My name is Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.
Is there anything you can do to avoid abusers and narcissists to start with? Are there any warning signs, any identifying marks, any rules of thumb to shield you from the harrowing and traumatic experience of an abusive relationship?
Imagine you are on a first or second date. Can you already tell if he or she is a would-be abuser?
Well, the answer is yes.
And here's how.
Perhaps the first telltale sign is the abuser's alloplastic defenses.
In other words, his tendency to blame every mistake of his, every failure, every mishap on others or on the world at large.
Be tuned. Does he assume personal responsibility? Does he admit his faults and miscalculations?
Or does he keep blaming you, the cab driver, the waiter, the weather, the government, the cosmos, or fortune for his predicament?
Is he hypersensitive? Does he pick up fights? Does he feel constantly slighted, injured, and insulted? Does he rant incessantly? Does he treat animals and children impatiently or cruelly? Does he express negative and aggressive emotions towards the weak, the poor, the needy, the sentimental, the sick, and the disabled? Does he confess to having a history of battering or violent offenses or behavior? Is his language vile and infused with expletives, threats, and hostility?
Next thing. Is he too eager? Does he push you to marry him, having dated you only twice?
Is he planning on having children on your first date? Does he immediately cast you in the role of the love of his life? Is he pressing you for exclusivity, instant intimacy, almost rapes you and acts jealous when you as much as cast a glance at another man? Does he inform you that once you get hitched, you should abandon your studies or resign your job or forgo your personal autonomy? Does he respect your boundaries, your privacy? Does he ignore your wishes, for instance by choosing from the menu or selecting a movie without as much as consulting you? Does he disrespect your boundaries and treat you as an object or an instrument of gratification, for instance does he materialize on your doorstep unexpectedly or cause you often prior to your date? Does he go through your personal belongings while waiting for you to get ready? Does he text or phone you multiply and incessantly and insist on knowing where you are or where you have been all these times?
Does he control the situation? Does he control you, compulsively? Does he insist to ride in his car? Does he hold on to the car keys, the money, the theta tickets and even your back? Does he disapprove if you are a waver to love, for instance when you go to how do you know? Does he interrogate you when you return? Have you seen anyone interesting? Does he make lewd jokes and remarks, sometimes at your expense? Does he hint that in future you would need his permission to do things, even as innocuous as meeting a friend or visiting with your family? Does he insist on a dress code that you are supposed to follow?
Does he act in a patronizing and condescending manner? Does he criticize you often? Does he emphasize your minutest faults?
In other words, does he devalue you?
On the other hand does he idealize you? Does he exaggerate your talents, your trades, your skills? Does he call your names? Does he harass or ridicule you? Is he wildly unrealistic in his expectations from you, from himself, from the budding relationship and from life in general?
All these are very bad signs. Does he tell you constantly that you make him feel good? Don't be impressed.
Next thing he may tell you that you make him feel bad or that you make him feel violent or that you provoke him.
A very common sentence of abusers is, look what you made me do. That is ubiquitous catchphrase.
Does your date find sadistic sex exciting? Does he have fantasies of rape or pedophilia? Is he too forceful with you in and out of the sexual intercourse? Does he like hurting you physically or finds it amusing? Does he abuse you verbally? Does he curse you? He means you because you ugly or inappropriately diminutive names. Does he persistently criticize you? Does he beat or slap you or otherwise mistreats you physically?
Does he then, having committed this abuse, suddenly switch to being saccharine and loving, apologizing profusely? Does he buy you gifts as a way of compensating?
If you have answered yes to any of the above, stay away. He is an abuser.
And then there is of course the abuser's body language. It comprises an unequivocal series of subtle but discernible, observable warning signs.
Pay attention to the way your date comports himself and save yourself a world of trouble.