What is an abusive relationship?
An abusive relationship between two people involves one having to control and dominate the other – physically, emotionally, sexually, or even economically.
The abusive person could also do all of them.
Abuse slowly works itself into the relationship and it’s difficult to see signs of an abusive partner even if you’ve already been abused.
You may spot a bruised arm or a busted lip, but abuse also comes in other forms so you never realize what’s happening. You’ll only feel weak and helpless.
How abuse enters the relationship
Love can blind you from seeing potential signs of abuse. You love your partner so much that you choose to ignore these signs of abuse.
When the abusive partner continually asserts his or her dominance, abuse will eventually become second nature and will become part of your relationship.
Until you decide to break that.
Why we fall prey to abuse in a relationship
It’s unfair to assume that all lovers are abusive, but it’s normal for us to fall prey to abusive relationships. Why is that so?
When you really love someone, you’re willing to let them into your life, but instead of doing the same thing, your partner takes advantage of that access. You’re willing to give your partner all the power. Your dreams. Your will.
You are willing to bend over backwards for your partner. You sacrifice your time and dreams in the hope that your partner will eventually respect you, love you, and learn from you. But then you see the selfish side of your partner and grasp at the hope that you’ll be able to change them with your love and patience.
One day love will change everything, and it is this love that will push your abusive partner to hurt you. Their love for power and control will be greater than their love for you.
You can’t change an abusive partner
One can never really truly change an abusive partner. Confronting an abusive partner will only force him or her to become more aggressive.
Their abusive nature has already merged with their ego and it is abuse that gives them an elated feeling of satisfaction. Whenever they feel like they are in control, they become satisfied and content. Anything that will try to harm this satisfaction will drive them to protect their abusive nature.
You cannot change an abusive partner, but you can walk away from them.
It’s as simple as that.
When abusive partners realize what they’ve lost, their ego will break down and their pride will eventually become lower so they see your true worth.
Sadly, abusive lovers rarely realize their partner’s worth and will find someone else to perpetuate the cycle of abuse.
An undefined root
Working with people who suffered domestic abuse made me realize that abuse cannot be fully ingrained in a person unless he or she has become the receiving end of it. Simply put, an abusive partner may have been abused at some point in their lives and it is ingrained as second nature to them.
Most of the time, abused spouses and partners rarely recognize the signs of abuse, let alone that they are already being abused because their ego is opposite to that of the abusive partner.
Victims of abusive relationships are less egocentric and thus they find more satisfaction in helping others, or in this case, becoming involved with others people. Abusive partners believe that the world is theirs and that everyone is a second-class citizen – even their lovers.
Signs of an abusive relationship
People misconstrue abuse as something physical, so they often look for physical signs or manifestations of abuse. Other forms of psychologically abusive behaviors are perceived as normal or acceptable.
It should be noted that abuse is abuse, no matter what form it takes. He or she may not leave physical bruises and scars, but he or she can and will inflict emotional, mental, and sexual wounds.
Here are 6 signs that you could be in an abusive relationship.
It’s all about control.
Again, abuse is about control. An abusive person will almost always try to establish control in every aspect of the relationship, including you. This cannot be good in a relationship.
Abuse can manifest in the smallest of things, including telling you what you can and can’t wear to where you can and can’t go. Pretty soon, you’re going to be controlled as to who you’re allowed to see and who you’re not allowed to. Sometimes, you may even not be allowed to get in touch with your family or friends.
A relationship is supposed to be a partnership with compromise, and needs to be on a two-way street.
It will always be your fault.
A good relationship requires two people taking responsibility for what they did wrong. A relationship where one has to apologize not only for his or her mistake, but also that of the abusive partner is just so wrong.
An abusive partner sees apologies as weaknesses and thus, will always try to put the blame on you.
You’re constantly undermined or belittled, sometimes in subtle ways.
Your self-worth will always be in question as far as an abusive partner is concerned. You will suffer from low self-esteem and low self-worth because you will be belittled and undermined in subtle ways.
You will be embarrassed in front of your friends when it comes to completing tasks when your partner is around. You will feel incompetent in more ways than one.
This form of manipulation from the abusive partner is designed so that the likelihood of you leaving the abuser becomes smaller and smaller.
Over time, you start to question the decisions you make for yourself and how you view yourself will no longer be the same as the view you had when you just entered into the relationship.
Even if you do leave the partner, it takes a while for you to get over low self-esteem.
Your partner is irresponsible and makes promises they can’t keep.
I am not talking about small promises. It’s about the big ones that you make during the relationship and the big ones that you break that damage the relationship.
You feel like your partner will no longer be able to do something and you feel that you need to do everything yourself. This is a sign of an unbalanced relationship.
Then again, it all starts with the small things. When he promises to take out the garbage and fails to deliver consistently, you should already be on the lookout. Otherwise, he’s going to keep doing that until he escalates his promises to something bigger.
They never do things to make you happy like you do for them.
For abusive partners, it’s all about them, them, them. You are not part of their THEM.
You are not part of his or her world, even though he or she is part of yours. You are so keen on doing things for your partner to make them happy, but he or she will not be able to reciprocate the actions. When people care for someone, they will do anything to make them happy because it makes them happy.
An abusive partner will not go watch a movie that you really want to watch because he or she doesn’t like it. They will not try a new restaurant because they will think of a creative excuse, like “Greek food gives me gas” or “Asian cuisine gave me food poisoning when I was a child so I am avoiding them.”
Part of being in a relationship is to immerse yourself into their world and them into yours.
You are in complete denial and you keep reassuring yourself that “everything is OKAY”
You are in denial. It’s as simple as that.
When you are in an abusive relationship, you fall into a complete state of denial. A denial of things that your friends and family are already aware of.
Did you get that bruise from that spat you had last night? You’ll say to your friends or family that you got it from hitting the kitchen counter when you walked into the kitchen in the middle of the night.
Did he forget to pay the credit card bill? You’ll say that he will probably do it soon, so I will just have to wait.
Denial perpetuates the cycle of abuse and keeps the abusive partner motivated to continue abusing. The first five signs, whether you’re aware of it or not, are all built on a form of denial.
That promise he failed to make? You’ll probably believe that he is going to do something better.
That belittling thing he said last night? You’ll think you deserve it because you are that incompetent.
Denial can become the root of abuse.
What can you do?
Do not suffer in silence. Reach out and speak to your family and friends about the potential abuse. Reach out to a psychologist or a counselor for help.
If possible, ask help from local law enforcement.
Help is there. You can be happy. And regardless of how you might have been made to feel, you deserve better.