5 Early Warning Signs of Abusive Relationships Disguised as Care

5 Early Warning Signs of Abusive Relationships Disguised as Care 5 early warning signs of abusive relationships disguised as care
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Beneath the surface of that beautiful or amazing partner you just met lurks a shadow, and there’s a potentiality of them being abusive. The intense emotions of a romantic relationship can cloud our judgment, especially when we haven’t worked on the deep, dark parts within ourselves or when we’re not even aware that the version of ourselves seeking a high-quality partner isn’t authentic but rather conditioned by our painful experiences. A common theme among my clients or victims of abuse is that they sensed something was off early on in the relationship, but they couldn’t stop themselves from diving headfirst into the deep waters of that soon-to-be abusive relationship.


Having keen awareness can help us spot these red flags early on and save us from emotional turmoil later. While being aware of red flags may not always prevent a toxic relationship, recognizing early signs can help us avoid investing in a potentially abusive dynamic. As they say, prevention is better than cure, and once you recognize these signs, you can slow things down in the relationship or even avoid it altogether.

But what happens now when those things which may ‘genuinely’ seem like acts of love turn out to be manipulative tactics or red flags?

It becomes a challenge, especially when your perspective of a loving relationship is someone who ‘deeply cares’ for you. Some red flags will appear as acts of care, and that’s what we will look at in this article. We will share the early warning signs that someone you’re about to date may turn out to be abusive and also delve into the reasons why those warning signs may sometimes appear to be acts of love, leading us to confuse unhealthy behavior with genuine care.

1. Jealousy and Possessiveness

Jealousy and possessiveness are significant warning signs in a relationship that can often be mistaken for acts of love. At first glance, a partner’s jealousy might be interpreted as a sign that they care deeply and want to protect the relationship. However, in reality, these behaviors stem from insecurity and a need for control.

The possessive nature may make you feel desired and valued, but as it intensifies, it can lead to isolation from friends and family, limiting your freedom, and eroding your self-esteem. The manipulative partner may convince you that their actions are driven by love and concern, further blurring the lines between affection and control.

2. Isolation

Isolation is another warning sign that we may ignore as it happens so subtly. At the beginning of the relationship, the abuser may encourage you to spend more time with them, gradually pulling you away from friends, family, and other support systems. They might portray this as a sign of deep love and devotion, claiming they only want to protect you or that they feel closer when you are exclusive.

Indeed, in the early stages of a relationship, it’s natural to want to spend a lot of time with your partner and build a strong connection. It can feel like a sign of love and devotion to willingly follow their lead in spending more time together and creating a sense of intimacy. However, in a healthy relationship, both partners maintain their individuality and continue to nurture relationships with friends and family outside the romantic bond

Over time, isolation can intensify, and the abuser may intentionally create conflicts with your loved ones, causing distance and rifts in those relationships. This isolation not only weakens your support network but also makes you increasingly dependent on the abuser, amplifying their control over your life.

Thus, what may appear to be a romantic gesture of love can be a manipulative tactic to isolate you and gain dominance in the relationship.

3. Quick Involvement

At the beginning of a relationship, a toxic partner may come on strong, showering you with affection, compliments, and promises of a future together. They may push for a fast-paced commitment or an intense emotional connection, making you feel like you’ve finally found someone who truly understands and loves you.

The may introduce you to their family and friends and you really feel that you’ve found someone you click with. When your potential partner brings you into their social circle early on, it can create a strong sense of belonging and acceptance, making you feel like you’re an important part of their life.

However, this rapid pace of involvement can also be a tactic to lure you in and gain control over you. By making you feel wanted and cherished early on, they create a sense of dependence and attachment, which can make it harder for you to recognize their manipulative behavior down the road. What may initially seem like an act of genuine love can turn out to be a strategy to gain power and control over you, leading to emotional and psychological abuse.


4. Mirroring

You want that, I’ve been wanting that as well”

Another loving gesture that may turn to be a manipulative tactic is mirroring. At the beginning of a relationship, a manipulative person may mirror your interests, values, and preferences to create an illusion of perfect compatibility. They may adopt similar hobbies, favorite activities, and even adopt your beliefs and opinions, making you feel like you have found a soulmate or twin flame.

However, as the relationship progresses, you may notice that this mirroring is not authentic and that the person lacks a genuine sense of self. They may constantly change their personality and adapt to fit your expectations, which can leave you feeling confused and unsure of their true identity.

In reality, mirroring may just be another manipulative tactic used by your potential partner to gain your trust and create a false sense of intimacy. They are skilled at reading your desires and molding themselves to match your ideal partner, but this behavior is not sustainable in the long run. As the relationship deepens, the mirroring may fade, and their true abusive nature may emerge.

5. Constant Monitoring and Being Overly Protective

The last warning sign is when your potential partner constantly checks up on you or is being overly protective in the early stages of the relationship. At first, it might make you feel cherished and cared for, as if your partner is deeply invested in your well-being. However, these behaviors can quickly become suffocating and controlling.

An emotionally abusive partner may use constant communication and excessive protectiveness as a way to monitor and manipulate you. Constant control and excessive monitoring can lead to a loss of your sense of self and independence. As they tighten their grip on your life, you may start relying on them for even minor decisions, fearing their disapproval or anger if you make choices without consulting them. This cycle of dependence can be suffocating and disempowering, as it strips away your ability to assert your own desires, opinions, and autonomy.

Over time, you may feel trapped and confined, unable to break free from the control they exert over your life. This loss of self can be emotionally devastating, as you become increasingly enmeshed in their world and lose touch with your own needs, wants, and individuality.


In conclusion, being aware of the early warning signs that may initially appear as acts of love but could be indicators of potential emotional abuse is vital for protecting yourself in relationships. Recognizing patterns of quick involvement, excessive control, constant monitoring, and mirroring can help you discern whether someone genuinely cares for your well-being or if they are manipulating you.

The best advice is to take things slowly and uphold healthy boundaries. Listen to your intuition and don’t rush into deep commitments without getting to know the person and their true intentions. Setting clear boundaries from the beginning can help you maintain your sense of self and protect your emotional well-being.

Remember, a healthy relationship should enhance your life and support your growth, not diminish your identity or suffocate your individuality. By staying attuned to these early signs and prioritizing your own well-being, you can navigate relationships with greater awareness and self-assurance.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these subconscious patterns for good (in less than 2 months) using Mind Shifting, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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