This post will be very different from anything I’ve ever written before. I believe it is for someone in particular.
You may be in a relationship and you’re wondering if what you are experiencing can be classified as an abusive relationship. Here is a tip: If you are afraid to be yourself and you do NOT feel safe (even when nothing dramatic is happening), you are being abused.
I was married before, and you can read about some of the experiences I had in my book: “It’s My Life and I Live Here: One Woman’s Story“. There were moments when I feared being hurt physically and other moments when I felt the urge to run for my life, so this post is based on my personal circumstances in the past.
Here are some of the signs you should look for to confirm your feelings:
1. They seemed to have changed overnight. They were charming and accommodating when the relationship was new. Now that you have been together for a while or your living situation has changed (i.e. you’ve moved in together or you’ve gotten married) they seem to display a “Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde” personality.
2. Your feelings and strong convictions/beliefs are being invalidated. If you are loved, your feelings and opinions about something will not be squashed, laughed at or minimized. You will not be labeled as “over-sensitive”. Your personal beliefs and convictions will not be belittled or ridiculed.
3. You are being limited or prevented from doing things you loved to do in the past. If you always went for a run after work in the park and now that you are with them you cannot go because he (or she) is giving you a hard time consistently for any reason, pay attention.
4. You cannot see your friends and family freely. This includes being able to invite them over for visits or you going out with them or seeing them. HUGE red flag – Pay Attention!
5. You seem to know very little about who they REALLY are. When someone seems to know you much better than you know them, you are in a very vulnerable position. Being too predictable and having a “set schedule” also makes it easy for abusers to control their victims.
6. You cannot seem to meet their friends, and you have very limited interaction with their family members. If they always have an excuse on why you can never meet or hang out with their friends or why their family members never visit even when you ask, pay attention.
7. They tend to guilt-trip you into doing things against your wishes. Did you REALLY want to go to that event, or did they make you feel bad so you felt obligated to attend?
8. Every conversation or argument seems to turn against you. Are you always to blame – directly or indirectly – for something that did not turn out right? Is EVERYTHING your fault? In reality, no one particular person can be at fault for everything that goes wrong in a relationship. That would mean that the other person is perfect, and that is impossible.
9. You are punished in some shape or form for speaking your mind. This is similar to the second point listed, but it’s still different. Are you made to feel the effect of something you said to them two days ago? Do they withdraw, act out, manipulate or take away something you love because you “went against them”? Pay attention.
10. They move things around a room or a home to make you think you’re going crazy. This is termed “gaslighting“. This is an attempt to alter your perception of reality and situations so you will end up depending on them to give the “real story” of things that happen. You will ask a question because you don’t trust something that you see or hear and they will give you a very plausible answer to make you believe that your instincts are incorrect. When you fall for the bait, you find out later that you were tricked. Here is where ultimate control of an abuse victim occurs, and feelings of helplessness abound. If you find yourself wondering “Now wasn’t the sofa always in that corner, why is it here now?” or “I know I left my book here!” and they begin to make it seem that you are the person who isn’t remembering facts correctly, TAKE HEED!
11. Lying – and lying for NO seemingly apparent reason. Please note that every lie is calculated. It may seem unnecessary to lie about simple things, but the abuser’s purpose is to ensnare you!
12. There is always a threat being issued – whether to hurt you, your children or your pets, or to destroy something of value to you. When I was married I owned a beautiful truck. I gave serious pause when I was threatened and was told that my tires would be slashed or screws would be scattered on the driveway to destroy my tires. Why? Because I took away my ex’s set of truck keys because he would drive my truck on escapades without me and return it with the tank almost empty.
13. You feel as if you’re being watched, even when no-one is around. My marital home had a camera almost everywhere. I was told it was to protect us from thieves, etc. Our neighborhood wasn’t known for thefts. Eventually I realized (after watching a video recording of our driveway that ran for a few hours) that the cameras were watching ME. Don’t forget that cameras do not only “see” but they also record sounds.
14. They pick fights for no apparent reason. This behavior usually happens when they are guilty of stepping out on the relationship and want to find a way to justify the behavior. “She makes me mad all the time, so I had to cheat.”
15. You cannot seem to find the time to relax or rest. They will have you busy from sun-up to sundown while they always find the time to get away to relax. This is especially true if you have children together.
These are just a few of the signs of abuse. Whoever this is for, please do not play with this situation! Get help, and GET OUT! An abuser does not become better with time, nor do they remain passive over time. It usually starts mildly, then it gets more sinister and bewildering over time. Physical abuse always follows mental and emotional abuse. Their main objective is to CONTROL and USE you for their purposes. Once they have you under their command, it can be difficult to break free. They will pretend to “get better” or change, especially when people they want to impress are around. Truthfully, they’ve found a better way to fool you and keep you around.
They cannot be appeased. You cannot “love them out” of abuse. They need professional help to break free from abuse, and they have to want the help themselves.
Leaving them has to be done in wisdom to ensure your safety and the safety of your children or other loved ones. Many possessive partners “snap” when the person they’ve controlled steps away from their trap.
I pray that whoever this is for will heed the warnings and move quickly to safety and sanity. God will restore any material thing you may lose in the process of leaving. TRUST GOD. He is your Provider and Protector.
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.