Are You in a Healthy or Abusive Relationship?
Girls and guys- is there a better feeling than being in love?
That feeling of falling asleep with loving arms wrapped around you…
The excitement when your phone lights up with their name and heart emoji…
The satisfaction of knowing there is someone who unconditionally cares for you…
While is truly seems like there is nothing better than sharing your life, accomplishments, and dreams with someone- it is important to keep in mind what a healthy relationship entails.
One of the most important- if not the most important- aspect of a relationship is communication. Communication is the key that fosters growth in healthy and loving relationships. There are five key tips that men and women should use as guidelines when entering or maintaining a relationship:
- Speak your mind if you are feeling a certain way
- Learn to compromise- you will have to meet in the middle to ensure each party receives a desirable outcome
- Have respect for one another – a relationship will become toxic if there is disrespect
- Do not invade the other’s privacy – everyone needs some space to avoid feeling suffocated
Of course, there are many more things that compose a healthy and fulfilling relationship, but those key tips are a great foundation to build upon.
Women between the ages 16-24 experience the highest rate of partner abuse- almost triple the national average. Additionally, around 1.5 million high school students in the U.S. has experienced physically abuse from their partner. According to a domestic violence lawyer, 1 in 3 females and 1 in 4 males have experienced domestic violence. So, what are we missing? What are a few signs to look out for to avoid this happening to you?
They say, “love is blind.” It is imperative to be aware of these red-flag aggression signs from your partner to give you a hint of when to leave.
Signs to Beware of
- Your boyfriend/girlfriend attempts to isolate you from friends or family
- Signs of controlling behavior (economic, physical, or mental)
- If your partner has abused anyone else in the past
- Verbal abuse
- Unrealistic expectations for the relationship – where the abuser expects the person abused to meet all their wants and needs
- Jealousy that leads to outrage or further control
Domestic violence can take any different forms like: intimidation, harassment, stalking, videotaping without consent, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, physical abuse, and forced economic dependency. If you have experienced any of these signs, know that you are not alone – unfortunately, millions of women and men have been through this.
Being in a healthy relationship can feel like you have found your other half, your partner in crime, or your soulmate – just do everything you can to ensure you are in a healthy relationship. It’s true, human connection is what makes us happy in life – so let’s all enjoy our healthy relationships.
Domestic Abuse Can Affect Everyone
Who does domestic violence affect besides the victim?
"Studies show that 3-4 million children between the ages of 3-17 are at risk of exposure to domestic violence each year."
Those who abuse don't think about who they are affecting and how. Children could develop psychological issues and fear for their safety when experiencing domestic violence in their homes. Additionally, don't forget about men - domestic violence is NOT only a women's issue. 25% of males, or 1 in 4 have experienced domestic violence in their relationships.
Domestic violence can happen to any age, gender, socioeconomic class, and sexual orientation.
When arguing becomes more than expressing ideas
Why are some people afraid to leave?
People who have not encountered violence in their homes could question why the victim wouldn’t leave the abuser- just get out of the house and tell the police right?
It is not that easy for most. There are a lot of things that factor into the difficult experience of leaving an abuser.
Typically, it takes the victim 7 attempts at fleeing from their abuser before they leave for good. Only 34% of women receive medical care for their injuries from a domestic violence incident. Why is there hesitation with fleeing or medical services? Domestic violence can take many different, cruel shapes – financial control, emotional abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, or mental abuse.
According to the National Domestic Hotline, there are 10 common thoughts that prohibit or make is harder for victims to stay in their abusive relationship.
- Believing abuse is normal in relationships
- Love- he/she loves me so he/she will go back to normal because we love each other
- Cultural/ religious reasons- sometimes divorce is taboo and not supported
- Disability- what if you are physically reliant on your abuser?
- Lack of resources- has your abuser established economic control and refuses to give you money?
- Immigration status- if you are undocumented in the US and report your abuser… will that call attention to my illegal status?
- Low self-esteem- if you have been berated by your abuser, you might start to believe it truly is your fault for what is happening to you.
- Embarrassment or shame- as the victim it might be hard to share with people you have been abused and might be judged
10. Fear of being ‘outed’- the abuser might threaten to ‘out’ their victim if they are lesbian or gay
One of the most prominent fears of leaving someone who has abused you is the fear of further harm after you leave. Every day in the United States there are 3 women murdered by their current or ex male counterpart.
Vicious cycle of domestic violence damage that affects an overwhelming amount of people in a variety of ways
To put the number of deaths from domestic violence into perspective, there was 3,073 women killed in terror attacks in the US from 2001-2012 – and 11,766 women killed by husbands or boyfriends in the same time frame.
You are NOT Alone
It may seem like a no-brainer to only become involved with a nice person who shows no signs of abuse, but the reality is that often times these traits develop with time. If you have experienced abuse in a relationship, you are not alone, every 20 minutes someone is abused in the U.S.
The most important thing is to remain as calm as possible and let someone know (a relative, friend, police officer, etc.) what is going on so you can get the help you need. Everyone deserves to be loved and appreciated- so there is no shame in asking someone for help in a time of need!