By David Jennings:
“My pillow was perpetually soaked in tears. For a week, my entire body was frozen. I had blood clots in parts I was ashamed to show. This is what he did on a recent Sunday morning – I was beaten black and blue, again, for not booking movie tickets. The price I paid for not watching a movie was rampant swearing and a lot of physical abuse.
I am an unnamed victim of domestic abuse by my ex-boyfriend.”
Not all abusive relationships are necessarily violent. But control, jealousy, coercion and isolation are all signs of abuse. The best thing you can do for yourself is to avoid such relationships altogether – or, if it’s too late for that, escape an existing relationship before it goes too far.
1) If You’re Afraid Of Your Partner, It’s Time To Leave
Violence is the most obvious sign of abuse. Moreover, threats of violence can be just as bad as physical violence and should be regarded as foreshadowing future abuse. If your partner ever becomes physically violent, the relationship should be terminated immediately. Adopt a zero tolerance policy for intimidation. No matter how much you love your partner, if you’re afraid of them, you have a problem.
2) Verbal Abuse Is Still Abuse. No Two Ways About It
Verbal abuse is abuse and should not be tolerated. If your partner constantly criticizes you or says cruel things to you, insults you, curses, calls you ugly names, or uses your vulnerabilities to hurt you – this is abuse.
3) Your Partner’s Mood Swings Are Not Your Fault
The inability to predict your partner’s behaviour, or uncertainty as to where you stand in relation to them, is a sign of abuse. If your partner undergoes severe mood swings – being gentle and caring one moment and threatening and angry the next, then trying to make you believe these mood swings are your fault, that if you just did something differently they would be a more gentle and caring person – then there’s a problem. You will end up staying with them, hoping for the side of them you love while spending most of your time being hurt by someone who cares little about you and your feelings.
4) If Your Partner Demands You ‘Change’, That’s Cue To Leave
Coercion often begins as soon as your relationship does, with pressure from your partner to become more involved with them at a pace faster than you are comfortable with or ready for. Granted, sometimes your partner may feel more for you sooner than you, but if they are disrespectful, trying to force you into something you’re not ready for, this should set off alarm bells. Later, such coercion may lead to demands that you change things about yourself that they don’t like, and then forcing you to do things you don’t want to do – anything from how you spend your time together to what clothes you wear. Such coercion is a sign of emotional manipulation and abuse.
5) Keeping Tabs On You Always Is Not Cute, It’s Controlling
A little jealousy is cute at times, but it can easily morph into something ugly. A possessive partner may make you feel guilty for spending time with friends or family, will call or text you an excessive amount throughout the day and may often accuse you of flirting or cheating without reason. All of these are signs that they feel an abusive sense of possession over you. Soon, you may be asking for approval for every decision you make, and control over your own life will slip away as their power over you grows.
6) Keeping You Away From Friends Or Family, Is Abuse Too
A relationship should open your soul, not bring about an intense feeling of isolation. If you avoiding bringing your partner around friends or family because you’re afraid they will humiliate you, or if your partner has tried to cut you off from loved ones in an attempt to control your life, this isolation is a form of abuse.
7) Your Complete Dependence On Your Partner Is A Cause For Alarm
Be wary of partners who begin taking over your responsibilities in order to make you more dependent on them… Dependence means control, and a partner who attempts to control you – either physically or psychologically – is an abusive person. Does your partner often disappear at times without explanation, wreaking havoc on your mind and throwing your life into disarray? This is a sign that you have become overly dependent and that your partner is using that dependence in an abusive way.
8) If Your Partner Makes You Feel ‘Worthless’, Don’t Put Up With It
Does your partner make you feel bad about yourself, often putting you down or making you feel stupid? Have you begun to see yourself as worthless, or even crazy because of them, as though you’re the one with a problem? If you try to fight back, does your partner blame you for their behavior, claiming you’re the reason they’re acting the way they’re acting? This abusive behavior may extend to all aspects of your partner’s conception of themselves – blaming you, for example, for work problems or for their unhappy or unfulfilled lives, making you feel responsible for their failures. Don’t put up with it. Take action!