Abusers very rarely show their true colours early on in a relationship and, although every situation is unique, there are common factors involved.
Spot the signs
Often a domestic abuser will initially try to explain his/her behaviour as signs of their love and concern, and the victim may be flattered at first. But, as time goes on, the behaviours become more severe and serve to dominate, control and manipulate the victim.
Generally, the more warning signs are present, the greater the likelihood of violence. In some cases, an abuser may have only a couple of behavioural traits that can be recognised, but they are very exaggerated (e.g. extreme jealousy over trivial things).
Read about some examples of behaviour to look out for.
Abusers frequently portray a perfectly normal and pleasant picture to the outside world (often they have responsible jobs or are respected and important members of the local community) and reserve the abuse for the privacy of their own home.