Four things to look out for to try to avoid an abusive man:

1#: Will he respect your “no”? Abusive men like to be in control and so one way for women to protect themselves is to see how a man reacts to her “no”. If she does not want to go to the restaurant he suggests, she can say “no” and suggest another. If he wants to engage in a sexual act that does not feel comfortable to her, she can say “no” and see what happens (if this is safe to do). The question for the woman is, does the man respect her “no” and back off or does he get angry or try to manipulate her into agreeing with him.

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  1. This is so critical. My daughter has to go see her dad now, once a week. And in the beginning he was just trying to overrule her “no”. Now he is more subtle and is manipulating her so she feels like she can’t say no. I see it and am trying to point it out to her but she is so confused, you know the confusion. One very telling thing. She is in her teens and back to sucking her thumb! When he went overseas for a year she as a young child was able to stop. He came home, she started again. He moved out, she stopped, now…and I can’t seem to get anyone to listen.

  2. So painful to see our kids hurt and being manipulated. Other women tell us that the kids usually figure this out in time but it does take time. Probably the most helpful thing you can do is help her to listen to her “gut” – even if she can’t follow her gut all the time with her dad (he won’t let her) – she can still try to hear what her gut is telling her. For all women, knowing to listen to our gut is crucial. Thanks for you sharing your experience. It will help other women in similar situations

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