Early Warning Signs He's an Abuser

Would you order for me, please?

Way back when, I had a little thing I’d do on first dates to feel out the guy and learn a little bit about him. We’d go to dinner and I would not pick up the menu. I would ask him to order for me.


Many dates over many years reacted so differently to this request.

Some would remember I mentioned I was a vegetarian, or that I loved avocado. Some would offer some guidance: “This place is known for its manicotti.” Some would ask me if I wanted this or if I want that, without being able to bring themselves to make the decision without a lot of input. Some were so clearly uncomfortable I wound up having to punt it to the waiter. Some took commanding control without checking twice and ordered fine meals without blinking.

There was no right or wrong answer really. But 20 years ago when I was dating several times a week, it was just one of those things I would do to get to know the person.

It was not my own personal version of that scene in the movie A Bronx Tale where the guy tests his date will lean across the bench seat of the car to unlock his car door for him. This wasn't a test. This was just an ice-breaker. It was just fun. And very revealing.

One of these first dates was a guy I worked with at a big corporation. He was successful, nice looking, from a good family, I had known him for a couple years but he had always had his professional face on at the office complex.

When caught off guard with my request he became a little flustered. Immediately his reaction turned to anger. The first thing he said to me was, “What is this, a trick? To make me look stupid?” I could see the rage building in him for absolutely no reason. Then he told me I better eat whatever he ordered.

Of course I didn’t stay for the rest of the date. I immediately got up, said, "Nevermind," and left.

A guy that can turn like that on a dime is an issue. Add that to his projection that you’re trying to make him look stupid, plus his thinking he can order you to do anything, and you’ve got a very abusive boyfriend.

There are always early warning signs

What does he say about his ex-girlfriend? How does he treat the waitress? His dog? What is his attitude toward others, especially women.

His ex may be a total bitch, his boss may be a controlling conniver. The waitress may really suck. But take the way he says those things for the insight it gives. Don’t look for exceptions to define the rule. In general, you know in your gut when someone’s attitude is uncalled for.

It's one thing to be laying in bed on a lazy Sunday afternoon, laughing and playing around, and complain privately about your jobs. 'Saying the boss is an inept douchebag, while you feel safe with your partner is one thing. Barking in a rageful, hateful, accusing, paranoid way is something entirely different. And you know the difference.

Is he condescending? Does he speak down to people? Is he rude or cruel? If you think that’s not going to translate into the way he treats you, you’re wrong.

Do his moods swing from one direction to the opposite for apparently no reason. What is his temper like? Anger is a normal human emotion but there is a world of difference between someone getting mad within reason, and someone showing rage for literally no real reason.

An abusive relationship doesn’t come out of nowhere. Learn to trust your instincts and detect those early warning signs so you can get out before you’re in.


Ask Yourself These Questions:

1 – Do you find yourself apologizing to him for no reason other than that whatever you said or did, upset him?

2 – Do you avoid certain conversations because you anticipate his disproportionate negative reactions?

3 – Are you afraid of him?

4 – Do you find yourself covering or making excuses for him? Are you so embarrassed by his actions or words that you find yourself apologizing to others for him? Do you try to rationalize the way he acts to yourself and others? Are you lying about what he said or did?

5 – If you really listen to the way he speaks to you, would you say he orders you to do things, and threatens you with consequences? Does he speak as if he's in charge of you? Does he ever listen to you, or care at all that you are upset by the way he speaks to you? Does your opinion matter as much as his, in his mind.

If you said yes to any ONE of these 5 questions, then your partner is a person you do not want to be involved with.

The moment you know

Every woman in an abusive relationship had a moment of reveal, like the one I had at that first date.

I could have tried to explain to him that all I did was ask him to order for me. I could have calmed him down and said no one was trying to make him look stupid, and I could have eaten whatever he ordered. But those would have been poor reactions on my part, because they would have perpetuated the date. They would have validated for him that he can behave irrationally and aggressively with me. Explaining myself would have been the dumbest thing I could have done. The best thing was the only thing I did - I removed myself from that situation. I did nothing to draw him in, I didn't try to engage him. I simply left.

I don’t think it takes a special talent to see that first sign of trouble. I think the problem isn’t in recognizing it, it’s in trusting that recognition and getting out.

I was fortunate that he revealed his true colors so quickly at the onset of a first date. Some don't, some are sneaky and conniving, some can lead you on. But whatever the case, there is a point where they reveal themselves. That's when you get out. That's when you trust yourself.

Every lady deserves a gentlemen. The term gentleman by definition, refers to chivalrous, courteous or honorable man. There is something terribly less than honorable about any male that scares or harms you.


A Bronx Tale - The Door Test

All text is original content by Veronica.

If you are reading this anywhere other than Hubpages, this article has been stolen.

All photos are by Veronica, or used with permission.

All videos are courtesy of Youtube.

If you liked this HUB please click the Thumbs Up. Thanks!

More by this Author


Comments 38 comments

mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Fantastic advice, and very true based on my own experiences, (see my hub on "Living with a Control Freak", if you want to know more). I totally identified with your words here, plus the list of "Questions" to ask yourself. My ex was a "tick" to most of these boxes, so you were spot on with the danger signs. So nice to know it isn't just me who has experienced these things :)


Veronica profile image

Veronica 7 years ago from NY Author

Thanks, mistyhorizon2003. Always feel free to link your relative hubs on mine, it's good for us all to get different perspectives and information. I'm sorry you had an ex that was bad news. Glad to hear the "ex" part of that though. ;)


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Thanks Veronica, yes, he is most definitely an ex, and I now am in touch with his 'ex' before me, and she feels the same about him as I do.

The link to my hub about him is http://hubpages.com/relationships/My-Ex-was-a-Cont

Thanks for allowing me to post it here :)


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

Hi Veronica, I can totally identify with what you are saying! With my ex, I would have answered yes to all those questions, yet stupidly, I still stayed with him for 10 years. I've written a very similar hub http://hubpages.com/relationships/How-do-I-know-if... You are welcome to link mine to yours as the more people we can reach out to about abuse the better. I've also written a book called Fear, Phobias and Frozen Feet, which deals with how to break the pattern of always getting into abusive relationships.


Veronica profile image

Veronica 7 years ago from NY Author

Great, cindyvine. Thanks for the linking. I am interested in your book! I wrote a hub about Fear being a highly motivating emotion. I like that hubpages is a community like this, and I enjoy reading an article that leads me to another like minded one that lends more thoughts. There is a huge difference between expanding on the topic in a healthy way, and in spamming some shit.

Thanks both of you for the links.

I never had that impulse to stay with someone even to finish the first date if I saw those signs. So you're experience is certainly a valuable point of view for others.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

At the moment, my website is being revamped as you can buy it as an ebook from there or from Lulu as an ebook, but it should be available on Amazon as a paperback in a month.


Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

Tatjana-Mihaela 7 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

Thank you very much for this Hub, Veronica. All women would need to read such articles. It would be less pain on this world if women learn how to protect themselves. Thumbs up, from all my heart.

Few days ago I wrote the hub "Girls want the Prince of Charming, what guys can offer", http://hubpages.com/relationships/romance-love where I also write about types of men should be avoided plus reasons WHY WOMEN STAY ATTACHED to the "wrong guys" for so long etc. I would be very honored if you read it.


Veronica profile image

Veronica 7 years ago from NY Author

Thanks, Tatjana. And thanks for the link, i will check it out!


DarleneMarie profile image

DarleneMarie 7 years ago from USA

I agree, anger is a normal human emotion and there is a world of difference between someone getting mad within reason, and someone showing rage for no reason.

They should get out in the beginning and not let the relationship develop.

Great Hub to open eyes to the first signs of warning!


Veronica profile image

Veronica 7 years ago from NY Author

Thanks so much DarleneMarie


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 7 years ago from South Africa

Thanks for the really useful info.

Abuse is such a horrible thing and men should be more aware of the devastating effects that abusive behaviour has. I hope many men also read this article and become more aware.

Love and peace

Tony


Veronica profile image

Veronica 7 years ago from NY Author

Thanks Tonymac04, I appreciate the comment. i hope people read this too, i learned a lot while writing it and sharing with others.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

Good girl! find out on the first date and get the hell out, it can save your life! thanks for the warning and advise, all girls need this


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

I agree with the sentiments in this hub and the many comments. Real men are not inclined to bully anyone, male or female. As a male, I have a simple way of checking people out. If my dog doesn't like them nor do I. My dogs have all shown impeccable taste when it comes to knowing people. After all, dogs can sense feeling better than humans can in my view. Maybe all women should get a good dog!


Veronica profile image

Veronica 7 years ago from NY Author

Thanks Dolores,

Thanks earnesthub. - I totally agree. My dogs are great that way too. And you can tell a lot about a person by the way they are around dogs.


Adam B 7 years ago

what do you say to a woman with two black eyes?

Nothing you haven't already told her twice before.

Hahahahaha. I actually played a fund-raiser for a battered women's shelter last year with my band and we really raised a lot of money. I told that joke at the fundraiser and...well, it didn't go over so well. I sort of like awkward situations like that though...I'm weird.

On a serious note, very good hub, keep up the good work.


Veronica profile image

Veronica 7 years ago from NY Author

Adam,

Very cool you were able to raise money for such a good cause. :D

xo


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Veronica, you are so right about the gut knowing.  But often, people bypass that initial warning bell, because they are focused on what they think or wish they will get, or on what they are afraid of losing, or on doing the polite thing, rather than on what's directly in front of them (to the point of your Fear Hub).

Abuse is both an old and a timely topic; the genesis of it doesn't change, and the pain is always fresh.  I'd like to add my Hub to your comments, as you so graciously offered (Resources for Understanding the Abusive Relationship):

http://hubpages.com/relationships/Resources-for-Un...

PS..very nice to see you back writing on HP.  I'm just now catching up with your newest Hubs.


Veronica profile image

Veronica 7 years ago from NY Author

Sally's Trove,

Thanks so much for the link to your HUB, I thumbs up'ed that article! Very interesting work about the emotional abuse some people inflict. I have a hub coming up in response to a reader question regarding power exchange. I do think abuse comes from an inbalance of power but I think ,.... well, hopefully you'll read my upcoming hub and add your thoughts. It's a multi layered topic.

And thanks. Yes, it's good to be back :D


RFox profile image

RFox 7 years ago

Another great hub Veronica! I like your date test...very interesing...

I see a lot of women ignoring the big red flags. I wonder why we make excuses the way we do. I'm very lucky to be with a wonderful man now but I've definitely made excuses before for 'borderline cases' when I was younger.

Wisdom certainly comes with age and experience!

Cheers,

Rachelle


Eldritch Elegy profile image

Eldritch Elegy 7 years ago

Some of us are just stupid about love.

I thought showing him unconditional love would change him. I forgave (I never forgot, but I tried) over and over and over and it just opened the door for me to be taken advantage of.

When I was ambling towards his car on my crutches and he intentionally tripped me and laughed about it, I should have gotten the hell out. Unfortunately, I told myself "Look at his family life, he has no examples on how to treat people... I just need to teach him. Maybe God sent him to me for that."

I made excuses for him. I put up with several more atrocities, and I'm done.

I'm so glad you and the people who commented are out there spreading awareness about this kind of thing.

I think you've inspired me to write!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

EE I believed if I loved my husband enough he'd change. They don't only they can change themselves. Love does not change a thing.


DSE 901 7 years ago

This is a timely and important article. Any woman can be a victim of abuse. You were lucky to pick up on the signs early in the relationship. The longer you're in a relationship, the harder it is to extract yourself.


Marie 7 years ago

A friend of mine was once hit by her boyfriend. She forgave him and I believe it was because they were both drinking at the time. He hasn't drank and he hasn't hit her again. She tells me he's a good guy and in fact, I would have to agree that he's a much better boyfriend than her other ex-boyfriends. But I still cannot stand being around the guy or hearing about him. I am supporting my friend, but I cannot trust the guy. I keep thinking, love isn't supposed to hurt, so why is she still with him?

Thanks for the article.


Veronica profile image

Veronica 7 years ago from NY Author

Marie,

I hope your friend is ok. Thanks for your comment.


ratcliffe07 profile image

ratcliffe07 7 years ago

This is very insightful. But what is really scary is those who abuse you but not physically or verbally. They abuse you emotionally. It is very hard to detect in the beginning. I wish i had known how to detect in the beginning. They use your emotions against you to get what they want.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

Emotional abuse definitely takes the longest time to recover from


ratcliffe07 profile image

ratcliffe07 7 years ago

It does and some girls never do :(


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 7 years ago from Canada's 'California'

I can relate (unfortunately) to many of the comments about your hub. I wanted to let you know how well written and informative I found it, and thank you for sharing your pointers with the rest of us.

I too, have a similar post LOL...I think there are a lot of women out there who can write books about this subject...and you are right...we need to read everything we can get our hands on, and speak out about it...

Mental abuse is one of the toughest to spot, as the perpetrator generally keeps it under wraps for upwards of a year, gradually showing more and more of their true colours...at worst this is the most insidious abuse...


Jessica 7 years ago

This is a great test, though unfortunatley, doesn't work so well anymore with automatic door locks and oversized cars. I was raised in a family where the first person in the car unlocked all the doors for everyone getting in...and I did the same. But the last date I had, the SUV was so huge and the middle console so wide that I couldn't reach, NOR could I figure out how to use the side door locks because he had them locked down. I did try though. Anyway, I hope you guys with huge trucks find a new test! :)


RecoverToday profile image

RecoverToday 6 years ago from United States

This is so true. Wouldn't it be great if all women would obey the warning signs BEFORE they fall in the relationship?


Veronica profile image

Veronica 6 years ago from NY Author

RecoverToday, thank you so much for your comments tonight!


Mia 6 years ago

Sounds like my dad. Everyone is terrified of

Him and he's so obnoxious in public.


Veronica profile image

Veronica 6 years ago from NY Author

I'm sorry to hear that, Mia.


dotty1 profile image

dotty1 5 years ago from In my world

enjoyed your hub, you are so right in what you write. I've experienced this and gotten away and then when lonely I think "was I hasty?" ...I know not, but why do we seem in some instances to attract the wrong 'breed' of man? do we have special signals that scream "hey abuse me " because it is so scary for women to trust again.. my heart breaks when I read what these things can do to good honest people - Want to hug you all.. your advice is outstanding ... If you visit me you'l see I a sarcastic(some might say witty) poet of relationship failings...might make u smile x


jalawa03 profile image

jalawa03 5 years ago from Texas

Very interesting read. The way you wrote this hub was a twist of humor but excellent advice. I loved it.


htodd profile image

htodd 4 years ago from United States

Great read..Thanks for the nice post


SantaCruz profile image

SantaCruz 4 years ago from Santa Cruz, CA

Thank you for writing this. I especially like how you basically described emotional abuse in the "Ask these questions" section. Even if emotional abuse never escalates to physical abuse, it's not worth someone's peace of mind.

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