Does your significant other constantly chalk his bad mood up to something that you've said or done, then apologize almost immediately? Is your friend’s new beau always listening in to her phone calls or reading text message conversations over her shoulder? These seemingly normal scenarios can also fall into the category of abusive behavior, according to some relationship experts. "Any action that limits your freedom or self-expression could point to a pattern of control or abuse," says author and relationship expert Maxine Brown. Read on for a list of more subtle signs that you or a friend may be in an abusive relationship.
1) They write their jealous behavior off as "concern."
It's normal for your partner to be concerned for your safety, but when their worries start to constantly interfere with plans that you made that don't include them, it becomes an attempt to control you. An example of this behavior according to Maxine, is that he or she says they're worried about your health and insists that you stay inside instead of going out in the cold or heat, but you suspect they have another motive.
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2) They ask you to make changes to your appearance.
While it's perfectly appropriate for your partner to have a dress in mind that he likes to see you in or pair of shoes of yours that are their favorite, constantly commenting on your appearance and asking you to make changes is likely a sign of control and abuse to come, according to marriage and relationship educator David Ament. "These comments might sound innocuous, but they are also signs that [they are] letting [their] controlling nature sneak into your relationship," Ament says.
3) They limit the contact that you have with your friends or family.
"Abusive relationships usually begin with an attempt to isolate you from any important people in your life in order to make you solely dependent on your partner," says psychiatrist Dr. Gail Saltz. This may start with them not liking it when you go out with your friends, as well as cornering you into making a choice between them or other people that you care about.
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4) They constantly question your thoughts and actions.
If your day-to-day conversation with your significant other consists of them questioning your opinions, thoughts, clothing choices, or other personal preferences, this pattern can become abusive. "Abusers systematically place doubt in your head, causing you to question whether you are smart enough or good enough," explains dating and relationship expert Suzanne Casamento. "All that self doubt makes a victim accepting of abuse. Because after all, if you're 'so stupid' or 'such a bad person,' you eventually believe that you deserve to be treated that way." Keep reading...
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