It usually starts with verbal abuse.
Sarcasm enters the picture.
And one day, something gets thrown at you.
An abusive relationship isn’t scary just because it hurts.
It’s scary because you’re usually tricked into it.
You’d think you’re in a perfect relationship and look forward to your happily ever after, until the world comes crashing down on you as you watch helplessly.
[Read: 7 secret signs your relationship is starting to go bad]
The world of abusive relationships
If you’re experiencing an abusive relationship or have experienced one at some point in your life, you’d understand the helplessness of the situation.
You feel isolated and all alone, and no one seems to understand the quicksand you’re stuck in.
But you need to understand something here. You aren’t alone. There are several people around you who are experiencing an abusive relationship right now.
[Read: The 15 worst types of toxic relationships to watch out for!]
It isn’t just women who experience abusive relationships. More often than not, several men experience it silently without ever talking about it with anyone.
Kinds of abusive relationships
Abusive relationships don’t always come in the form of a black eye or a busted lip.
And it isn’t always a boyfriend or a spouse who traumatizes you with abuse. You could experience some form of abuse from your siblings, parents, kids, your coworkers, your boss or just about anyone else you interact with.
If someone drains your happiness, makes you feel weak and helpless, or makes you feel miserable for any reason, chances are, you’re being abused by them and you don’t even realize it! [Read: How to stop selfish people from hurting you and ruining your future]
There are two kinds of abusive relationships you could experience, emotional abuse and physical abuse.
Physical abuse could shatter you from the outside, while emotional abuse would shatter you from within. Both kinds of abuse are traumatizing, but it hurts the most when you experience them together.
If you’re living through an abusive relationship where you see no way to escape, don’t give up on hope. Don’t give up on making yourself stronger. And most importantly, don’t give up on life and contemplate suicide.
You will survive through this. All you need to do is read on, and understand what you need to do to get stronger. [Read: 12 signs you’re walking on eggshells in your love life]
The 16 devious signs of an abusive relationship
The first step to finding the solution, and to find the escape from the abuse is to read the signs for what it is. For most of us, recognizing the problem is always harder than overcoming it. If a partner slaps you or verbally abuses you in front of your friends, what do you do?
Do you believe that you deserved it because it was your fault? Do you confront your partner? Or do you wait for your partner to calm down before you have a word with them in private? What you do here makes all the difference.
It’s not easy to recognize the signs of an abusive relationship, especially when you’re madly in love with someone. But use these 16 devious abusive relationship signs, and the truth will unfold before your eyes. If you’re experiencing even a few of these signs, it’s time to be worried because you’re probably locked in an abusive relationship already. [Read: How to let go of a relationship that you know is bad for you]
#1 A big disappointment. Your partner always treats you like you’re a big disappointment. They always pick flaws with what you do, even if everyone else thinks you’re perfectly capable. This creates a deep need within you to constantly try to please them by bending over backwards, because you don’t want to upset them. And most importantly, you crave for their acknowledgement and compliments more than anything else!
#2 The embarrassment. Your partner embarrasses and insults you in public for the smallest of reasons. They do this to embarrass you into submission in front of others, and prevent you from confronting them again in public. They may even raise their voice or create a scene just to make you feel awkward and submit to their demand.
#3 Verbal abuses. Does your partner abuse you verbally using foul language every now and then? It doesn’t matter what the reason is, but if your partner uses bad language, you need to give this a very serious thought.
#4 The first hit. One of the biggest signs that you’re stepping into the sad world of abusive relationships is the first physical outburst. Has your partner ever hit you at least once in the heat of the moment?
#5 Making up after the fight. An abusive partner who hits you or verbally abuses you will always try to make up after a fight. They may even try to win you back with sweet words and eternal promises.
On the other hand, a few abusive partners may give you the silent treatment and sulk in a corner and pretend like the fight was entirely your fault. Either ways, you may end up feeling sorry for them and try to cheer them up. [Read: How to use the silent treatment effectively in a relationship]
#6 Forced endings. Your partner may use force to end an argument, either by pushing you away, standing really close to you in an intimidating posture or by raising their hand and walking away.
#7 The slap. Your partner may slap you now and then. Initially, it may be a quick and sharp pat on the cheek for silly errors and at other times, they would slap you harder to punish you for being stupid or careless. Don’t put up with it. It’s a physically abusive person’s way of weaning you and breaking you down so you get used to the abuse.
#8 The controlling partner. At the beginning, your partner may try to behave like they’re involved in your life. But very soon, you’d start to see that you’re being completely controlled by your partner. And eventually, you’d lose all your friends and you’d be all alone and completely dependent on your partner, which is just what they want. [Read: 16 ways to stop abusive and controlling behavior in a relationship]
#9 The dominant abuser. Your partner is dominating and always wants things their way. They never give in to your wishes, and even if they do, they may sulk or argue with you until you give in to their bidding.
#10 Blowing hot and cold. An abusive person is extremely unpredictable in their behavior and their moods change from happy to angry in a flash for no apparent reason. And this unpredictable bipolar behavior is almost always directed only towards you, not at their friends or their boss.
#11 Dominance and submission. Your abusive partner grovels at your feet when you pick up your courage and take a stand, or when you pack your bags to leave. And just when they see you softening or feeling pity for them, they stamp you down at the first sign of your weakness.
#12 Picking faults. Your partner always bristles with rage when you pick their faults. They walk away in a huff when you request them to correct something. On the other hand, they treat you like a spoilt child and expect you to listen to them completely as they yell at you for even the smallest mistakes you make.
Additionally, abusive lovers never apologize. And the only circumstance when they do apologize is when you start yelling louder than them and take a strong stand. [Read: How your self respect affects you and the relationships you have]
#13 The support system. They convince you that you can’t exist without their support. You lose your own your individuality and you’d start to doubt yourself and your capabilities. Eventually, no matter what anyone else says, you’d never be able to walk away as you can’t imagine living without your abusive lover’s support because you’re so dependent on them.
#14 The blame game. An abusive lover will blame you for their problems. Right from why they got late to work to their miserable life, they’d always blame you for it. And on the rare occasion when they can’t fault you, an abusive partner will never accept blame, instead they’d place blame elsewhere or on someone else.
#15 Persuasive behavior. A person who abuses you is also a skilled manipulator. They’d speak to you convincingly and make you believe that their outburst was because of your fault or mistake and not theirs. This person will always make you doubt yourself and make you believe that everything was your fault, and none of this would have happened if you were a better person.
And because of this, you always end up giving them another chance. You feel convinced that you somehow had a big part to play and it was you who caused the outburst because of your faults. [Read: Should you make someone a priority when all you are is an option to them?]
#16 Out of control. Your partner may make it seem like their outburst is out of their control and they can’t hold themselves back. But yet, they seem to lose their cool only around you! It’s surprising, isn’t it, that your partner never loses their cool around important people whose good books they want to enter?
How to get away from abusive relationships
Now that you’re read these abusive relationship signs, it should be easy for you to find out if you’re living through one right now. The signs you see may be subtle or at other times, it may be glaring and obvious.
Sometimes, it’s easier to use these signs and listen to your own gut. Do you feel like you deserve to be happier? Do you feel like you’re being abused in the relationship? Do you feel weak and helpless? [Read: 25 memorable life lessons that can help you change your life]
Here are four steps you need to use to get the strength to believe in yourself again, and build the courage to face your abusive partner.
#1 You don’t need this person. Stop convincing yourself that you need your abusive partner to exist. It’s not easy because you’ve been manipulated into believing that you’re dependent on them. Start one step at a time, and try to do things independently.
#2 Take back control of your life. Don’t put up with the abuse quietly. Don’t be afraid to make a scene. It’s almost always the one thing that scares an abuser away. You may be scared to take a stand, but the very minute you do, you’ll start to feel your own confidence and independence welling up inside of you.
#3 Get help. When you’re involved in an abusive relationship, it’s never easy to confront it all by yourself. Get some kind of support, be it a friend or the family and let this person know what you’re experiencing. Talk to them about how you should handle the abuse, and if need be, get professional help.
#4 Find your own happiness. For a very long time, you’ve forgotten what it feels like to be genuinely happy without having to worry about what your abusive partner would want or think. Put the abusive relationship as a bad page in your life and move on. Try to find happiness by staying around people who care for you, and who want you to be happy. Over time, you’ll look back at the abusive relationship and wonder what took you so long to walk away! [Read: How to fall out of love when you see no future in your relationship]
Nip it in the bud
This is something everyone needs to know. Address abusive behavior as soon as you sense it in your relationship. Your first reaction to abuse makes all the difference.
Most of us overlook the first abuse because we’re in love or care too much about this person. But your reaction to the first verbal abuse or the first punch will determine how the future of the relationship would turn out. If you accept it meekly, or even try to apologize for making a mistake, you’re paving the path to more pain and darker abuse. [Read: Top 20 reasons for divorce that most couples overlook!]
The last word about abusive relationships
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. You probably know that line already. By continuing to live in an abusive relationship where you’re putting everything aside just to get your partner’s affection, you’re not just affecting yourself.
You’re affecting your family, your friends and your kids if you have any. And one day, the people who stand up for you may eventually start disliking you and distancing themselves from you because you don’t listen to them, and yet ask them for help all the time.
Take a stand. As hard as it may seem right now to confront an abusive lover, it’ll seem much easier and you’d feel more confident the very next time you take a stand for what you believe in. [Read: 16 subtle and yet shocking signs of a controlling partner]
And lastly, remember this, you are not responsible for an abusive lover’s actions, nor can you change an abusive partner. Some people can’t change, and the safest bet you can take is walking away.
[Read: 25 relationship rules you need to follow for a successful romance]
These 16 abusive relationship signs will surely help you find out if you’re in an abusive relationship or are on the verge of falling into one. And when you do see the signs, walk away. After all, no good can come from an abusive lover.
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