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I hear phrases like these all the time from people, the media, or on social media: “I don’t know why she stayed,” “It’s her fault for continuing to go back,” “It can’t be that bad if she won’t leave,” or “There’s no way she is telling the truth about her partner, who’s the nicest, most generous person. It must be her who is the problem.”
One of the major problems with abusive relationships is that the people who are in them often don’t realize that they’re in them. These relationships don’t start off abusive. Slowly, the relationship dynamics shift and change so subtly that it’s almost impossible to pinpoint when things went from happy and loving to abusive and controlling.
Another thing is that if someone who’s in an abusive relationship does start to speak out or ask others for support, oftentimes the abuser is so well-liked and charismatic when outside of the relationship that no one may believe what the partner being abused is saying. This leads abused people to question themselves and feel unsupported, and it usually results in them continuing to stay in the relationship.
While every relationship has its ups and downs and every couple has arguments, in certain relationships those ups and downs and arguments go above and beyond what is normal and cross over into what is considered abusive and unhealthy.
How do you know when your relationship has crossed the line and it’s time to leave? Well, there are many types of abuse, so knowing them all is the first step. Each type will be discussed in this article, so by the time you’re finished reading, you will know.
When people think about abusive relationships, physical abuse is often the only type of abuse that comes to mind. However, most abusive relationships don’t start off this way.
This is often one of the last ways in which abuse is evidenced in a relationship. Prior to being physically abused in a relationship, a partner has often endured several other forms of abuse.
What’s typically heard is “Well, they haven’t hit me,” or “I don’t have any bruises, broken bones, or anything.” As if the only way they or anyone else will believe they’re being abused or even consider leaving is if there’s some physical evidence to justify it.
Here are some of the most common signs of physical abuse:
Sexual abuse is a very controlling form of abuse that’s not often thought of as abuse because sex is considered a normal part of a relationship. So, it can be confusing to know if what’s happening is abusive or not. Here are some signs to clear up the confusion:
Perhaps the most subtle of all abuses, psychological and emotional abuse can go undetected so easily, and, over time, it can undermine your self-esteem and have you feeling like you’re nothing without this person and this relationship.
You may feel that you’re lucky that this person even wants to be with you. You may feel that if you’re ever stupid enough to leave, nobody else will ever want you, and your life will be miserable without this person. You may feel that you will not be able to make it on your own. This person has you forgetting that you did have a life before them and this relationship, and that you can again.
Some signs of psychological and emotional abuse include:
This form of abuse is, unfortunately, very hidden in most relationships and can have a major impact on someone for the rest of their life. Signs of financial abuse include:
A bruise or a broken arm is not the only way you can tell if you’re in an abusive relationship. There are so many ways someone can be abusive to you. If you’re not happy in your relationship right now and can relate to some of the signs of abuse, you may be in an abusive relationship.
The good news is there’s help out there for you. While it will not be easy to leave, the truth is that you can leave, and you don’t have to do it alone. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline to talk to someone now: 1-800-799-7233.