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Warning Signs You Are in a Toxic Relationship and Suffering From Mental Abuse

LA Elsen

LA Elsen

Eight Warning Signs

Why is it that our intuition gets thrown out like an old Starbucks cup when we fall in love with a new boyfriend. Why does it seems like the smartest, most levelheaded ladies get lured into an emotional teardown with no rebuild in sight over a nightmare of a relationship. Many friends and loved ones have witnessed the helpless feeling of this happening to a woman they care about. I experienced this when my beautiful relative threw most of her life away including turning her back on her child for a toxic relationship. Three years later and several court apperances later she is hopefully back on track and has put this form of mental abuse behind her.

Do Something Before It Is Too Late!

Before the person you love gets caught up in the cycle that may potentially ruin her life she should look at these eight warning signs to see if the man of her dreams falls into this category.

1) He Humiliates You In Public

Public humiliation can be very subtle like making a childish gesture or as severe as publicly chastising you to for making an honest mistake. Does your boyfriend like to insult you in front of strangers? Does he laugh at your faux pas knowing how mortified you feel? This is usually the point where many women part ways with a man. Yet, we are human girls and depending on our emotional state at the time, we may laugh off an insult or just plain ignore it. If this has happened set a limit with yourself as to the amount of crap you are willing to take. If he attempts to charm you with another series of insults the next time you are out, decide what you will consider an appropriate amount of ribbing.

2) He Won't Leave You Alone, Literally

The Complete Contact Contract: Is part of the agreement to dating you include the ultimatum that he must have complete contact with you no matter what? Does your boyfriend insist on calling you or you calling him back every minute of the day he is not physically at your side. This is an over enlarged sense of control over you and his role in your life. If he insists on knowing why you took too long in the ladies room or why you cannot immediately answer your texts while you are in a meeting or at class then he probably is extremely insecure or more than likely he sees you as a possession - his possession.

3) He Won't Trust You, Ever

We all get possessive of the ones we love and trying to maintain control to a certain degree is fine and natural, but what about constant lack of trust? Does your boyfriend often accuse you of cheating? Does he become super spy and search your browser, iPhone and email for evidence of another man. Is your dirty laundry suspect to his inspection for physical evidence when you come home from shopping? Then he is once again thinking of you as a possession and not as a partner in the relationship.

4) His Actions Never Match His Words

Does he claim he loves you, but his actions prove otherwise? Bottom line, if someone loves you they will not put their needs before yours. I am not talking about eating the last piece of chocolate cake. I’m talking about eating the last piece of chocolate cake that you declared you were waiting to savour all day.When we choose to be with someone we enter into a relationship. You need to ask yourself "What is a relationship?" All relationships had give and take.There is a certain amount of self sacrifice involved in love and part of that is letting go of one's ego and allowing someone else to have their way with your soul. Bombarding you with gifts is nice, but is a way of blindsiding you and hiding his true feelings.

5) He Acts Like Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

Does his personality and actions towards you change abruptly when around your friends and family? This usually happens early in a relationship when you introduce him those you know. The toxic man will behave like Prince Charming with hopes of swaying your support system. It may give you a secure feeling knowing people you value and trust approve your decision to date him even though your gut may be alerting you to red flags early in a relationship. You may be thinking if my brother and my best friends think he is great then I must be imagining the rest. Bottom Line - If he is not the same with your parents as he is with just you then he may have more than just a toxic problem.

6) He Keeps You Down As a Way of Controlling You

Does he insult your opinions or try to demean your insights into affairs outside of your relationship. Phrases like “How would you know that?” or “You can’t begin to understand” are demeaning and demoralizing, but believe it or not some women accept this type of criticism as acceptable. I am not saying that you cannot have a heated debate and get nasty every now or then, but having an objective opinion on a world issue like the economy or war should not engage him into an insult fest.

7) He Is The Black Hole of Doom

When you are not with him you feel relieved as if the boss has left for the day. This is a tell-tail sign that you are under stress in the relationship and he is the chief cause of this feeling. Does he leave you feeling drained physically and emotionally? Then he is probably sucking the life and happiness and joy out of all aspects of your life.

8) He Wants To Do An Extreme Makeover On You

Does he insult your appearance or make over-the-top suggestions on how to improve your looks? If he is saying, “You would look great with highlights.“ you probably have nothing to fear, but if he makes statements over dinner like “You would look so much better as a blond” or “I only see myself with blonds”, and pushes the issue then perhaps you should skip the highlights and the dessert. Grab hold of your self esteem and leave him with the bill. Remember Spencer Pratt? Does anyone care to remember Spencer Pratt? Well for the sake of this article hopefully you do. He was the boyfriend turned husband to Heidi Montag of the MTV reality show, The Hills. He single handily took a beautiful young woman and turned her into a drone. He encouraged her to forsake her family, friends and herself. Under his control she agreed to marriage and eight procedures of plastic surgery to correct an already beautiful girl. Heidi and Spencer Pratt have become infamous for their codependency. The Hills was one reality show we all wished was staged, but unfortunately their relationship wasn't. Montag has come forward with her regrets about they last five years of her life.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 LA Elsen


mslenai on October 20, 2014:

Very interesting read!!

Carly Sullens from St. Louis, Missouri on June 28, 2013:

This is a really great and useful hub for many people who find themselves in these relationships. Most of the time the toxic person is so charming in the beginning that most people do not realize their true personality until after they are lured in.

Voted up and shared.

LA Elsen (author) from Chicago, IL on April 08, 2013:

brokenshay, I am sorry to hear you going through such a difficult situation. I can hear your pain in your comments. It sounds like this person has really done his best to control the situation to his advantage.

As far as cuttingd ties with this person goes, it is extremely important to ask yourself if you and your son are safe. If you feel this person could pose a physical threat to you or your child you must go to a woman's shelter or a support group. There are many hotlines as well that can instruct you on how to protect you and your child.

If you feel you and your son are safe, I would turn to your family and your best friend and anyone at work who will listen and let them know you are breaking ties with this person completely as far as dating goes. Then ask one of these people commit to going with you whenever you think you will have contact with him. Since it sounds like he wants to separate you from your support system, he must fear them. Being alone with someone who has control over us emotionally puts us at their mercy.

Just because you will have contact with this person over your son doesn’t mean that you have to be involved as a couple. Women in similar situations leave the father of their children all the time for the same reasons. Yes it is difficult because of custody and visitation, but that is where you have to make up your mind and have the resolve to do it. You have to put your son first. If he has played these games with your mind just think about what damage he could cause to your child's life. I know it is hard because you have such a history with this person, but bottom line, you are a mother and your son must come first. The healing will come in time, but it cannot begin as long as you are hanging onto the past. I hope this helps.

brokenshay on April 06, 2013:

I got involved with a wonderful, charming and supportive man almost 9 years ago. Unfortunately, after about 4 months that person was not the same man. I allowed things to move very fast because I had known him for many years and let myself be fooled by that and thought I knew him. I didn't. I don't think anyone truly does know him. He started to become very moody about anything and everything and I never knew what set him off or what would set him off in the future. I started walking on eggshells around him and in turn started not telling him things because I was afraid it would make him angry. When he got angry, he wouldn't talk to me for days, complete ignoring. Wouldn't anser text messages or phone calls and would stay out late, I started finding things that pointed to him being unfaithful but he would wiggle his way out of the accusation somehow. He threatened suicide many times cause he didn't want to be without me. He would tell me I pushed to much when something was bothering him, so I wouldn't push at all and would leave him alone, but then I didn't care about his feelings. If I try to talk to him he literally will sit there and not respond for the whole time. He started alienating me from friends and family and just before I got pregnant with our son he got back together with his wife (no I had nothing to do with the dissolve of the marriage) although still living and sleeping with me. Broke it off with her saying I took advantage of him when he came home drunk. He wanted to move me to another city up in the country after we had already moved to another city ten months prior, I said no I am not going so he moved to another city when I was ^ months pregnant and basically told me unless I get rid of my best friend (he didn't say it quite so nice) my son would not have a father and he wouldn't be at the birth. I didn't get rid of her of course, and he was there but my son will be turning 6 soon and we are still doing this on and off again, although in his alternative reality we have never broken up so I better not have dated anyone else...... but now he will not talk for months not answer phone calls or texts regardless if its about us or our son...... he has played around with support even if I tell him we have no food he doesn't care wants to know "what will I get out of it"....... I have taken him to court and they deduct it now - that cost about 6 months of ignoring. Four months ago we hit another on again stage where we literally had the best time since we first got together, I thought wow has he finally grown up? Then he snooped, which he loves to do, and found a pic of me and another guy and hasn't talked to me for days, says I cheated on him which dude if you don't talk to me for ^ months what exactly do you expect? Sooooo much more I could literally write a book, but really what it comes down to is I know I have to end it for good and have some self respect and discipline and eventually, when I am healed, find someone who will treat me with respect- I know cold turkey is the best way and cut all ties.......... but how do you do that when you have a 5 year old son and you obviously have to have contact of some sort? I can't keep doing this, I need to move on with my life!

LA Elsen (author) from Chicago, IL on October 12, 2012:

Thanks Aimer! It was difficult to write, but all is well..for now.

aimer on October 12, 2012:

Hopefully, this will help many ladies find their way out of these toxic relationships! Very practical and helpful hub!

LA Elsen (author) from Chicago, IL on August 30, 2012:

Sorry, have had trouble commenting on my own hubs. Just figured out what I was doing wrong. My apologies to all.

Thanks for all your comments. I will try to respond at a later time.

Dianna Mendez on August 25, 2012:

Some of the tips are a little scary to think about. I would advise anyone who is experiencing this type of relationship to abandon it quickly. The most pronounced warning is the control issue. If you believe someone is making decisions for you that are not acceptable or limiting your freedom, it is best to break it off. Great hub topic and very interesting.

vonda g nelson on August 24, 2012:

All of the above is so true, but how about women and men who get into pretend relationships with ulterior motives that spel D.O.O.M! How about the sick and twisted individuals who know that their just bent on destroying your life because they have already destroyed theirs. People tend to blame everything on chemical imbalances and the brain not working efficiently (right!).....well if their brain can be efficient enough to cause destruction, they can be held responsible for everything else that their brain comes up with. As for the intuition part, people will throw away their lives and as you mentioned their child just to have a piece of crap in their lives. For some reason a lot of women are desperate and would rather look away than face the devil that they are dealing with. Voted up! As the children that aren't deserving of these losers need to have better individuals in their lives

Aman Thakur from India on August 24, 2012:

Very interesting hub with some handy signs of knowing whether your boyfriend is suitable for you or not? Voting the hub up and interesting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Faith Reaper from southern USA on August 23, 2012:

Really great advice. I will pass this along to my daughter! In His Love, Faith Reaper

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