Sadly, many women have been in an abusive relationship at some point in their lives. Not all abusive relationships are easy to recognize; the abuse may be purely emotional or may take time to seriously escalate. Maybe you suspect that your relationship is unhealthy, or maybe you have a friend who doesn’t know or accept that hers is abusive. Here are some warning signs to help identify an abusive relationship.
Your Partner Tries to “Keep” You
If your partner shows any of these tendencies, you might want to think twice about your relationship:
• Your partner is possessive over you and becomes excessively jealous of other people.
• Your partner tries to keep you isolated. He tries to physically keep you from leaving the house, or from going to work or school.
• He discourages your interactions with friends and family, keeping you emotionally cut off from others so that you rely on them exclusively for validation.
Your Partner Threatens or Uses Violence
Another type of warning sign to be on the lookout for is escalating violence, both physically and mentally:
• Your partner threatens to use physical violence against you or your loved ones.
• Your partner uses physical violence against you or your loved ones.
• Your partner becomes easily angered and often becomes excessively angry over small matters.
• Your partner blames you for things that aren’t your fault. He may blame you for his own mistakes, thoughts, or behavior.
• Your partner yells at you, insults you, makes fun of you, or otherwise degrades you. He may do this in private or in front of others.
• Your partner threatens to destroy your personal property.
• Your partner physically destroys your personal property.
• Your partner tries to get you to start fights with them, or make you feel as though past fights or instances of abuse occurred because you started them.
Increased Isolation and Dependency
Perhaps one of the most difficult methods of abuse to recognize and combat is when your partner isolates you and forces you to depend on them.
• Your partner controls all joint finances or is overly critical of what you reasonably spend.
• Your partner forces you to pay for all joint expenses or to cover their personal expenses without repaying you.
• Your partner forces you to have sex or perform sexual favors. He forces you into sex acts you don’t want to perform.
A Problematic History or Current Situation
Abusive partners rarely just abuse their significant others. There are many things that can influence the situation.
• Your partner has a personal history of abuse. People who were abused as children are more likely to become abusive themselves later in life unless they have addressed the issue with a mental health professional.
• Your partner regularly abuses drugs or alcohol.
• You worry excessively about how your partner will react to things you say or do, even if they’re minor or accidental.
• Your friends and family have told you that your relationship is unhealthy or that they are worried about you, yet you still don’t want to leave your partner.
• Your relationship repeatedly ends, yet you go back to your partner over and over again, even though you know you’re being abused.
If you find yourself wondering if you are in an abusive relationship, talk with someone you trust, and make sure you do everything you can to keep yourself safe.