5 Ways to Avoid Becoming Involved with Another Crazy, Emotionally Abusive Woman
Many men have a long established pattern of dating and/or marrying crazy, emotionally and/or physically abusive women. If you’re one of them and have managed to end your most recent abusive relationship, here are some warning signs and ways you can avoid becoming involved with another one of these highly destructive women:
1) Dig, baby, dig. Do a little gentle digging (i.e., no police interrogation tactics) about her past relationships and why they didn’t work out. Does she blame all of her exes and make them out to be bastards? If so, steer clear. You want to hear a potential love interest take some of the responsibility about the demise of her past relationships. “I was young and immature. I didn’t know what I wanted. I realize now that I…”
Taking responsibility for her choices and holding herself accountable is a good indication that you’re probably dealing with a grown-up. However, don’t confuse self-blame and responsibility. If she trashes herself, puts herself down, blames herself for her failed relationships, actually admits how crazy she is and drove the other men away, get out while the getting’s good.
If she tells you up front how crazy she is don’t minimize, ignore it or explain it away; look for the nearest exit sign. People will give you warning signs very early on in a relationship, so pay close attention.
2) Beware of an inexplicable, instant, powerful and overwhelming attraction to a woman or if you feel like you “already know her” because of an “instant connection.” Odds are you do already know her. She’s probably just another embodiment of your old issues. Yes, instant chemistry exists and this new woman might be as wonderful as she appears to be, but go slowly.
The charming, but illusory façade of abusive woman begins to crack fairly soon into the relationship, but gradually, which is why so many men minimize, overlook, deny and/or excuse the abusive behaviors. She seems amazing and then there’s an attack “out of nowhere.” She goes back to “normal” for a few weeks and then there’s another incident and another and another and another. In most cases, the period of time between abusive episodes becomes shorter and shorter. Don’t wait that long to get out.
For example, the two of you meet and she’s great. Two weeks go by and she has her first rage episode in which she accuses you of being “insensitive” or “selfish” in the absence of any selfish or insensitive behaviors on your part. You’re bewildered and left wondering, “What just happened?” This is when you should go on high alert and pay very close attention to what she does next:
a) Does she pretend like it didn’t happen? Does she minimize or deny that it happened? This is called gaslighting and it’s abusive.
b) Does she apologize prettily, cry and say she was having a bad day at work and her boss was being mean to her and then you didn’t call her at the exact minute she was expecting you to call and she just couldn’t take it anymore and snapped? Don’t fall for it. This isn’t really an apology. She’s not taking responsibility for her bad behavior. Rather, she’s blaming her boss and you. Everyone has a bad day from time to time and maybe you want to give her the benefit of the doubt. Ok, but when it happens a second and a third time, she’s not “just having a bad day,” this is who she is.
c) Does she blatantly blame you for her bad behavior without even feigning an empty apology? There’s no gray area here. She’s an abusive personality and you should probably walk away.
d) Does she cry and beg you not to leave her, flushed with high drama, saying things like “I don’t know what I’ll do if you leave me. No one has ever made me feel this way. I don’t want to go on without you. Please don’t leave me!?” Get a restraining order, change your phone number and get a new email account. This is probably full throttle BPD.
3) Beware of grand gestures or extreme selfishness. If she gives you an extravagant gift or orchestrates some incredible fantasy date within a few weeks of knowing her, be alarmed. If she expects you to take care of everything, make all the plans, entertain her, pay for everything and doesn’t reciprocate, be alarmed.
The former shows inappropriate boundaries and she’s probably working from the angle of “now he’ll owe me” and the latter indicates you will always “do” for her and get nothing in return except complaints and criticism. Nothing will ever be “good enough” for this kind of woman. Abusive types sometimes do very nice things or show empathy, but it’s on the condition that you will be available to them on demand.
4) BOUNDARIES, BOUNDARIES, BOUNDARIES—Getting too close, too fast. Another warning sign is if she tries to insinuate herself into your other relationships and personal space too quickly. For example, you’ve been dating for two weeks, she finds out it’s your dad’s birthday that weekend and buys him a gift. Or she has roommate troubles and could she stay at your place “temporarily” after only knowing you a month. Or she wants to introduce you to her family in record time. This is evidence that she has poor or zero boundaries and it only goes downhill from here.
5) Mine! Mine! Mine! Extreme possessiveness. If she’s resentful early on about how and with whom you spend your time, this is a bad sign. Abusers feel jealous and threatened when you spend time with your family and friends—even talking on the phone with your sister who’s having a health crisis will set these women off. If she becomes nasty and berates you about having outside interests and hobbies, then, in the words of the Apollo 13 crew, “Houston, we have a problem.”
This is an early warning sign that this woman will use any means necessary to isolate you from your friends and family—the people who care about you and your well-being. If a woman like this can effectively isolate you, then you’re basically under her control and at her mercy without any outside support to tell you that she’s nuts and you deserve to be treated better.
When you meet a kind, loving and healthy woman, it’ll probably feel a little strange to you at first. That’s normal. Ride it out. Remind yourself this is what you want and let yourself enjoy it. Consciously make the decision to be open to it and you’ll get there. Relationships really can be that mutually rewarding and satisfying.
by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD
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