"Our first year of marriage was hellish. We fought constantly. My new husband was not as caring as he was when we had gotten married; instead he turned cruel, moody and unpredictable. He was constantly sarcastic and criticizing. When I was upset by his negative comments he would justify them by saying he was joking and I didn’t have a sense of humor. I had a nagging feeling that my marriage wasn’t supposed to be so tumultuous. I couldn’t understand what was happening in our life. I felt so demoralized I didn’t realize he was constantly being abusive toward me. I would always blame myself and wonder why our relationship wasn’t working when I was trying so hard."
"I’m not sure where I began, but I sat in that office for three hours and told her my story. She listened carefully and made notes now and then.
Occasionally she stopped me and asked questions. At one point she stopped me and said to her trainee, “Can you feel how the atmosphere in the room has changed? There is an electric charge in the air.”
I knew I had goose bumps and was having a hard time telling my tale. I realized they were drawn into it as well.
I was coming to the end of the story of my abusive relationship. When I got to the part about my husband blaming me for the way he felt and saying I made him suicidal she stopped me.
She put her hand up as if stopping traffic and said, “Stop! I am going to have to stop you now and tell you that I cannot keep this confidential. I am going to have to report this, because I believe that you and your children are at risk if you remain in your house.” She went on to tell me that I was an adult, and if I chose to stay in the home, it was my choice, but the children would not be permitted to stay in a potentially dangerous situation.
I was stunned. Why did my statement give her pause?
She explained that my husband was obviously abusive, but when he declared he was suicidal and it was my fault, she believed it was a big warning sign. He was thinking about wanting to die and he was blaming me for his feelings. She thought maybe he felt trapped and would hurt the children and me because he was unstable. It was all speculation on her part, but she was trained for such situations and she had seen the scenario many times.
All the tension and fear that had been building inside me seeped from my eyes in the form of tears and ran down my cheeks. I knew I could not lose my self-control here and now. I had an enormous amount to do. I swallowed back the flood that was trying to erupt, and I contained my emotions. I locked them up and put them away for later. I could do what I had to do. I was strong, I told myself."
Signs of an Abusive Relationship
Abusive relationships are progressive. They do not begin with physical or sexual violence. Instead, tactics are used to gain control over the victim before hitting, kicking, biting, pushing or unwanted sexual activity is introduced. The following are signs of an abusive relationship.
- Emotional Abuse (name calling, criticizing, “joking” in a demeaning or embarrassing way)
- Intimidation (uses threats, looks or gestures to scare partner; breaking objects)
- Isolation (uses jealousy to control what partner does, who he/she sees, where he/she goes)
- Denies Responsibility (minimizes, denies or blames partner for emotions and behavior
- Uses Children (threatens to harm the children or take them away from the partner
- Financial Control (keeps partner from working or takes paychecks; demands account of all spending)
There are signs that can help you spot someone with an abusive personality. The earlier you become aware of these red flags, the easier it is to get out of the relationship. Take notice if the person you are involved with displays the following abusive personality traits.
- Extreme jealousy or possessiveness
- Pushes for quick and intense involvement
- Seems too good to be true
- Blames others for actions
- Needs to be in control
- Unrealistic expectations of the relationship
- Easily upset or angered
- Inability to respect partner's boundaries, privacy, need for separate activities or identity
- History of violent behavior
Check out the link below to read the whole article, including leaving an abusive relationship and teens in an abusive relationship.
Another site I found that had simple, easy to read information was wikihow (if you can look past the freakishly large and odd cartoon pictures). My favorite part of this article was in the recognizing deal breakers section: "Trust your instincts. While these warning signs and deal breakers are fairly definitive signs of a manipulative and abusive partner, these things can still be ambiguous, clouded by conflicted feelings, and difficult to detect. The best way to determine whether or not you're in a potentially abusive relationship? Trust your gut. If someone gives you a sinking feeling, fills you with a sense of foreboding, take it as a sign. You don't have to put a name on it to know when something just isn't right."
Read the whole article at http://www.wikihow.com/Recognize-a-Potentially-Abusive-Relationship
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship seek out help and advice from a professional, as you can see there is a lot of information to be found on the internet.
Remember, listen to your inner voice, it is there for a reason. Don't ignore it and pretend all is fine, if in doubt all is probably not fine.