How to Spot The Abusive Relationship

by katiem2

Learn the signs of an abusive relationship, find out if you're in an abusive relationship and what to do. How to be safe and get out of an abusive relationship.

Living with the threat of routine yet unexpected outburst is a common indicator of an abusive relationship. The stress and fear of embarrassment or humiliation at any given moment is not natural nor a normal part of life with another. This is a sign something is wrong. Do you live with such outburst and the constant worry it can occur at any given moment? The uncertainty as to whether life can be peaceful and balanced for an extended period of time is not a healthy situation.

Why I Stay in an Abusive Situation?

What's wrong with me, why do I stay and how come I don't get out?

When in an abusive relationship you feel unable to truly be yourself or simply let your hair down and relax. You feel you must act in a manner unnatural to you in order to avoid a negative response from your partner. Feeling lost and as if you’re not yourself occurs from being in a controlling and abusive situation.  It's lonely, very very lonely!  But you're not alone and it's more common than you might think.

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How to Know if it's an Abusive Relationship

Spotting the first signs of trouble or abuse in a relationship is vital but not key to leaving.

Ever feel like you're losing your mind, going crazy or flat out mad? One minute everything seems worked out, normal ah but no once again you're faced with yet another burst of criticism and or outrage. Does it come from out of the blue with no warning?  Just when you feel you can take a breath and let your hair down you're faced with the rude awakening that is your partners alter ego.  If you relate to any of the above you may be in an abusive situation. Trust your gut, if it feels wrong it's wrong!

Give yourself a break, most every person in an abusive relationship goes through a long period of confusion, not denial. The abuser intentionally creates a confusing scenario one that would perplex the most well adjusted person.  Abuser's are really good at making everything feel like it's your fault and or normal. This is where the split personality comes into play. They push it as far as they can and then quickly retreat once they feel you're about to break knowing they've gone as far as they can, for now!  This allows them to maintain the relationship.  

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Why are Some People Abusive?

People abuse most often because it's in their nature, they took a different direction than you.

Abusive people are bullies, they keep a constant monitoring process going to gauge your tolerance and confusion. They're careful to stay within the zone that keeps you guessing. This is why you experience that spontaneous burst of anger and rage once you're happy and calm again. Once they realize you're tolerating this process the urge to pounce is unleashed once again and the cycle continues. The abuser is addicted to it, maybe it's the rush of adrenaline created by the control, or conflict, maybe it's pure evil or a narcissistic behavior out of control. It is not your job to figure out why abusers abuse! The why is not your problem or fault nor can you fix it!  You biggest concern is how to safely get out of the relationship.

Learning to Avoid Abusive Men

You can be free from this by learning all you can and avoid abusive types in the future.

But wait a minute he keeps telling you everybody fights, all men are alike on and on until he convinces you it was just another fluke. Could it be you're in a relationship that isn't right for you? Is it that simple?  Yes, It can be and yet we should look at a few key differences to determine what is going on with you.  I've been in an abusive relationship, researched and studied other abuse victims and what I know is this, above all else if it feels like abuse, it is abuse. You should never second guess that gut feeling.  Being abused leaves you with an unmistakable taste in your mouth, it makes you feel lowly and bad. The haunting question is why can't you fix it?  First let's take a step back looking at situations that may not be abuse. 


Am I Being Abused?

The difference between and abusive relationship and a relationship that's gone bad.

The major difference between a bad relationship and an abusive one is your partner won't let you walk away from an abusive one. A normal end to a bad relationship is two people parting ways, often with hard feelings but they do go their separate ways. Abusive people get outrage and violent at the thought of your leaving them. 

Know When to Leave

Getting out of a bad relationship is ideal and yet often doesn't work out.

This is a key difference.  There is on the other hand the bad relationship in which we allow ourselves to get into a situation that doesn't feel right. We sometimes look to blame anyone but ourselves. For example settling in a relationship, you know settling for someone you really aren't sure of.  

Maybe you've decided there's no perfect relationship, no real love and commit to something you should not.  Maybe you realize this only after it's to late.

Having committed to a relationship that's not working creates a lot of anger. The lack of fulfillment triggers feelings of being wronged but it's not abuse. These ill feelings are reflected back to you as the other person mirrors your anger. This person may not be abusive, just not what you need.

Resentment and Anger

You begin to resent, find fault or blame in the other person as you pretend, for the rest of the world, you have a normal happy relationship. Living this lie creates many tense and frustrating moments. Being with the wrong person can feel as though they're doing everything to annoy you or withholding what you feel you deserve.  

The truth is this person is not capable of being the one, when all along you knew something was missing. You feel an inner rage as you've sold yourself out to be with the wrong person. Your inner voice is screaming, "let me out, I'm being wronged".

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How to Fix A Bad Match

Get out when you can if it's bad it's bad, love is not supposed to feel bad.

In such cases we must take charge and do what's right. The thing to do is move on, get past it, do not settle for an unhappy relationship that's going nowhere! Remember, It's wrong to take it out on someone you've settled for without being certain.

Settling in a relationship builds the foundation for collapse. Despite it all you may also be in an abusive relationship. There are in fact many abusive relationships, lets look deeper into the signs of abuse.  

The Control Freak - Controlling Abuse

What is control? You've often heard the phrase, "their such a control freak" This is important as many people are addicted to control and feel a strong overwhelming urge to control everyone and thing around them, this always leads to abusive and controlling situations.

Control is when a person tells you on a regular basis how to do things, what to and what not to do. Humans are not meant to be controlled in such a manner but to be team players sharing in experiences equally.  

A controlling person will demand things be their way and make arguments as to yours being bad, wrong or flat out stupid. Many times this person will expect you to do things for them they themselves should do. They may also suggest that it is you who treats them badly due to your unwillingness and or lack of submissiveness.

It's as if you're being parented by a unfit parent. They are displeased with your behavior claiming you to be the problem even though their behavior is outrageously obviously wrong, abusive and inhumane. Abusers often thrive on control as a means to take away your dignity and self worth.  

Why do they do something so cruel?  By taking away your control and making you feel powerless to do anything about it they feel more powerful, more in control themselves. Many abusers have abandonment issues. They subconsciously feel you too will abandon them and feel controlling you is the only way to keep you around.  

Follow along as we share strategies to avoid attacks. This guide will give you the edge and the street smarts needed to avoid danger and trouble.

How to Stop Abuse - You Deserve Respect

Abuse is not your fault, your abuser will manipulate the situation to make it look and feel that way but it is not.


In fact you are an adult and capable of making your own choices and having your own thoughts as to right and wrong.

A controlling person often goes as far as to point out your faults, mistakes and short comings regularly and without reason. 

They tend to claim the skills and qualities you're most proud of are those you do badly.  Subtle little fault finding and criticisms are the order of the day.  They attempt to sprinkle them about so matter of fact to validate the lies as truth.  

A controlling and or abusive situation can make you feel crazy as the things taking place are so outrageous and often come out of the blue catching you completely off guard. The fact that you can't make sense of it creates disbelief.

How Men Get Away With Abuse

How Men Keep You in Abusive Relationships

How They Do It

  1. The abusive person is quick to redirect your attention acting as if nothing happened.  
  2. The abusive person does not want you to have time to rationalize what just happened, they would then have to take responsibility and the abusive person does not like to do this or say they are sorry.  
  3. This is as if giving up their power, something they cherish. It's rare to hear an abusive person apologize earnestly or at all.  
  4. They always snap back into the nothing ever happened, everything is fine mode, especially when you're apart.  I feel this is to insure you don't leave.
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The Fear of Abuse

How to protect yourself even when it feels hopeless.

Abusive people make you honestly believe you will no longer continue to live if you leave.

An abusive relationship is one in which you're left feeling crazy because the things this person is saying to and about you just don't ring true in fact absurd. They may often accuse you of saying and doing things that you do not.

In addition to the abusive dance of control you move from one situation to the next so quickly your reaction time is in slow motion while your survival autopilot kicks in.

You have no response and take no action to better the situation as life moves on and you're left in shock unable to make sense of it all.

Explaining Abuse

Abuse may be one of the hardest things in the world to explain to others.

How could you explain this to another when you yourself can't put it into words. This is when a diary or journal becomes valuable.

It's important to keep it private, in a safe place. Writing things down as they occur will help you realize if what's going on is reasonable or not. Plus it gives you a record of the facts which will prove helpful over and over again.

This is a great source of protection.  It's easy for an abuser to say they never did anything and yet the documentation of actual events proves to over rule their lies. Although you find it hard to relive such events it will be therapeutic.  Date your journal entries.

I recorded my abuser during his rampages, this man was extremely verbally abusive.  He woke everyday with a constant flow of lies, demands and outrage.  He would go on and on even though I pretended to be asleep.  It was horrifying the things he would say and the threats he tossed about so effortlessly.  

I understand what you're going through to the extent that my own personal experience allows.  It can feel so helpless and it is for this reason you have got to do any little thing you can to feel as if you're trying, don't lose sight of hope.

Gathering Evidence of Abuse

It's important to gather evidence of abuse, this proves to you and everyone you need to help you that abuse is in fact occurring.

He would rant and rave as to how I sabotaged the shower by leaving soap on the floor or moving his shampoo.  The most horrifying part is the great care I took making certain I never touched his things or left any of mine as I knew he would go off.  

So when he had no reason to go off, he'd do so anyway.  It was nuts, he would rage, break things, mess up the house and curse me until he left slamming the door behind him. I couldn't believe it each time it happened.  It took nothing to set him off, he'd create any excuse, any, he woke alone and created a reason where there was none, zero!

I felt crazy as he would call me an hour or so later as if nothing ever happened. The only reason he did this was to keep tabs on me, it drove him crazy not knowing where I was and what I was doing. He would call me several times a day just to know.  

Plus, he was nice on the phone to keep me available for more later.  Being nice on the phone was his insurance I wouldn't pack and leave. After it was all said and done he confessed to me he was amazed at how long I hung on.  He never thought I'd make it that long.  He confessed his plan was to control my leaving as he knew it would happen in time anyway, so he may as well help it along. Very sobering words!  

How to Make Sense of Abuse

Once you first hear the honest words of abuse you realize the beast it is.

The first time I recorded the abuse and played it back, I was sick as it was worse than I thought.  I couldn't image how one human being could treat another that way and it was me being treated extremely inhumane. The recordings really helped me but I was very careful not to let him find the recorder or the tapes. Hearing what actually took place in a safe environment really woke me up to the sick nature of my abuse.  

This gives you solid without a doubt proof that you are not crazy, it is not your fault, you do  not instigate it and you are in fact being abused!

Protecting Your Family From Abuse

A plan protects you, friends and family from the after math of fighting abuse.

Note:  Abusive people most often have the world fooled into thinking their a nice person. With the proof of evidence you can prove your case and get help.  I went looking for a good attorney, I have children and did not want him to get visitation so I was prepared to tell them about the abuse.  

At first the attorney didn't react to my claims of abuse as I felt they should.  Once I played the tapes, I had a super hero on my side.  The attorney could not believe it.  This lawyer knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was telling the truth and fought like hell to protect me and my kids.

I kept the recorder and journal in a fire proof lock box kept under my bed, he never thought about it as we had more than one, i kept birth certificates, titles and the like in them.  I later took the tapes, flash drives I learned to be a must, to a safe place locking them in a safety deposit box for later.  

I started using an old tape recorder and once I realized the value of these recordings I purchased a recorder with a down-load feature, I copied everything to two flash drives I alternated back and forth, keeping one locked up at all times.

Plus, I cannot express enough how vital it is for you to play the madness back and hear it on neutral ground.  The first time I did this I was shocked myself as to the tone and intensity of his hate and control.  

How to Protect Yourself Against Abuse

Protecting the Kids from Your Abuser

Keep your journal and recorder in a safe place where it can't be found. Abusive people don't want you talking about them in a bad or honest way.  They expect you to lie and paint them to be something they are not.

It is therefore crucial they not find your journal or tape recordings. Consider getting one that doesn't look like a journal, something that wouldn't be noticed.

The bottom line is this, we are meant to be happy, creative and purposeful. We should never be treated in a way that makes us doubt our worth, safety or abilities.

There is no reason to stay in a relationship that makes you feel doubt and unease.

The best time to end it is as soon as possible and yet for many, years go by and issues mount. In situations like these please find a way to talk to someone you can trust.

It is very helpful to have someone sort out the facts and help you come to understand you are not off base. A good ear is always a good start.

You then can set a plan of action to better help you deal with it and get out in a safe and careful manner.

Life is brief to brief to live it unloved, you deserve to be loved unconditionally.

Much Love and Success, Katie

Tools for Protection

Updated: 06/03/2013, katiem2
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katiem2 on 10/30/2012

Roohi, It will happen. Just being aware of what you know about abusive men will help you to spot the hurting impact relevant on the faces of those in pain. I reach out in subtle ways. We will stick together on this issue and simply be here for those who need us, and with that I must go tweet, pin and share your post. :)K

Roohi on 10/30/2012

Glad to be a part of this mission, Katie and looking forward to being a more active member for sure. Need a boost from a friend like yours. Thanks for this valuable article.

katiem2 on 10/30/2012

Roohi, Your article on the topic is help for more than you will know. I'm thrilled to have you share this mission. I wrote this article long ago and update it adding new more helpful tips as I learn more. You too can do the same. You have my support. Thanks for speaking out, this is very helpful for me and so many others. :)K

Roohi on 10/30/2012

Wow, Katie! Your advise is indeed valuable. I especially like what you say that you have to be as crafty as your abuser. But when you are in that situation, your mental abilities seem to just desert you. Forget being crafty, you can often not even think about what are you going to do 5 minutes later. So, what you are doing is especially valuable. These are the times when the people being abused need the support of someone who has gone through it all and can actually help them get out of the situation. Hats off to you, you are indeed doing a valuable service here. That's what is called as turning a negative event in your life to a positive one. I am so proud to actually know you. I will also keep these things in mind for future, maybe some day someone may just need my help as well.

katiem2 on 10/30/2012


It is very difficult to leave. I was just at the police station this past Saturday with a girl experiencing an abusive situation. We sat in a small room across a desk from a male police officer.

I sat there as he explained to her how they could put him in jail over night allowing her time to leave. He went on to say he would get out the next morning. She explained that if she did that he would be so enraged with her for embarrassing him that he would take it out on her ten fold. He agreed, that is how it normally goes.

Her head hung as tears fell onto her lap, she cried silently yet with an obvious physical witness as the tears streamed from her face she held back best she could. It was obvious she cried many a tear due to this ongoing pain.

The police officer explained she should collect as much evidence of the abuse as possible. He said secretly recording him is a great idea as long as he never realizes you're doing so. It could trigger an attack, verbally or physically.

Keep the recordings private, safe and share them with your attorney, only to share with the judge, keeping him, the abuser, from you and the kids.

Plus never public ally expose him, as this is the number one reason violent men kill, they feel they are fooling the world around them. Exposing them to the world is the biggest mistake you can make. Quietly walk on egg shells, record any violent rages saving them to share with your attorney and judge, who will make his, the abusers, attorney aware of the evidence you have privately.

katiem2 on 10/30/2012

Roohi, Continued,

Once the abuser realizes you have proof he will do what ever he can to prevent the exposure of such evidence. This gives you the escape you need. Abusers move on to easier prey. The abuser will undoubtedly rant and rave about you being the bad person who created the problems, ignore this, except the fact he will always put you down, and be grateful he's on the outside of your life now.

It's sad but I vowed to help this young girl get out of the situation. She was there for herself, her mother and older sister. I'm coaching them as to how they can safely do what I have.

We, those of us in an abusive situation, only want to keep our children and ourselves safe and the cold hard fact is staying with them and keeping the peace is the best way to do that till you can get away safe and with the evidence needed to prove to an domestic attorney and judge that you are in fact honestly in an abusive situation. Unfortunately some people cry wolf, very sad but true. Proving the abuse can get you a divorce that limits this man from seeing the kids, they can talk to the judge, plus the judge can here the taped evidence. This also warrants you a order of protection, keep this private between your attorney and the abusers attorney. The more you allow him to keep up his lie, the more he remains calm with no need to eliminate the threat of his exposure.

Anyway, it is a very difficult situation to get out of. It is my goal to get to a place where women can press charges that will put these men in prison for the crimes they commit. Imposing a hostile, threatening and controlling home life for anyone should be a crime punishable by law, Violent abusive men know what they can do and get away with, they enjoy inflicting pain on others and get very good at doing so in a manner so they can continue.

A woman in an abusive situation must learn to be just as crafty as their abuser. Proving to yourself and a legal domestic attorney you in fact are in an abusive relationship is half the battle and no doubt the biggest most significant step any one can take. The mission continues! Sincerely, katiem2

Roohi on 10/29/2012

Hey, Kate. This is an excellent article. My Mom was in an abusive relationship for about 40 years. While my father continued with his behavior with my mother, it did not take him much time to doing the same thing with me. In fact, he went to the extent to actually trying to kill me. He had done the same with my mother as well. So, while it is indeed quite difficult for many women to get out of an abusive relationship, especially one which is more emotional rather than physical, it definitely needs to be done. For yourself and for your children as well. So, hats off to every woman who has had the courage to walk out of such a relationship, including my Mom.

katiem2 on 09/02/2012

Jane, I certainly hope you realize there is a very careful way out. You are not crazy. I like you was so relieved to find out abusive men were commonly like the abusive man in my life. I was not a part of the problem. I was another victim just like so many other women. Its amazing how much alike abusive men are, this empowers us to over come abuse. Learning from others experiences is a huge helpful therapeutic tool.

Jane I will adjust the settings on this comments section so any comments left will not be published till I approve them. Simply leave me a comment with a safe email address where you and I can correspond. I set up a new email just for this purpose, one used only for the purpose of getting out and help. I will use the address you send me to contact you. Then I will delete the post once I get the address.

Jane on 09/01/2012

Really amazing it felt like you've been watching my life as your words ring true of my personal experience. I'm married to an abusive and powerful man. He acts like a loving kind person while out in the world but at home he is insanely cruel to the kids and I. I'm scared for our lives. He tells me I better never leave. I feel so good having read this I wish I could talk to you.

katiem2 on 07/05/2012

"M" My pleasure, I understand how you felt, how we feel and what it does to you to be constantly criticized and so do the abusers that's why they do it. My motivation is to reach women who are going through what I did and help them to realize the dynamics of the abusive relationship and shed hope on their situation. Thank you for the work you do to stop this or better yet help victims stop it by getting out.

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