SIGNS OF AN ABUSIVE MAN: The Top Early Signs You Shouldn’t Overlook


Abuse of any form is tricky, and detecting it can be tough. This is particularly true in the case of emotional abuse: There is typically visible proof of violence with physical abuse, but signs of abuse might involve sophisticated and toxic mind games. As a result, abuse has the potential to be harmful. This article will discuss the signs of an abusive man and some early signs to watch out for.

We chatted with Kelly McNeil, founder of Women for One, and Dr. Sherry Benton, the founder, and chief science officer of TAO Connect, to assist victims (and their loved ones) recognize the signs of an abusive guy. Continue reading to learn about the warning signs of an abusive man, as well as expert advice on how to deal with these situations.

Signs of an Abusive Man

Abuse is frequently manifested as a way for one individual to exert control over another. If you’re concerned that you and your partner are going through this, Benton recommends looking for these ten signs, as identified by Dr. John Gottman of The Gottman Institute:

1. Control

Your companion may appear overly invested in your social life or police your daily activities without considering your needs. You are not allowed to make your own decisions (either overtly or subtly). Even insignificant remarks that threaten your independence might be used to exert control.

2. Yelling

It’s natural for spouses to raise their voices from time to time, but it’s unhealthy when disputes turn into shouting daily. It’s extremely alarming if you’re scared. Not only does yelling make it difficult to have a good conversation, but it also creates a power imbalance in which only the loudest person is heard.

3. Contempt

It’s difficult for either couple to convey their sentiments when one feels contempt for the other. Benton points out that in a good relationship, your spouse is expected to listen and respect you (even if they can’t provide you with what you require). Contempt may form a barrier in your relationship if they respond to your demands with mean-spirited sarcasm, arrogance, disgust, or disinterest.

4. Abundant Defensiveness

There is less room for healthy dialogue when you continuously feel the need to defend yourself. Both sides must be able to communicate openly—and honestly—to settle conflicts. Excessive defensiveness, according to Benton, might make you feel as though you’re fighting a battle and your shield is always up.

5. Threats

You may believe you’re in danger if your partner threatens you in any way. Blackmail, threats of physical damage or suicide, or other threatening utterances are all examples of coercive “if, then” assertions, but they all have the same goal: to push victims into a corner (and prevent them from leaving).

6. Stonewalling

Stonewalling occurs when one person refuses to talk or communicate, according to Benton. It can feel like your partner is abandoning you if he or she shuts down difficult conversations. Also, their inability to discuss difficulties could be interpreted as a rejection or a disregard for your sentiments. Another indicator of an abusive man is this.

7. Blame

Victims are frequently led to feel that they are the ones who cause—and hence deserve—their abuse and misery, making it far more difficult to escape the cycle. The humiliation that many victims feel for allowing their abuse to continue might worsen this.

8. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a type of psychological manipulation that causes victims to question their memories, judgment, and sanity. You may be undergoing gaslighting if your worries (or even recollections) are regularly disregarded as “fake,” “dumb,” or “insane.”

9. Isolation

Abuse is ubiquitous, touching every aspect of life. The impact on victims’ relationships with friends and relatives is particularly notable. Abusers frequently persuade their victims that no one cares. Victims of alienation may feel as if they are on an island, cut off from loved ones and previous versions of themselves.

10. Volatility

It might be an indication of abuse if a relationship is continuously disrupted by mood fluctuations. Many people go through normal ups and downs, but it becomes a problem when one’s spouse is harmed. Following an outburst, volatile abusers frequently shower their victims with gifts and affection, only to become enraged again shortly after.

Early Signs of an Abusive Man

Here are some signs that you’re dating an abusive man or that you’re in a controlling or abusive relationship with him. Have you and your partner ever:

  • Called you names, made jokes about you, or humiliated you in front of others or in private?
  • Told you what to wear or scolded you for your appearance?
  • Made you have sex when you didn’t want to, or forced you to participate in sexual activities you didn’t want or that hurt you?
  • Have you been refused permission to work, or have you been forced to work?
  • Are you constantly being asked where you are, what you’re doing, and with whom you’re spending your time?
  • Have you kept track of your phone conversations, text messages, emails, Facebook posts, and so on?
  • Refused to let you call your relatives or friends?
  • Have you ever questioned your expenditures or taken charge of your finances? Have they unjustly limited the money they give you or refused to tell you about your family’s financial position if you are financially dependent on them?
  • Has someone followed you in a way that has made you feel threatened?
  • Did you use physical force (pushing, punching, slapping, choking, shaking, or using objects/weapons, for example)?
  • Hurt others physically (children, pets, family members, friends, neighbors, etc.)?
  • Have you been threatened with physical violence? Threats aren’t always verbal; they can also be nonverbal, such as through glances, gestures, or the exhibition of weapons.
  • Have you been threatened with being turned over to the authorities (police, immigration, etc.) if you leave?
  • Have you ever used your religious or spiritual beliefs to control or manipulate you, or to excuse violence against women? Denied your religious freedom by refusing to allow you to exercise your spiritual beliefs or forcing you to adopt theirs?
  • Made you feel responsible for their abusive behavior by blaming you?
  • Showed up at social or work occasions when they weren’t invited and weren’t welcome?
  • Has someone taken your money?
  • Have you hidden your keys or purse so that you won’t be able to leave the house?

Some abusers claim that they are not abusive. Some people freely admit they’ve done something wrong, express deep regret, and pledge they’ll never do it again – which they almost always do. Many abusive men develop gradually, and it might be tempting to dismiss their actions as innocuous signs of love, jealousy, or emotional insecurity at first. But, as activists and survivors have long stated, abuse is about power and control, not envy or love.

Warning Signs of an Abusive Man

The Portland WomenStrength Program offered the following information. Here are some signs that a man is abusive:

  • Possessiveness and Jealousy. Wants to be with you all the time. Constantly accuses you of cheating. Also, follows you around and calls you regularly. Request that your pals keep an eye on you.
  • Behavior Management. Questions who you spend your time with, what you do/wear/say, and where you go on a regular basis. It forces you to seek permission for certain actions. Acts as though you are incapable of making sound decisions. Pretends to be concerned about your safety to hide domineering conduct.
  • Involvement in a short period of time. Before living together or getting engaged, you should wait at least six months. Love at first sight, he claims. There is a lot of pressure to commit. You are the only person who can make him feel this way, he claims.
  • Unrealistic Expectations. Complements you in such a way that you appear to be superhuman. Over-flattering. Expect nothing less than perfection from you. Explains, “All you require is me. All I require is you.”
  • Isolation. Family is too controlling, doesn’t really love you, or you are too reliant on them-pals are either stupid, promiscuous, or you are cheating with them-family is too controlling, doesn’t really love you, or you are too reliant on them. Refuses to allow you to drive or chat on the phone. You find it challenging to get to work or school. Attempts to deplete all of your resources.
  • Assumes responsibility for problems caused by others. It is always someone else’s fault if there are issues at school or at work. Also, it is all your fault if anything goes wrong in the relationship. Will not accept responsibility for his or her own actions.
  • Places blame on others for their emotions. Attempts to hold you accountable for how they feel. “You’re driving me crazy.” “You’re causing me pain by refusing to do what I ask.” “I can’t help but be enraged.” Will not accept responsibility for his or her own sentiments.
  • Hypersensitivity. Easily offended. Everything is viewed as a personal attack. Searches for fights. Things are blown out of control. Unpredictable. You never know what will irritate him.
  • Inconsiderate or cruel to others. Animals or children are mercilessly punished. Insensitive to grief and agony. Also, children are teased till they weep. Don’t be respectful to others. Dismissive of other people’s emotions.
  • Force is used in a “playful” manner during sexual activity. Sulking or rage are used to influence you into obedience, regardless of whether you want sex or not. Make jokes about you that are sexual or insulting.
  • Battering in the Past. You might hear that the person was abusive to another person. They claim it was all a fabrication, or that their ex was “crazy,” or that it wasn’t really that horrible.
  • Breaking or striking objects. Loved possessions are broken. Fists are slammed against the table. Objects are thrown.

What are the Signs of an Abusive Man

We frequently imagine black eyes and broken bones when we think about abusive relationships. However, while physical violence is frequently escalated as a result of abuse, it does not always start that way. In reality, at the start of a relationship, abusers are frequently charming, attentive, and nice.

An abuser will work hard to make you feel valued and loved so that you don’t realize he’s dominating you until it’s too late. However, there are warning signs of an abusive man that we may look for to help us detect an abusive man before things get out of hand.

1. He falls in love with you.

He will purchase flowers and gifts for you. He’ll also probably be the most romantic dude you’ve ever met. Likewise, he will pay close attention to you and make you feel valued. You might think he’s too good to be true, and you’d be right — he is. Because it is much simpler to manipulate someone who loves you, he needs you to trust him and build affection for him.

Because he wants your universe to revolve around him, he will make you feel like you are his entire world. Of course, being romantic isn’t always indicative of abuse. However, an abuser will frequently use these presents and romanticism to divert your attention away from other troubling tendencies like control and jealousy.

2. Always want to commit right away.

He’ll tell you it was love at first sight, that you were meant to be together, and that he can’t picture his life without you. Also, he’ll sweep you off your feet and declare that he’s never loved anyone as much as you. Similarly, he will insist on being exclusive straight immediately, and he will most likely want to move in together, if not marry, as soon as possible. He wants you to love him and feel like you’re a part of his family. Trust your intuition if you believe the relationship is progressing too quickly.

3. Want all of you to himself.

He’ll scold other men for staring at you and interrogating you about your male acquaintances. At first, you might believe this envy is adorable or even loving. But he’ll soon make you feel bad about spending time with your friends or family. He’ll phone or text you frequently during the day, accusing you of flirting or cheating. He’ll tell you that he adores you and can’t bear the notion of anyone else being near you. And no one else will be for a long time. This is the start of your solitude.

4. Be worried sick about you.

If you don’t call him back straight away or if you are home late, he may become irritated. He’ll also say it’s because he’s worried about you. He’ll start asking you questions about whom you saw, where you went, and what you did. Not only that, but he’ll disguise his power by expressing care for your well-being. Similarly, he will begin to make decisions for you, such as whom you spend your time with and where you go, claiming to know what is best for you. You’ll soon be requesting his permission for every action you make. As his power and influence expand, you will lose control over your own life.

5. Be sweet and caring a lot of the time.

Everyone else will perceive him as the nice, loving man you fell in love with. However, he can occasionally turn into the man who puts you down, makes you feel guilty, and isolates you. He’ll convince you that if you simply did things differently, loved him more, and treated him better, he’d always be that sweet, loving man. You’ll stay because you love the man, but you’ll spend the majority of your time being manipulated by the man who hurts you. You won’t be able to tell the difference in time.

6. Sometimes, He will take the role of the victim.

Someone else is to blame if he gets into difficulties at work. Someone is out to get him if he is having a bad day. And if he’s upset, he’ll blame you for his emotions and behavior. He’ll expect you to make him happy and fulfilled, and he’ll blame you if you don’t. He may apologize for yelling, putting you down, or injuring you, but he will always blame it on you. “It’s just that I love you so much,” he’ll say, or “I wish you wouldn’t drive me so crazy.” He’ll eventually blame you for causing him to hit you.


Even if he hasn’t harmed you (yet), if these warning signs of an abusive man are present in your relationship, it is abuse. Control, jealousy, and isolation are all things that are disliked. And no matter how hard you try or how much you love him, his abusive behavior will not alter. This man may appear to be a dream come true at first, but he will quickly turn into your worst nightmare.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 5 signs of emotional abuse?

  • Are Extremely Critical or Judgmental of You…
  • Don’t respect boundaries and intrude on your privacy.
  • Have a possessive and/or controlling personality.
  • Are ruthless manipulators….
  • They frequently dismiss you and your emotions.

What are the characteristics of an abuser?

The following are examples of red flags and warning indicators of an abuser:

  • Jealousy to the extreme.
  • Possessiveness.
  • Unpredictability.
  • A sour disposition.
  • Cruelty against animals is a serious offense.
  • Abuse of the tongue.
  • Extremely tyrannical behavior.
  • Beliefs concerning the roles of women and men in relationships are outdated.
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