When we look to enter into a relationship, we usually don’t look to be an abusive one. But often times our love for an individual, or our fear of being alone causes us to miss potential warning signs that could save us and our children from years of abuse and potential post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADA), in one year, more than 10 million women and men are physically abused. The number is much higher if you consider the impact of verbal abuse which can wreck havoc on one’s psyche.
On average it takes seven acts of violence before a victim leaves their abuser. So, it is best to try and avoid such abusive relationships in the first place. But how can this be achieved?
It’s much easier said than done to avoid an abusive relationship since the culprit is typically on their best behavior until they have impressed you, but some slip up with their actions prior and here are some warning signs to look out for to avoid the headaches, bruises, and potential premature death that may result from such relationships:
1. There’s constant jealousy. Your partner is possessive, visits your place of work unexpectedly, and/or calls in excessive amounts.
2. They’re controlling. Your partner questions you about who you talk to, your location throughout the day, and, in some cases, tells you to ask for permission before going anywhere or doing anything outside of their vision.
3. There’s isolation from loved ones. Your partner attempts to cut you off from your friends and family members by limiting your communication (phone calls) and access (transportation) to them. This makes it difficult for you to speak out once the abuse begins.
4. They blame others for their own mistakes. It’s never their fault. The stress they are experiencing at work, home, and everywhere else in life is due to someone else – the boss, the family, or even you.
5. They lack accountability for their mood swings. Their poor mood is caused by everyone else and not through their own deliberate actions. The abusive partner will say to you, ” You make me furious,” instead of “I’m furious.”
6. They are easily offended. Instead of realizing certain injustices are bound to happen due to how society is, they take everything personally. This leads to unending rants that can be directed at you.
7. They are cruel to children and animals. They abuse and neglect pets frequently. Furthermore, your children are punished for the simplest things and more severely than they deserve – bruises and black eyes are good indicators of such behavior. This behavior may be transferred to you as well.
8. Aside from physical abuse, verbal abuse is dished out frequently. Your partner criticizes you, not to improve your weak points, but to diminish your confidence and self-worth. Vulgar words and name calling are tactics that are often used.
9. Roles within the relationship are well defined. You will be seen as a servant, there to serve and obey your partner’s needs.
10. They have sudden mood swings. The ability to go from loving to angry can be switched on/off like the snap of the finger.
11. Their history consists of cases of abuse. If they admit to having abused a partner in the past, but it wasn’t their fault, chances are it’ll be your fault when it occurs in your relationship and not theirs.
12. They threaten violence towards you. Instead of sitting down and talking about the issues you’re facing together, they make statements such as, “I’ll snap your back,” or “I’ll kill you and no one would find your body,” and then dismiss them as jokes.
Prior to or during your relationship, you should look out for these warning signs which can save you years of abuse. But if you missed these signs and the abuse has already started, realize there are resources out there that will help you get out of such a difficult situations.
Do not hesitate to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. They have highly trained advocates who are available to chat confidentially with anyone experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship.