An abusive relationship is possibly the worst kind of situation anyone can get caught in his/her personal life. This is partly because getting out of such a relationship seems so difficult - the victim is often depleted of all self-worth and self-confidence and seems incapable to make a move out. If you find yourself in such a situation, recognize it for what it is with the help of these ten signs.
- You are forever being ticked off
Do you feel that no matter how hard you try to please your partner, nothing is good enough for him/her? You slave in the kitchen, work double shifts to earn some more or shop for hours to find the perfect gift, but all you can get out of your partner are complaints. If you find that your partner is bent on finding fault with all you do at all times, it is clear that this relationship is toxic. In fact a typical abuser will blame everyone else in his/her life - parents, exes or co-workers for his/her negative attitudes and actions as well as everything else that may be going wrong in his/her life.
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- You are publicly disrespected
When in company, if you find your partner constantly breaking the flow of your words or making disrespectful comments, it is evident he/she is looking for ways to hurt you. While this may sometimes happen in the privacy of your house without meaning much, if it happens before others and repeatedly, as when he/she makes insulting or hurtful remarks against you before others, it is time recognize that your relationship is fast turning unhappy.
- Attempt to alter your personal habits
One of the most insidious ways that a partner can trap you in the web of his/her abusive behavior is by determining your personal choices and daily habits. While this may start out with apparent innocuous suggestions on what perfume you should wear and what brand of soap you toothpaste you should use, eventually this is bound to turn into more serious an attempt to control and even change your appearance, choices and very personality. Soon your partner may be deciding what clothes you are going to wear, what foods you are going to eat and who you are going to meet – all definite signs of abusive relationship.
- Your partner is jealous without cause
Your partner may exhibit a strong streak of jealousy in the early days, which may even feel flattering since you are likely to interpret it as intensity of his/her love for you. Over time though this jealousy can take on a more vehement tone with your partner interrogating you about every co-worker or demanding an account of every minute of your day. He/she will go on to Make unfounded accusations, or accuses you of lying if you can't account for every minute out of his sight – and having to negotiate this web of accusations and explanations day in and day out will eventually sap all energy and joy in the relationship.
- You feel manipulated
In an abusive relationship, a partner may often take recourse to emotional blackmail to control the other; he/she may threaten to leave and imply that you don’t love them but actually all these are ways to prevent you from doing things that he or she doesn’t want you to do. If you question, or challenge your partner, you will be called stupid or worse, crazy. The abuser’s main aim is to Makes you feel as though the abuse is your fault, that you "asked for it". People with abusive personalities are actually quite clever at taking actual situations and twisting them, so after some time, you may begin to doubt your own judgment. Likewise he/she may tell others you are unstable, laying the ground-work in case you see through him, and tell others what he has done. All this is evidence of a highly manipulative personality at play, seeking to keep you in the relationship so that he/she can get a high by hurting you.
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- You find yourself isolated
One of the most unmistakable signs of an abusive relationship is when you begin to cut off yourself from a supportive social network. Your partner may expressly forbid you to meet friends and family. Or he/she may insult you before your loved ones or those who are close to you so that eventually you feel too ashamed and avoid seeing them. In all these ways, an abusive personality attempts to cut out a victim from all possible sources of emotional and social support so that the latter feels lonely and afraid and is thus easier to sway to his/her wishes. Over time such controlling behavior in a partner may end up with you ending all contact with your family and friends and feeling more unhappy and isolated than before – a situation which the abusive partner has been angling for since the beginning.
- You are punished
Any attempt on your part to object to or confront such abusive behavior is likely to be met with some form of punishment or other. While in physically abusive relationships, this may take the form of beatings, pushing about or sexual violence, in cases of emotional abuse, the abuser may withhold intimacy, call you names, refuse you money or give you the silent treatment when he/she doesn't get what he/she wants. Punishing you serves twin purposes – it induces fear and through it future compliance. He/she has not only ensured that you are hurt and afraid right now but also that the memory of this punishment will squash any possibility of rebellion in the days to come.
- You are unhappy
Humans have an amazing capacity for adapting themselves to changing circumstances. This is one reason why despite being in long-term abusive relationships, many victims are unable to recognize the signs and opt out. Moreover signs of unhappiness also keep changing thus while earlier you may have cried yourself to sleep at nights after a particularly nasty episode in your relationship, now you may be simply feeling a heaviness or perhaps only listlessness in life. A sense of hopelessness about the future, misplaced guilt about how things haven’t turned out well, deep regret for loss of an earlier happy life are all different shades of unhappiness that is a sign of an abusive relationship. One recurring sensation is that of perpetually walking on egg-shells or constant anxiety about which word or act of yours may unleash the next abusive episode from your partner. At the extreme, such unhappiness and anxiety may take the form of fear for your well-being and that of your dependents like kids.
- It has happened before
More likely than not, an abusive personality has had a history of hurting people in close relationships. A person who has been abused or abused animals in childhood is far more likely to abuse others. They will keep repeating the pattern in later life unless they get help. So if you know he has abused a former girlfriend or family member, be on your guard. He/she may try make you believe the ex asked for it, or exaggerated it, or that it was a one time incident but if past history is followed by clear instances of abuse in your own relationship, you better see for what it is.
- No scope of things getting better
Finally the clearest sign of an abusive relationship is that you feel trapped. There is no chance of things getting better unless the abusive partner decide to seek professional help to curb his/her abusive tendencies and this he/she will rarely do. An abuser doesn't think there is anything wrong with his/her actions. He/she would much rather blames their childhood, outside influences or you rather than take responsibility for personality issues and look for help.