By Grace Chatting
No-one wants to think that they are in an abusive relationship, and quite often people don’t realise that their partner is being abusive – they just accept the behaviour as being normal for their partner. To the outside world they make excuses about their partner being overworked, financial problems, had a difficult past, not feeling themselves, but privately they feel hurt by their partner’s actions. By the time they realise that this behaviour is a constant pattern, they have begun to believe that their partner is right! Most people think that, if they aren’t being physically abused, then they aren’t in an abusive relationship, but this is not the case.
One of the most common forms of abuse is control. Your partner insists that everything has to be their way. They say where you go, what you wear, who you talk to, who you don’t socialize with, even down to how you stack dishes or fold laundry.
Do they control the money and make you account for everything you spend? This isn’t because they can do it better, it’s because if you do what they say, then they have control over you and the relationship.
People who find themselves in this kind of situation often go along with the demands of their partner simply to keep the peace. Failure to meet the standards of the controlling partner can incur more physical or emotional abuse which is more difficult to deal with than simply making sure that the glass tumblers are placed upside down on the shelf!
Need to be right
If you find that your partner does have a tendency to always have to be right and have things done his/her way, you may need to accept that it isn’t just a quirky part of their nature, it’s a form of abuse and you need to do something about it.
Criticism and put downs
If your partner constantly discounts what you say and criticizes you, in public and/or in private, this is abusive behaviour, even if it is said in a joking manner. In a relationship you have a right to expect that your partner will support you and treat you respectfully.
That doesn’t mean to say that they have to agree with everything you say, or do, or look, but it does mean that they don’t judge you either when you’re alone, and never when you are with other people.
A relationship is about love, and love is unconditional. If it comes with strings attached, it’s not the real deal and you need to get out of the relationship before your self-esteem is damaged.
Is your partner unfaithful, or do they constantly accuse you of being unfaithful and flirty in your interaction with others? This is also a form of abuse. Do they threaten physical abuse towards you or anyone else in your home – even if they don’t follow through – this is intimidation which is also a form of abuse. Do they constantly blame you for what goes wrong in their lives? This is abuse.
These and many others are signs that you have a problem in your relationship that needs resolved, or you need to move out of it before it affects you. Some of these may be things that happen very seldom, others may be a constant part of your everyday life – if they are constant, you need to act now. If the instances are seldom, and don’t affect you too much, then monitor the situation and be prepared to act if the regularity increases.
No-one in a relationship deserves to be abused, so if you’re in that position, love yourself enough to move out of it and find someone who will treat you with the love and respect you deserve.
If you are in an abusive relationship and don’t know how to get out of it, speak to someone at your local Women’s Aid or Domestic Violence Team.