Are You in an Abusive Relationship?
Abusive relationships are easy to slip into and difficult to leave. One of the worst aspects of abusive relationships is that the abuser often makes you feel like the abuse is your fault and that you deserve it. If you suspect that you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, don’t lose hope. It is not your fault, and you can leave.
Types of Abuse
Psychological abuse often starts slowly, and it can be difficult to recognize in the beginning. Many abusers start relationships by showering their partners with love, affection, and even gifts. Signs of psychological abuse from your partner include:
- Feeling like you’re “walking on eggshells” when they’re around
- Embarrassing or humiliating you, maybe even saying “it was a joke”
- Making you feel like you’re crazy by denying or changing events that happened, usually when confronted
- Ignoring you, excluding you, or otherwise refusing to communicate
- Isolating you from your friends and/or family
- Constantly calling or texting when you are away from you
- Controlling where you go or what you do
- Making rules about how you dress or otherwise controlling your appearance
- Threatening consequences for doing certain things, especially leaving
- Controlling your finances and using money to control you
- Using children or pets to manipulate you
- Irrational and intense jealousy
- Blaming you and making you feel responsible for their emotions (“You make me feel angry”)
- They blame you for things that aren’t your fault
- You feel trapped in your relationship and may feel like you can’t leave
- They say or make you feel like no one else will love you
Physical abuse doesn’t usually start with your partner attacking you out of the blue. You may notice warning signs such as:
- Not having respect for your property, or breaking your things out of anger
- Punching walls or doors, throwing objects, etc.
- They yell during disagreements or when they’re upset
Physical abuse escalates quickly, and the biggest indicator that your partner may kill you is choking; domestic violence victims who have been choked just once are 750% more likely to be killed at the hands of their abusers.
Being in an abusive relationship can often mean losing important parts of your identity, like your independence, your friends, your hobbies, or even your family, making it hard to leave even after you recognize the abuse.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, begin making a plan to leave as soon as possible. If contacting the domestic violence shelters prior to leaving is not an option, you should consider making a doctor’s appointment. Doctors often have subtle ways you can let them know that you are in an abusive relationship and need to speak to them privately. If you no longer have a support system due to the abuse, this is a great option, and they will be able to contact local domestic violence resource centers for you.
Remember: You don’t have to stay in an abusive relationship, abuse is not your fault, and you deserve a life free from abuse.