Love shouldn’t hurt – ever – 01/15/20

Detecting Deception by Rebecca Hieronymi When it comes to screening a potential new partner, knowledge is power. How can you tell if a potential partner is an abuser? Unfortunately, there is no polygraph app for dating, so we must become our own human threat detectors. Deception expert Donna Brown gives the following tips on recognizing behavioral clues of potentially dangerous people: 1. A person’s speech pattern can reveal how they truly feel regardless of the words they use. Pay attention to the pace of their words. Is it frenzied, as if they are trying to convince you of something? Rapid-fire language can indicate a critical and judgmental person. 2. How do they react if their views are challenged? Do they engage in a fair debate or do they tense up and turn red in the face? Arrogant and self-centered individuals usually cannot tolerate affronts to their power. 3. Hand movements such as punching their closed fist into their palm may not necessarily mean they are violent; however, it does suggest that their frustrations and anger are channeled in physical ways. 4. Abusive people will push boundaries even in early interactions. Maybe they come in too close to talk or put their arm around you. A person who doesn’t respect boundaries may act innocent or even offended if called out. 5. If you are online dating keep in mind abusers can misrepresent themselves through their virtual smokescreen. Since you can’t see a person’s face over the phone or even have verbal clues in a text or e-mail, insist on an in-person meeting before giving or receiving words and gestures of affection. 6. What is their body language saying? When you hold hands, is their hand always on top of yours? Do they pull back or let go if you take the lead? If so, they may be uncomfortable with you taking a position of power. 7. Are they flexible? If your plans change last minute, can they roll with it or are they clearly bothered that things aren’t going their way? While it’s true they could just be disappointed if they had a special night planned, on the other hand you could be dealing with a controlling individual. 8. Be cautious if they encourage you to spend your money irresponsibly, ask to stay at your home or borrow your car. Yes, they could be experiencing a temporary rough patch but they shouldn’t ask you to cover all of their expenses. That kind of attitude shows a lack of responsibility, maturity and trustworthiness. 9. Liars can’t always remember their lies well. If their story doesn’t quite add up, reword the question later and see if their answers match up. 10. Seasoned liars will have no problem looking you in the eye as they lie; however, almost all liars will briefly avert their gaze when confronted – even if they steady it a second later. This is an involuntary reflex known as neuro-linguistic programming. 11. If they shift their feet, fidget when answering questions or touch or cover their mouths, this could be an indication they are lying. If their hands face downward or they frequently angle or turn their body away, this is also an indication of deception. 12. Language is also key. Liars often lower the volume of their voice, almost whispering their response; however, their pitch may go up. They also use phrases like “I was not there” as opposed to “I wasn’t there.” If they try to change the subject, or throw questions and blame back on you, it’s likely they’ve been caught. 13. Lips aren’t just for kissing. Many people purse their lips if they are holding a secret, or bite them if they are about to tell a lie. 14. Are they sweating? Something you said or asked may have put them on the spot. If their jaw tightens and they literally put their foot down, chances are they are sticking with their story even in the face of clear evidence to the contrary. These tips are not foolproof but they will give you an advantage. The more you understand about the person you are dating, the safer you will be. If you or someone you know has experienced intimate partner violence, Crisis Services of North Alabama can help. Please contact us locally at 256.574.5826, on our 24/7 HELPline at 256.716.1000, or at our website Advocates provide free, confidential support to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

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