There have been numerous people in my life who have acted abusively. They have prevented relationships from continuing, controlled finances, hurt people I love and myself. It has been a long time since I have lived with a person who acted like this. As a result of these past experiences and my personality, I have no filter around this type of behavior when I witness it. Today, I am left out of relationships because of my speaking out about other’s control.
I write this blog in the hopes some one will read it and either prevent themselves from being abused or leave an abusive situation. Although, it does hurt to be excluded, I have a much happier life than I could ever imagine. Life does get better when you create distance between yourself and this type of behavior.
No one has the perfect relationship. It is through our connections with others we heal emotional wounds and grow spiritually. There are certain warning signs to be aware of in relationships that cross the line into unhealthy interactions. Trust what your body is telling you when your mind is confused. If the relationship you are in leaves you feeling exhausted, confused, helpless, hopeless, overwhelmed, angry or anxious on a regular basis, seek out support. Whether you begin with a licensed psychotherapist or a trusted confidante, find someone who is comfortable, safe and stable to share your experiences with.
It’s all roses
Every new relationship goes through a honeymoon phase, where everything feels wonderful. Oxytocin, the cuddle hormone is flowing. You feel seen, loved and acknowledged. As in all phases, this too must end. In a healthy relationship, there is a period of adjustment in which you accept the other person’s perceived flaws. In an unhealthy relationship, the partner sees these human imperfections and attempts to change you into who he or she wants.
Some of the warning signs:
1. Isolation– Your partner wants to be the center of your world. You are told specifically or it is implied to not have relationships with certain people.
2. No boundaries or space- Your partner takes up all or a majority of your time. He or she decides where you will go and who you will hang out with. When you spend time with others without your partner, you receive numerous texts, calls and messages from them. They say it is because they love you but it is a way to keep tabs on you, as a reminder of their presence.
3. You don’t engage in your hobbies or interests- Your partner decides which activities are important, not what is important to you. He or she discourages any event, unless they are a part of it.
4. The put downs- You are criticized on everything from how you look, to how you think and do things. Pretty soon you question your own judgment and abilities. This self esteem damage leads to learned helplessness where a person feels he or she can’t leave the relationship.
5. They make you dependent upon them- This can be done through controlling your finances or you depend upon them physically to take care of you. Some people create a psychological dependency in which you need to ask their permission to do anything.
6. Threats- Be aware of emotional manipulations such as; If you don’t_________, I will __________. When there is an increase in arguments and conflict, abuse quickly escalates. Just one past instance of violence, sexually or physically, can give you the feeling you need to walk on eggshells. Remember, one instance of physical, sexual or emotional violence is not okay, ever.
7. You are love bombed again and again. After a period of abuse there is a return to a honeymoon phase. You will hear apologies and promises, yet nothing changes. This time you want to believe it will be better and different because this is the part of the relationship you love. The problem is, this stage does not last and soon it returns to more abuse.
There is hope and there is help. If you are in an abusive relationship:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7/365 at 1-800-799-7233
National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline 1-866-331-9474 or 1-866-331-8453 (TTY)
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Lisa Hutchison LMHC is the Amazon bestselling author of Setting Ethical Limits: For Caring and Competent Professionals. Lisa is a licensed psychotherapist, who has created a unique program to help compassionate people, who get emotionally, physically and spiritually drained; rejuvenate and protect their energies. Get her FREE Gift 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos from Your Life Now!