Do you remember walking on clouds during the beginning stages of your relationship? Everything seemed rosy, and the person of your dreams could do no wrong. The laughter, the compliments, those extravagant gifts, and the intense attention felt wonderful and truly perfect.
It took weeks, months or years before noticing the degrading complaints about your weight, the hurtful comments about the dinner you so lovingly prepared, humiliating you in public when offering an opinion. Perhaps lunch was late or you were visiting friends and not at home, causing you to be slapped for the first time. Sure, you accepted the apology and roses, only to be pushed two days later when you didn't get off the telephone quickly enough. You'll hear "I'm sorry" a lot - at first.
How could this have happened? What in the world did you do wrong? In a word - Nothing. Are there warning signs you should look for?
1. Bitter and out of control negative comments about an ex or almost every relationship from the past early on when you meet is a red flag. This is particularly true if he or she says the ex made false accusations of abuse.
2. If you are treated rudely in front of others, laughed at for your opinions or generally sarcastic, run quickly.
3. Possessiveness and jealous behavior is not cute and spells upcoming trouble. Remember, jealous feelings are normal, but not the behavior caused by those feelings.
4. Controlling where you go, what you wear, who you spend time with, which can start simply by sharing that you need to spend more time at home, etc.
Unfortunately, many of these signs and others, are so subtle, that we're knee deep in the relationship, and unable to leave. The broken arms, the loss of self-esteem, the fear of losing children or a source of income are crippling.
There is help, and when you're ready, take time to share your fears with someone you love and trust.
Know that it's NOT your fault and that you deserve the best.