Abusive relationships can happen to anyone—smart people, happy people, good people.
But abusers know just how to spot you. They know what they’re doing, and they’ll use you to feel superior, to satisfy a need to feel powerful, and to fulfil a deep void within their broken psyche.
It feels like love at first. And it doesn’t happen all at once. You may have believed it was love, but it wasn’t.
Here are the 13 tactics abusers deploy that almost feel like love—but aren’t.
1. They make you doubt your reality.
It’s hard to believe that someone who was so special at first, so great, so disarming, could ever harm you, they almost seem like perfect.
No, they are not.
Yet the signs were there from the beginning. And when you called out their red flags, they may have listened to you, but they said you were wrong.
It was too late, the balance of good times to bad times got worse, and you felt really awful. When they hurt your feelings, you’d second guess yourself.
They make you doubt you every action so that they appear as a solution to all your problems.
2. They move the relationship forward really fast.
When you met, you felt dizzy. Literally. They may even have swept you off your feet.
Maybe you mistook their crazy energy and constant shifting for rabid enthusiasm when it was really just misdirection.
You couldn’t react to the random burst of love, Maybe it felt like romance. It wasn’t.
3. They make you feel so special.
They introduced you to their friends on the premise that you “are the special one.”
It was flattering. You feel special.
But did you ever stop to consider why?
Maybe their friends thought you were a good match because they needed someone to show off.
Maybe you were simply a target. Maybe they needed to knock you down a few levels to feel superior.
You initially felt desired, special, wanted. It was insanely flattering, but it wasn’t love.
4. They put the brakes on and everything comes to a stop.
They may have spent hours, weeks, months, maybe years convincing you that they believed in you and the dream of being together.
Then, when the day finally came, they go full steam, full reverse.
In fact, a lot of things changed.
How could someone you knew so well suddenly appear like a stranger wearing their skin?
Well, snakes shed their skin every season, so it’s natural. They brought you this far and pushed you beyond your comfort zone.
It felt like they were scared, maybe holding back. Yet, there was more to it.
There is always more than that meets the eye.
5. They make you feel inadequate.
Every time you threw up a boundary, you felt like you were personally wounding them.
Every time you thought of walking away you remembered there face and how it will be broken if you walk off.
Well, that was the face they choose to show you.
Or you felt like you might be throwing away something special. And yet, you knew better!
You’re smart, you’re successful, yet you had insane thoughts like, “This is the best I’m ever going to do,” or “If I can’t make this work, I’ll never make anything work.”
They acted hurt because they wanted so badly to get close to you
They were manipulating you.
It felt like you were growing, learning to trust again. But it wasn’t love.
6. They remove everything amazing and unique about you.
Remember how you used to have the most contagious self-confidence?
were you the same when they choose to walk off. Seem like they were more confident and you have broken.
yes, that’s what they do. They break you, hurt you and suddenly pretend to be broken and hurt.
It didn’t happen all at once; little by little, all the things that made you cool started to lose importance.
7. They act like your values are obstacles in the relationship.
Relationships are about compromise. You were labelled rude for taking a Stand and manipulative for trying something out of ordinary just to protect your relation.
But if they do this, they will replace rudeness by being self-aware and strong.
You are probably being manipulated.
ohh fuck probably, definitely.
8. They test your trust.
You would never even think of cheating on them with someone, but they keep there sorry speech ready in case things don’t work how they want.
But they always did it, and you were simply not allowed to question it. If you did, it was thrown in your face for being “suspicious.”
After all, only people who cheat suspect their partners of being dishonest, right?
So, you were forced to smile through your pain and ignore your doubts even when you knew something was off. But your gut was onto something.
9. Their problems become your symptoms.
You knew they weren’t perfect when you met them, and you accepted their issues. That felt like love, right?
10. They use your past to shame you.
You opened up your past history to them, from everyone you’ve ever loved to everything that could possibly hurt you. Then they used it like a book to run a counterplay against your insecurities. And now? You feel nothing but shame.
If they use your past to hurt you in present, they don’t deserve to be in your future.
11. They ask you to change but won’t support your growth.
Everyone has things they can work on, right? We all can be better.
They play you with their hideous smile and play you It’s called moving the “goal post”, and there’s absolutely no way you can win.
12. Their friends are infallible, but they’re actually awful.
You’ve been courteous to their friends and supportive about their need for “alone time.” But they’ve told you that their friends have a problem with you.
It almost sounds like they’re protecting you like they’re your knight in shining armour. They aren’t.
Rule #1: If their friends are assholes, they’re an asshole.
13. It all seems so perfect until it begins to fall apart.
Finally, once you began to see through the perfect image that attracted you in the first place—that charming smile, the friendly demeanour—and started to see that they were putting on a show, things got dark.
The talk about supporting you to own a business turned into laughing stock.
They can even fake love because trust me, it wasn’t.
We deserved better. We still do.
The right relationship will still be work, but it shouldn’t be that hard. A partner should encourage you to be your best self and not just the other half. If they’re putting you in this role, it’s not love.
Because they can easily change the other half but any other half will never be the best half.
So smile and keep moving, their karma will catch up with them and the universe will always have your back.
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