Too often when someone speaks of abuse/domestic violence people think of the physical aspects, which yes is abuse, but there are many forms of abuse and sometimes the person on the receiving end doesn’t even know they are being abused as it isn’t what they believe abuse to be.
If you are wondering if the relationship you are in is healthy or abusive here are some questions to ask yourself.
Am I always to blame?
All healthy relationships are a two-way street. Give and take, compromise, compassion and understanding of each other’s needs are normal. What isn’t normal is when you are doing all the giving and your partner does all the taking. Living like this is exhausting.
Things go wrong in all relationships, but when your partner is blaming you for all that goes wrong and makes you feel guilty even for something you haven’t done and never apologizes to you when they do something wrong or hurtful then they are making themselves the victim and making you out to be the bad person every time.
Do they bully me?
If your partner uses every opportunity to put you down either alone or in front of people and then laughs and says “it’s a joke don’t be so sensitive” they are acting in a derogatory manner, and this is bullying and is a form of emotional abuse and far from acceptable.
They are making fun of you which makes you then doubt yourself and whether you are enough, trust me you are enough and worth so much more than your partner is trying to make you believe.
Is our sex always consensual?
The fact is we are not always going to be in the mood 24/7! If your partner isn’t willing to accept this and guilts you into being compliant or even force the situation whether in a relationship or married it is ‘rape’.
Sexual abuse is sadly a common form of control used in abusive relationships and many believe it is not a crime as they should do what their partner wants of them and that includes doing things that they are not comfortable with.
Are they trying to control me?
Are they jealous of you and tell you that how you behave is not okay? If they are telling you what to do with your time, money and who you associate with this is a form of abuse, as it is taking your free will away.
You are not someone to be caged and controlled by any means. You are not a child; you are more than within your rights to make your own choices. This is not in any way referring to big decisions as all couples discuss such things, I’m talking the small stuff here, and if you get to the stage where your partner is telling you what to wear, what to eat, who to see then you are being controlled.
Are they gaslighting me?
If your partner is denying something happened when you know it did, and telling you that you imagined it, you are being gaslighted. They are playing mind games with you and attempting you change your perception of reality.
If they are trying to convince you that you are going crazy and that you need help but only the help they can provide and not professional help, this is a clear indicator they are gaslighting you. They will never want you to seek professional help as to do so would have them shown up for what they are doing to you.
Am I allowed to speak up?
If you are not allowed to have your own opinion and disagree with your partner’s view then this is another form of control. No one can agree with their partner all the time, a difference of opinion is healthy despite what they may be trying to tell you.
If you find yourself changing your opinion to them just to keep the peace then this is abuse and you are having your free will stripped away from you and your mental health will suffer.
Are we equal partners?
When making decisions as a couple it is healthy to discuss and think things through together, but when your partner makes all the decisions without even discussing them with you then you have a problem.
Both parties’ opinions matter and should be considered. We no longer live in a society where the man is the head of the household! In a healthy relationship, you are equal partner’s and the days of being submissive are over unless in the bedroom and that is only then on a mutual agreement!
Do they always respect me?
There is nothing worse than having your partner interrupt you whilst you are talking and if this happens frequently this is mental abuse, as they are making it clear your thoughts and opinions are of no importance.
Ask yourself does my partner encourage me in what I do, do they want to see me excel and grow into who I could become if the answer is no then there is no respect in your relationship.
Am I scared of them?
I know this seems an obvious one, but this one creeps up on you in an abusive relationship, there is no sign of it in the beginning. It is a side effect of all the other things we’ve talked about above combining into fear of your partner.
If you find yourself shaking when your partner is near you or you are too scared to say something to them this is abuse, as no one should be sacred to tell anything to their partner, it is time to pack your bags and understand that this relationship is not what you need.
Have they ever been physically violent?
Any unwanted physical contact is abuse. Have they grabbed you, pushed you against a wall, raised their fist, kicked you, hit you, taken your personal space away then yes, it’s abuse!
Don’t believe the “I’m sorry” “I won’t do it again” they will, and then they will claim you made them do it.
You have the right to be safe in your relationship at all times, if not then its time to leave the relationship for your own sake and mental well-being.