Very Early Warning Signs of an Emotional/Verbal Abuser:
1) Superiority - a person with a superiority complex and a heightened sense of self-righteousness will often have predatory self-esteem where they need to make other people feel bad about themselves. Like someone who is standing in a checkout line at the grocery store and has no problem talking loudly and deprecatingly about those around him.
2) Pettiness - watch out for a person who makes a big deal out of nothing, or focuses constantly on one negative aspect of an issue. I guarantee this will drive you insane. For example, he blows up at you for forgetting to text or call him the dozen times per day that he insisted on, even though it was because you got busy at work. Or, he yells at you non-stop for two hours and repeatedly calls you a f--king b-tch because you didn't eat ice cream with him after dinner.
6) Sarcasm - this can be hostile and demeaning, and the purpose is always about shaking down someone else's confidence. Like when he is laughing at you in a vicious way even while you are crying.
7) Deceit - it's true that when people are dating, they want to put on the best face possible, and there is often unintentional exaggeration of their better qualities. But watch out for blatant and downright evil deception, such as, "Yes, I got a criminal law degree from such-and-such university many years ago," when in fact the guy only has a GED.
8) Minor Jealousy - jealousy will only build up over time, so watch out for even minor jealousy. It's definitely a red flag when a guy tells you how to wear your clothes, or tells you how far up to button your blouse so that you end up walking out of the house looking like you're Amish.
9) The Rusher - a person who moves too fast into a relationship does not respect boundaries. One definition of abuse is "that which violates personal boundaries." Watch out for someone who professes their love for you way too early, or worse yet, starts proposing marriage only three or four months into the relationship. Repeatedly. And won't give up until you say "yes." Believe me, this is bad. Bad. (Just say nooo!!)
For the expanded version of the above list (minus my commentary) provided by Dr. Steven Stosny, please click here.