Spot A Potential Abuser, Part 2

Have you ever been with or know of know someone who has been with someone who is always has someone or something to gripe about? There’s an old joke about a woman who is so tired of her husband being upset with her all the time she made a Herculean effort one morning to be sure that his breakfast was totally perfect. He always wanted one fried and one scrambled egg. When she placed the perfect breakfast in front or him she held her breath. She knew that there was absolutely nothing he could fuss about. Instead, his only comment was “Well, everything’s great!” She was so relieved and proud! But the next thing he said brought her to the reality or the hypercritical. “Except you fried the wrong egg!”

If you are in a relationship with someone who is hypercritical, it is a big red flag. They might be overly critical of you and the way you speak, dress, your intellect, your looks etc. Or it could be others – a boss, friend relative or casual acquaintance. But the looming issue that the with that person you feel like you just cant do anything right.

It’s probably obvious this person is using their words to tear others down in order to feel good about themselves. This one is pretty short, so before we go any further I want to mention that in a lot of instances these red flags don’t pop up at the beginning of a relationship. It’s much more insidious than that. It’s three, four maybe six months of a honeymoon period. Then one little red flag pops up. So you think to yourself “that’s odd” but you ignore it making some plausible excuse. Then there’s another instance in a few more months, and the eyebrows go up again. And before you know it it’s more and more frequent and worse and worse in terms of intensity and then you’re sucked in and it’s too hard to get loose.

The Great poet Maya Angelou said “if someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time”. One of the best lines of advice I’ve ever heard.