Do Women Ignore Early Signs of Verbal Abuse?

Sandra is the name I gave her this morning. She was of medium stature, brown hair which she wore pulled back in a ponytail.  She was dressed in a long black draped skirt and ivory buttoned blouse but that wasn’t what caught my attention. The canvas of her face was clear, no lipstick, mascara or liner – not so much as foundation to cover the dark circles. Her striking eyes carried a mountain of frustration that I couldn’t overcome. She was accompanied by a small child and adult male, I assumed by the way they were interacting he was her partner, lover or husband.  I heard the woman say, “I’m sorry” in a soft whisper. The gentleman was tall, long gray hair and bearded which gave him a grungy look. He abruptly yelled at her, “You’re such a moron, why didn’t you think of loading Metrocard earlier! We are going to miss the train!” showing anger towards her.
I headed to platform to sit in my usual spot in train car, as I do every weekday heading to work. The couple sat across seats from me within sight. She quietly sat with her son on one side while the man continued to berate her in public. By this time, my headphones were on, I couldn’t hear his rant. I did however; catch a few glimpses of Sandra. She looked at him from the corner of her eye but not directly at him. Everyone in the car must have been listening unless they wore headphones.  People were unfazed by this man’s nasty demeanor, as many New Yorkers during their train commute in the morning. Their trip ended before mine, they got off couple stops before me. She walked behind him not next to him, possibly in fear or disgust was my guess.
The brief scene played out in my head making me think about my own behavior, as well as that of the women in my life. It made me wonder if “Sandra” saw any warning signs during their initial courtship with this man who obviously was verbally abusive. Who knows, what else he might have been saying or doing behind closed doors?
I’m guilty of it as many others of overlooking some red flags when met someone new who could be “the one”. We turn a blind eye or justify an action we know in our gut feels wrong. It’s as common as a Starbucks on every corner of the city! But we shouldn’t ignore the indicators that forecast storms ahead. If you experience any of these, lightly tap the breaks on the relationship to reconsider how to proceed – definitely, use CAUTION!
• You just met but he is already discussing your future together or trying to move into your place.
• He fills up all your free time with plans that he dictates entirely. He might even tell you, he can’t bare a moment without you. He expects that you will drop everything to see him while he sets the schedules for when, where and how it all goes down.
• You might find that he takes up all your time leaving little or no time for friends and family. Eventually, you become dependent on this one person. They become your world, a seclusion which can be depressing, maybe dangerous long term.
• Rarely taking fault for anything that might go sour at any point. He makes sure culpability is shifted to everyone else. Unlikely, he will assume accountability for wrongdoings or bad behavior.
• Guilt trips are common with these types of personalities. Consciously or unknowingly, you will feel responsible for his happiness. Manipulation is a key tactic for him to use against you. He can often be on the defensive, easily offended by your attempt to fight his efforts which he makes it to look chivalrous.
• “Best friends and lovers have no secrets” Forget privacy; there is nothing you should keep to yourself. He should know who you associate with in any way – electronically or personally.
• Your actions are always being watched. How you act, what you say to who you say it. He knows what is best for you having no qualms about stating the obvious. He might be condescending, cynical or use dark humor. He will make you feel badly in his attempt to seduce you to do whatever he wants. Don’t be mistaken, you will be the one accused of being delicate. He will claim that he is trying to help you because he loves you so much.

If you allow it, he will always win. Women often compromise who they are to be in a relationship.  Excusing a voice raised in anger or insults because of a bad day could be a reason to check yourself. Why are you giving anyone permission to treat you badly? Whether it’s verbal abuse or any other type. Abuse leaves long term scars that may or may not show. No love is worth enduring pain of any kind. Love doesn’t mistreat, it does not disrespect and certainly does not hurt you in any way.

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