as more and more rules and restrictions are established. It must be said that such behavior does not always put partners on guard. Unfortunately, the power of feelings is often confused with tyranny. Abusers seem so strong, confident and reliable, but this is only a deception.
Jealousy can be justified or unfounded. In the case of abusers, jealousy is always unfounded. At times pathologically jealous people can be spotted right away. They forbid you to communicate with others practically from the first date. In another scenario, jealousy shows up later, when an abuser is sure that the victim is already dependent on them and will not run away.
Your opinion is not allowed
People who want power and control cannot accept the idea that everyone has a personal opinion. There is their opinion, and there is the wrong one. Such people have a rigid system of “dos and don’ts”, “goods” and “bads.” The abuser imposes their rules on the partner, forcing them to comply. Over time, they start communicating with the victim in an imperative tone: give me this, bring me that, etc.
Suggestion of guilt
The abuser considers themselves perfect and is always ready to condemn others. If a partner finds out about their cheating, they will explain it by saying that they were “not given something”. Every now and then they have reasons for criticism and nagging: you dress wrong, behave wrong, do the wrong thing. They also love to compare you with other, “perfect” people.
No personal development
The tyrant doesn’t allow the victim to develop as a person. After all, their goal is not for you to move forward, but to stall your development or even degrade you. It’s easier to control you this way, especially if they add a lot of different “shoulds” and “musts” along with banning your personal progress.
Observe your partner’s behavior and don’t ignore the warning signs. The sooner you get out of an abusive relationship, the less damage it will do to your mental health.