Abusive Relationships are a difficult thing to overcome. Whenever feelings of love are involved it can be challenging to separate yourself from the situation enough to see the toxic behavior that is occurring. Never assume it is one sex or another. While statistically men are more likely to be the abuser that is not an indication that your male friend who may be suffering from abusive behavior is “overreacting”. Abuse comes in all shapes and sizes. There are some signs to look out for if you feel your partner is abusive. Similarly, if you are a family or friend who may feel that there are toxic behaviors occurring in your loved one’s relationship, here are some things to look out for.
Jealousy and Hypersensitivity
An abusive partner is not always someone who physically hurts the other; in fact more often abuse is shown through control and manipulation. A stand out sign for toxic behavior is jealousy and hypersensitivity. A partner that is always jealous is a partner that is insecure and controlling. If they are constantly asking about your friends and whom you are talking to, take a step back and assess the situation. Constant calling and frequent drop ins if you are not living together is another example of extreme jealous behavior. If any attempt at addressing the situation leads them to be extremely defensive or overreact it is important to notice that. Partners do get jealous and have bad days, but if their jealousy is forcing you to stop going out with coworkers, or spending less time with family and friends then it becomes controlling.
“why do you spend more time with your friends than with me”
“Why were you talking to him/her”
“I’m allowed to be a little jealous you’re the love of my life”
If your partner exhibits any of these behaviors, it is important to try and get out of the relationship as soon as possible. A controlling partner can be dangerous. They are the type of person who will know exactly how far it is from the house to the school and will check the speedometer before and after dropping the kids off in order to make sure that you did not go elsewhere. Controlling behavior can also manifest in checking phone records and online history. It is also commonly seen in control of the finances. If your partner has complete control of all money and perhaps give you a very limited allowance or keeps all of the account information secret from you that is a tell tale sign of abusive behavior. In addition if you try and get a job with every attempt or mention of it coming with an argument or threat from your partner then it is time to seek help. Finances equal freedom in many cases, which is why some people wish to control them.
“Where did you go? This isn’t the normal distance to the grocery store”
“You don’t need a job. I make enough money. Why do you need one?”
“Who was that on the phone? Who were you talking to?”
If the relationship has turned violent, it is time to get out. No relationship with violence is healthy. It is used as a scare tactic on the other, to get them to comply with what the abuser wants. Even if after the violence is over, they apologize and say it will never happen again, it will. Any time you, or you child has been struck by a partner it is abuse. Some partners my not strike you. They know that in school unexplained bruises that show up can be used as grounds to call family and child services or the police so they resort to a different tactic. If your partner is threatening or breaking possessions it is considered violent abuse as well. They may strike out right near your head into a door or wall in order to show you their strength but not harm your body. They may also break valued possessions of yours, or things that are meaningful or sentimental to you, to show that nothing is sacred when you anger them. They may also make threats of self-harm as a tactic to get you to stay with them.
“If you leave I’ll kill myself”
“Nobody else will love you, only me”
“Shut up or I swear I will kill you”