when you meet someone to whom you are romantically attracted most people never think that the relationship will turn abusive. Most of us want to live in a fairy tale love story and ride off into the sunset deep in love. Unfortunately, this does not happen for many people. Many find themselves in abusive relationships. If you've never been in one, you might wonder why someone would forever endure that negative behavior towards themselves. Well, it's not as easy as it seems. Outside, looking in, it's easy to say, "why don't you come out?" But from the inside, it's a very different experience for most people who are being abused.
How does it start?
Believe it or not, most abusive relationships start just like any other. The abuser is usually very charming and charismatic. The abusee falls in love with the “law” they put forward and, as a result, probably falls in love with them. But this is not a real person. The real person, deep down, is abusive. This is happening slowly. To better explain, let me use a metaphor. Let's say you enjoy eating frog legs (I know most people don't, but remember, this is just an analogy). So, one day you catch a frog yourself and intend to cook it by boiling it in hot water. If you throw a frog into boiling water, it will go into shock and try to get out. Because of the suddenness of the change, they will immediately notice it. But, if you put the frog in room temperature water first, and then slowly, very slowly, turn the heat up to boiling, then the frog won't notice anything until it's too late. This happens almost without the frog not knowing it. You see what happens in dysfunctional families most of the time. The abuse starts slowly, and then the apologies come. And then forgiveness. Then more abuse, and more and more, until it finally escalates into full blown abuse. This is why it can sometimes be difficult to acknowledge someone when they are in an abusive relationship.
What are the signs of abuse?
In order to get out of an abusive relationship, you first admit to yourself that you are in one. You cannot change what you do not recognize. Again, this may sound like an easy thing to do, but it's not for many people. So, here are just a few signs that you are in an abusive relationship.
1. Call names
“B*TKP,” “f*Re,” and many other terrible names can be used when the offender is angry. They use these words to humiliate you and destroy your self-esteem. See, a rapist can't abuse you if you love yourself - because you don't hold on to him. So they have to call you names.
Other than name calling, any other kind of insult will fly your way too. They could call you fat, dumb, lazy, idiot, “nobody loves”, or anything else. Again, this is an attempt by a drug addict, constantly destroying your sense of self and self-respect.
Manipulation is a psychological manipulation technique that makes someone doubt their sanity. You constantly doubt yourself. Do you often ask yourself: “Am I too sensitive?” and feel embarrassed or even crazy. You may even find yourself apologizing all the time, even if you think you're not quite right. But the abuser makes you think you are wrong.
4. Be jealous and control behavior
Unfortunately, most people think that jealousy is a sign of love. But actually it is not. This is a sign of insecurity and anxiety. If someone is jealous, they naturally try to control their actions such as, “You can't talk to this guy at work”. They end up trying to control your entire life if you let them.
In more extreme abusive relationships, jealous and controlling behavior can lead to social isolation. In other words, the abuser won't let you see your family or friends. Because if they don't allow it, they may try to reason with you and persuade you to leave your abuser.
6. Blamed you for everything
They never take personal responsibility for everything because it is all “your fault”. This can also be part of the manipulation strategy as well. They think that they can “do no evil”, which means that you are the person who should change - not them.
7. Physical Violence - Even If Just Threats
Most people know that physical abuse is a sign of an abusive relationship. However, you may have grown up in a home where you or someone else was physically abusive, so you might think that this is a “normal” part of a relationship. Let me assure you - it is not. Even simple threats of physical violence, offensive behavior.
How to get out of an abusive relationship
Now that you know some of the signs of an abusive relationship (although there are many more), let's talk about how you can get out.
1. Document All
Write everything that happens in your journal or diary. The reason for this is twofold: First, it will help you not to question your sanity. Documenting what you said and what they said (and did) really helps put things in perspective. Secondly, it can serve as documentation if a court order needs to be filed or prosecuted in some way. There are several apps out there that can help you. For example, if your abuser insults and threatens you, then you can press the secret button on your phone and it will start recording them.
2. Package emergency package
You never know when you are going to have a chance to leave. It's kind of like when you have a baby, you just don't know when it's going to hit. So, pack your bags and be ready to jump out the door when the time comes. And if you have children, they are also packed. If your abuser has kept you isolated, this is especially important because they may not even let you leave the house – and as a result, they keep turning a blind eye to you.
3. Have a plan
It's one thing to leave, it's another thing to know where you're going. If you have family and friends, then the most obvious choice would be to live with one of them. However, if your abuser is truly crazy and violent, that could potentially put them in danger as well. You could also go to a women's shelter or any other place that helps women who have been abused. Wherever you go, you must have a plan in stone before you leave.
4. Save money in a secret and accessible place
It will be much easier if you have your own work. However, even if you don't, you can try to find money at home and slowly save up enough while you have some to go. Perhaps you have a secret mission where your abuser will not find out, if possible. But obviously you don't want your abuser to know. It's best to keep it at home with a trusted family member or friend, if possible. Or even open your own secret bank account at another bank.
5. Alerts to your family and friends
If you have family and friends, you need to warn them in your plan. Tell them exactly what's going on in the relationship so they know you could be leaving in no time. If you've been in an abusive relationship for a long time, they can't really believe you're leaving "such a time" (think "the boy who screamed wolf".) But reassure them that you're serious this time, and they will help you carry out your plan.
6. Block and disidentify from your abuser
Unfortunately, many people who are successful in leaving an abusive relationship are simply sabotaged by going back. You can't do it! I mean what's the point? In fact, your abuser is most likely worse because you had the courage to leave them and it will make them angry! So, stay away. Block your phone number. Block them on social networks. Don't post on social media so they can't find you. Completely disidentify with them so that you can move on with your life. This is the only way. Because if not, they will make you think they have "changed" their apologies and empty promises. I guarantee you they won't change - so don't trust them!
While most people think of men as relationship abusers, it can also be the other way around. There are many people in the world who are being abused by women, but they are probably too afraid/proud to admit it. It doesn't matter your gender - bullying is bullying. And he must stop. Remember: you need to get counseling or therapy before entering into a new relationship. You need to figure out what it is about you that allowed the other person to abuse you in the first place. There are many reasons, and many of them are unique to each person. But you need to understand yourself so as not to attract another offender next time. It may seem almost impossible to leave an abusive relationship, but it is not. Many people have done this before and you can too.
More Relationship Tips
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- Warning Signs of an Emotionally Abusive Relationship
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