Most relationship abusers don’t start doing it by physically harming their partners from the very beginning, and there are some early warning signs that are vital to recognize in order to avoid such a relationship.
We all know cases in which the men seemed sweet and likable in the beginning, and they seem to have some lovely qualities as people, even as partners, however, they turn out to be controlling, manipulative, and mistreating partners behind closed doors.
The thing about mistreatment at home is that most people don’t enter with relationships with someone who takes advantage of them from the start, and it’s often like the analogy of the frog in boiling water. If you put a frog in boiling water, it will jump right out, but if you put it in cold water and then gradually increase the temperature, the frog won’t recognize that it’s being cooked until it’s too late.
Rob Andrews is a domestic counselor in Australia, and he suggests a simple test in order to identify potential abusive partners early in a relationship.
He told ABC News that he advises people to use the so-called “No Test” to identify potential red flags early on in the relationship.
He says that the No Test is to watch out for the way your partner responds the first time you change your mind about something or say no to something. He notes that expressing disappointment is Ok, but it’s not the same as being annoyed. Annoyed, or acting like “how dare you” is a sign of ownership or entitlement, and it’s a potential red flag.
Ownership, entitlement, and control are red flags that often lead to increasingly mistreating behavior, and even though women can be the perpetrators too, the reality is that women are much more likely to be the victims of this.
According to Andrews, the “nut of the problem” is our patriarchal history. He says that some people erroneously tell women that they should just be more assertive with their partners, and let them know that they won’t stand for such controlling behavior. However, that’s not always the best tack to take, and he believes that being assertive with a man who is threatening to bash you is not a very good idea.
Andrews also works with men who are struggling with their own behavior and want to change, and he has them think about what kind of a man they really want to be and he works with them in order to align their behavior with that vision.
He notes that even though many people say that “it’s hard to be a man now”, it’s definitely not the truth and it’s very easy to be a man. Just be polite and respectful to people.