This is another one I wrote a while back that I’m posting here. I feel a bit odd about sharing this because the situation I’ve described in this and other posts (like this one) is nowhere near as bad as what other people I’ve known have been through, but I don’t want anyone else to feel the way I did if I can help it. Anyway, here it goes.
I wish I wasn’t able to write this article.
I don’t say this to imply that I hate that I’m a good writer or using the internet to research. It’s actually fun…too much fun, considering how easily I get distracted. 🙂 No, I hate that I don’t *need* to do research to write this article. Instead, all I have to do is look at my past.
The funny thing is that I had no idea that the relationship was abusive at the time; we never do. I knew I didn’t like what was happening, but I thought abuse only looked one way (hitting) and that it was easy to tell what “fits the definition” and what doesn’t. Nope. Since I didn’t have the luxury of this knowledge when I was coming along, I’m going to give you a few ways to tell if your relationship is abusive before you get in too deep to get out.
1) He ‘swept you off your feet’. Declaring his love immediately to get you in a relationship is a big clue. Abusers look for vulnerable people-for instance, people who just got out of relationship the way I had. Getting you to commit to him quickly doesn’t give you a chance to see him for what he is, which is yet another reason being “on the rebound” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Besides, you don’t want to let yourself get swept into a relationship if you’re not ready to be in one.
2) Your partner is excessively jealous and controlling. He has to know where you are, who you’re with, what you’re wearing, when you’re going to be back, etc.
Come to think of it, this sounds like how a parent would act. Difference is, he’s not. He has no ‘right’ or ‘position’ over you the way your parents did as a kid. You’re not a kid anymore.
3) He attempts to isolate you from your friends and family, mostly by ‘requiring’ that you be with him at all times and/or behaving in such a way that your friends will not want to be around you. I can tell a few stories about this, but I won’t. Let’s just say that a lot of this goes on behind your back as well as to your face.
4) He makes you feel bad about yourself. This is the biggest reason people stay in these relationships-they think they can’t get or don’t deserve any better.
5) Threatening to hurt or kill himself if or when you try to leave. This might sound romantic in a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ way, but it’s not. It’s coercive and controlling. That, and he’s probably not as hot as Leonardo DiCaprio. 🙂
6) He never takes responsibility for anything. His family, you, his boss, the kids…everything that goes wrong is someone else’s fault. That way, he doesn’t have to stop what he’s doing because ‘…made me do it.’
I remember saying stuff like this when I was six and broke the cookie jar. At least a six-year-old has an excuse to be childish!
7) He tries to change your looks. ‘You know, you’d be really hot if…’ ‘Maybe you need to…’ comparing you to other women, etc. This sort of criticism does not come from a person who really cares about you, even if it is framed as a joke. Besides, you’re beautiful just the way you are.
8) He pushes and pressures you into things-sex, drinking, drugs, etc-that he knows you don’t want to do. He then criticizes or makes fun of you for your reluctance-you don’t want to have sex because you’re a ‘prude’. You don’t want to drink because you’re ‘no fun’, you won’t ‘play hooky’ from work because you’re a ‘goody-goody’…you get the idea.
9) He has a bad temper and blows up over little things. This makes you afraid to do or say anything he doesn’t like, including standing up for yourself.
I have no end for this except to say that if these things seem familiar to you (or you see them in a friend), get out. Don’t walk-run, and never look back. You deserve much better than this.