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How to Stay Out of Abusive Relationships

Updated on January 14, 2013

Often, people blame themselves for being in a relationship that may eventually result in abuse and even violent behavior. The truth is that many people where never taught by their parents or parental figures the possible signs and symptoms of a potentially abusive relationship. In fact, many uninformed parents will behave towards their children in ways that blur boundaries and lower self-esteem. In addition, people that find good sexual chemistry in another may not feel important enough to delay intimacy long enough to earn trust and explore more valuable perceptions and emotions. When these behaviors are enacted repeatedly, people may find themselves in serial abusive relationships. Observe the signs and symptoms of a potentially abusive relationship and promote a healthy and strong love affair in your life.

Relationships Deserve Your Time to Develop and Foster Trust

When you are involved in a new relationship, take time to get to know the person and evaluate their kindness, values, and explore their belief system. Obviously, if you are a religious or spiritual person, you will have less in common with a person who is an atheist, or vice a versa. Certainly enjoy the feelings of love but do not get lost in the intoxicating effects; understand how you are feeling and stay alert that this person is new to you and still needs to prove their trustworthiness as you allow them to enter your personal life. As in all new experiences, it is important to stay as objective as possible before engaging in a relationship with confidence.

Love is a Drug and Effects the Brain in the Exact Manner

The effects of the sensation of being “in-love” is a chemical release of “feel good” chemicals called endorphins that flood the brain with neurotransmitters associated with cocaine and the reward center. Some researchers feel that these chemicals have been developed by nature to promote procreation in humans and provide the survival of the species. Remember that you are an intelligent person that makes decisions with the “practical” side of your brain as well, and tell Mother Nature not to lead you into a world-wind romance you may regret later.

Characteristics and Behaviors of Potentially Abusive Partners

Certain violations of trust and respect are indicative of an impending problematic relationship. People that cross boundaries and exhibit certain behaviors may be dropping hints that they are not ready or capable of an honest and successful relationship. Unfortunately, a prospective partner that practices so called “teasing” and “playful name-calling” can be providing you of a glimpse of an abusive relationship development in the near future. Similar suspect behaviors may include:

  • Searching your cell phone or email without your permission
  • Excessive condescending remarks about you in public and in private
  • Excessive jealousy, possessiveness, or signs of insecurity
  • Hair-trigger explosive temper
  • Doesn't like your friends or family members, and doesn't respect the fact that you love or care for your loved ones
  • Frequent inaccurate accusations of infidelity or your “secret desires”
  • Wide negative mood swings alternating with positive affirmations of love for you.
  • Being overly possessive and attempts to isolate your from family and friends
  • Any physical or verbal threat, actual physical force, or verbally demeaning act against you or your family or friends
  • Attempts at taking over your life and dictating your behavior, career, financial resources or restricting you from activities or locations
  • You may catch this person in little lies at first that may become more serious later on
  • They use alcohol or drugs on a regular basis

Signs and Symptoms of an Abusive Relationship

Characteristics to Observe
Possible Reasons for Behavoirs
Negative Aspects of Behavior
Searching your email or cellphone history withouth permission
Mistrustful and a lack of respect
May be an attempt at controlling your behavior or an act of jealousy
Attempts at isolating you and removing you from your friends
An act of possessiveness and control
Shows a lack of tolerance and low self-esteem
Speaks harshly about past loves
Anger and hateful towards people that have failed to live up to their expectations
Shows a person who feels entitled and a lack of consideration for others
Puts you down in front of family and friends
An attempt to lower your self-esteem and make you more vulnerable to their wishes
Emotional abuse worsens and may become domestic violence overtime
You may catch this person in little lies here and there
Small lies may become more serious overtime and reveal an unfaithful partner
A partner who lies may be attempting to live a double life
The person uses drugs or alcohol on a regular basis
Frequently, people that use mind altering substances are emotionally impaired or inapt at handling the pressures of relationships
Substance abuse may be masking internal conflicts and hiding insecurity

Should I do a Background Check?

People often wonder if they should get a professional check on their prospective partners, and this is an easy “yes” in most cases (especially if you have children). However, it is very difficult to get complete information from an online background check without a social security number or other pertinent information on this individual. In addition, online background databases may be limited, and the information you receive may be invalid or incomplete. Do not feel safe if the background check doesn't reveal anything on this person, it could be wrong. If you do find distressing information, it is important to follow up with a professional investigator to be sure you have the entire story.

Examine Their Past Relationships

As medical professionals know, often the diagnosis of a disease or condition can be made by merely taking a history. Relationships are no different, and if a prospective partner reveals a violent or unsavory rendition of an imperfect mate from relationships past, he may be providing you with a window of future events. If this new person in your life uses harsh or hateful language in describing past life partners, family or friends, the chances are this person believes they are entitled to expect much and compromise little in a relationship. A negative attitude towards men, women, and family members may provide you an insight into the mind of a unsuitable future partner.

Healthy People Attract Healthy People

If you truly feel that you lack the understanding of what a healthy relationship needs to thrive, it is important that you learn the components of a valuable partnership to feel safe and confident as a partner. As children, many people are subject to uninformed parents that do not arm their children with healthy boundaries, confidence, or the instructions of how to recognize respect and demand consideration. Parents that use physical punishment on their children teach them how to solve problems with violence, and that being “hit” or “hitting” others in times of stressful confrontation is not only acceptable but normal. The use of verbally demeaning language in the household is devastating to the psyche of a young child. These negative affirmations may stay with a child from the cradle to the grave, and only after years of seeking a healthy self-image have overcome the damage to their esteem.


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    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 

      7 years ago from Johnson County, Kansas

      This is such important information and another excellent hub. Voted up, useful, pinned, tweeted and FB NPD mother shared.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      8 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      You have made excellent points here one must consider all points made to stay out of abusive relationships.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      8 years ago

      Hi eHealer - You and I write about totally different things, and I am always blown away by your hubs. They are so important and are always filled with such important information. Useful, up and pinned.

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image

      LJ Scott 

      8 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Again an outstanding hub from you eHealer... but then I never expect anything else from you... excellent read , and it definitely has a lot of truth in it...

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. I never thought as "love" as a drug. but you are right!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      8 years ago from the beautiful south

      Hard to imagine the people who do stay in these relationships which sometimes end very tragic. Great write.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      8 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Good subject and treated professionaly. Here's hoping readers read and those who need this guidance see a copy somewhere and take it seriously enough to avoid a lot of pain and needless suffering.


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