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- Advice & Tips for Women in Relationships
Relationship Signs You Should Not Ignore
Being in a relationship should be a positive experience, filled with love and happiness.Thinking about the man in your life should bring a smile to your face and fill your heart with joy. But for so many women and teenage girls, the situation is often clouded with fear and self doubt. Sometimes, the reality can become much worse than imagined.
In most abusive relationships, the major trouble doesn't start right away, but there are usually signs that point toward future problems. Some of the signs are more subtle, but if you pay attention, they are usually there from the beginning.
The abusive man might start out behaving normally, but will become progressively more controlling until the relationship ends. A man inclined to abuse women will never stop the behavior on his own accord. The abused woman will never "change" the man, no matter how much she tries. He will not get better over time if she can prove her love and devotion. She can't "nurse" him back to sanity. Some women will get up the courage to leave, but others might stick around until it's too late. Many domestic violence situations eventually end in death.
Abuse can exist in many forms. Sometimes it is physical violence, but emotional and psychological abuse are just as common, and are often ignored. Often emotional abuse will escalate into physical abuse over time.
If you are in a relationship that shows any of the following warning signs, you should get out before it escalates to something much worse. A loving relationship is never scary or dominated by one person. A partnership doesn't need a boss.
Extreme jealousy or possessiveness: Of course, when you are in love, you might feel a slight pang of jealousy when you see your significant other talking to someone of the opposite sex. But it is completely unreasonable to expect someone to avoid all contact with members of the opposite sex. Relationships are built on trust, not control.
Seclusion from family and friends: The abuser will often try to place restrictions on the woman spending time with anyone other than him. He likes to keep her under his watchful eye to maintain total control. He aims to break down her support system because if she is totally dependent on him, it will be harder for her to leave. He doesn't want her to be influenced by family and friends who might try to convince her to leave. The abuser might try to brainwash the woman into believing that her friends are jealous of the love they share or that her family is trying to sabotage their relationship so they can control her. He may convince her to quit work, saying he wants to take care of her. But the truth is, if she is at work, he can't be there to control her every move. She will be financially independent, making it possible for her to live without him. And he is afraid she may meet someone new...and normal.
Accusations of infidelity: It's one thing to have a serious discussion if you truly suspect cheating in a relationship. It's quite another to accuse your partner of having an affair, or attempting to, with the cashier at the grocery store, the pizza delivery guy, the mailman, and every other male within a fifty mile radius. If you avoid small talk and eye contact with every man you see for fear of envoking rage in your guy, then you should kick him to the curb ASAP.
Controlling your life: An abusive man tries to tell you where you can go, who you can talk to, how much you can spend, what you can wear, etc. If you are in this situation, remind yourself that you do not need another parent. Realize that you are your own person, capable of making your own decisions without supervision. You should never feel like you are a prisoner in your own home, or relationship. If you do, break free immediately.
Criticizing or name calling: If your man calls you names or puts you down, he is being disrespectful. If he tries act like you are stupid, it is meant to undermine your confidence. A confident woman will probably leave him so he has to make your self esteem disappear before you make sure he does. If he criticizes everything you do, realize that it is not an issue with your performance. You will never satisfy his list of demands. No matter what you do or how you do it, he will always find a problem. He does this to control. The problem is not with your behavior, it is with his.
Extensive questioning of your actions: If your man makes you feel like you are being subjected to a police interrogation, he should probably be locked up. If you return from the grocery store to a barrage of questions, such as who you talked to, whether you went anywhere else, or how much you spent; be wary. If he gets mad at your answers, questions your honesty, or tries to act like you have done something wrong when you clearly have not, do not dismiss this as acceptable behavior.
Double standards: An abusive man will get mad if you talk to other guys, spend money, or go somewhere without his permission. But you can be sure he will not allow the same restrictions to be placed upon him. If you question his behavior, he will get angry and accuse you of being unreasonable. He may even become violent, pretending that you are trying to control him. An abusive man will usually turn every one of his own wrong doings into an issue with the woman. Abusive men are master manipulators. They try, and often succeed, in making the woman believe she has done something wrong when clearly he is the one who is guilty.
Bullying/Threats: Abusers will make many threats to get others to do what they want. It is often evident early in the relationship. The teenage boy who picks on classmates. The adult male who threatens the guy who cut him off in traffic. A man who bullys others will eventually turn the bullying toward you. They use fear and manipulation to get what they want. When you are the woman in their life, you will most certainly become the target of their anger and blame. Everything that goes wrong in their life will come flying back at you. They might threaten you with harm if you try to leave them, but please realize that you risk more harm by staying. And they might threaten to leave you if you don't play by their rules. If only you could be so lucky. Abusers are hard to get rid of once they sink their teeth into a victim, but don't abandon hope. Get out before it escalates any further.
Control and manipulation are forms of emotional abuse. They are not part of a normal, healthy relationship. Someone who truly loves you will never want to change you. If you have to act differently to please a man, then it is not really you he is in love with.
An abusive man seeks women that he can control. He wants a woman who is eager to please and will go out of her way to make him happy. But you should never foresake your own happiness for another person. Someone who loves you will want to make you happy in return.
And someone who loves you will never want to cause you pain, neither emotional nor physical. Punching, kicking, pushing, smacking, biting, hair pulling, wrist grabbing, and throwing objects at someone are all forms of physical abuse.
Abusive relationships are not healthy. They will not work out eventually. Don't allow yourself to be sucked in by this type of man. He will not change for the better over time. You cannot fix him. A man who loves you would never try to hurt you or change you into someone you are not. He is not sorry, even if he pretends to be. It will happen again...and again and again. You can't, nor should you try, to be the perfect woman for him. There is no such thing, especially for a man like this. You will never please him. Just get away from him.
If you are in an abusive relationship, you need to get out. Once you do leave him, don't ever look back. Refuse all attempts by him to contact you. Do not take his phone calls. Do not try to explain yourself or reason with him. He will view your willingness to speak with him as an opportunity to win you back. He will try to convince you that he will change, but he never will. Get a restraining order. If he shows up at your house, do not open the door. It will invite an opportunity for violence. Call the police. Notify people where you work that you want no contact with him and instruct them to call police or security if he shows up. Bring a picture in with you so they will know who to watch out for. Don't walk out alone. If possible, have security or a male coworker escort you to your car. Carry pepper spray with you at all times in case he tries to approach you. After a while, he will start to realize that you are serious in wanting no contact with him, and will likely move on to his next victim.The sooner into the relationship you leave, the more likely it will be that he will move on quickly. This is another reason not to stick around in an abusive relationship. Once the signs are there, it's best to get out before he forms a strong attachment to you. And before the emotional abuse turns physical.
Any type of abuse is never ok. Do not tolerate disrespect from any man you are seeing. Do not allow him to call you names or tell you what to do. And never stay with a man who is physically abusive toward you. Staying with an abusive man only emphasizes in his mind that this behavior is acceptable. It is not.
For help dealing with an abusive relationship,call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.