Have you, or anyone you know ever gone through an abusive relationship?
Even if you haven’t, I think it’s good to know the early signs of an abusive relationship that might help you or anyone else. Don’t you think so?
Often times you mightn’t even come to know that you’re going through an abusive relationship, and this goes for both, men and women.
But there are some early warning signs of an abusive relationship that can help you foresee what you’re getting into.
Besides, there are things that you too can do to keep away from such relationships.
I’ve often come across men and women who go through a lot in their relationship, whether it’s before or after marriage.
Most of them tend to bear up things, not realizing that sooner or later serious issues will arise.
I hope those who are in such a relationship learn from this post, and those who aren’t, remain careful. Let’s first understand the meaning of abuse, and who is an abuser.
What is Abuse
Generally, to abuse means to exploit, insult, and mistreat.
Specific to a relationship, abuse is the misuse of power that uses trust and dependency, and the bonds of intimacy to make the victim vulnerable.
“The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.” ~ Edmund Burke
Abuse is experienced in many different ways, and isn’t just limited to physical violence. Simply put, it’s an attempt to control the behavior of another person.
What is an Abusive Relationship
An abusive relationship can include emotional, mental, physical, verbal, and sexual abuse, and also involve control of finances.
- Physical abuse can include things like punching, hitting, pulling hair, kicking to name a few – as sometimes seen in domestic violence besides other relationships.
- Emotional abuse can be bullying, teasing, and humiliation. Intimidation, threats, putdowns, and betrayals are other forms of it.
- Mental abuse shows up in the form of mental harassment, mental torture, blaming, and demeaning ways to put the person under stress, and made to suffer from feelings of intellectual incapability and despondency.
- Verbal abuse involves the use of foul language and calling names that often leads the person to have low self-esteem.
- Financial abuse occurs when you aren’t allowed to keep or use your money, nor have any control over money.
- Sexual abuse can happen to anyone, and it’s mainly being forced into any type of sexual relationship that you don’t want.
How does abuse occur, or who is an abuser you might ask? So, here is what an abuser is.
“The quiet but inexorable breaking down of self-esteem is much more sinister – it’s violation of the soul.” ~ Rachel Abbott
Who is an Abuser
An abuser is also a human, but he or she has a complex and destructive problem that no one should underestimate.
Such a person acts deliberately, rather than accidently. His or her behavior is conscious at most times.
The person knows what he or she is doing, though not necessarily the underlying reason why he or she is doing it.
An abuser learns about controlling behavior and manipulation from various sources like peers, roles models, and pervasive cultural messages. On reaching adulthood, his manipulative behavior becomes automatic!
Where Does Love Fit in an Abusive Relationship
Falling in love feels so wonderful that you often forget the potential problems that might occur, let alone entering into an abusive relationship – a thought that never crosses anyone’s mind.
You tend to give yourself up completely to make your partner happy that you forget to see the early signs of an abusive relationship creep up slowly – when they do.
Everyone wants love in their lives. No one ever plans or thinks of entering into an abusive relationship, and some of those who do get into one, swear never to enter into another relationship ever again.
“You have the right to your own ideas and opinions, to make your own decisions, and to have things go your way at times. Stand up for those rights.” ~ Beverly Engel
One of the first early signs of an abusive relationship is your gut feeling that something isn’t going right. Sadly though, it often takes nearly five to seven acts of violence before a person leaves the abuser.
It’s easier to avoid such a relationship if you are able to detect the initial signs of an abusive relationship. If your partner is doing any of the below, you may be in an abusive relationship.
Early Signs of an Abusive Relationship
Be very careful of these warning signs if you are in a relationship because you might just be in an abusive one without even knowing about it.
I should mention here that sometimes these might not even be the signs of an abusive relationship and just the nature or kind of person your partner is.
You need to weigh out that from your gut feeling about him or her.
For the sake of my readers who might be going through such a problem in their lives, I’m also providing solutions or call to action that might help you.
1- Quick commitment and involvement
Your partner might come on strong and pressurize you for a commitment before you are really ready for making one. He or she might want more involvement than your present one and force you into it.
Does he or she want your hand in marriage very quickly? Does your partner flatter you a lot more than expected to win you over?
While these might occur in normal cases too, just be careful because these are also the early warning signs of an abusive relationship.
Words like “You’re the love of my life. I’ve never loved anyone like this before”, might pressurize you to make a commitment immediately.
2- Controlling and jealous behavior
Perhaps your partner is of a controlling nature and wants to control how you dress, where you go, what you do – is it so?
Or your partner might be calling you constantly and making unexpected visits?
Sometimes your partner might even accuse you of having an affair, flirting, and blaming you for things you haven’t done because they are jealous or get sadistic pleasure out of it.
Jealousy is a negative emotion, and a sign of insecurity and being over possessive. State of being over-jealous could lead to an abusive relationship.
So, did any of this happen with you in your relationship or with anyone you know?
Sometimes the partner tends to think he/she is in control. Or feels he/she should take all the decisions as he/she is normally the one heading the relationship.
It’s nice to take a back seat and let your partner take the decisions; though don’t let his/her expectations become controlling.
Is your partner a little jealous and tells you of how much he/she loves you and can’t see you with anyone, or allow you to be near anyone?
I wouldn’t call this love; instead, it’s trying to be in control!
When you are in love, your relationship is built on trust, faith, and freedom. This means your partner will trust you wherever you go, or with whomsoever you are. He/she won’t stop you from being yourself.
True love always gives freedom. Ensure you don’t interpret jealousy as a sign of the amount he/she loves you, or take control as his/her concern and protection for you.
“Trying to make someone fall in love with you is about as pointless as trying to control who you fall in love with.” ~ James Earl Jones
3- Possessiveness & isolation
Do you find your partner always wanting you to talk or be with him/her? Is it that he/she doesn’t like you socializing around?
Does your partner takes out reasons why it’s better to be with him/her, rather than with others? Such people directly or indirectly try to isolate you and keep you for themselves.
I hope you don’t follow such a person’s possessive behavior and lose contact with your family and friends! That would totally cut you away from them and the rest of the world.
If yours is a healthy and loving relationship, it should thrive in a community where you have your loved ones and friends around you.
4- High expectations & humiliation
Does your partner expect you to be the perfect man, or perhaps the perfect woman? Are you expected to meet his/her every need and demand, and if you don’t, or make mistakes, you are punished for it?
Perhaps your partner then tends to sulk, withdraw, and use all in his/her hand to put you down to punish you. They do everything to humiliate and make you feel bad about yourself.
He/she might call you names, insult you, bring you shame, and publicly put you down to make you feel powerless.
Everyone makes mistakes, so set yourself off the hook when you make them too – dealing with people becomes easier when they have too many demands from you.
Do you or your partner feel insulted easily? Or perhaps he/she tends to take little setbacks as a personal attack?
Perhaps you feel that anything or everything you say just might upset your partner, so you stop yourself from conveying your feelings.
No one is perfect, and you need to remember that there are problems in every relationship. There will be times when you will disappoint and upset your partner, so accept that fact.
6- Mood swings
Does your partner have mood swings? Is your partner’s behavior unpredictable? Does he/she have a short temper? Perhaps your partner has a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kind of personality!
You just don’t know what might happen next, when he/she loses temper, or you just don’t know what mood he/she is going to be the next minute. All this can often lead to misunderstandings that should be avoided.
Often times, as a partner you might bear with such mood swings and wild temper. You even might try to remain calm and resolve things if possible, but it’s not always possible – isn’t it?
7- Blame game
Does your partner tend to blame anything or anyone for the problem he/she faces? Indirectly, he/she blames you for the reason of his/her behavior.
Sometimes people love to play the blame game and say that had you not put them in such a situation, things would have been different. I’m sure most of you can relate to this one 😉
Or then if you change your way, he/she wouldn’t have done what he/she did? Such people keep blaming you for their faults. Doesn’t it break your self esteem?
Such people don’t take responsibility for their own actions, but prefer blaming others for their life. You might feel you are worthless or there’s something wrong with you.
8- Sexual demands
If your partner forces you to have sex with him/her without your will or puts you down for not having it, you need to reconsider things.
He/she might not reconsider your feelings and emotions, and is only keen to gratify his/her own sexual needs. Such people don’t care about the consequences of how you feel about such an act.
9- Past history
How much do you know about your partner’s background? Does he/she have a history of abusive relationship?
Or perhaps he/she talks about the past relationships and blames everything and everyone for why things didn’t work out.
You need to be careful of such a person because if he/she does have such a background, you could be next inline. Unless such people undergo counseling, it’s rare that they change their ways.
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” ~ M.Kathleen Casey
Remember, you aren’t the one who is guilty. Instead, by learning these early signs of an abusive relationship, you can keep away from people who might ruin your life later.
Don’t feel ashamed for what’s happened, instead, seek help or support. It will boost your self esteem, make you feel empowered, and keep you protected from more abusive attacks.
Lastly, never ignore your conscious and intuition about the way you feel about your partner.
If you feel fearful, in danger, or mistrustful, then rethink as to why you feel this way. Do you really want to continue in such a relationship?
“Remember sadness is always temporary. This, too, shall pass.” ~ Chuck T. Falcon
I hope you use these early warning signs of an abusive relationship in your life if you need them. Or then help spread the word around to those who might make use of them and save their lives in time.
Over to you –
Do you know of anyone, or have you been in an abusive relationship? How did you deal with it? What early signs of an abusive relationship would you recommend people should be careful of? Share your experiences and thoughts below.
Join the discussion on this topic in the forum, or create a new topic in the relationship forum to share your thoughts and experiences. Or, contribute your awesome comments as you do normally in the comment box at the end of the post.
Either way, I’d love to hear from you.
Take care and be blessed. 🙂
Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos
Don’t forget to rate the post and give your vote! Thanks. 🙂
Posted on: May 28th, 2013
Last Updated on: February 2nd, 2015