I think one of the big issues when it comes to abusive relationships is that people have a misinformed view that it takes a punch or a kick for damage to be done. One of the most damaging factors in dysfunctional relationships is the control, manipulation and emotional abuse. Abusers can gradually chip away at your self esteem over time until they have you in the palm of their hand. From there, they can convince you to isolate yourself from friends and family and have you walking on eggshells and doing things you never thought you would do.
Something that sticks out from my own experience of growing up around my mum and step-dads abusive relationship, is when I was asked to write a letter to social work about my step dad. I wrote about how much I loved him, said he was like a dad to me and spoke about how happy I was to have him in my life. I was so scared of what would happen if I didn’t write nice things. I was told by him that if I told anybody the truth, I would never see my mum again. I would have done anything he asked, and so would my mum. This made it very easy for him to get away with things and continue to abuse us.
Signs you may be in an abusive relationship
- Fear of angering your partner
- Believe you deserve to be mistreated
- Question your own sanity
- Feeling helpless
- Your partner puts you down
- Your partner embarrasses you in front of friends and family
- Your partner does not acknowledge your accomplishments
- Your partner says it’s your fault for their behaviour
- Your partner sees you as something they own
- Your partner is extremely possessive and jealous
- Your partner controls everything/most of what you do on a day to day basis
- Your partner takes away essential items e.g money, phone
- Your partner constantly checks up on you
It can be hard to accept the reality of your relationship and even more terrifying to think about leaving your partner and start over. Also, all of this applies to men in relationships too. If your girlfriend thinks all this “psycho” girl stuff is cute and all a laugh, then I’d reevaluate the relationship. If any of this speaks to you, feel free to get in touch with myself or one of the organisations below to help you break free.