Some common traits include (there are many others) cyclical arguments, twisting of what has been said, use of lexical meanings (isolating a word in your discussion, argument, or point and harping on it even out of its context), inconsistent kindness, generosity and good nature, followed by the polar opposite~or, a sudden mood shift for no reason and without warning (this can be subtle...it isn't just anger or aggression, it can be an eerie calm or quietness, a sudden or senseless withdrawing). He likes to call the shots and decide how communication happens, and he may pout, retreat, or give you the silent treatment if you don't do things his way.
The person may be very intense with various things (job, success, money, sex, romance...) or, just in one area (charm, or friendly to others or in front of others), and he may "gaslight" you, which means, you are made to feel like you misunderstand things~that the conversation you had was not actually had~or if you don't repeat what he said preciselythe way he said it, he claims to have never said it at all. He my claim that a promise made was not actually made, or that it wasn't made in the way you understood it~but you know better...um, do ya' notice there is a lot of word play that goes on? Yep, it throws ya', keeps you thinking it's you who got it wrong, then you feel bad for questioning, and it's really pretty exhausting.
There can also be money issues at play, like you may not know the full story about the finances in the relationship, or you may have been led to believe he had more financial stability than he actually had. The details of his work arrangements or divorce may not be fully revealed, or you may be "punished" monetarily for having opinions or asserting yourself about those things. He will put considerable effort in to regaining or maintaining control, and he may shift between perpetrator, rescuer, or victim in a never-ending cycle.
These things trap relationship-centered women all the time, because we think no one would really do this stuff, and we fall for the moments when he looks like, or sounds like a victim, because we saw his vulnerability at some point (which may have even been staged). We want (and expect) a relationship that grows...and we expect that all can. But relationships with toxic or destructive people cannot change~and it's hard to come to that conclusion when you are only looking at individual issues, instead of overall patterns. Start paying attention to the patterns, and notice your own reactive patterns, too.
Women in unchangeable (bad) relationships typically have the same expectations that they would have of changeable (normal) relationships, and so they get caught up waiting and expecting the situation to get back to the "normal" they saw in the beginning, not to mention that the tactics and actions I mentioned above are playing a total head game on her. She is kept second guessing and is always wondering if she was right about the beginning and he changed, or if she had assessed things incorrectly right from the start, and it was that he deceived her. In the day to day moments, she questions herself because she thinks about the man that was revealed to her in the beginning, and so she thinks the misunderstandings area actually her fault...could it have been my mistaken memory...did I forget...is he really right and he never did say X, or agree to Y...but then she remembers he did....and the cycle continues. Again, it's a total head game and these warped people are very convincing (probably even believe themselves). They may or may not know they do this, just to complicate things a little further.
These are NOT the only characteristics to look out for, but if you notice them, start looking for patterns and watch to see if there is a lot of word play going on , money games or secrets. Watch to see if any of the changes you request actually stick, that's a good starting point because changes/improvements don't last long with these guys, it's like they have selective, or just really short memories.
It is very important to know, too, how you lead into love and for you know how you respond to the spin he puts you into if these things happen in your relationship. A consistent pattern is something that should tell you that you are responding in a certain way~a way that keeps the cycle going, and that is what keeps women trapped in the madness. I refer to these as trait-traps, and there are many simple ways to notice when they are cropping up, and counter them so that you can protect yourself.
This is crazy-making stuff, and it's not so easy to see it when you are in it, but if you do, or if you notice it in hindsight, you are already a step ahead and you can break the cycle. If you can't seem to break completely free from the past either emotionally or financially, this is not unusual in destructive relationships, and neither are set backs, so be sure to check out my programs and start getting your power back today. It's time for you.