Abusive relationships are all too common these days and unfortunately, it is so expected in some cases that even the people involved in the situation don’t realize that it is abusive because it is their normal. It is important to know and understand the early warning signs of abuse in order to be able to recognize it before it becomes too late and assist either yourself or someone you know in getting help or leaving the relationship.
Abuse comes in many forms and in any range of severity. It consists of physical, emotional, or sexual. Physical abuse is the use of physical force against someone in a way that injures or endangers that person. Sexual abuse is a form of physical abuse where a person is forced into unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity. Emotional abuse is all verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, shaming, bullying, isolating, intimidating, or controlling in order to negatively impact feelings of self-worth. It doesn’t matter if it happens once or over and over, abuse is abuse.
Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationships:
- One partner controls the actions, physical attributes, social connections, finances, or communication of the other. Often times setting extreme rules.
- Frequent injuries that are unexplained or that do not match the explanation.
- Frequent property destruction or broken belongings.
- One partner constantly checks up on the other or becomes upset when the other does not keep constant communication with them.
- Sudden isolation from family and friends, either out of shame or due to pressure from the other partner.
- Frequent insults, put downs, or jokes made at one person’s expense.
- Feeling afraid of or nervous around your partner.
- Repeated grand gestures of romance following an episode of verbal or physical violence.
- Inappropriately quick commitment used to gain control by one partner.
- The abusive partner will blame the other partner for making them act a certain way, becoming the victim.
What can you do if you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship? First, tell someone. Tell a family member, a trusted friend, a hotline, anyone! Your safety or the victim’s safety is first priority. There are shelters and professionals that are trained to deal with these situations and can guide you in the actions needed. Nobody deserves abuse. Once safe, counseling can help deal with the emotional effects that the abuse has had on you. It can help you rebuild your self-worth and learn to trust again, as well as teach you what to look for in a healthy relationship. Take the time to care for yourself and allow yourself to know what you deserve, to be loved and respected by your partner.