Domestic Violence Doesn't Belong in Your Vocabulary
Domestic Violence is not okay. It is not normal and it is not love.
Domestic violence is not just physical. It is also emotional and many times goes unnoticed. Believe this to be true: Violence is not okay. It is not normal and it is not love.
Many times a person falls victim to domestic violence but maybe they have nowhere to go, so they stay on, and little by little, they begin to lose their self worth, their esteem and confidence slowly diminish in time. If that relationship ends, they move on to another violent one because it's what they've grown used to. And before they know it, they have a threshold where that kind of life is "normal" for them. That makes it harder for them to see or understand what's wrong with them or their relationship. It becomes a part of their life and eventually translates into love.
When you fall in love, everything seems fine. You notice some things that are not compatible with you but it's okay, nobody is perfect. You figure you're not perfect either, so you balance each other out. As you progress as a couple, you start noticing more differences. You may even see some red flags but again you convince yourself they are not perfect and make up for it with the other great stuff they do. You decide to ignore it. There's a name for that. It's called denial.
You are denying the basic sign of all signs; your gut instinct, which is something we all have, a natural warning that lets us know something is wrong. Maybe you are looking at their potential instead of their reality, another big mistake a lot of us make. Or worse, maybe you would rather be in any relationship than be alone, even if it isn't perfect. After all, no relationship is. But although it may be true that relationships are not perfect, they should be for the most part a happy experience where fighting is minimal, and by that I mean arguing that includes two adults holding a conversation and coming up with real solutions together, no matter what the problem is. And as in every relationship, there are deal breakers. Do you know yours?
One deal breaker that should be on everyone's list is violence. Whether it's physical or emotional, there is absolutely no excuse for it, regardless what you think or have been told.
Below is a warning guide that will determine if you are involved in a dangerous relationship. Remember, it will not get better on its own. Most of the time, it escalates, starting with only arguing, to screaming, then pushing, then hitting and it may even lead to death. If you decide to talk about it and seek help, then do it right away. But don't be surprised if your significant other refuses. They too may be in denial they have a problem or may just be selfish enough not to want to change. Most offenders become defensive, so don't be surprised.
1. Do you find yourself making excuses for their bad behavior? You never have to make excuses for being treated poorly by someone you love or says they love you. Bad behavior has no room in a loving relationship.
2. Is your partner addicted to drugs or alcohol? This is serious and help is needed but you will never change them unless they change themselves.
Factoid: According to the NIAA, if you are a man who drinks 5 or more drinks a day or more than 14 drinks per week, you are likely an Alcoholic.
If you are a woman and drink 4 or more drinks a day or more than 7 drinks per week, you are considered an Alcoholic.
3. Do your friends like your partner? Sometimes friends can be keen on this because they know you and taking an outside view looking in, can be more observant than you seeing yourself.
4. Does your family like your partner? Your family knows you well and want only what's best for you. Take heed in whatever they tell you about your partner. Many times your friends and family will see things you can't or won't.
5. Does your partner put you down or make you feel bad? Emotional abuse is just as bad if not worse than physical. Nobody can make you feel bad unless you allow them to, so don't. This is their way of controlling you by trying to make you feel inferior, lowering your confidence and self esteem. Once they get you to feel bad about yourself, you are less likely to leave them because you become dependent on them and start believing you can't do better. You can always do better.
6. Does your partner hit or push you? Maybe it was just a shove, right? That counts. Any physical move on your body without your consent is not allowed. If it is more than a push, run, don't walk, run and leave that relationship!
7. Does your partner break your personal belongings like your cell phone, hide your keys? Abusers are Manipulators 101 on this. They want control over your life and will do whatever it takes to get it. They want to make sure you do not leave them. By taking or breaking your personal things, you are at a disadvantage and become their hostage, sometimes literally. Do not allow this. They will also lie and maybe go as far as talk to your friends and family about you, making YOU look like the one with a problem, turning the focus away from them so when they do hurt you, they won't look so much like the bad guy. After all, he did try to get you help. This is why it's very important you tell your friends and family what's going on before it escalates.
8. Do you find you hide your personal items from your partner because you know they hide or break your things? You are in denial of #7, if you do.
9. Do you hide bruises from friends, family or coworkers? If you have to hide anything like that, or lie about it, you already know the answer to this one. It's time to admit what is really going on. Stop lying to yourself, then you can stop lying to others.
10. Do you find them checking your phone, your clothes, computer emails, acting jealous or possessive and defensive? This is another way to control you. If they can't respect your privacy, they do not respect you. This is not love. It is ownership. They want to own you. Only you can own you.
Of course all of this is worse if your partner has mood swings or anger issues. And it is magnified if you have children. They watch everything and learn from your behavior. If your daughter sees you putting up with abuse, what kind of a woman will she grow up to be? And if your son sees his father abusing his mother, what message do you think he will receive when he's old enough to have his own relationship? These are important things to consider. It's not just about you anymore. It is your responsibility to raise good children. It all starts at home. You have to be the example.
Value who you are. You are worth something to someone. You are not alone. There is help for you out there, with many trained professionals on call ready to listen. Confide in a friend your partner doesn't know, a family member, clergyman, anyone. Talk to someone. Keeping this secret could mean the difference between your life or your death.
For kids, teens, young adults, there are counselors available 24/7. You can call or email below:
Also, check your local county, city and state for organizations like CASA near you.
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