Everyone is an expert when it comes to abusive relationships. Those who say it’s easy to pack up and leave someone who hurts and mistreats you have never been in an abusive relationship. They clearly don’t understand that it’s not as simple as that. What they fail to see is that the person who is abused has been manipulated, isolated, and made to believe that they are not worthy of anything. The only person who will take care of them is the very same person who inflicts all forms of anguish on them. Breaking free isn’t going to be easy because the victim first needs to realize what is happening to them and then gather the strength to do the unspeakable.
A person could never lay a finger on you, but still have hurt you. Even physical abuse begins and ends with mental abuse. Here are some clues to help those recognize what is happening:
The abuser has to have control over you. They will tell you what you can or can’t do, who you can or can’t be friends with, what you can or can’t wear, etc. When you don’t listen to them, then they say things like “You don’t care about me” or “You have no respect for yourself”.
They make you feel crazy because they are constantly toying with your mind, words, and emotions twisting things in their favor.
The abuser is constantly putting you down. “You’re stupid”, “You’re ugly”, “No wonder no one likes you”. They will say these things to lower your self-esteem so that they can control you. They are not true, but you end up believing them.
You constantly feel guilty for things you shouldn’t be.
The abuser is obsessed with themselves. They don’t ever concede to you or give you what you need. Instead, the focus is on them unless it is negative and then all focus shifts to you.
The abuser sees your family and friends as your biggest problems now. The abuser will make you believe that they are the root of all your issues and to cut ties with them. This is done so that no one can talk you out of this manipulation.
One thing an abuser will never do is accept blame. The blame is always put onto the victim or other circumstances. “I wouldn’t have hit you if you had just listened to me”.
Most of the time you will be the one doing the apologizing, but when the abuser apologizes it is to keep you enticed and believing they care.
You cannot go anywhere or do anything without the abuser tagging along. They will make a big stink about you doing something without them and with people not approved of.
It is absolutely okay for the abuser to do whatever they want, but you cannot do the same thing. For example: they can spend money, but you cannot.
You know that what you’re experiencing isn’t right, but you keep making excuses to accept the bad behavior. There is all kinds of warning signs that you see, but choose to ignore.
The abuser can physically harm you, but they can also control your physical actions. All of a sudden, you’re doing things that make you uncomfortable and wouldn’t normally do.
Now that you see all the different warning signs of an abusive relationship, you can also see how a person could easily get consumed by a toxic person and the lines get blurred. Now, they are unsure of themselves and don’t know what to believe. Even if they do realize it, they are scared to do anything about it because of the fear of the unknown. They have no family, friends, money, or a place to stay. If they were to leave, they don’t even know what they would do. They would have to start over and reinvent themselves.
- Stand up for yourself. Slowly, but surely you’ll find your voice. Stop being pushed around and put your foot down.
- Reconnect with family and friends. Be sure to apologize for the pain you’ve caused and reiterate how much they mean to you. Nothing beats a good support system.
- Do things for and by yourself. Something as simple as going for a long walk by yourself can refresh your soul in so many different ways and help clear your mind.
- Stop forgiving peoples’ wrong doings. If they wronged you, don’t let them freely walk back into your life. Close the door on toxic people.
- Stop blaming yourself. Many have been through this and sadly you won’t be the last. You simply have to learn from this and teach others about it.
- Reach out to others. Talk to people about what you’re going through and get opinions on the matter.
- Protect yourself and loved ones. File reports with the police and get restraining orders. It may not be a bad idea to get mace, stun gun, or other self defense weapons.
- Hide your money. Stash away your extra cash and don’t tell anyone about it. It’s a way to save up for your way out.
- There are shelters and other programs in place to help those in these types of situations. Seek help and more information from them on what you can do and how to get help.
Some are not as fortunate as you are so act now and do what you can to take care of yourself. Getting out of an abusive relationship and on the right track will feel so freeing no matter how scary it is to take that leap of faith. Starting over is exactly what is needed for you to be free and happy.