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Is this the same person 'I' used to know?

Seeing fireworks when you kiss is a good thing, right?
Seeing fireworks when you kiss is a good thing, right?
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Have you ever been in a relationship that seemed almost too good to be true? Falling in love fast and hard can be magical. It can also be a red flag that manipulation is occurring. We all want to believe that fate has finally brought us the perfect person. And that may be true. However, a common tactic that is used by abusers is bait and switch.

Abuse can be hard to identify because denial comes into play. It’s important to have some guidelines to follow. Being in a healthy supportive relationship is what most people want for their lives. But with the latest statistic from The National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1 in four women, and 1 in seven men over the age of 18 have suffered severe physical violence in their lifetime. Being aware of red flags is important to protect yourself.

The bait and switch tactic makes sense when you consider that abuse doesn’t usually happen every day, all the time. If the first time you were out with someone and they told you how horrid you looked and that your conversation was boring would you be excited to spend more time with them? Of course not!

So the bait is presented as a very pleasant package. Mr. or Mrs. Charming. Always the best behavior and probably very attentive and in tune to your needs. You may feel like you’ve never had so much in common with someone your entire life. Often the phrase ‘I finally found my soul mate’ will come to mind. This honeymoon phase can last from a few dates to many months.

Suddenly an insult will come out of their mouth. Possibly they might publicly humiliate you or mock you during a discussion. The frequency of hurtful behavior increase very gradually. This is confusing because it’s in such conflict with the wonderful romantic person that has been present previously. The switch.

Once the switch has been flipped they will vacillate between these two opposite actions. Nice and then cruel. Once the cruel character has been introduced it does not go away. It is always brought out when the abuser feels the need to regain control over you.

One difference between abuse and just being a mean person is that abuse follows a pattern. Pay attention to this. If you notice this follows some kind of a cycle it will be important to look for other red flags.

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