Are you in an abusive relationship? Do you know someone in an abusive relationship?
There are more women out there then you can image that have been or are in an abusive relationship. Talking about abusive relationships is really hard, it’s a tough topic for me to go over, as I have been in an abusive relationship. I feel if you at least know then you may be better prepared if something happens and you might be able to prevent abuse, for yourself or your friends. Or you will find a way out of the abuse.
So what is an abusive relationship?
It’s any relationship (not necessarily intimate, can be friendship) where one person is being taken advantage of, forced to do things they don’t want to do or being hurt. They may not even realize they are being hurt. The hurt can be emotional, physical or psychological.
What is the process of an abusive relationship?
There are many ways abuse can get started. But there seems to be a general pattern.
In an intimate relationship (and this can go for friendship as well) two people meet and they seem perfect for each other. The relationship starts off really well, you like him, he likes you and he gets along oh so well with your friends. You may notice little “red flags” but you may ignore them. Once the abuser has your trust and has put you into a mind frame where you think you know him, things will slowly change. This change can happen weeks in or months in, it depends on how trusting you are and how manipulative he is.
These are some of the things that can happen, not necessarily in this order.
Knowing Your Every Move
He will start asking where you are, who your with, what you did, what time it was at, this will happen for everything. It could be about work, school, going out with friends, a party, family outings, etc. He will want to know everything your doing, in fact he may even call you while your out to check up on you. He may even chose to follow you, odds are you won’t know he followed you (if you do, drop him!).
He will start to get jealous of other guys who might be paying attention to you. Or he will be jealous of you looking at a guy or a guy looking at you. This is uncalled for, if you trust each other then he has no reason to be jealous. This can start to extend to your friendships and family. He may be jealous of the time you spend with them or how close you are with them. He might even be jealous of the time you spend doing your homework!
Going Where You Go
He may start to go to everything you go to, even coffee with a close gal pal. He’s doing this so he can monitor the situation and conversation. This way you can’t say anything about him in front of your friends.
Charming To Your Friends
He might be the perfect guy in front of your friends. He’ll do this because he doesn’t want anyone to know and then you will also be discredited. Your friends or acquaintances may not believe you “But he seems like such a nice guy, he’d never do that”. Or they won’t realize there is anything wrong.
Over time he may try to isolate you from your friends and family. It could be simple things of “oh don’t go to that party just stay here with me”. He might get jealous or upset if you go out and convince you to stay with him.
At some point he will start insulting you. This is to make you lose your self-esteem and self-worth. It might be things like:
- You’re wrong.
- You’re stupid.
- You’re ugly.
- You’re fa.t
- You can’t do anything right.
- You’re lucky you have me because you can’t get anyone else.
Ok that list could go on and on and on, but I think you get the idea and if you’ve ever been told any of that you know it’s hurtful.
Eventually you will be manipulated into thinking you are worthless, that you are always wrong and everything is your fault.
This is the real beginning of your problems at this point, because it’s hard to turn back and get out of the relationship. And no things don’t ever get better.
So why can’t I get out of the relationship?
Most women feel worthless and feel like they are nobody without this person. Therefore, being scared of what’s out there they stay in the bad relationship. When you feel like you’re nothing, you are less likely to get help or get out of the relationship, you may feel you do not deserve happiness. The thing is, he’s manipulated you into feeling that way. YOU ARE A WORTH WHILE HUMAN BEING AND YOU MEAN SOMETHING WONDERFUL TO SOMEONE, AND YOU DESERVE HAPPINESS.
What happens next?
This is when the really bad things start to happen…although if you read the above that’s bad enough.
It all depends on what kind of guy he is.
He could be
Any abuse he showed you prior will escalate, he may be the type who drinks and gets really angry and that’s when his abusive side will show. Or he might be abusive all the time.
Just keep in mind this won’t get better, it doesn’t just go away and he will not wake up one day and stop doing this.
He may start insulting you more, hitting you or manipulating you into a bad way of thinking. And of course it can always get worse. You need to get out of the relationship now, you’re life is literally at risk.
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How do I avoid an abusive relationship?
Well the first thing you can do to avoid an abusive relationship is read the process of an abusive relationship as mentioned above. If you start to see any of that behavior or “red flags”, run don’t walk, you need to get out of the relationship.
Sometimes it may seem like nothing but if it bugs you or you have a gut feeling, then you need to carefully think about it. There are plenty of men out there, he is not the only one, so don’t stay with him because your afraid you won’t find someone else.
I had a boyfriend say to me that if I ever cheated on him he would cut my hair off, because it mattered so much to me. That really bugged me, but I shrugged it off, I never forgot about it and stayed with him anyways, it was a mistake. We aren’t together any more, that’s just another example of red flags and why you should listen to them.
Avoiding an abusive relationship can be tough if you get slowly manipulated. But remember you are an incredible person and you don’t deserve to be treated badly, so if it starts even in small ways, move on you can do better. By not getting thoroughly stuck in the relationship you can avoid getting hurt. In the long run the pain you feel from ending the relationship will be far less then the pain he will cause you later, and it will take far longer to pick up the pieces.
I’m in an abusive relationship, what do I do?
Every situation will be different and your plan of action will depend on his actions and your support system. I’ll give you a general guide line, but it is up to you to save yourself. No one is going to save you, they can’t, it’s up to you to take control of your life.
Identify that you are in an abusive relationship. Done that? Good now lets get to the action plan.
If you know you’re in an abusive relationship and you feel like there’s no point in getting out of it, write yourself a pros and cons list for staying. Whatever you put for pros, if you really think about it, they probably aren’t that good. Fear of not finding someone is not a good reason to stay in a relationship.
If you are afraid that you can’t support yourself, well guess again, anything is possible. You may have to take on a part time job, but isn’t that better then feeling worthless because of the person you are with? Find a roommate, that will help pay the bills. You may be eligible for support programs or low income housing. Call around and see what you can find, if you don’t reach out, help will not come find you.
Identify his patterns. You want to be able to figure out the best way of leaving that will be the least confrontational. If you don’t live with him this will be much easier. If you do live with him you need to give this some serious consideration. Those women who pack their things up while he’s at work and just move out, before he gets home, they have the right idea. Now you need to make that work for you.
You don’t want to pack in front of him, he will try to stop you. Do not give him warning as he will try to stop you. You may have to leave certain things behind, that is just a sacrifice you are going to have to make.
I’m not saying move out at this stage, I’m saying plan for it. You need an escape route and it may take some planning.
Find a support group. No I’m not necessarily talking about a group you go to. A support group can be a group of people in the same situation who go to meetings. But more so your support group needs to come from your friends and family.
This is going to be a hard transition you need to have all the love and support you can get. Some of your friends may not be able to help you much. But if they know how to pack and own a vehicle, bingo take it. Make sure your friends and family(who won’t possibly tell him) are on board with you and can help you through this. Don’t broadcast the plan to a lot of people, you don’t want him to find out.
Secure a place to stay, it might be at a relatives, a friends. Technically if you can pick a place he won’t find you at, then you’ll be much better off. Otherwise if you stay somewhere he knows he can stalk you. You might need to bunk down with a couple of friends for a while until you find something more permanent, but if they are your friends they will help you.
Ok this is the one you may not like. Go to the police. You do not have to press charges. You need to tell them what has been happening and what you plan to do. Why? This will leave a paper trail. Should you leave and he finds you and gets really mad and hurts you in some way, then the police will already have a prior complaint on record and know this didn’t just come out of the blue.
A paper trail makes it easier to prosecute if need be. You don’t need to do anything besides report it, you can ask the officer not to take action, just explain you want a paper trail. I’ve done this before and they are very helpful. If you are afraid he may start stalking you, tell them this, write it down in a statement. Then they know what you are afraid of happening. They may not be able to do anything but at least they have it on record until something else happens.
Are you ready? Now it’s time to put your plan into action and get the heck out of there. Protect yourself in whatever way you can. Remember if a person is abusive they already have a few screws loose, they may go to different extremes when they discover your gone. But the fear of something happening won’t make your situation better, you can’t stay out of fear. Take back your life right now!
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My friend is in an abusive relationship, what can I do for her?
If you have come to realize that your friend is in an abusive relationship good for you. She will need all the support you can give her.
Sadly a lot of people have a hard time asking for help. And a lot of people have an even harder time being told they need help. You’re friend may be in denial about the situation and won’t want to hear what you think is happening. This won’t make it easy. If you tell her how you feel she may cut communication off completely with you. Her reaction shouldn’t be taken personally, she has been manipulated.
You know your friend best, so you know how to best handle the situation. If she doesn’t like confrontation and would shut down if you approached her about the abuse, then don’t bring it up.
Try to encourage her to talk and think out loud. Let her sort out her unconscious thoughts and put the pieces together by herself.
The very best you can do is be there for her. If you read the above steps of getting out of an abusive relationship you will know how to better help her and what you can do for her.
It’s going to be a very tough situation, for you and her.
The Abusive Relationship Rules
- You can not change the guy, not matter how hard you try.
- No, things will not get better in the relationship.
- If you see a red flag, run like hell!
- Insulting you is not ok.
- Hitting you is not ok.
- You’re needs are more important than his.
- You will not be self sacrificial because you think that leaving him will hurt him.
- If he threatens suicide or commits suicide, it is NOT YOUR FAULT! You could not have prevented it, these are his actions, not yours.
It’s easy to start doubting ourselves and feel like the situation is hopeless. So I’ll tell you a short version of my story to help lift you up a bit.
I went through an abusive relationship for 2 years, emotionally and physically, I eventually got help and managed to get out of it. I later entered into what I thought was a good relationship, as it turned out it really wasn’t, it lasted 4.5 years. Now I am in the most incredible relationship with the most wonderful guy. You just have to kiss a lot of toads before your prince charming comes along.
Moral of the story? Don’t give up and don’t settle for anyone. You owe it to yourself to find the right guy who will treat you right!
If you need a mantra to say to yourself to get through the hard moments, try one of these:
-I am loved, loving and love able.
-I deserve happiness. I deserve good things.
Got an even better mantra? Send it to me so I can share it!
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