Relationships – How Can Your Recognize Abuse?

Before reading this Article, watch for instance Rhonda Freeman´s video below | Idealize, Devalue, Discard – Why the brain of many abusers CANNOT sustain love. In this video, Rhonda Freeman explains how abuse in a romantic relationship works. Now think about abuse generally: the same pattern occurs in all kinds of abusive relationships, be it with a romantic partner, a friend, a co-worker, a boss, a family member, a relative, or anyone who does not know better than to abuse other people through a number of ways.

The sad reality is that many abusers fail to recognize that anything is ever wrong with them. Even if they do, without proper treatment and therapy, most abusers are incapable of changing their habits and ways they treat people around them. They may for a while, but in most cases, the abusive pattern will soon reemerge and start all over.

What are some of the warning signs of abuse in any relationship? How can you learn how to read and see the red flags and protect yourself from any kind of abuse?

Many people would suggest growing a thicker skin. That may work for some. However, if you are a person with a high level of empathy, developing a thick skin may require for you to experience many abusive relationships or efforts of abuse before learning how to protect yourself from any abuse. Beyond growing a thick skin, make sure to set clear boundaries and determine clearly what is acceptable in any relationship and what is not. One way of protecting yourself from abusers is to learn everything you can about abuse and manipulation, in addition to developing and learning non-violent communication skills. Realize you cannot change abusers and manipulators. You can only change yourself, and train yourself to handle challenging people. Learning and practicing non-violent communication will save you from a lot of pain.

Abusers love to control, lie, manipulate and to victimize themselves. Poor you because you are an abuser, a liar, and an envious control freak whose only purpose is to manipulate other people.

Abusers love to control, lie, manipulate and to victimize themselves. Poor you because you are an abuser, a liar, and an envious control freak whose only purpose is to manipulate other people.

All you are capable of is to be fake, a backstabber, a future-faker whose only purpose is to suck people dry and to get your way without putting in any effort or work into a balanced relationship. You need a source of supply to feed your ego because you are an empty shell who is incapable of honest and balanced relationships. You lack integrity, although you try very hard to convince otherwise. Everyone else is always to blame and you are a master at turning around the tables to make you always look like the victim. You are entitled to do whatever you please to do, not allowing people in your surrounding the same freedoms that you allow yourself. No, because other people exist only to feed your ego and to supply you with whatever you need at the very moment.

Do not expect these kinds of people to ever change. They rarely do. When you leave them, they’ll try to hoover and suck you back into a never-ending, vicious circle, that is ultimately only ever about them. To an abuser, you are only an extension of them, not to be regarded as a human being worthy of honesty and respect.

This is accurate in all kinds of abusive relationships, not only intimate partnerships: friends, family, even co-workers. As long as you agree with them and do as they please and want, everything will be ok. If not, they will devalue and discard you. The cycle of abuse won’t end until you cut these people off and go no contact, for good.

Some red flags of potentially abusive relationships include:

  • Putting you on a pedestal and idealizing (everything about) you at the beginning of the relationship. Empty flattery.
  • An effort to move the relationship forward at an alarming rate, i.e. in romantic relationships the abuser will want to move in quickly with you, perhaps even get married and have kids without even knowing you.
  • Any relationship issues that seem too good to be true.
  • How abusers speak about their previous relationships. Very often they call other people crazy.
  • Blame-shifting: nothing is ever their fault.
  • Disrespecting your boundaries. Bombarding you with attention and praise at the beginning of the relationship.
  • Incapable of compromise. It is either their way or the highway.
  • Cheating, lying, and manipulating. Future-faking, living in a fantasy world. Painting idealized images of the relationship.
  • Inconsistent, even unstable behavior. You never know where you have these kinds of people.
  • Lack of integrity.
  • Overly critical and envious (devalue stage). Everything you do is wrong. You are always to blame. They are always the victim.
  • They are always right.

Overall, my advice to protect yourself from abusers and abusive relationships is to know and to learn more about what abuse and manipulation include. Most of us have a tendency of wanting to influence other people, mainly in a positive way. There are, however, differences between influence and manipulation. Know your boundaries and never let people overstep them. Be careful when dealing with people. Be careful what you share about your private life. Abusers and manipulators will use anything they can against you. Do not let abusers and manipulators get under your skin, or into your head. If possible, keep distance and cut these kinds of people out of your life completely, unless you have to deal with them for instance on a professional level.


Anne-Maria Yritys
Anne-Maria Yritys
ANNE-MARIA is a business owner and a sustainable entrepreneur with a purpose of making this world a better place. She holds an MBA in international business management in addition to her many other professional certificates and qualifications. With a background in hospitality management and banking, she now runs her own small (online) business dedicated to helping other businesses and people to survive and to thrive in today's competitive global business landscape. With a many-sided international background, Anne-Maria communicates fluently in several languages. She has a passion for inspiring leadership and authentic, positive communication. She is a Global Citizen with a love for humanity who values ethical leadership and responsible decision-making. She believes that advanced communication, empowerment, knowledge, continuous development and learning contribute to sustainable economic development and a sustainable future in individuals, organizations, and nations across our Globe. Her mission and vision include accelerating positive change through effective change communication and leadership. She Tweets @annemariayritys & @GCCThinkActTank. Subscribe to Leading With Passion to receive my latest posts.

CHECK FOR TICKETS / JOIN OUR WAITING LIST! It's not a virtual event. It's not a conference. It's not a seminar, a meeting, or a symposium. It's not about attracting a big crowd. It's not about making a profit, but rather about making a real difference. LEARN MORE HERE



  1. Anne-Maria, thank you for this insightful article as I have no doubt that there are many who have experienced what you so clearly define as an abuser. One thing I often find is the guilt that seems to attach itself for not recognizing the red flags that were there seems to want to hang on and make one feel ignorant or lacking in intuition that something in the newness of the relationship never kicked in.

    • You are most welcome. That is correct: we often blame ourselves and feel ashamed for not identifying a (potentially) abusive relationship. Since I am not a licensed psychotherapist and can only speak from my personal experience, I think it is important to learn even from possibly painful experiences and share our knowledge to potential upcoming victims of abuse. It is not uncommon even for professionals to misinterpret some abusive personalities. That is why I think that learning nonviolent communication and knowing how to set clear boundaries can save anyone from potential harm and damage, especially at an early stage of a relationship.