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Abusive men: Hedda Nussbaum's list of red flags

[This list of red flags seems to be in the public domain so I am posting it here. If it is not, my apologies, and please let me know. - Ed.]

  1. He pushes too far, too fast, planning your future together right away.
  2. He hates his mother and is nasty to her.
  3. He wants your undivided attention.
  4. He must always be in charge.
  5. He always has to win.
  6. He breaks promises all the time.
  7. He can't take criticism and always justifies his actions.
  8. He blames someone else for anything that goes wrong.
  9. He's jealous of your close friends, family members, and all other men.
  10. He always asks you where you went and whom you saw.
  11. He has extreme highs and lows that are unpredictable.
  12. He has a mean temper.
  13. He often says you don't know what you're talking about.
  14. He makes you feel like you're not good enough.
  15. He withdraws his love or approval as punishment.
  16. He pushes you to do things that make you feel uneasy, like taking the day off from work or even breaking the law.

Listen to your gut instincts

I met a guy online that made me feel uncomfortable by saying we should meet up before we'd hardly emailed much at all. and when he called. I told him that I'm a woman that likes to take things slow, but his next email looked like he hadn't understood so I told him I meant no sex and no spanking until we know each other better. But he spanked me on our first date and on our second date he made me have sex with him. I never met his mother but he didn't like her. But the thing that made me end it was 5, 7 and 15. Big red flags right there. I should have listened to my instincts more. I told a mate of mine I felt uneasy about meeting the guy so quickly and that it didn't look like he was hearing me but instead of listening to my instincts I met him, and even had more dates with him after that. Another red flag was that he said he doesn't forgive. By the third date it was clear he's mean, selfcentred and vindictive. With hindsight, there were many red flags from the word go, but it took me several dates and plenty of calls, emails and IMs to end it.

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Me, My, Mine

When all the laundry lists are compiled, the truly abusive entity - whether parent, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, neighbor, boss, teacher, government, or divinity - is the one who takes more than they give.

If you had good parents, think about the really bad - and I do mean really bad - teachers you have had in you life. Or, think about that first boyfriend (or girlfriend)! Everything is always about them - their wants, their needs. There were always more demands than there was support.

While no one is perfect, good husbands - like good wives - look beyond themselves.

The writer who advised, "Listen to your gut instincts," gave good advice. Desperation is seldom a good matchmaker. Neither is the search for perfection. (If he was perfect, would he [or she] really want you?)

I think it's a very good thing that you saw him for what he is and pulled away pretty fast. Imagine if you had married him.

Unfortunately a good friend of mine met a man who was talking about moving in together within the first two dates. I begged her not to let him move in on her so fast but she capitulated. I don't live close enough to know whether he is physically abusive but he is definitely verbally abusive and cuts her down at every opportunity. She is a smart and capable woman and he talks like she is an idiot.

I wish this checklist had been around when she met him, but even then, I don't know if she would have listened. I am glad to hear you listened to your gut before it was too late.

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