Are You Being Abused?

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Abuse, by nature, is very hard to recognize. Unless or until someone physically abuses you, you were probably not taught the warning signs or ‘red flags’ of other types of abuses that are much more common and much more difficult to see. To help you recognize if you are in a  an abusive relationship, I have gathered some very revealing questions. I’d like you to think about each of these questions and answer them for yourself.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Your inner thoughts and feelings
Do you:

  • feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
  • avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
  • feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
  • believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
  • wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
  • feel emotionally numb or helpless?
Your partner’s belittling behavior
Does your partner:

  • humiliate or yell at you?
  • criticize you and put you down?
  • treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
  • ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
  • blame you for their own abusive behavior?
  • see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?
Your partner’s violent behavior or threats
Does your partner:

  • have a bad and unpredictable temper?
  • hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • threaten to take your children away or harm them?
  • threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
  • force you to have sex?
  • destroy your belongings?
Your partner’s controlling behavior
Does your partner:

  • act excessively jealous and possessive?
  • control where you go or what you do?
  • keep you from seeing your friends or family?
  • limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
  • constantly check up on you?                                                                                                       Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D

If you found yourself answering ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then I’d suggest that you consider the possibility that yours is an abusive relationship. If you walk on egg shells and live in fear of your partners responses, then you are probably being abused. A relationship in which power and control are out of balance, for example, you do all the pleasing while he does exactly what he wants while blaming you for everything that goes wrong in his life is abusive.

If you think you are being abused, what should you do? You will need to find support. Someone you can talk to who can help you sort through all the craziness you will be feeling. If you do not have anyone to talk to, then you can call the Domestic Abuse Hotline. They are amazing! I have called them many times when I was alone after an abusive episode and needed some help with clarity. They won’t tell you what to do or what to think but they will help you think for yourself. They can help you make a safety plan, find local resources and counseling. I encourage you to call them! It is completely anonymous.

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