The Gabby Petito Case: the ‘hidden’ signs of domestic abuse

The Gabby Petito Case: the ‘hidden signs of domestic abuse

The Gabby Petito case has certainly captured the attention of many around the world. It is a tragic case that is filled with mystery. There have been so many twists and turns, and to this very day, many questions remain unanswered.

If anything positive can come out of this case, it is raising awareness of domestic abuse in today’s society.

Gabby appeared to be struggling with emotional (and possibly physical) abuse, which was captured in the police-recorded video posted on Youtube, when the police pulled over Gabby and her partner (Brian Laundrie) on the highway.

Despite Gabby being visibly distressed and in tears, the police concluded after speaking separately with the young couple that Brian was in fact the ‘victim’ of domestic abuse.

This was a crucial moment in the case, and if it was dealt with differently by the police, the outcome could have been different.

The media has since reported that both Gabby and Brain are deceased.

Lessons to be learnt

Educating authorities

One important lesson that we as a society can learn from this case is that authorities, like the police, are not always trained to correctly identify and appropriately deal with domestic abuse cases.

If they were better-trained, they potentially could have saved Gabby’s life (if Brian had killed her), or at least provided Gabby with better support in that moment.

Recognise perpetrators

Perpetrators are often cunning, calculating and manipulative and know how to choose their victims.

They normally seek out partners that have low self-esteem (as they are easier to manipulate), rarely (if ever) speak up for themselves and are often soft, sensitive and quiet personalities (although not always).

Learn to love yourself

If you think (or already know) that you are in an abusive relationship, you are probably hurting and suffering greatly.

You may be staying in a toxic relationship for many different reasons, but one that is certain is because of a lack of self-love. Try to work on building your sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

Why? Because if you learn to love yourself then you are self-fulfilled, meaning you don’t need anyone to fill any ‘void’ in your life and you won’t allow anyone to treat you badly. In other words, you are your own best friend.

When you are happy on your own first and are self-fulfilled, you will attract the right person. This is because you are not looking for someone you ‘need’, but rather for someone to ‘add’ to the happiness you have already created for yourself.

Your partner should add value and greater meaning to your life and not take away from the solid foundation you have built. Make sense?

Seek help

Surround yourself with strong, positive people that can lift you up, provide you with support and boost your self-confidence.

This may also mean getting professional help from someone that has experience in dealing with domestic abuse cases and knows how to help you.

The ‘hidden’ signs

Unmasking the real person

Gabby’s parents were unaware of Brian’s ‘other’ side. It appeared as though he was good at masking his aggressive side and mastered the skill of coming across as just a regular, calm and in-control ‘kind of guy’.

However, Gabby’s friends did notice some ‘red flags’ and had even expressed their concerns to her about Brian. Good friends will always pick up on any ‘bad vibes’ or something that seems ‘off’ about your partner, because they have your best interests at heart.

Family may not pick up on this if the person is good at hiding their true colours, and especially if they don’t see that person regularly and in different situations.

Toxic behaviour

If someone is mostly dismissive of your feelings, concerns or opinions, or if they blame you for everything that ‘goes wrong’, this is also a red flag.

If you find you are constantly defending or blaming yourself and you know that you are a good person and not unreasonable (at least the majority of the time!), then it’s probably time to question your relationship.  


Unhealthy expressions of jealousy are always a red flag.

If your partner doesn’t like you going out with your friends and wants to isolate you from your social network, including your family, this is not a good sign.

Further, any kind of emotional and physical abuse is unacceptable and this is usually fueled by stimulants and sedatives like alcohol and drugs.

Attraction to ‘the dark side’

Another sign could also be if a person takes a liking to, or is obsessed with, dark and disturbing images such as devil worship, extreme violence and the like.

Having an affinity with ‘darkness’ could indicate aggressive and potentially violent tendencies of a person in a relationship.

Personality traits

Additionally, possible telling signs are personality types and traits such as psychopaths, narcissists, sociopaths and loners.

In summary

Follow your intuition

To sum up, your intuition will tell you whether you are in the right relationship or not. Don’t ignore your gut feelings – if something feels wrong, it probably is.

Don’t delay making a change and find that you’re too emotionally or financially attached, drained and ‘beat down’ to take action.

Impower yourself

Take charge of your own life by recognising the red flags, seeking support from trusted sources and educating yourself.

Surround yourself with good-natured and positive people that can help you and guide you in the right direction.

Take action

Remember that at the end of the day, it is only you that can make a change. No-one can make you leave a toxic relationship.

Have faith that things will work out with time. Just make that first step today, no matter how small. Make a start. Educate yourself – there’s plenty of free information out there that can help you.

And never feel ashamed to ask for help. We all need it at times throughout our lives. That includes male, female, young, old, wealthy, poor, powerful, helpless.

Don’t become trapped in a toxic relationship. Love yourself first and foremost!

*The advice provided in this article is for discussion purposes only and should not be taken as / does not substitute professional advice.

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