6 Warning Signs You’re In An Abusive Relationship
You can be in an abusive situation and not even know it. Abuse doesn’t always come in the form of physical or verbal violence; abuse is about manipulation and power. And freeing yourself from that life and starting over isn’t always easy either, especially if you’re worried or terrified about how you will ever survive on your own. So show yourself some compassion if you find yourself in that situation as you read this.
Is Your Relationship Abusive?
Abusers blame their victims.
They are masters at creating guilt and confusion! They say things like “I didn’t mean it” or “I was just playing around.” Or, and this one is really subtle, they’ll say they’re doing it for your own good – to protect you.
That’s not how healthy relationships function. Here are six warning signs to know if you’re in an abusive situation and need to take action.
6. You Feel Pressured
You know in the movies how two people fall in love at first sight and get caught up in a whirlwind romance, throwing caution to the wind? Well, that certainly can and does happen. We’ve all heard stories of people who met and were married six weeks later, and they’re now celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. So, let’s give love a chance, shall we?
However, when you rush headlong into a relationship at a very quick pace and give yourself to someone totally without taking time to get to know them, it’s easy to miss what would’ve been red flags later on.
At the beginning of a relationship, everyone tends to be on their best behavior. But you’ll notice that an abusive partner is especially sweet and considerate, maybe a little too thoughtful and sweet. They’ll say and do nice things that make you feel very special and madly in love.
So, what’s the problem? Isn’t that what we all want – for our partner to make us feel special? Absolutely.
But here’s what you need to watch for: although their words are smooth like honey, they are usually driven by a sense of concealed urgency, which they use to gain control over you as quickly as possible.
Ask yourself, “Am I feeling pressured to start a relationship, get married, or have children?” If so, take heed because this can be a red flag that you’re in an abusive relationship.
5. You’re Always in the Center of Their Impulsive Mood Swings
Everyone has the occasional mood swing; that’s not the issue.
What isn’t normal is having to put up with abrupt mood swings that erupt from nowhere.
One minute, your partner is calm and nice, and the next, they’re harsh, insulting, or condescending, angry for no reason – and you’re not sure why or what triggered them.
It’s almost like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde because they’re apologetic and calm again after a few minutes. They might even pass it off by saying things like they were only joking, didn’t mean it, or were messing with you.
We’re not talking about infrequent mood swings. We’re talking about a pattern in which these moment-to-moment mood swings or changes in behavior create confusion and guilt.
If you find yourself in this situation, remember these two things: 1) This isn’t normal, 2) It isn’t your fault.
This is dangerous territory. And it’s probably time to step back to assess the situation and evaluate your continued participation in it, whether you should be with this person or not. You must be aware early on that this is dangerous territory. It’s time to step back and evaluate whether you want to continue with this person or not. If you’re married, it’s time to find a counselor or therapist for protection, healing, and advice.
4. They Blame You Constantly
Abusers blame their victims when they don’t get their way and when things don’t go their way; they’ll hurtle one painful accusation after another.
After a while, you’ll get used to being blamed and accused. You’ll feel blamed for anything and everything. You might even start believing it’s true and it’s your fault to some degree and that you deserve it. But it’s not, and you don’t.
Remember, everyone blames and accuses from time to time. Unfortunately, it’s one of the lesser attractive sides to human nature.
However, ask yourself, “Do I feel blamed and accused in my relationship often?” If the answer is yes, it’s time to consider how to protect yourself from that relationship. If you’re not married, it’s time to end things. If you are married, seek help immediately.
3. They Seek To Control You & Monitor Your Every Move
This is very serious. Does your partner seek to control you? Do they monitor your every move? Are they constantly snooping through your phone or computer? Have they installed cameras? Do you know if they’re tracking your car or driving habits?
Do they want to know where you are every moment of the day?
While harmless attention can be flattering, there’s nothing harmless about the above behavior. It’s dangerous, unhealthy, and abusive. If you’re in that situation, get help now.
2. They Isolate You From Your Friends & Family
Some abusers control you by preventing you from seeing your family and friends. And here’s how they do it; it’s manipulative and subtle. They justify their actions by saying things like, “They meddle in our business,” “or “They always cause trouble,” or “They’re not good for you,” or “He or she has a thing for you, and I’m trying to protect you,” or “They’re trying to break us up.”
The list can be endless.
But their goal isn’t to protect you or the relationship; it’s to isolate you. Why? Because they want and need you to be entirely dependent on them so they can control you.
There are many reasons why someone might want to control you. Still, a couple could be because they feel insecure, have a desperate need for certainty in the relationship, which they gain by controlling you, or because controlling you makes them feel powerful and important.
Watch out for this too. Another devious way abusers isolate their victims is by taking away their car keys or access to credit cards, cash, and bank accounts.
In some cases, they won’t let you go anywhere or do anything without their permission and approval.
It’s their way of forcing their victim into being their partner because what other choice do they have? Where’s the victim going, especially if you cut them off from everything they need to go or escape or move on with their life?
This gives them more and more power over you while making you feel less and less in control of your life.
You must deal with all forms of isolation decisively and promptly because not only is it humiliating and discouraging, it’s also dangerous.
1. You Always Feel Afraid
The emotional environment of the relationship is one of fear, not of love.
You’re constantly worried and afraid and walk on eggshells to not start a fight or trigger the abuser.
Abusers rely on intimidation to frighten their victims and coerce compliance.
Abuse victims are always in a state of constant dread and uneasiness. They’re scared of angering their partner or that their partner might insult or humiliate them in public. Not to mention the fear of being physically assaulted.
Fear comes in varying degrees. It can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional health by slowly eating away your self-confidence.
Fear doesn’t have any place in a healthy relationship. Period.
Abuse victims tend to play down or underestimate the severity of their situation.
Their abuser is constantly conditioning them to believe and feel that they’re powerless and worthless. The abuser destroys their confidence and self-esteem because they want them to believe it’s their fault.
If what we’ve discussed in this post feels familiar to your situation, take heed. The behavior covered in these six warning signs is entirely unacceptable, and you don’t have to put up with it.
If you’re in a marriage, you may try to salvage and heal the relationship through intensive therapy and counseling, some of which your abusive partner will need to do on their own to work on their issues so they can heal and change for the better.
Sadly, if your abusive partner resists dealing with their issues and refuses to work for a healthy and happy relationship, it’s time to walk away, which sounds easier said than done.
But you’re not alone or without resources. You can reach out to professionals or rely on friends and family for help and support as you make this transition.
By getting the right advice and making a reliable plan on how to move forward, you can escape an abusive situation and begin unlocking a healthier, happier, and safer life.