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How to Tell if You are in an Abusive Relationship

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Relationships begin with the kind of fabulous delight that has both partners wanting to the joy to last forever.  Great beginnings can have endings that are painful and hard.  The endings are especially hard when the relationship has deteriorated because of abuse.

Issues of power and control are the cause of abusive relationships. This power struggle can do serious damage to your confidence and well being.   The first step to surviving an abusive relationship is identifying that you are in one. It can be embarrassing to admit to family and friends that your new love didn’t turn out the way you expected.

The abuser can use this as leverage to convince you that the abuse is your fault.  This will lead you to an even more vulnerable position. You need to protect yourself with information.

There are Different Types of Abuse:

  1. Physical  

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If you are being hit, pushed, or otherwise physically assaulted by your partner, it has gone to far.  Even if it has only happened once, even if they say it will never happen again.  Once is too much.  Leave and report the abuse.

  1. Emotional  

Isolation from  your friends and loved ones is a form of emotional abuse. So is intimidating and threatening you. Controlling behavior and name calling is also abuse. This kind of behavior is subtle and generally escalates over time.  This abuse is just as damaging as a punch or a kick.  Verbal assaults are still abuse.

  1. Financial

Since abuse is all about control, taken over your finances is a very dangerous form abuse.  Your abuser can seriously leave you damaged.   Having no financial support of your own leaves you vulnerable.

  1. Sexual

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Abusive relationships can also include sexual abuse.  Even if a couple is married or in a committed relationship forced sex or sexual degradation is abuse.  You have the right to say no.  This type of abuse should be reported to the place and you should take immediate action to insure your safety.

Warning Signs.

If your partner does any of  these things, it’s abuse:

  • Monitors all of your movements and activity
  • Checks your phone, email and social media
  • Accuses you of infidelity
  • Constantly insists that you are cheating
  • Keeps you from your friends and family
  • Forbids you from making new friends
  • Insists that they accompany you everywhere
  • Keeps you from school or work
  • Overindulges in drugs or alcohol and becomes abusive when under the influence
  • Makes all decisions for you, including finances, clothing and activities
  • Verbally assaults or humiliates you in public
  • Destroys your belongings
  • Threatens you, your children and pets
  • Blames you for their behavior
  • Use their safety to manipulate you
  • Does not let you express your opinions

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Justifying or otherwise excusing an abuser’s actions causes the problems to escalate.   Abuse is a deliberate choice.  The abuser needs to have power and control of their victim.   The pattern of abuse may have been created in their childhood or picked up from role models.  Their behavior may be ingrained into their very personality and they may not be able to stop without professional help

Reactions to Abuse You may:

  • Be depressed and confused and unsure if you are really being abused.
  • Start to believe that you are at fault.
  • Make excuses or blame yourself for the abuse.
  • Believe that it won’t happen again.
  • Develop emotional and physical health problems.
  • Be afraid to express yourself or stand up for yourself.
  • Abuse drugs or alcohol to cope.
  • Notice a change in your self-esteem
  • Begin to question your own behavior by blaming yourself.

Emotional abuse can damage your physical health by leading to PTSD.

Take the power back in your relationship by refusing to dismiss or excuse abusive behavior. It is not your fault. You do not ever deserve aggressive or threatening behavior.

After you leave you abuser find a support system and reconnect with you family and friends. Find a counselor or support group. Exercise and meditate and rebuild your confidence.

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