Advertising
Advertising

How to Spot a Verbal Abuser Early and Protect Yourself

How to Spot a Verbal Abuser Early and Protect Yourself

Admitting to yourself that you’re in an abusive relationship is incredibly difficult. When your partner doesn’t ever hurt you, when your problems are “limited” to “mean words”, it feels hard to believe that it’s justified to call it abuse, especially if they are a good partner in other ways.

But that doesn’t mean that the relationship isn’t abusive, and that doesn’t mean it’s something you have to settle for. Verbal abuse is incredibly harmful for your mental health, and can leave you feeling broken, trapped, deeply depressed and worthless over time.

If you’re seeing signs of verbal abuse present in your relationship with your partner, don’t try to ignore it or convince yourself it’s not serious. It is, and you deserve to confront the problem, and should do whatever it takes to protect yourself. Here are tips on how to spot a verbal abuser.

Advertising

You hide what he/she says to you from others

You’re probably used to venting to your girlfriend when your partner bugs you or leaves you disappointed, but what happens when he says something you know will outrage your friends? If you find yourself keeping something he said [1]to yourself because you’re uncomfortable sharing it with your friends, dig deep to evaluate why you’re doing that.

Is it because you’re worried about what your friends will say about him? Is it because you don’t want people to know he says those kinds of things? Is it because you’re worried about how he will react if he knows you’ve told people?

All of these are signs that something is wrong. If you know your friends are going to be horrified by a sentence, consider that you too have reason to be horrified by it. If you’re worried about people knowing this trait about him, consider that his behavior reflects who he is. If you’re worried about how he will react, ask yourself what he’s hiding and why.

Advertising

Abusers are very anxious to ensure their reputation is well-maintained, and are very concerned about public image – regardless of whether or not it reflects your private life. All of these are signs that something is wrong, and that you may be sacrificing yourself for someone who is hurting you.

He/she makes you cry and doesn’t apologize

When you get into arguments, does he start saying nasty things intended to hurt your feelings? Does he target sensitive topics on purpose? Does he say cruel things seemingly out-of-the-blue, and does he leave you in tears frequently? When you cry, does he show remorse or does he tell you to stop overreacting, stop faking, “get over yourself” or otherwise dismiss your tears? This shows a selfish insensitivity that you should never see in a partner, and is a huge warning sign.

If he is incapable of or uninterested in empathizing with you when you’re in pain, particularly pain he caused, then he doesn’t show himself to be someone who cares about your feelings, making him a fundamentally unacceptable partner. Incidents like these are not normal, and are not the way loving partners behave.

Advertising

He/she eventually apologizes profusely and showers you with gifts

After a fight, argument or abusive episode has taken place, does he eventually come back with a profuse apology and gifts to make it up to you? This may feel like a kind and reassuring gesture on the part of your partner that reassures you he understands what he did wrong, cares about his impact and wants to improve. But the reality is it’s a standard step in the classic abuse cycle : a period of calm, a period of building tehension, a period of acting out and then the honeymoon phase, where he: apologizes or shows regret, promises it won’t happen again, tries to put some blame on you for the incident and tries to minimize or deny the abuse occurred.

All of this does not need to happen at once – for example, it’s very common for an abuser to immediately admit they were being abusive, but then later on – perhaps days or weeks later – try to reframe the incident as less serious or not their fault. You get this a lot with people you meet on dating apps , who genuinely admit they were in the wrong but don’t try to take it back. Now, after he’s apologized to you and reassured you he understands what he did wrong… does he do it again?

You’re hoping he/she will change over time

One of the most difficult things about abuse is that it is cyclical. Once your partner seems like they’ve really changed, you reassure yourself that things will get better – and then another incident occurs. Then they apologize profusely, reassure you they know they messed up, and you think you’re dedicated to your relationship and they seem remorseful so you’ll keep working at it. Then he does it again, and you tell him he has to shape up or you’ll leave, and he says he will. Things get better, you think he’s a better partner now that he’s realized he was in the wrong – and then he does it again.

Advertising

The truth is, abusers rarely change or improve, and your love and dedi cation won’t improve him. Rather than staying stuck in the cycle, take a look at your life and realize that one failed relationship won’t ruin it – get out. Preserve your mental health. Don’t settle for a verbal abuser.

Reference

[1] Healthy Place: The Signs of Verbal Abuse

More by this author

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With 8 Signs You Have A Strong Personality That Might Scare Some People How to Achieve Quick Success at Work Even If You’re Lacking in Clear Direction You’ll No Longer Be Fooled by Skillful Liars If You Know This Concept How I Kill Boredom at Work to Regain My Productivity

Trending in Psychology

1 How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing 2 How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy 3 The Desire to Be Liked Will End You up Feeling More Rejected 4 Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering 5 How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 7, 2019

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

Advertising

    They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

    Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

      Advertising

        1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
        2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
        3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
        4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
        5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

        How to Spot a Wolf

          Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

          Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

          A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

          A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

          Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

          Advertising

          Ask Questions, the More the Better

          There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

          When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

          Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

          They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

          Advertising

          Wolves Are Everywhere

          As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

          Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

          Reference

          [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
          [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

          Read Next