Being in an abusive relationship makes you feel undervalued, disrespected, and unsafe.
When people think of domestic abuse, they often focus on domestic violence.
So what is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse includes any attempt by one person in an intimate relationship or marriage to dominate and control the other.
Abuse in any relationship is used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you.
An abuser uses fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under their thumb.
In our last post we a real-time scandal rocking the music industry right now which really comes down to abuse at work.
Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone in all relationships. Abuse happens within heterosexual relationships and in same-sex partnerships.
It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more often victimized, men also experience abuse—especially verbal and emotional.
The bottom line is that you can end up in an abusive relationship without even knowing it and by the time you realize that you are being abused, it’s too late to get out.
You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.
In the absence of physical violence, it’s not always obvious that you’re in an abusive relationship. Victims of abuse believe that it’s their own fault that their partners treat them badly and also believe that somehow they ‘deserve’ the abuse.
It’s important to know that you’re never to blame for the way an abusive person treats you.
One way to be sure that you are in an abusive relationship is if you’re scared of your partner or your partner constantly tries to control your behavior or maybe your partner threatens to harm you, your pets or people you love.
Here are some Key signs of an abusive relationship
Abuse is a relationship isn’t just limited to physical violence. It can include physical abuse, sexual, and emotional, and even financial. The important clue is CONTROL at the hands of your abuser.
Some abuse is very subtle as in the cases of emotional and financial. As a victim, many times you doubt it’s even happening because it looks like something else.
Here are some signs to look for:
- They put you down, either publicly or privately, by attacking your intelligence, looks, mental health, or capabilities.
- They say things like, ‘No one else will want you.’
- They constantly compare you unfavorably to others.
- They blame you for all the problems in your relationship, and for their violent outbursts and/or physical abuse.
- They try to control where you go and who you see
- They get angry if you don’t do what they say
- They check on you all the time to see where you are, what you’re doing, and who you’re with
- They accuse you of being unfaithful or of flirting.
- They isolate you from family and friends and make excuses for not showing up at social events
- They often by behaving rudely to your family and friends.
- They yell or sulk, and deliberately break things that you value.
- They threaten to use violence against you, your family, friends or a pet.
Physical and sexual violence
- They push, shove, hit or grab you, or make you have sex or do things you don’t want to do.
- They harm you, your pets, or your family members.
Thoughts you may have in an abusive relationship
‘It’s so confusing – I’m sure this is a one-off, one-time thing’
If you’re experiencing abuse, things can feel really confusing, and you may find yourself questioning the situation.
You might not be sure what to expect when the abuse occurs, especially if it’s not outright.
In your confusion, you may think that you’re going crazy. This is your abuser trying to influence your sense of what’s real. (It’s called ‘gaslighting’.)
However, historical facts and statistics guarantee that if someone behaves violently once, they’re very likely to do it again.
‘My partner isn’t violent all the time – they love me’
If you’re making excuses for your partner to justify their abuse, you’re in an abusive relationship.
Abusers can be incredibly charming people, especially if they’re trying to make you or others see them in a good light.
Your partner may act violently to you all the time. They may be very loving towards you and may express that they feel sorry for their horrible behavior, but it’s a pretend tactic.
In turn, you may find it hard to stay angry and upset with them. this gives your partner a window of opportunity to abuse you again because you’ve forgiven them.
Their abuse will continue – guaranteed.
‘Maybe it’s my fault’
If you find yourself thinking that maybe it is your fault that your partner is abusive toward you, you’re in an abusive relationship.
If your abuser tells you that it wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t done such and such, that is abuse right there.
You cannot be held responsible for how someone responds to you, but abusers are good at turning that around on you.
It’s never your fault!
‘Things will get better – they didn’t mean it’
If you find yourself downplaying what happened to excuse your partner’s behavior, you’re in an abusive relationship.
After a violent episode, it’s common for your abuser to try and explain with excuses, apologies, and/or promises to change.
Although things might settle down for a bit, it’s only a matter of time before it happens again and you’re on an emotional roller coaster wondering why.
At this point, you need professional help because the abuse will not stop and you could lose your life. Get out and get some help!
‘I’m scared of what will happen if I leave them’
If you find yourself feeling afraid of leaving the person who’s abusing you, you’re in an abusive relationship.
Feeling unsafe, and/or scared of what the person might do to you or themselves is a clear indication that the situation is dangerous.
You might also feel that you aren’t capable of making it on your own if you depend on them financially.
There are people and organizations who can help every step of the way. All you have to do is reach out.
if you’re in a relationship at the moment and you’ve experienced or seen signs of abuse, reach out to a professional now to get some help.
We’ve shared some links below.
Domestic Abuse Resources
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Dating Abuse Helpline
National Child Abuse Hotline/Childhelp
National Sexual Assault Hotline
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
National Center for Victims of Crime
National Human Trafficking Resource Center/Polaris Project
Call: 1-888-373-7888 | Text: HELP to BeFree (233733)
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
National Coalition for the Homeless
Futures Without Violence: The National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence
National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health
1-312-726-7020 ext. 2011