Relationships can make you feel like you are on top of the world. Unfortunately, there are times when relationships can take a turn for the worse. Abusive relationships are a lot more common than you think. According to the CDC on Intimate Partner Violence, “About 11 million women and 5 million men who reported experiencing contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime said that they first experienced these forms of violence before the age of 18.”
Here are nine signs your relationship may have become abusive:
They are Isolating You From Your Friends, Family, and Support
It is normal for partners to spend time with you, but when they want you to hang out with them and only them, then, this can become a problem. Your partner should be independent and encourage you to explore hobbies and have you hang out with friends without becoming insanely jealous and possessive. Huffington Post warns, “If you find that you can’t get a minute alone, take note. You should be able to shower alone, lock the bathroom door, sleep alone, and have time to yourself without being made to feel that you are rejecting someone.”
They are Denying, Blaming and Gaslighting You
When your partner belittles you and tells you that “you imagined” them saying something hurtful or even dismisses your feelings altogether, this is a definite warning sign. According to Stephanie A. Sarkis, Ph.D., gaslighting “is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality.”
They Hold You Back Financially
An abuser may prevent you from getting a job to make sure that you depend on them for basic necessities. According to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline, economic abuse could come in the form of preventing you from getting a job, giving you an allowance, making you ask for money, or even taking the money with no warning.
They Have a Strong Sense of “Male Privilege“
If you are in a heterosexual relationship, the abuser may be able to use their male privilege to dangle power over you. This can come in the form of making all of the decisions, having you attend to all his needs only, and defining what “should” be the man and woman’s role in a relationship.
You Feel Like You’re Walking on Eggshells
When you are in a relationship, you should not feel anxious around them. They should enhance your life, not make it worse. According to Dr. Rudi Rahbar, a clinical psychologist who specializes in couples and families, “An abuser often creates such a hostile, unpredictable environment that the abused person feels extremely unsafe and on edge.” If you constantly feel like you have to walk on eggshells when interacting with them or constantly worry if they are going to be disappointed in you, it’s time to let the relationship go.
They’re Emotionally Abusive
When you are with your partner, how do you feel about yourself? Do they constantly belittle and put you down? These are signs that your partner is emotionally abusing you. “If the abusive partner excuses his or her attacks as jokes and insists that you are over-sensitive, this is a sign that your comfort is not important to him or her,” according to psychologist, Dr. Kendra Kubala.
They Submit You to Threats, Guilt Trips, and Coercion
Not all threats are created equal. The National Domestic Abuse Hotline cautions that threats can include: threatening to commit suicide, threatening to leave, to hurt someone you love, make you do illegal things, or making you drop charges. Don’t fall for these threats and call for help in a safe space as soon as possible.
They are Violent
On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men, according to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Huffington Post states, “Often violence occurs once there is a certain level of commitment.” If your partner hits you for any reason, look for the other signs and know when to call for help and get out of the relationship.
They Can Use Your Children Against You
Abusers in a relationship may want to use children to help them in their endeavors. The National Domestic Abuse Hotline cites that abusers “may make children relay the abusive marriage, they may dangle visitation hours, or even threaten to take the children away from the mother.”
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.