When you’re young, love should be sweet and joyful, not threatening and draining. Those who are in the relationship should have the same values and morals. Abuse does not have to be physical, abusers are commonly survivors of abuse themselves, and abusive relationships progressively get worse over time.
Some questions to ask yourself if you think you may be in an abusive relationship include:
-Do they keep track of my location and freak out if I don’t check in with them constantly?
-Are they jealous/ possessive of me around others?
-Do they suspect with no evidence that I’m unfaithful and/or dishonest with them and call me out on it?
-Have I lost contact with once close friends and family because they forbid it or threaten me?
-Do I feel less self-worth because of their comments or crude jokes or belittling side notes? (ex: You should wear the black dress, it makes your big shoulders look thinner)
-Have I lost control of my money and do I have to check with them before I make a purchase?
-Do I constantly feel ashamed of myself in public when all jokes are about you in a negative way?
-Do they take away things of mine that have sentimental value and get rid of it? (Ex: Oh yeah, I donated those silver and sapphire brushes from your grandmother, it’s not like you used them)
-Do I have to cover up my bruises and scratches from them?
-Do I have to have sex with them against my will?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, these websites can help you determine your next step.
Healthy Relationships have:
– Non-threatening behavior
-Trust and Support
-Honesty and Accountability
Abusive Relationships have:
• Making your partner afraid by using looks, actions, gestures.
• Smashing or destroying things.
• Destroying or confiscating your partner’s property.
• Abusing pets as a display of power and control.
• Silent or overt raging.
• Displaying weapons or threatening their use.
• Making physical threats.
• Putting your partner down.
• Making your partner feel bad about himself or herself.
• Calling your partner names.
• Playing mind games.
• Interrogating your partner.
• Harassing or intimidating your partner.
• “Checking up on” your partner’s activities or whereabouts.
• Humiliating your partner, weather through direct attacks or “jokes”.
• Making your partner feel guilty.
• Shaming your partner.
• Controlling what your partner does, who he or she sees and talks to, what he or she reads, where he or she goes.
• Limiting your partner’s outside involvement.
• Demanding your partner remain home when you are not with them.
• Cutting your partner off from prior friends, activities, and social interaction.
• Using jealousy to justify your actions.
Minimizing, Denying, Blame Shifting:
• Making light of the abuse and not taking your partner’s concerns about it seriously.
• Saying the abuse did not happen, or wasn’t that bad.
• Shifting responsibility for your abusive behavior to your partner. (i.e: I did it because you ______.)
• Saying your partner caused it.
IF YOU ARE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP:
Abusive relationships do not change without sustained therapy specifically targeted toward the abusive relationship patterns.
- These relationships cannot be changed from one side, it takes mutual honesty, openness and willingness from both parties to work through these issues.
- Group therapy is highly recommended for abusers, as it helps them to break through the denial that is generally a part of the abusive patterns.
- People in denial generally recognize their own dysfunctional behavior in others more easily than in themselves.
- This applies to the partners of abusers as well – group helps them to break through the denial by seeing the relationship patterns from a wider view. Certain personality types are more prone to abusive relationships.
If the abuser is unwilling to own their behavior and seek help the prudent course of action is to remove yourself totally from the situation.
- Painful, but generally safer and ultimately better for both parties than allowing the cycle of abuse to continue.
- Be prepared for the abuse to increase after you leave – stepping out of the cycle enrages the abuser, as it shatters their illusion of control.
- Learn how to protect and care for yourself. Detachment with love is difficult, but the best solution if your partner is unwilling to work though the issues.
Help is readily available for both parties in abusive relationships. These relationships cannot be changed from one side.
- Remember that by staying you are condoning and enabling the abuse – and helping your partner to stay sick.
- If your partner is unwilling to get help the only safe course of action is to totally remove yourself from the situation and seek help on your own.