Surviving an Abusive Relationship

A relationship is meant to be a beneficial affair for both spouses, which is not always the case. Sometimes some relationships are unhealthy and unreliable, becoming difficult especially on the side of one partner, which terms the relationship unsatisfactory. You should be very careful not to end up with such a relationship, and the best way to do so is reading the signs early enough to know if your relationship is turning negative.

You feel lonely when you’re together.

If you had to rate your partner on a scale of 1 to 10 on qualities like warmth, trustworthiness, and dependability, you would rate them lower than 5.

You can’t recall a time when your partner has compromised so that you could take up an opportunity.

There is an absence of affection in your relationship—you rarely kiss, touch, or smile at each other.

Your partner is coercive when it comes to sex.

Your partner sees themselves as having a much higher “mate value” than you. They think you’re lucky to have them, but not the reverse.

Your partner keeps you at arm’s length emotionally. You don’t have a healthy sense of interdependence.

Your partner frequently compares you unfavorably to other people, especially friends’ spouses or partners.

When you argue, it quickly escalates to ultimate threats—”If you don’t …, I’ll …”

You can think of several friends or colleagues whom you’d rather be in a relationship with.

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Relationships are meant to be about caring and being there for one another. However, sometimes such care and concern for one may become too much and turn to something opposite altogether. Many usually find themselves in such situations, where their spouses become overprotective, self-centered and sometimes unpredictable. All these are signs of an abusive relationship that should be noted before things fall apart.

He will romance you. He will buy you flowers and gifts. He will likely be the most romantic man you have ever met. He will pay attention to you and make you feel special and wanted. You may find yourself thinking that he is too good to be true — because he is. He needs you to trust him and develop feelings for him, because it is much easier to control someone who loves you. He will make you feel like you are his entire world — because he wants your world to revolve around him. Of course, just being romantic is not necessarily a sign of abuse. But, an abuser will often use these gifts and romance to distract you from other concerning behaviors, such as control and jealousy.

He will want you all to himself. He will glare at other men for looking at you and question you about your male friends. You may think this jealousy is cute, or even loving — at first. But soon, he’ll make you feel guilty for spending time with friends or family. He will call or text you several times a day, and may accuse you of flirting or cheating. He will say he loves you so much; he can’t stand the thought of anyone else being near you. And soon, no one else will be. This is the beginning of isolation.

He will be very concerned about you. He may get upset if you don’t call him back right away or if you come home late. He will say it’s because he worries about you. He will start to question who you saw, where you went, and what you were doing. He will mask his control as concern for your well-being.

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Maybe you have been in an abusive relationship, and after you have come out clearly and the past is left in the open, you fail to take the next step. This is the time for you to rebuild yourself and start afresh. Most often people recovering from abusive relationships fail to understand how to take this important step.

You have to stop living in denial. After you’re out and the past abuse is out in the open, you are forced to acknowledge it instead of pretending, at least on some level, that it wasn’t happening. This requires you to integrate the awful things that happened to you into who you are, without letting them define you.

You have to unlearn your unhealthy coping strategies. You learned every trick to try to keep your abuser happy, or at least to avoid triggering his or her rage. You learned to be submissive and silent, to second- or even third-guess yourself, to start every sentence with “I’m sorry.” You learned to walk around minefields and stay out of the line of fire. To tiptoe around insecurities, walk delicately on eggshells, and act as if parts of you—needs, desires, dreams—didn’t exist. You learned to diminish your own value, and to accept utterly unacceptable treatment

You have to start loving yourself again. When you hate yourself for what you feel you allowed to happen to you, it’s hard to find much self-love. And self-love wasn’t exactly encouraged by your abuser either. You were likely told repeatedly you weren’t lovable—not by anyone except your abuser. So now, who will love you? The answer has to be—you first.

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