The signs of an abusive boyfriend are not always easy to spot, especially if it's your boyfriend and you think the world of him. If you have fallen head over heels in love with someone and you think he is Mr. Right and you believe that he loves you as much as you love him, then it's very hard to accept that this man of your dreams may be taking advantage of you or abusing you.
Unfortunately, that's the position many women find themselves in. Nobody goes out to deliberately find an abusive relationship. They go out to find a healthy, loving partnership of equals with someone who has various things in common with themselves. The abusers know this so they initially hide their true nature and pretend to be that ideal partner, they play the part of Mr. Right. They often do this part extremely well.
Then when the relationship is going well, the abusive boyfriend begins to change the rules and conditions and in order to continue with this seemingly ideal partner, the woman has to change and adapt. She ends up changing her thinking, her decision making, her emotions, her behaviors, her perception of reality and even her sense of herself. But by the time she realizes what is going on, she is well and truly caught in the web of lies and deceit that the abuser has woven around her. All these changes makes it hard for her to see the manipulation and control he has exerted over her. It's difficult to recognize that the ideal man that she got involved with does not actually exist and that the demon she has ended up with is the real character.
So what are the signs of an abusive boyfriend that you need to be checking for in order to know that you are in a bad situation? The following list, in no particular order, are things that happen in abusive and controlling relationships.
Are you called derogatory names?
Does your boyfriend argue with you a lot?
Does he make you feel bad quite often?
Do you ever wonder how he can do such cruel and nasty things to you?
Does he ever make hurtful remarks and then when you get upset he tells you that you are overly emotional or overly sensitive? Or that you take things too seriously, that you can't take a joke?
Does he lie to you? And when you challenge him on it, he simply changes his story to try and make out that he did nothing wrong at all?
If you complain about anything, does he make you feel bad? Bad enough to end up apologizing to him?
Do you get the idea that he is competitive and that he has to win at all costs?
Is he jealous of your successes, your talents and abilities?
When he sees you happy does he do something to ruin it? Start an argument, make snide remarks, remind you of something you did 'wrong'...?
Is he very critical of you and of others? While not liking criticism of himself at all?
Does he have a bad temper that you only learned about well into the relationship?
Does he lose his temper for seemingly little things?
Does this temper flare up suddenly and disappear just as suddenly? You are left an emotional wreck and he carries on as if nothing happened and accuses you of being controlled by your emotions?
Have you noticed that he puts you in 'damned if you do and damned if you don't' situations? For example, if you do something he criticizes you and on the next occasion when you don't do it, he criticizes you for not having done it?
Does he blame you for anything that goes wrong? Every time?
Does he stop you from doing things but you later find out that he does them himself? And if you question him about it he always has a justification for his doing it? But you can never use that same justification!
Do your friends and family tell you that they don't like him? But you defend him or ignore them?
Does he criticize what you read or watch on TV? Do you always have to watch what he wants?
Does he have many friends of his own or does he just hang out with you and your friends now?
Has he had a difficult childhood that he uses to excuse his behavior? Or a previous girlfriend that was nasty to him and he claims that as an excuse for the way he treats you currently?
Does he often tell you things about how previous girlfriends treated him?
Has he ever been physically violent with you? Slapping, hitting, punching, pinching, biting, kicking, burning you, hurting you with objects as well as throwing things, punching walls, breaking things, even if he only did it once?
Does he try to get you to do sexual things that you are not comfortable with?
Do you hardly recognize your boyfriend anymore compared to the person you originally met and fell in love with?
Do you often find yourself wishing for those initial good times and trying as hard as you can to please your boyfriend so that he treats you in that fantastic way again?
Are you afraid of your boyfriend?
Have you noticed that he makes you feel guilty very often? Or are you just realizing it now?
Has your boyfriend ever cheated on you? More than once?
Does he make himself out to be the victim a lot? Is he particularly good at it?
Are you expected to answer your phone to him straight away? While he answers his when it suits him? Is it the same with text messages and emails?
If you talk about leaving the relationship has he ever said that he could not live without you or even threatened suicide if you so so? Has he threatened you in any way if you mentioned leaving him?
Does he threaten to leave you, but somehow never gets around to it?
Do you think he is cold, heartless and emotionless at times?
Do you feel like you are on edge all the time?
Does he ever disappear where you don't actually know where he is?
Is your life full of chaos and drama? Do you feel like you are bouncing around from one crisis to the next?
Do you feel that you are losing yourself in the relationship?
Do you often think that you hardly know who you are anymore?
Are you struggling to make sense of the relationship?
Does he make you feel like you are going crazy?
Have you even thought of suicide because there seems like there is no other way out?
Despite him telling you that you are the problem, do you still think that there is something wrong with him but you can't quite pin it down?
This last point is very significant and I will come back to it in a moment.
Some of the above signs of an abusive boyfriend may be difficult to spot if you are still in the relationship because of the nature of psychological abuse. One thing you can do is to sit down with a trusted friend or family member (not your boyfriend!) and go through the list again because it's often easier for an outsider to spot things that you cannot.
You can also read here about why exactly it is difficult to spot the signs of a controlling relationship.
And about thinking that there is something off about your boyfriend, it's very common that people in abusive situations don't realize at the start that they are dealing with someone who has a personality disorder. Not all abusers do, but if your boyfriend is a psychopath or a narcissist, then you really need to check these things out. Dealing with a sociopath or a narcissist means that the rules are different and without understanding what you are involved with means that you will only suffer more.
If you think it's too far fetched that your boyfriend could be a psychopath, that's normal. Most people have an idea of what a psychopath is, and the person they fell in love with couldn't possibly be put in that category!
But that again is the nature of manipulation and mind control. It's often very difficult to recognize initially that your partner is indeed a psychopath or narcissist. The only way to find out is to learn what a psychopath really is and then to reassess your situation with new eyes, so to speak.
If you recognize many of the signs of an abusive boyfriend above, you will undoubtedly want to know more. You can learn more about mind control, dealing with controlling people, healing from emotional abuse and how to leave an abusive relationship.
Would you like to talk to someone about your situation?
If you think you are or have been in a cult or a destructive relationship, or a friend or family member might be in a cult and you want to talk to someone, send me a message on the Contact page and we can arrange to talk. All communication will be treated in the strictest confidence.
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