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 Psychologists Say It’s Really Possible To Change Our Personality 2 Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering 3 4 Simple Ways to Make Boring Work Become Interesting 4 How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing 5 How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 14, 2020

Psychologists Say It’s Really Possible To Change Our Personality

Psychologists Say It’s Really Possible To Change Our Personality

Do you feel that you can become a better person, but your personality is hindering you from doing so?

Are you one of those people who is making a conscious effort to change, but no matter how hard you try, you remain a prisoner of your personality traits?

Don’t lose hope – it is indeed possible to change your personality!

Personality Crisis

According to the widely accepted model of personality with over 50 years worth of research and study, there are five dimensions of our personality, known as the “Big Five:”

Advertising

  • Extraversion: People with high levels of this personality dimension are much more outgoing and tend to be more comfortable in social situations compared to others.
  • Agreeableness: Your level in this dimension determines whether you are more cooperative with other people or competitive (even to the point of being manipulative) with other people.
  • Conscientiousness: Thoughtful people who have high levels of this trait dimension are much more detail-oriented and driven.
  • Neuroticism: Moodiness and the propensity for sadness are associated with people who possess excessive amounts of this personality dimension.
  • Openness: Imaginative and insightful people are very receptive to change and new experiences, whereas those who are not are much more stubborn and reluctant to try out new things.

These personality dimensions are further shaped by our genetics and our upbringing, the latter of which also involves our living environment and culture. These factors ultimately help shape your personality as you grow up, some of which could lead to personality disorders.

However, your personality is never fully set in stone. In fact, it is not uncommon for adults to tweak their personalities as they prepare themselves for new challenges and life situations. For example, stubborn partners will find themselves making an effort to become more cooperative with their loved ones if they want their relationship to work. While these instances may not necessarily lead to positive results, it is evidence enough that changing your personality is not impossible.

The question that begs to be asked is this:

How Much Effort Are People Willing to Put in to Make That Change?

According to a recent study at the University of Illinois, only 13% of respondents were satisfied with their personalities – most of them wanted to change for the better. However, instead of encouraging these people to get help from experts or take courses, R. Chris Fraley and Nathan Hudson conducted different tests instead to see if the respondents can quantify their personalities to make the necessary changes. The results of the test were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, which you can view here.

Advertising

The first experiment involved an introductory psychology class, who were educated about the Big Five personality dimensions and asked to grade their personalities by filling out a rating form. They were then asked if they wanted something to change in their personality over the 16-week period of this study. To do this, they needed to find a way to change their undesirable personality traits using goals and metrics to track their progress.

Among the 135 participants, half joined the “change plan” condition, in which they were given writing assignments over the same period to assess the changes they need to make for their personalities. Every week, they were also required to complete additional writing assignments to evaluate their progress further. The other half were not asked to write – instead, they were placed in a controlled setting and were provided feedback about their development.

The second experiment involved roughly the same number of participants. The only variable that Fraley and Hudson changed is that, instead of focusing on personality traits, they targeted daily behavior related to the traits that defined their personalities.

The result of both experiments demonstrates the capacity for people to make breakthroughs with their personalities. Participants were able to make strides by getting better scores on personality traits that they wanted to improve. However, the comprehensive change plans only had a modest impact on the actual changes in personality. Also, the 16-week period for the study was not enough for the participants to make the drastic changes one might expect.

Advertising

Steps to a Better You

Now that you are aware that you can still change your personality, below are some proactive steps that you can take so you can make the change as early as possible.

1. Do not let “labels” define you

You are not a shy and timid person. Nor are you a cold and callous one. You are simply a person full of potential to change and become a better version of yourself every day. You can be anything, as long as you put your mind to it.

2. Do good deeds

Advertising

Getting rid of a terrible personality can start with doing something good. A study published in Motivation and Emotion suggests that engaging in acts of kindness allows you to overcome anxiety. Letting the focus from yourself shift to others leads to more opportunities for social engagement.

3. Just wait

If you cannot force change, then let it come to you. According to a study conducted at the University of Manchester and the London School of Economics, change that naturally takes place is not out of the question. The more you undergo transformative experiences in life as you grow older, the more chances that changes in your personality take place.

At the end of the day, change is inevitable. As mentioned above, our personalities are shaped by our experiences in life. By exposing ourselves to positive experiences that we can live by and keeping an open mind for our own identities, there is no doubt that change for the better is indeed possible.

Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/GmoHIZ61eMo via unsplash.com

Read Next