Are You In An Abusive Relationship? Last week I wrote about unhealthy relationships and red flags or warning signs that should not be ignored. As a Marriage Counselor I work with couples who are in relationships where they are either unaware of the red flags or are in denial of the abusive behavior they are receiving from their partner for whatever their personal issues are about remaining in the relationship. Observe what is happening between you and your partner and trust your intuition. If you are in doubt about what is right or wrong get clarity from someone you trust.
Here are some abusive behaviors no women should tolerate in a relationship – courtesy of Dr. Christine Murray:
1. Excessive jealousy. He doesn’t trust you, and he doesn’t recognize you as an empowered woman with the ability to make your own choices. It’s not enough for you to choose him over and over again. He wants to control you.
2. Frequently losing his temper around you. It’s not a little character flaw, and it’s not a sign of deep passion (you can have that without the temper tantrums, believe me). A hot temper can quickly become a dangerous situation for you.
3. Frequently checking up on you. This is different from checking in with you, which is a healthy habit for couples. Checking in is making contact to express affection and wish your partner a good day. Checking up is when he tries to keep tabs on where you are and who you’re with at all times.
4. Trying to keep you isolated from friends and family members. Does he pile on your mom when you complain about her? Does he complain when you want to go out with your girlfriends?
courtesy freedigitalphotos.com and David Castillo Dominici
5. Trying to limit your personal choices, from how you dress to how you spend your time. Emotional abuse is always about power and control, Dr. Murray says. “Any words or behaviors that seek to minimize one person’s value or worth could potentially be indicators of emotional abuse.”
6. Shaming or insulting you. This is not okay! And if he says you just need to get used to his “sense of humor,” that’s BS. He’s the one who needs to learn how to treat people respectfully. A good man who loves you wants you to feel great about yourself, not lesser-than.
7. Telling you you’re blowing things out of proportion or blaming you for his abusive behavior. Those are forms of manipulation. You don’t “make” anyone hit you. There is nothing you can do to deserve abuse. If he says he’s just joking around but you feel hurt or threatened, it’s still unacceptable. Don’t trust a man who won’t take responsibility for his words and actions toward you.
8. A shove or a slap. Gripping your arm too tightly, pulling your hair out of anger, causing you any physical pain or trying to restrain you physically. “Abusive relationships often do demonstrate a pattern of escalation, meaning that the abuse may start out as less severe and become more severe over time,” Dr. Murray warns.
9. Rape. It’s important for all women to know that rape is any sexual contact against your will — even if you’re married. Being in a relationship or a marriage does not entitle anyone to sex whenever or however he or she wants it.
Dr. Murray states “It’s important to remember that even the very first incident of physical violence in a relationship can be very severe and dangerous.” “So that’s why we need to take threats of violence and escalating emotional and psychological abuse very seriously.”
As a Licensed Marriage Counselor I strongly recommend getting professional advice from a counselor sooner rather than later. The more forthcoming and honest you are with the details of your relationship, the better they’ll be able to help you figure out your best course of action.
If you want more information on what healthy relationships look like or if you’re concerned about some of these abusive Red Flags happening in your relationship, please call me at (858) 735-1139 or contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).