ABUSE: Red Flags That We Should Not Ignore When Dating

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Have you ever seen someone you love in an abusive relationship and wondered how they got themselves into the mess or why they wouldn’t just leave? Well, It’s because abusive relationships never start with a slap or an insult; it begins like ever normal relationship but takes on a negative turn downhill.
People in relationships are usually blinded by love and often times fail to see the early signs of abuse exhibited by their “dream partners”. The subtle signs of abuse are mistaken for love as the abuser manipulates it to seem like an act of love.
Abuse exists in various forms from physical, emotional/verbal, sexual, and financial to digital, each abuse as equally damaging and traumatizing as the other. Abuse in relationships is more common than we think and most times, the victims are not aware they are being abused. Some red flags might be very obvious, while others seem to be quite subtle and may go unnoticed.
Here are 5 red flags to look out for in a partner and seek professional help if you are currently experiencing any.
They have a mastery of fake compliments and flattery: They shower you with unnecessary compliments and leave you wanting more. They flatter you when they have an agenda. With every compliment comes a catch, something they want and you find yourself constantly trying too hard to have them say pleasant things about you. They use this technique to distract your instinct feelings and have you develop a trust for them.

They are casually manipulative: Abusive partners tend to display narcissistic behaviors. They are very selfish with a false sense of entitlement. Everything is and has to be about them. Some are openly haughty with an air of superiority while others seem like the perfect partners but find ways to subtly twist things to their favour. They are less inclined to compromise and often insist on rigid relationship roles. If they sense you trying to figure them out, they resort to gas lighting; a form of manipulation where they make you feel guilty for something that was obviously their fault and have you doubting yourself by blaming you. In such relationships, there’s always a control and power dynamics at play.

They seek for constant validation: They need constant reassurance and seek attention from other people. They usually surround themselves with a squad of enablers who never call them out on their negative behavior; they tend to bring you down, especially in front of their squad. They often tear you down to feel good about themselves and cover it up with a compliment which will leave you utterly confused. They have you constantly walking on eggshells in the relationship.

They play the blame game perfectly well: With abusers, everything has to be someone else’s fault, never theirs. They always have an excuse about the negatives in their lives. You find them saying utterly mean things about their exes all the time or finding ways to justify why they were violent in a non-hostile situation. They will eventually have reasons to blame you for their actions especially when they abuse you physically.

They are very obsessive: They feel entitled to all your time and tend to control how you spend it. They know that abuse thrives on silence and isolation so they find ways to cut you off of all your support systems. If they limit your contact with friends and family, seem jealous of them or view them as a threat to your relationship, chances are that you are in an abusive relationship. They try to convince you that the people in your life are toxic and you find them trying to speed up the relationship to the next level, usually against your will.

If these red flags are your reality, then seek professional help before it’s too late or quietly walk out if the relationship is still in it’s early stages. If these behaviours sound like something you do, then chances are that you could be the abusive partner. It is never too late to find help and turn a new leaf.

By Nana Aisha Murtala

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