The abusive person doesn’t take responsibility for their behavior.
It’s not just a once in a while thing. It’s an all the time thing. He (I’m going to use a male pronoun for simplicity’s sake) NEVER takes responsibility for his behavior.
It might be obvious: It’s your fault, you’re the one who wanted to come here/do this/had to open your big mouth, if you hadn’t (fill in the blank) then I wouldn’t be yelling at you…
He might accuse you of always assuming the worst in people, not giving him the benefit of the doubt, being unforgiving, unloving, untrusting, etc.
Or, it could be far more subtle. He might deny that the event you’re referring to ever happened: “I don’t remember that.” Or he might use a diversion tactic. For instance, he might point out something you did wrong, to deflect the conversation in a new direction. (That one can be especially tricky to spot.)
He might even apologize sometimes for messing up. But when you think about it later, he never said specifically what he did wrong. Instead, the apology was laced with phrases like “I’m sorry for offending you,” or “if you were a boy it wouldn’t have mattered,” or “I just don’t know how to communicate to you how much I love you.” Now, maybe that doesn’t sound so bad, but look at the implications. All those phrases turn it back on you. It’s your fault you feel this way. You’re too easily offended, girls are just overly sensitive, or you are difficult to communicate with. That’s why you feel hurt and unloved.
It’s not because he is treating you badly.
If you try to explain this to other people, they might think you’re reading too much into things. That is NOT true. It’s not just that his words subtly imply that everything is your fault, it’s that that belief permeates his whole attitude toward you. He lives his life as if he is never at fault. He firmly believes that if you just understood him better, were tougher, less “type A,” or less “easily offended,” then you would have a great relationship.
In other words, he’s in complete denial. He’s creating his own reality, in which he is the victim of overly sensitive females. Not only that, but he wants you to agree that his version of reality is the only reality.
But you’re not crazy! You’re just dealing with an abusive person.