Abuse can be words, threats, shaming or treating someone with violence, insolence, barbarity, injury, or force. One must not ignore these warning signs of an abusive relationship. Living with an abusive person is neither easy nor advisable because the end results are mostly painful.
“Any relationships that would reject you for being true to yourself are- by definition- abusive relationships. You will be much better off when you let them go.”— Steve Pavlina
A woman’s heart begins to seek companionship the moment it understands the meaning of solitude. When the time comes, she does find that one person who takes her breath away and sweeps her off her feet.
Woman and Her Patience
However, as she walks into the realms of romance and love, she might not be able to see all the red flags along the way, most likely because fairy tales are all about finding a prince charming who is the epitome of apparent perfection. Still, no love story explains to her that not every man who may look like Mr perfect ends up being Mr Right.
A woman may continue to stay in an abusive relationship because there are no manuals available to help her distinguish between what is a normal conflict in a relationship and what is abuse from a partner. Here are some warning signs of an abusive partner to help you identify the abuse in an intimate relationship.
Understanding the Types of Abuse by an Intimate Partner
1. Shows Jealousy and Possessiveness to the Point of Suffocation
Social media has glamorized possessiveness as a sign of love when it is anything but that. It stems from fear of loss and abandonment and becomes a pain in an intimate relationship when your partner begins to keep a check on your life and activities due to his insecurities hidden behind such possessiveness.
“With fear, possessiveness enters the picture; then jealousy rears its ugly head. Jealousy is the opposite of desiring life and freedom of choice for one’s partner.”— Peter Shepherd
These are all classic signs of an overly possessive and jealous man:
- Becoming jealous of your opposite gender friends and colleagues
- keeping details of your girlfriends and calling them to keep an eye on you
- stalking your every move
- making you feel guilty for not spending all of your free time with him
When you find yourself in a relationship with such a man who justifies his jealousy and possessiveness as love, remind yourself of what Ann Aguirre said;
“Possessiveness isn’t love. I am not sure if it qualifies as an emotion.”
2. Treats You Like a Bird in a Cage and Takes Away Your Freedom and Individuality
A healthy partner values growth and individuality in a relationship, whereas an abusive partner gets offended when you try to take your space and enjoy your freedom. A toxic partner assumes the role of a self-proclaimed power of attorney in your life, imposing restrictions and orders on you and expecting you to act like an obedient subordinate. He decides for you whether or not you can meet your family and friends, take a job, get a haircut, or take a vacation. When you try to resist his command, he becomes enraged and abusive in return.
If you feel confused about whether your partner is abusive in terms of control or not, do a simple “no” test, if he is unable to handle “no” as an answer from you then he is most likely an abusive partner.
Just as Henry said
“Love respects no, control doesn’t”
3. Emotionally Manipulates You and Plays Mind Games All the Time
An abusive partner plays with the strings of your thinking in ways favourable to him. He gaslights you and distorts your perception of reality by manipulating the details of an event that happened. Or he may initially hurt you and then console you while implying that it is only you being overly sensitive and that what he did was quite a normal thing to happen in a relationship. When they make you feel bad about their own behaviour, it’s manipulation.
He may criticise you intentionally and regularly, slowly diminishing your confidence and making you think how reliant you are on him for day to day things. And sometimes, he may also exploit your weaknesses and insecurities to use them as an insult or threat during an argument.
4. Tries to Instill Fear in You Through Aggression and Violence
You may disagree with your partner about something occasionally, and it is normal to have an argument about it; however, when you disagree with an abusive partner, he resorts to violence and aggression within minutes, intimidating you with his anger by slamming the door loudly, throwing something on the floor or punching his fist against the wall, shoving you roughly or trying to corner you during an argument physically.
An abusive partner who has become comfortable showing you his violent side may even hit you on minor things and apologise later, only to do it again just as easily. He uses fear and intimidation as a tool to take away your right to express anything that goes against his will. You can try to communicate, but unless you are saying what the abuser wants you to say, there’s going to be a fight.
5. Cripples You Financially and Steals From You
An abusive partner may force you to quit your job or sabotage job opportunities for you, as he may see your financial independence as a threat. Financial abuse happens when someone rules you out of your economic power, oftentimes to keep you entrapped in a relationship.
A financially abusive partner may also try to:
- keep all payments in the name of the partner
- take loans on partner’s name
- steal money from partner’s purse
- ruin her credit card score
- block access to mutual savings accounts
- hide assets and savings from the partner
If a woman tries to resist in such a scenario, her abusive partner emotionally blackmails her or even shames her.
6. Has No Regard for Your Personal Boundaries and Privacy
An abusive partner will have no respect for your dreams, career, family, friends and your privacy. He may demand passwords from you as if it were his right, and if you refuse to give him your personal information, he may argue that you have ‘trust issues‘ with him.
The only people who get upset about you setting boundaries are those who could benefit from you having none.
When it comes to intimacy, an abusive partner may force himself physically without taking into consideration your consent and need for physical intimacy. He may not care if your timings and expectations in the relationship align with his timeframe and desires.
7. It is Never Too Late to Leave an Abusive Relationship
It is challenging to get out of an abusive relationship because your self-esteem, confidence, and ability to stand for yourself suffer significantly in such relationships. At the same time, that makes it even more necessary for you to leave an abusive relationship.
“The first step in getting out of an abusive relationship is to realize that you have the right to be treated with respect and not be physically or emotionally harmed by another person.”— Doris Lessing
Take Doris Lessing’s advice, try it; who knows, it might help you take the difficult decision of leaving an abusive relationship and set yourself free! If you are going through such an ordeal, first note the warning signs of an abusive relationship because when you know the causes, taking the right decision comes in handy.
Also Read: Self respect brings us healthier and more positive relationships, so it is imperative that we respect ourselves. Here are some self respect quotes to build your self esteem and self love.