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Warning Signs of the Emotionally Distant Abuser

by (anon HBI Member)

These are some of the specific characteristics of emotional abuse used by those who control their relationship by keeping their partners involved with them while maintaining an emotional distance for themselves.

  1. He walks away while you are talking to him.
  2. He turns on something noisy when you are talking to him, like the TV, radio, a fan, or the faucet.  He sometimes even turns the volume or noise up so he can hear it over you as you are speaking.
  3. When you say something, he doesn't respond at all, even to acknowledge that he heard you.
  4. He doesn't ask you how your day was.
  5. He shares his life experiences with anyone but you. He shares his life, point of view, and mundane day-to-day events with his friends, but you have  no idea what is going on in his life.
  6. He will plan things and not tell you. His friend or a contractor will appear and it'll be a surprise to you, but he's known about it for days.
  7. He will lie, but it seems that he doesn't care if you catch him in a lie. He enjoys baiting you into catching him lying so he can blame you for it.
  8. He mumbles or chooses ineffective language for the purpose of being intentionally vague and confusing. He may blame you for not understanding him.
  9. He wants sex from you, and blames you for having no interest in him. But this is all he expects from you. Take care of your chores and have sex with him, that's it. He may want something else, like money, favors, something he has defined as your role. He shows the most interest in you when he's trying to collect on this expectation.
  10. The two of you will be alone for hours in the house or in a car and he won't say a word to you. If you try to strike up a conversation, you get a one word response.
  11. He gets angry and blames you when you point out your experiences of being ignored. He denies any responsibility when you call him on it.  If you are really mad and make moves to distance yourself from him, he gets better, like he was when you first started dating. It is only temporary, though.
  12. If you really need him for support, he blames you for your predicament. Support is rarely given. Your needs are always criticized.
  13. The crazy-making is underhanded and comes in many forms, not just ignoring you, though that is the primary form. He may break something and let you discover it, leave a significant mess, put things back in the wrong place so you can't find them when you need them, or lend items to neighbors and not tell you.
  14. He acts cold and withdrawn and ignores you most of the time, unless he wants something from you.
  15. He keeps friends that also treat you as you are either invisible or only present to respond to their needs for a beverage, sandwich, to locate a phonebook or any kind of staff behavior.
  16. He keeps things that are normally shared separate. This could be finances, friends, recreation or having a single country club membership instead of a family one. He labels things YOURS or MINE. Sharing is not an option.

These behaviors were not immediately evident at the start of the relationship - they worsened over time... after you were "hooked". 

These behaviors are used to bait you, to create the crazy dysfunctional life that he is comfortable in.  He gets off on instigating  and to causing you to react.   It gives him a feeling of control and superiority.  When you stop reacting and just focus on yourself, you will break his comfort zone. It won't be pleasant when he turns martyr on you, but it's the first step in freeing yourself from being abused.  It can be a very empowering experience to remove yourself from this situation.


Forward this ARTICLE to someone who needs to answer the CLUE PHONE


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