Signs of an Abusive Relationship
While I was writing my Hub on How to Be a Faithful Husband/Wife, I felt this had to be said, as well. Sometimes you can try, try, try--put all your heart and soul into trying to make your relationship work, but it just doesn't. This may not be your fault. It could be because the relationship you are in is unhealthy and abusive.
As a domestic violence survivor, I understand that admitting you may be in an abusive relationship is hard to grasp. Do not be ashamed. You are not alone and you do not deserve to be abused.
If you are uncertain about whether or not your relationship is abusive or are a concerned friend or relative--take a look at the following signs I've listed. At the end I've listed valuable resources and communities you can go to for help.
Signs That You Are in an Abusive Relationship
- Your partner constantly puts you down/makes you feel worthless; in front of others or in private.
- Ever since you started dating your partner you have slowly cut ties with your friends and family.
- If you spend time with anyone other than your partner, he/she gets very jealous or angry.
- Your partner makes you feel like they are the only one you can trust and the only one who loves you. He/she makes it seem like no one else really cares about you.
- Your partner slaps, hits, punches, pinches, bites, scratches, pushes, grabs you, or puts his/her hands on you in anyway other way that you do not like.
- Your partner "convinces" you to have sex with them, even when you don't really want to and tell them no.
- When you try to reason with your partner about how you are feeling he/she makes you feel like your unhappiness is your fault or that s/he has done nothing wrong.
- If you tell him/her that you want to break up s/he threatens to hurt you, him/herself, or someone else or make other threats to force you to stay.
- S/he must know where you are and who you are with at all times.
- S/he monitors your phone, computer, and all other personal devices. You aren't allowed any privacy.
- S/he controls every aspect of your life including (but not limited to) whether or not you go to work or school, how your money is spent, and/or what you are and are not allowed to wear.
- You are ashamed to talk to others about what goes on in your relationship.
- You constantly make excuses for your partner's actions.
- You lie about marks on your body, reasons why you are late, or why you are unhappy.
- You feel depressed most of the time and very lonely, specifically because of your relationship.
- When you are with your partner you can have very high moments of happiness, but equally low moments of dispair.
- Your friends and family have approached you with concerns about your relationship.
- You are scared/intimidated by your partner and are afraid of what s/he may do to you if you don't do what s/he tells you too.
- You are worried s/he may hurt your children, pets, or family members.
- You find it harder and harder to take care of yourself and be happy.
If you can agree with ANY of the above statements, you may be in an abusive relationship.
Please be aware that you abuser can track your internet history. So use computers that will be safe; such as a friend, neighbor, or relative's or one at the public library. You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline from a secure phone for help.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
If you are afraid your internet and/or computer usage might be monitored, please use a safer computer, call your local hotline, and/or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224
- Are You Safe in Your Relationship? - Planned Parenthood
- Domestic Violence Organizations - Where to Get Help - Oprah.com
- Safe Horizon
- Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence
- Domestic Violence.org
Suffering is not a lifestyle. No matter what your partner has convinced you of, you deserve better than this. No matter your age, race, gender, or sexual orientation--no one deserves to be abused. Seek help immediately! The longer you wait, the harder it will be to escape (but never think that it's impossible).
If you are like I was, you may be embarrassed by your situation. Don't be! For too long I tried to handle my relationship all by myself. As a result my reputation was ruined, my relationships with my friends and families was damaged, and I was very depressed. I was in a very terrible place and thought I would never escape. But once I opened up and was honest about my situation, I was really able to turn my life around.
If you want your life back, you have to take a stand! However, do it safely. To be honest, the most direct approach is not going to be the best option for you.
My advice to you would be to contact any of the resources I've listed, in particular the National Hotline.
File an order of protection (a restraining order) as soon as something happens, whether it be a physical attack or any sort of threat. If s/he breaks the order CALL THE POLICE! Do not just threaten to. Also, save all of your text messages, or any other threatening messages s/he may send you as evidence.
Find a safe place to stay with family or friends, preferably somewhere your partner isn't familiar with. Do not contact them. Do not respond to their calls or messages. No matter how nice s/he may be, no matter how much s/he has said s/he has changed--do not trust him/her. S/he wants to regain his/her power and control over you.
You may have to avoid social media for awhile, just because it makes it so easy for people to track you if they really wanted to. Even if you block your partner, they can still find ways to access your account.
Best of luck. I send you all my love and prayers for a happy resolution to your nightmare. Please, please, please, utilize the resources I've suggested or any other groups or organizations that may be around to help.
If you are in High School or even younger, talk to a teacher you trust, your principal, or the school guidance counselor for help. Don't be afraid to talk to your parents, either.
If you are a college student your campus should have an advocates program that you can contact. If not talk to an advisor or guidance counselor for help. They will know what to do or at least be able to send you to someone who can help you.
If you are not in school seek out organizations in your community that can help. Planned Parenthood could help you find help. You should also consider getting tested and request counseling if you have been sexually abused. Other hospitals and clinics in your community can help you as well, do not be afraid to ask.
You can get through this! It will be difficult and unpleasant, but you owe it to yourself to live the life you deserve!