It’s an unfortunate reality that 1 in 4 women will experience in their lifetime, but nothing could possibly prepare a woman for a relationship that is a complete and utter nightmare. We’ve all been taught the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong but it’s a whole other situation when we are on the receiving end of treatment that belittles and degrades us to the core. Some of us flinch whenever we hear or read stories about women (and in some cases even men) who have been in an abusive relationship for a prolonged period of time, and this is why it’s so important to recognise the signs of abuse in all forms: whether it’s emotional, physical, mental or even financial, it’s 100% wrong and nobody should have to put up with it.
There are so many signs of an abusive relationship and I won’t be able to explore them all in this post. One thing that is important to note is that an abusive relationship knows no class, no age or no background: anyone can have an abusive partner. Also, if you do attract an abusive partner, what you must not do is blame yourself. It is not your fault. Of course, you will definitely need to heal and address a few characteristics or beliefs that kept you in the relationship for longer than you should have been, but abusers are incredibly crafty individuals, especially as your relationships with them deepens. Putting on the most intricate of facades is something they’ve excelled in. The truth is that you probably weren’t their first victim and you definitely won’t be their last.
When I think about avoiding unhealthy relationships, I’m reminded of the Whitney Houston hit ‘It’s Not Right But It’s Okay’ particularly the line ‘I’d rather be alone than unhappy’. Think about it. Is there anything or anyone on this earth that’s really worth sacrificing your happiness for? Your happiness and peace of mind belongs to you and an abusive (and probably toxic) individual will not care about this at all. Here are some signs of an abusive relationship:
When the love is too intense – There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be swept off your feet but what a lot of women do is ignore any signs and focus entirely on how they feel about the man in their lives. Feelings are important, yes, but don’t forget that there are men out there who will come on way too strong in an attempt to cover up what they don’t want you to find out!
The majority of men aren’t clueless. Do not let society dictate a man’s mental capabilities to you! Most of the time, they know what they are doing, so if you find yourself getting caught up way quicker than you usually would, then it’s time for you to take a step back. Imagine being in a car and not being entirely sure where it is you’re going. Naturally, you would pay close attention to your surroundings.
Don’t mistake intensity for interest. Intensity and interest are two completely different things: if something is intense, it comes with a great amount of force or strength. Intensity is what you experience when you’re at the gym! Interest is gradual! Someone who is genuinely interested in you will understand that they’re not going to find out everything there is to know about you in a day or a week. Be weary of these types of men as their intention is to hook you in completely and before you know it, a dish of changed behaviour has been served (and it’s not for the better). Stay woke.
When they watch your every move – Love is strong, love is powerful and the right love should make you feel like you can move mountains but what it shouldn’t do is debilitate you! If your partner wants to keep tabs on you, this is a definite sign of control and a lack of trust. Nobody deserves to feel like they are walking on egg shells. The moment they feel like they aren’t able to have a sufficient amount of control over you, they will resort to abuse.
When they blow hot and cold – Being in a relationship where one person is constantly blowing hot and cold can be so draining. One minute, everything is fantastic, but before you know it, you won’t have heard from them for seven days. That’s not commitment. That’s having your cake and eating it too and doing it all at the expense of someone’s emotions. Someone who blows hot and cold will also have you doubting yourself. You will feel like you aren’t good enough and then you’ll start to overcompensate with traits that you believe will stop your partner from going cold turkey from time to time. If they’re wishy-washy when it comes to your relationship, they are not for you.
When jealousy could be their middle name – There’s different types of jealousy in relationships. It’s not the healthiest of emotions, so it needs to be acknowledge and managed in a healthy way. We’ve all experienced a little bit of jealousy at some point in our lives. Jealousy can ruin relationships. What it does is indicate a lack of security. Jealous people have conditioned themselves to believe they are not enough. This lowers their self-esteem and if their partner is their best, most authentic self then every single thing around the ‘jealous being’ is a threat. I don’t believe that jealousy is caused by one party in a relationship. I think it’s something that heightens over time, so it’s all about really paying attention to the things your partner says and does. For example: How do they feel when you win? Do they take an interest in your work or creative endeavours? etc… If he’s behaving like he’s in competition with you, it is time to reconsider.
When they want to be right all the time – This echoes my earlier point about competition. Be cautious of the partner who operates on a ‘my way or the highway’ basis. It takes two people to build and maintain a relationship. It’s a union, not a dictatorship. If you are in this kind of relationship, what happens eventually is you will start to lose your sense of identity. You’ll reach a point where you’re just agreeing with your partner or just saying or doing whatever because ‘it’s what he wants’. Once your thoughts and opinions have been neglected, you’ll end up ’emotionally starved’. Another point to note about these types of relationships is that conflict is a once in a lifetime occurrence. Now, I’m not saying you should argue with your boo every day and night, but as your relationship progresses, you will have disagreements. A person who treats disagreements like they are some sort of disease is a person you should be very weary of. They can snap quicker than a flash of lightning. If you can’t be yourself in a relationship, then that relationship isn’t for you.
When they ignore your boundaries – To all the women who read Kelle’s Space, if you don’t have boundaries, I suggest you get some in place. If you aren’t 100% sure what they are, then I suggest you do some research. Boundaries aren’t as complex as they seem, and what they will do is set the standard for your relationship. It’s completely normal to have boundaries in a relationship, and someone who really loves you will not disregard them. If all your partner does is pay no mind to your boundaries, then this is huge red flag. We all have expectations and I think that it’s possible to link your expectations with your boundaries. After a few months, you should know where you stand as far as boundaries are concerned. For example, if you’ve stressed the importance of your partner letting you know when they are running late, and they don’t do this, then they’ve trampled over that boundary. Before you allow the dating stage to progress into a relationship, ask yourself if your boundaries are respected and be honest. If you choose to entertain someone who doesn’t treat you with love, care, trust and respect, you are doing yourself a disservice.
As mentioned earlier, these are just SOME of the warning signs of abusive relationships. There are so many so if you feel like you need to be in the know (regardless of whether you are with someone or not), then read some articles, watch YouTube videos or buy a book that you find appealing. Educate yourselves on what it and isn’t acceptable. Don’t compromise on your standards when it comes to romantic relationships. You deserve the best.
If you have been in a abusive relationship and your heart is hurting, you will overcome. It’s not your fault. Abusive relationships are common. If you are struggling to get over your experience, then ask your GP to refer you to a therapist. A lot of us don’t have the privilege of talking to someone we can feel completely comfortable with, and overcoming toxicity is an intensive process, which requires a lot of time and healing. All things are possible and that is why I have asked a few bloggers to share their own experiences with abusive relationships:
Jen from Just Average Jen – Domestic abuse can happen at any time, I found out that my ex had lied to me when we first met to scare me but this only came out when I kicked him out 8 years later. I never imagined it had started that early but it did. It is like a dripping tap little by little it overcomes you and you don’t even realise.
Natasha from Mummy and Moose – I left my eldest child’s biological father the day after my son turned 1. It was the single best thing I ever did for myself or my son. I couldn’t have done it without my Mothers strength or the support of my family.
Georgia from Georgia Anne – I was about 15 at the time when we started a relationship; obviously it was your typical teenage relationship and it was filled to the brim with teenage drama as you’d expect, but as time went on and we grew up, we’d stay together until I was approaching 18 and it took me until I was 20 to look back and realise I had been abused. Abuse has no age limit and what I was in, was an abusive relationship but I came out of it and grew, it’s not something I talk about a lot so being able to for your post has been a bit freeing in itself!
Have you ever been in an unhealthy relationship? What advice would you give to someone who is one? I’d love to hear what you all think of the post so please feel free to leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to like and subscribe. Thank you so much for your loyalty to Kelle’s Space xo