Disclaimer: because this is about me, and my perspective and I'm a gir,l I will just refer to male abusers and I'll say "he". But I also am aware not all men are the same, I have a current boyfriend who's great, so any generalisations are for the sake of convenience not malice. I also know there are female abusers out there. This isn't everything, probably not even written that well but if it can help one person or even just enlighten one person, then it's not a failure!
So, this is a bit of my story, a bit of things I have noticed that occur when people enter relationships with someone who is an abusive guy.
At the start, it's really nice, he'll know how to compliment you, buy you things, want you around all the time perhaps and you'll feel like you're falling really quick because they'll appear to be falling too.
And things slowly turn, well for me it felt slow. It started with subtle manipulations of those emotions and compliments, sly insults thrown in but so sly you don't even notice it, but it still hits you. They don't want to meet your friends or family and would prefer you not do it either. And by this point you like them, so you don't want your family not to like them so you respect their choice perhaps. But, if you question it, they'll tell you off.
Eventually those manipulations really get into your head, and you start to believe your worth is not that great, and that this may be the best boyfriend you're going to get in life, so just suck it up, those nice moments are worth it.
This is my situation, not all, he may turn to financial abuse. For me, it started with we'd go to the supermarket and he'd offer to buy me a drink and I'd say no, because I couldn't pay him back (was unemployed at that point) and he'd say "that's ok, I've got it" so I'll say ok thanks. Then a few months in when I got a job he told me "you owe me about $500 for all the crap I had to buy". Never had he made it clear those drinks/food/dinners were a loan.
Other small things I didn't notice, but after reading other stories related to mine.. he would buy a lot of chocolate or your junk food of choice for you to eat, making you gain weight, to again toy with your insecurities and make you less desirable. Those may not be the best choice of words but hey - I'm tired!
These things would all turn into fights, and at the start it was a simple shove, maybe a grab too tight. Eventually it would turn into a push. This inevitbly led to being slapped across the face which itself would get harder and harder.
At nights, he'd sit on his phone and just not care, during the days if he wasn't at work, he'd sit on his phone. If I ever said something he'd tell me off. Once he left his facebook open and he got a message from a name I recognised (I didn't need to touch anything to see it). He had a folder I had found about a week before with 1003 photos and 9 videos (that kind of number you remember) from this one girl, all nudes. And when I saw her messaging, which he told me was over, I didn't feel bad to read it.. and then I saw he'd been talking that whole time.
To get to my final point; if you are in this situation, whether male or female, if you have any of these happen to you, or you notice signs like he refuses to meet your family and he gets angry at the idea of it, or won't meet them again, if he starts to get angry that you want to go see friends, looks like he wants to hit you but may "control himself" - he won't forever, is playing with your emotions in any way.
You don't deserve that. You are worth more than that.
I became a person I hated, when I finally left, I felt broken, I didn't trust anyone, all I wanted to do was snoop through phones, and know what people were saying or doing. I hated that person. I spent a year like that, wondering why, or how I could do that. I realised, it wasn't my fault, he was a bad guy. I realised he managed to play with all my emotions, my insecurities at my vulnerable time in life.. because that is what abusers do. And then for the year following that I became better, I knew I'd never get into a relationship until I would not have the urge to go through a phone, because no partner (guy in my case) deserves that. And now, I have a boyfriend, he told me he had a previous girlfriend that lasted 7 years and I didn't care. He mentions his ex's my first thought doesn't go to insecurities and "oh god he totally likes them still".
You can overcome it. But it's nothing to be ashamed of. People see us as weak for being in that situation. But you aren't. You are someone who has been stripped down to your bare self and mentally tortured into believing that is all you deserve, but they do it with the skill of a surgeons scalpal.
I believe you're strong to survive it, strong to leave it, and stronger to overcome it and accept it.