Abuse can sometimes be a hard thing to distinguish, especially if it isn’t 100% obvious that it’s happening. It can be true what they say, love is blind. You could be told time and time again by all your friends that you ‘need to get out of there’ or ‘get rid of them’ but until you see it yourself or wake up from whatever fairy tale romance that you think you are in, it is impossible to get out.
As a woman who has experience abuse both physically and mentally in relationships, I have compiled this list of signs so you can recognise them yourself.
1) Physical Abuse – This is actually one of the most obvious ones. If he/she harms you in any way whether they beat you or restrain you with such a great amount of force that it leaves bruising in the shapes of their fingertips… get the f*ck out of there. Even if they tell you that they won’t do it again… trust me, they will. It’s a lie.
- Will affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in their lifeti
- Leads to, on average, two women being murdered each week and 30 men per year
- Accounts for 16% of all violent crime (Source: Crime in England and Wales 04/05 report), however it is still the violent crime least likely to be reported to the police
- Has more repeat victims than any other crime (on average there will have been 35 assaults before a victim calls the police)
- Approx. 400 people commit suicide each year who have attended hospital for domestic abuse injuries in the previous six months, 200 of these attend hospital on the day they go on to commit suicide
Do these statistics alarm you? They should but if you thought you were alone out there, you definitely aren’t.
Hotline numbers: 0808 2000 247 24 (Women’s Aid and Refuge) and 0808 801 0327 (Men’s Advice Line)
2) You can’t wear what you want – You may not think this is one but it is. You have every right to wear what you want and if your partner thinks it’s okay to take away that right then they just aren’t worth you.
If you find yourself being told that “you can’t wear that because it’s too revealing” and they “don’t want other people looking at what is there’s” then you 100% have a problem on your hands. If your partner views you as less of a human and more of a piece of their property then how can you stay with them? You’re a person, not a purse pooch.
3) You can’t see your friends anymore – Yes, it is good to spend time with your partner but trust me, your friends need you too. If you start to realise that you can’t see your friends alone or at all then that’s also grounds to get out of there. They need to be able to trust you.
This one will usually need to be pointed out to you by your friends before you notice it. Your friends will more than likely try and include you in plans but it can only go so far before they give up on trying to help you at all because you just won’t listen.
I also can guarantee that they will probably see their friends more often than you see yours but they will complain when you just want drinks with the girls. “Don’t get drunk when I’m not there with you because I know what you’re like” is often where it starts. This mainly happens when you go out and you are known to drink a lot… party hard or not at all, am I right? The thing is with this statement is that your partner is automatically assuming that people will take advantage of you when you go out drinking and they will claim to be “protecting you”… nope! They are in fact just voicing what they would do. If they don’t trust any man not to take advantage of you then chances are that that is because they would do it themselves.
4) Sexual Abuse, Assault and Rape – This can still happen when you are with your partner. You still have every right to say no if you want to. One of the worst things anyone has ever said to me is “We only have sex when you want it, what’s the point?” – How about so I don’t get raped?
They also aren’t exactly gentle with delicate parts of you and can cause permenant damage to you. If they treat you like this then you definatley need to get help. It won’t stop if you let them get away with it and just because you are in a relationship with someone, it doesn’t give them rights over your body.
5) Everything will always be your fault – It’s not. They just like to make you think it is. If anyone has ever seen the BBC Documentary “Murdered By My Boyfriend” (which by the way is based on a true story), there is a line that is repeated by the abuser… “look what you made me do.”
You didn’t do anything. They chose to hurt you but understandably you will more than likely think that it is your fault just because they told you it was. That guilt can often be hard to shake.
This can also happen during arguments, especially when they are the ones in the wrong. They will try and make you feel like it’s your fault and accuse you of doing similar things, even if you haven’t.
6) Guilt tripping – This one is something I have dealt with from more than one of my exes and has certainly lead to some stupid decisions on my part. They will use mental health against you, whether it is your own or theirs.
If you try to leave they’ll tell you that they are going to harm/kill themselves.
If you do leave – THEY WON’T DO IT- but instead they will try and tell you the same thing again when you try and move on.
They will do everything they can to try and make you feel like you belong together, some may even ask you to marry them with an expensive ring just to keep you quiet. That’s another thing… they will try and buy your affections and if you still reject them after they spend money on you for things that you never asked for then you apparently “used them for money” or they try and make you feel bad by saying things like “I always made sure you had everything you wanted.”
7) Your emotions are everywhere and you can’t figure out why – You know you are being emotionally abused when this happens. You can be happy and then all of a sudden things change. Your partner has changed (only you haven’t figured this part out yet). You find yourself loosing sleep with all the anxiety and stress you are under and it will be because some of these things in the list are happening to you. You just need to sit back and look at your relationship before you can know that that’s what’s happening. You will find that you become more angry and upset, leading your behaviour to become more like that of the abuser. That’s where the cycle of abuse* is starting to form, but it is breakable. You don’t have to end off that way.
*Cycle of Abuse – This is the cycle that leads the abused to become the abuser, it is more commonly associated with child abuse rather than domestic abuse but it is still relevant. For Example in the film Tyrannosaur (*spoilers*) the victim murders her abusive partner despite the fact that she was originally and innocent character. [I do apologise for using film examples but it is a very hard hitting film and does make a lot of valid points about abuse.]
8) Constant calls, texts and accusations – This one bugs the living daylights out of me. You will feel suffocated and untrusted in this one. You are probably at work or in some form of educational establishment and this will happen. You will have constant calls, texts… sometimes to your friends too and they will make out like they are just “worried about you.” Yeah… mate… calling me 15 times because I had a nap when I had a migraine isn’t caring or considerate at all.
When you don’t answer these calls you will more than likely be accused of cheating on them which leads me on to the next point…
9) Cheating – 9 times out of 10, when someone doesn’t trust you without good cause it is because they are hiding something themselves. They will get caught by you and they will try and spin it on you, claim its a “misunderstanding” or tell you that they “love you and will never do it again.” Of course, they will.
I have also known women who go through this repeatedly and sometimes their man will blame them for “not giving them any” , “not satisfying them enough”, “not being experimental enough” or sometimes they even blame it on the way the girl looks.
Coward’s escape route, if you ask me.
10) They don’t go quietly- All abusive relationships will end at some point but they will never go quietly. You will have rumors about you, you will be accused of everything under the sun because they want to make you look like a bad person.
They act like they are just doing things because they “love you” or because they “care” when in fact you are the one left losing sleep while it ends and they are out partying with their mates and sleeping with hoes and all you keep doing is checking your phone because you are too used to the constant texts. You are the one who can’t lie down and sleep and for what? To get accused of sleeping with anyone who you’re friends with and getting told you moved on too fast when you haven’t done anything wrong. You haven’t been near anyone else but they still think you have just like they thought when you were together. Even if they were the one lying to you in the first place but you couldn’t talk about it because they’d bring up some boy you went to school with and accuse you all over again to cover their tracks.
I for one are still dealing with the repercussions of past abusers. I still have damage and scars, physically and mentally. But I’m going strong. That’s what matters. If I know in my head that I am better then I am and that’s all their is to it but no one talks about this stuff. No one really tells you what to look out for but do yourself a favour and listen to your friends. It might save you from years of pain, torture, hospital appointments and councilling.
Also, don’t tell yourself that you need to wait for the right time to let them go so that they will go quietly. I tried that. There’s never a good time.