It's very hard to imagine, but abuse actually creeps up on women slowly and unexpectedly, starting with subtle control or disrespect that grows substantially over time, making you wonder, "How in the world did I get into this?"
The answer is that no one is perfect, and it may be difficult to understand the difference between a man just being an ass versus being truly abusive. The bottom line is the psychological dame it inflicts over time, and it ultimately about power and control, but here are some signs to recognize and pay attention to:
Retaliation for complaining about his/her negative behavior (this may be verbal or physical)
You are to blame for his obvious mistreatment of you, and nothing is ever his fault
Denial of his actions
Intimidation either with a look, balling up of the fists, coming toward you with an open hand, or threats (physical or verbal)
You're treated like a queen with hugs and kisses while out in public, giving the perception that he is a caring husband/boyfriend
Has an overall negative attitude about women in general
Is attracted to women who may appear to be vulnerable
Has double standards
Narcissistic or self-centered
YOU are the problem
If some of these signs show themselves in the beginning of a relationship - BEWARE, because these are considered red flags.
Keep in mind that whatever happens in a relationship, there is no need to ever feel degraded, be physically harmed, or question your own self worth.