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How to spot a bully when you start dating

Updated on October 17, 2012

Warning Flags: Don't Ignore Them!

If he looks like a  villain, acts like a villain and talks like a villain, he's probably not Prince Charming.
If he looks like a villain, acts like a villain and talks like a villain, he's probably not Prince Charming. | Source
If he breaks your heart and covers his face, not from shame but so that no one can see him, he's probably a self-centered jerk.
If he breaks your heart and covers his face, not from shame but so that no one can see him, he's probably a self-centered jerk. | Source

Is the person you're dating an arrogant jerk? He or she may be a bully.

Does your new love interest make fun of servers? People on the street? YOU?

You may not want to hear this, but he or she may be a bully.

How can you tell if you're dating a bully? Here's a test of jerks.

Why am I talking about this subject? Good question. I divorced a narcissist. I have no diagnosis, just my prognosis based on multiple articles I've read of the symptoms. My ex is self-centered, arrogant, thinks he's super-smart (yet has the maturity of a 5-year-old with a mental disability), and lacks empathy.

Bullies are broken inside, either from an abusive childhood, or one in which they were coddled or neglected. Their own self-esteem has been so damaged that having the control to alter other people's moods (usually for the worse) gives them a "rush," or charge to feel something. Seeing other people feel just as bad as they do is easier for them than taking steps to make themselves feel better in a positive way.

Do you want to know how to spot such a freak before you get emotionally attached? Okay, here's some tell-tale signs:

  • No sympathy for others (or animals). Does he or she show signs of no regard to other people's suffering? Are they aloof to other people's joy or sadness, either way? My ex told me stories about how he would skin rabbits for his parents (while his brother would be in tears about the loss of their lives). Let me remind you that I had rabbits as pets. Yes, it was a red flag I ignored.
  • He or she laughs at other people's misery. I thought it was just a bad taste of humor but my ex thought it was hilarious that he could inflict pain on his victims. One time, he told me about how he tossed potted plants from his window sill on a young girl walking below. He could have killed her, but he laughed telling the story about how it scared her when the clay pot exploded next to her several stories below.
  • They treat other people like their servants or with total disrespect. If your significant other is abusing your waiter/waitress, or being rude to the receptionist when you check in somewhere, be very aware. This is a major red flag that he or she is using intimidation to control others. If they aren't being totally courteous and pleasant while "complaining," be cautious.
  • They make fun of others (or you). Any time you see your dating partner mock anyone else while you're dating, it's an ominous sign. If he or she makes you feel inferior (either financially, intellectually, physically or otherwise), it's a tell-tale sign that your in for murky waters in the relationship future. A guy I was dating claimed he had an IQ of 154, while I told him mine was 136. When he made a joke and I didn't understand it, he said, "only people with IQ's over 140 would get it." Rude jokes are warning signs.
  • You feel bad around him/her or "drained" emotionally afterward. If you don't feel good around him/her, and their presence makes you feel worse than before you met, then don't focus on the few moments of good times together. Things will probably just get worse over time.
  • He or she is verbally/physically abusive. A woman who socks a man in the shoulder (even in jest) is still a form of bullying and shouldn't be ignored! Respect yourself, and expect the same from the person you are dating. There is NO reason to disrespect someone, you or those around you, no matter how bad their life has been.

Don't put up with bullying. When we have poor, defenseless souls like Amanda Todd being bullied (even after death), it's imperative to learn from other's mistakes and protect yourself. When you date, you're looking for someone to enhance your life, not break you down.

Protect yourself and respect yourself. The rest should follow.

How have you been bullied?

What form of bullying have YOU encountered?

See results


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    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      Happy New Year! Your articles are informative.

    • wonderful1 profile image

      Sheila Varga Szabo 4 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks again, lovedoctor-- I try to help others however I can.

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      This is very good information.

    • wonderful1 profile image

      Sheila Varga Szabo 4 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for the comments-- if it saves just one woman from being abused by a bully, then it was worth writing. Spreading the word by educating others about these subjects is my mission. This place sure has become a watering hole of information. Let's hope it serves its purpose.

    • bodylevive profile image

      BODYLEVIVE 4 years ago from Alabama, USA

      Amen! SparrowMinistries. Before I got married, I ran into some that claim they were looking for a lasting relationship when it turns out, he was waiting for me to lower my guard so he could get his ego on. I'm sure you know what I mean by that. Wonderful1, you did a terrific job on the hub. I believe this will help many single women who stop by here.

    • profile image

      SparrowMinistries 5 years ago

      Good job on this hub. Hub pages has turned out to be a great place to learn about abusive relationships and to get support. Thank you for sharing your insight. I am sure it will be helpful to many. There is a lot of information out there on physical abuse, but emotional abuse can be even more damaging because there is no evidence and the abuser often manipulates everyone into thinking the victim is the one who is "crazy."

    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 5 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      This is a very insightful hub outlining many of the characteristics of a bully.There is good information here for those of us too naive to spot the warning signs. Thanks for sharing this hub :-)

    • wonderful1 profile image

      Sheila Varga Szabo 5 years ago from Southern California

      Good to hear you're a smart lady. I dated the guy who insulted my intelligence for several months not realizing his behavior was out of line. In hindsight, it's 20/20.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Hey, I think I just dated a guy like this! We just went out on one date. Within that short period of time, I knew it was not only the first date, but the last. He made the waitress feel uncomfortable and he mocked me a couple of times. He tried to bully me to get an invite up to my apartment. Ummm... nope. Don't think so, buddy. This is great advice and thanks for sharing it!