What Are Signs Of An Abusive Relationship?

    seeing-the-signs-of-an-abusive-relationship.jpgIt's usually easier for us all to see other's problems than it is to see our own. This is especially true when it comes to seeing signs of an abusive relationship. It's much easier to spot an abusive relationship when you're on the outside looking in, than it is when we're in the middle of one.

    Read the following submission I received from a man named Scott and see what signs of an abusive relationship you can spot in his situation:

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    Hi my name is Scott. I recently (June 2013) moved in with my fiancée. But I think she can be my common law wife? She has two older kids of her first marriage. 15 year old son and a 19 year old daughter. She has a strong temper. It's very hard to adjust since I never had kids of my own. I am planning to have my first child with her though. Anyway, we both have hurt each other emotionally and sometimes physically. When we fight it's all about insults. I am the one who always apologizes, but she keeps fighting, insults, orders me around. She gets anxiety attacks when she fights. My problem was that I tried to stop her leaving the house. That's when she gets violent and throws things at the floor, uses anything to hit me, injures me. When we don't fight it's great. I want this relationship to work. We just got a new house, I got her a vehicle, some furniture. I have her very spoiled. I can't say no to anything she wants." - Scott

    So how many signs of an abusive relationship did you find?

    I think there are at least 13 signs, and potentially even more depending on how hard you look. That may seem like a lot, but actually having that many is not that unusual. Abuse in relationships is typically very subtle and in-depth in the ways in which the abuse occurs.

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    Here are the abusive relationship signs I see in Scott's relationship and why:

    • "She has a strong temper" -- One or both people can have a temper
    • "We both hurt each other emotionally and sometimes physically" -- Abuse is not always one sided or just physical
    • "When we fight it's all about insults" --Becoming verbally abusive is common in abusive relationships; notice how it gets personal and not just about the original subject of the fight
    • "I am the one who always apologizes" -- Abusive relationships typically have one person who seeks to keep the peace; one of the ways to try to do this is to over apologize
    • "She keeps fighting" -- Abusers almost always won't stop until they win
    • "Orders me around" -- Control and manipulation are common tools of an abuser
    • "I tried to stop her leaving the house" -- Victims of abuse can resort to using control too, for good reasons, but with bad results
    • "She gets violent and throws things at the floor" -- Physical aggression isn't a requirement for a relationship to be abusive, but it often occurs
    • "She uses anything to hit me, injures me" -- Physical aggression can easily turn into domestic violence
    • "When we don't fight it's great" -- People in relationships with abuse often tell themselves that the relationship is really good despite the level of abuse
    • "I want this relationship to work" -- There can be desperation, not just desire, to hold on to the relationship
    • "We just got a new house, I got her a vehicle, some furniture. I have her very spoiled" -- Trying to please an abuser with the hope that by doing so the abuse will stop never works
    • "I can't say no to anything she wants" -- Being controlled is a sure sign of an abusive relationship.

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    Scott is like a lot of people in relationships with abuse, they know something's not right, but they're not quite sure what, and they either have no idea they're in an abusive relationship, or no idea how bad the abuse really is. It's also important to note that men can be just as likely to be the victim of abuse, like Scott, as they can be to be the abuser.

    It typically takes a trained professional counselor to spot all the signs of an abusive relationship. A counselor is definitely needed to navigate the difficult path to changing or exiting one. So don't resist asking for help. It's not possible to do it alone and keeping silent is another sign you're in an abusive relationship.

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