Warning Signs of an Abusive Personality

If a partner is displaying these behaviors,  you may have a potential abuser on your hands:

A push for quick involvement:  Comes on strong; the relationship progresses very quickly; may say things like "I've never felt loved like this by anyone." 

Jealousy:  Excessively possessive; calls constantly or visits unexpectedly; restricts your activities because "you might meet someone"; checks up on you.

Controlling:  Wants to control what you wear, how you live your life.  Pressures you to change or to do what he wants.  Takes control of resources in the relationship.  You notice more and more that your life isn't your own.

Past battering or legal troubles:  Admits to past abusive relationships, but claims they made him do it or the situation brought it on.  Past run-ins with the law.

Unrealistic expectations:  Expects you to be the perfect woman and meet his every need.  Wants things his way.

Isolation:  Tries to cut you off from family or friends; accuses your friends and supporters of "causing trouble"; makes it hard for you to connect with others or have adequate transportation.

Blames others for problems or mistakes:  It's always someone else's fault -- you, the boss, an ex-spouse.  Rants about the injustices of life.  Says, "You made me do it."

Makes others responsible for his feelings:  Says "You make me angry" instead of, "I am angry".  Or  says, "You're hurting me by not doing what I want."  Makes you responsible for his moods.

Abusive sex: "Playful" use of force during sex; enjoys throwing you down or holding you down against your will during sex; may say he finds the idea of rape exciting; uses pornography.

Verbal abuse:  Criticizes, belittles, says cruel or hurtful things, or calls you names.  Yells at you to intimidate you.

Rigid sex roles: Wants to dictate strict rules for what is appropriate for men and women.

(Taken in part from The Project For Victims of Family Violence, Fayetteville, Arkansas)