Here’s how abusers operate: Grooming process Abusive men like to groom their partners to prepare them for future abuse. They want to make a deep connection with you. They’ll woo you, gain your trust, and get you dependent on them – either for love, money or emotional support. They’ll find out what makes you tick and use it to their benefit. He’ll abuse you, knowing that you’ll keep it a secret because you don’t want your friends to know that the relationship might not be as perfect as you let on. Total control It could be the way you dress, the way you spend your money, or where you go with your friends, but an abuser will want to control it. According to research, control is usually the biggest problem with abusive partners. When an argument ends with him hitting you, it’s his way of regaining control of the situation. An abuser cannot lose. He has to be the victor in this situation, and will feel justified to hit you and blame it on you. He’ll say the infamous words, “look what you made me do,” before he apologises and try to make things right. Just the two of you An abuser will try and separate you from your loved ones so that you don’t have their support when you need it. Once he knows that you’re in love with him, he’ll start complaining that he doesn’t like your friends. He’ll convince you that they’re no good for you or even cause a rift between you and your family because firstly, abusers are excited by conflict and secondly they know that once you’ve burnt bridges with the people who are close to you, you are on your own. You have nobody to reach out to when he starts controlling and abusing you. The blame game Abusers will not only manipulate you into thinking that everything is your fault, but will voice it too. He’ll say things like, “if it wasn’t for your stupidity we wouldn’t be in this mess,” or “you decided to get pregnant, now you take care of the baby.” Even if someone else is to blame, he’ll turn it around because he just enjoys making you feel small and will use this to guilt trip you too. He refuses to help You both work, but as soon as you get home, he expects you to carry on with household duties, look after kids and take care of his needs. Tiny Moloko, counselling manager at People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) says, “Be careful of a guy who is not interested in helping you. That is a form of abuse in itself. It may not be physical, but that man has put no value on you, whatsoever. Abusers don’t see their partners as their equals. They see themselves as superior to everyone in the family.” Unrealistic expectations He expects you to read his mind and uses things like silent treatment, threats and even physical abuse such as throttling, pushing and shoving as punishment if you don’t give him what he wants when he wants it. Dr Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self Love and Relationships with Abusive Narcissists states that abusers, whether male or female, suffer from narcissism (extreme self-love) and often feel that their victim is like an extension of themselves, and not a person of their own. You may feel like you need to anticipate his needs and ensure that they are met before he even asks.
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