Nobody wants to be in an abusive relationship as it tends to make you feel and act less than what you are capable of. An abusive relationship makes you feel like a lower species of human beings or the lowest form of a human being. In an abusive relationship your partner constantly makes you feel less than a normal person so that they can control you. Abuse in a relationship is about control where your partner does all they can to control you using either physical and/or emotional abuse. Based on that definition you may find shades of abuse in most relationships when angry people say or do things that they may not mean but what sets them apart from abusive and unhealthy relationships is that here the abuse is infrequent while in abusive relationships the abuse is the normal state of things. In an abusive and unhealthy relationship your normal everyday reality is a constant tearing down of who you are through verbal abuse or emotional manipulation and/or physical violence. So what are the red flags of an abusive and unhealthy relationship?
1. They controls what you do and what you think. In a very real sense they are master over you as they controls what you do, the people you see and what you feel most of the time. They do this using fear of specific consequences which they have trained you to dread. Think of it like being on an invisible leash which your partner holds by instilling fear of certain consequences from them if you go or do what they have not sanctioned. You are thus afraid of any new situation as you don’t know how they will react and you are also afraid of familiar situations since anything can set them off. Are you living in constant fear of upsetting your partner or them hitting you for some vague reason? Are you plagued by fear of what your partner will do and does this determine what you do or don’t do? Then this is a noticeable red flag that you are in an abusive and unhealthy relationship.
2. They determines who your friends are. To keep you firmly under there control your partner will make sure that nobody else can have any strong influence on you as that may weaken their hold over you so they alienates you from family, friends and social settings that they feel may threaten or challenge thier hold over you. They drive a wedge between you and your family, they disparage your friends and they emotionally blackmail you to give up ‘other’ activities besides themself so that they are your only family, friend and life activity. Does that describe you? Does your partner have a tight rein on who you see or don’t see, where you can go etc. so that without their express approval you fear visiting even members of your family? If this is your reality then this is another red flag that you are in an abusive and unhealthy relationship.
3. They gets worse with time instead of better. You may have stayed hoping against hope that your partner would change when they saw how much you really loved them and that you were doing all that they asked of you (and even more) but they seem to be getting more controlling and more abusive. Peace and happiness just eludes you in this relationship and the best that you get is the calm before the storm that comes between the abusive episodes. You have come to slowly realise that you can never seem to make them happy since they seems to need to keep you in constant emotional turmoil so as to keep their hold over you. Does this describe you and your partner? If it does then this is a red flag that you are in an abusive and unhealthy relationship. You need to realize that there is no possibility or hope of any lasting joy with your partner. They cannot treat you well because their own demons do not allow them to do so and until they get long term professional help your only peace will be the calm in between the abusive episodes until the day that you and they are parted.
4. Your needs are never considered. Since your relationship is by definition dysfunctional and one sided then your needs for love, intimacy, trust and security are either not met or they are distorted. Love becomes thier abuse since if they didn’t love you they wouldn’t abuse you and the more they abuse you the more they supposedly love you since only a person with deep feelings would abuse you so much. Intimacy is at thier terms and it is geared at meeting their needs only and the fulfilment of yours is incidental. Your only security is that they would protect you from others since you are thier prey and like any other animal they are unwilling to share. If this describes your relationship then this is another red flag that you are certainly in an abusive and unhealthy relationship. If you would be honest with yourself you would acknowledged to yourself that you are in this relationship to meet only your partner’s needs.
5. You live in fear. A cloud of fear hangs over your head or is always somewhere within your vicinity. You live in a state of anxiety as you really don’t know what will set them off; all you know is that something will set them off sooner or later. Sometimes the waiting for the abuse is almost as bad as the abuse itself since you know it’s on its way but you just don’t know from which direction it will come and the anxiety is almost crippling. If this describes your emotional state then this is a clear raised flag that you are in an abusive and unhealthy relationship.
6. You feel physically sick. All the emotional fretfulness and anxiety from the abuse is beginning to take its toil and you feel ill often. Your head hurts sometimes or your stomach or your back or some other part of your body. Every day there is a part of your body that is not functioning properly and you are also not sleeping properly. You feel bad about yourself and nothing about who you are gives you any joy. A red flag that the abusive relationship is beginning to have long term effects on you.
If these 6 red flag are a part of your relationship reality then know for sure that you are in an abusive and unhealthy relationship and you need to get out today. Don’t think about it, don’t imagine that things might change, don’t deceive yourself that this is love…just leave them today and never come back. The longer you stay the harder it gets to leave since you get used to the abuse and before long it becomes normal for you and you begin to lose your sense of the wrongness of what they is doing to you.
Rosy Anderson – About the Author:
Rosy Anderson is a researcher in social economic issues and the way they affect decision making; and she enjoys writing and being in healthy, happy relationships.
- Mental Abuse Information (medium2spirit.wordpress.com)
- How To Recognize When You’re Emotionally Abusing Yourself (medium2spirit.wordpress.com)
- Emotional Abuse: The abuse no one ever told you about (joannewellington.wordpress.com)
- Women, Abuse, and Why They Stay (joannewellington.wordpress.com)