• Angela Joyce

What Does Abuse Look Like?

Updated: Jun 27, 2021

“You’re my favorite..."

"I love you. I want you all to myself. You’re mine. You belong to me.”

Presents. Attention. Affection. Compliments. You’re so lucky. This is too good to be true.

This is called love bombing. The purpose of this is to lure you in and get you hooked on their ‘love’.

“Do you have to go out with your friends tonight? I don’t really like them. I don’t know why you hang out with them.” The purpose of this is to isolate you from your friends and family because they want to be in control of you.

They disapprove of you. They find your ambitions foolish. They belittle your thoughts and your feelings.

You slowly change and remove things from your life so that they approve of you. You are afraid of losing them.

When you comply with their requests and your world begins to shrink, their praise and adoration slowly turns into backhanded compliments and criticisms. They constantly find ways that you should alter your appearance and behavior, just slightly, for your own good.

You systematically remove everything and everyone else from your life so that they won’t leave you. You are now always turning to them for love, praise, and approval.

This is returned with their constant disapproval. Hot and cold treatment. Abandonment and rejection followed by a charming smile and half handed compliment. Jackal and Hyde. Good cop, bad cop, rollercoaster love.

They constantly accuse you of lying, even though you are telling the truth. All of your acquaintances are “dishonest” and “untrustworthy”. You stop spending time with other people because you don’t want to cause an argument or lose their trust.

Negative reinforcement. They ignore your phone calls and punish you for not following their rules. They disappear for days at a time. The purpose of this is to send you into an emotional frenzy. You will do whatever you can to prove your love and devotion to them.

They know this.

Abusers do this purposely to assert dominance over you. They see your willingness to please them as a weakness and they will capitalize on the opportunity to exploit it.

You feel alone, confused, and abandoned. You are lost without them.

They finally return. Love bombing. Presents. Affection. Attention. Compliments. You’re so lucky that you didn’t lose them. That was a close one. They didn’t mean to hurt you. They won’t leave you again.

They constantly remind you of everything you have ever done wrong. They completely dismiss any of your accomplishments or positive attributes. They pass highly critical judgments and hold you to impossible standards. This is done intentionally to keep you under their thumb. You are constantly trying to earn their respect, trust, and approval.

This is unattainable. This is a tactic used to control you.

They devalue your character and your worth. They invalidate your feelings. Follow you when you go out. Disappear again for days at a time because you broke their unwritten rules.

This is followed by their glorious return.

Love bombing. Presents. Attention. Affection. Compliments. They love you. They wont leave you and they want to make you happy. If you could only change a few things so that they wouldn’t have to worry so much about you, everything would be perfect. They know you need them. You are dependent on them and they will put up with all of your shortcomings. If only you could stop acting so crazy.

They love you and want to take care of you. You should quit your job. You don’t need to work, they will take care of you. All you need to worry about is taking care of them.

What a dream come true…

You are now expected to obey your partner with unconditional submission. They limit your access to finances and recreation, creating a sense of personal superiority and ownership over you. You would have nothing without them. You would be nothing without them. You are completely dependent on them. You know your place. They are master of the home. They make the money and the rules. You are expected to be subservient. You will never leave. You can not do anything without their permission or else there will be consequences.

You are afraid of them.

An argument occurred that left you with a cut or a bruise or both. It all happened so fast that you're not sure what happened. They say it was your fault. They are not sorry. “You’re over reacting. You’re crazy. You’re too emotional.” The lines start to get blurry. You almost lost them before. You don’t want to lose them again. You need them. You’d be nothing without them.

Physical violence. Gaslighting. Love bombing.

You’re so lucky…

They disappear again. They return again. Compliments. Presents. Attention. Affection. Arguing. Violence. Disappearing. Love bombing.

"You're my favorite..."


One in three women will experience violence at the hands of her partner. Domestic abuse is prevalent in our society. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, I encourage you to seek help.

It can happen anywhere. It happened to me.

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