How to identify an emotionally abusive relationship

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Relationship abuse is a pattern of behaviour people use to gain and maintain power and control over their partner. Many people assume abuse means that physical violence is happening, but that’s not always the case! Abuse comes in many forms – especially emotionally. 

Emotional abuse can be difficult to recognize. Sometimes, people mistake intense jealousy and possessiveness as a sign of an intense feeling of love. Threats, as well as constant intimidation, intentional putdowns, controlling behavior, and betrayal,  are all harmful forms of emotional abuse that can really hurt.

You’re in an abusive relationship if you begin to see these red flags;

  • You are afraid of your partner; you’re constantly walking on eggshells around him/her. You are always on guard and don’t feel that you can predict their behaviour.
  • Your partner always hits you physically in any way, including slapping, pushing, grabbing, shaking, smacking, kicking, punching and even holding down during arguments. 
  • Your partner tries to take total control of your life, such as how you dress, who you hang out with, what you say and how you spend your money. 
  • Your partner frequently makes you feel unworthy or intentionally embarrasses you especially in public.
  • Your partner threatens to harm you or to harm themselves if you leave the relationship. 
  • Your partner twists the truth to make you feel you are to be blamed for their actions. 
  • Your partner stalks you and always demands to know where you are at all times. 
  • Your partner constantly becomes jealous or angry when you want to spend time with your loved ones (friends and family). 
  • Your partner makes unwanted sexual advances that make you uncomfortable or even make you feel guilty or immature when you don’t consent to sexual activities.
  • Use other people as resources to investigate your life. For example, looking at your facebook page through someone else’s page or getting close with your friends in order to get more information about you.

Life is hard, but life is made even harder when you have someone in your life that is making you feel like you’re not enough or that you’re failing at what you’re doing.

Remember; emotional abuse is never your fault. If you don’t think maintaining the relationship is worth it, or your partner seems unwilling to change, you might have to end the relationship.

Whatever you choose to do, remember, nobody deserves to be abused, especially at the hands of a supposed lover. 

Talk to someone you trust, like a parent, friend or teacher, about the situation and make a safety plan.

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