Domestic abuse is an unfortunate reality that countless people face on a regular basis.
Nobody should feel as if they have to put up with partner abuse, but the fact is that many do simply because they aren’t aware of the fact that they are in an abusive relationship.
Abuse is insidious, and a lot of us spend years in an abusive relationship, denying the fact that it’s happening just because we aren’t being actively physically abused.
Sadly, there are many different types of abuse, and not all of them receive the same media coverage as physical abuse.
Domestic violence is the act of assaulting a domestic partner with whom you are in a relationship, but domestic violence is not required for you to have been abused by a partner.
Furthermore, there are lots of signs of incoming abuse that we ignore because we haven’t been raised to recognize them.
But it’s incredibly important that you train yourself, no matter your age or gender, to recognize the signs of being in an abusive relationship.
There are resources available to help you get out of an abusive relationship. But you have to know that there is a need to leave first.
With that being said, let’s look into some of the signs that you may be in an abusive relationship.
A major warning sign of abuse is isolation. If your partner is isolating you from your friends and family and making you emotionally dependent on them, then they may be easing you into an abusive dynamic.
Some people go so far as to make their partners financially dependent on them as well, encouraging them to quit their jobs or emphasizing how much more money they make at their own positions, compared to the abused partner.
The more you depend on your partner, the harder it can be for you to make connections and leave when you’re being abused.
Abusers are aware of this and often revel in their ability to make you so emotionally dependent on them.
The more people you’re connected to emotionally, and the more independent resources you have, the easier it will be for you to leave.
There is good-natured teasing between partners, and then there is abuse. Abusive partners often enjoy putting down and humiliating their victims.
The more embarrassed you are, the more you will feel ashamed of yourself, and therefore unworthy of healthy love and less likely to leave your abuser.
Most of an abuser’s goals surround making you unable or unwilling to leave.
If your partner makes fun of your physical appearance or mocks your intelligence at all, but especially in front of others, this is a major warning sign.
It is furthermore symbolic of a lack of respect towards you, which is a fundamental part of abusive psychology.
Your abuser is attempting to convince you that you are lesser and that you can’t do any better.
3. Excessive Criticism
It’s not wrong for partners to show healthy, constructive critiques with each other.
But if someone is being hypercritical of you in the guise of making you a better person, it could be a sign of abuse.
Abusers often focus on physical appearance when making criticisms.
It’s not uncommon for abusers to mock the weight of their partners, or their skin, or other parts of their body.
An abuser may recommend that you diet or go to the gym to improve your body.
Ultimately, this is another part of humiliating you and controlling you. If you’re modifying your body in order to suit your partner’s desires, whether you’re changing your hair color or getting piercings because they asked you to, it could be a sign that you’re in an abusive relationship.
4. Threats Of Self Harm
Someone who is attempting to abuse you may very well threaten to harm themselves physically before they harm you physically.
The reason why this happens is that it essentially guilts you into saying and further exerts control over your actions.
Now, there are people who are suffering from mental illnesses and express a desire to self-harm or commit suicide.
But this is not the same as threatening self-harm or suicide because you are attempting to do something, whether it’s leaving them or something else.
Furthermore, this suggestion of violence could be a warning of a desire to commit violence against someone, which could theoretically be you in the future.
Keep in mind that homicide is one of the leading causes of death for women in particular, with almost half of all female murder victims age 44 and under being killed by a current or former male partner.
But physical violence is not always committed by men against women. Men can also be the victims of domestic violence from female or male partners. Women can commit domestic violence against female partners.
No matter what kind of relationship you are in, there is a potential for it to become abusive.
5. Ignoring You
Whether your partner is ignoring your desires and wishes, or ignoring you in general, this could be a sign of abuse.
The fact is that a lot of people need a cooling-off period after a fight, and this isn’t necessarily bad. It can be healthy.
But it’s different when your partner denies you affection or ignores you in order to punish you.
For that matter, a lot of abusers ignore their partners while hanging out with friends.
They cut their partners out of their lives, and only give affection and attention when it suits them.
This is potentially a hallmark of abuse.
Abuse can be verbal, physical, or emotional; it can also come in lesser-known forms, like financial abuse.
You may deal with only one type of abuse, or you could deal with several at once.
No matter what, be honest with yourself, and leave when you can if you must.
Do not hesitate to seek help from the authorities and local charities for abuse survivors.
There is a way out.