October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and although the month is coming to a close, that definitely doesn’t mean the effort to raise awareness stops here. Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. Noticing and acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship is the first step to ending it. Below I have compiled a series of questions to ask yourself, ones that encompass qualities of relationship abuse. Whether it be physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual; no form of abuse should be tolerated. If you recognize any one, or a combination of these abusive abusive warning signs in your relationship or that of someone you know, reach out now. There is always help available. NO ONE should live in fear of the person they love.
Does your partner:
- criticize you and put you down?
- treat you in a way 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?
- follow you around or have tracking software on your phone?
- see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?
- humiliate or yell at you?
- have a bad and unpredictable temper?
- hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
- threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
- cheat on you?
- force you to have sex?
- belittle you with slanderous words?
- destroy your belongings?
- act excessively jealous and possessive?
- control where you go or what you do?
- keep you from seeing your friends or family?
These are just some of the questions to ask yourself about your partner or to ponder when assessing a loved one’s relationship. If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above – there is a problem. It’s a harsh and sad realization, but these types of behavior shouldn’t come from anyone in your life, especially a relationship partner. Someone who is supposed to love you, value you, and above all, respect you.
Many people in abusive relationships tend to bottle up the pain they’re enduring, they keep it private to maintain a certain image or to preserve the relationship because they may be afraid of what will come next. They hope and pray for the potential that one day the partner will change their ways and return back to the person they fell in love with. As much as we like to hope, there is no changing another person. Their behavior and attitude is 100% controlled by their own conscious decisions and there is no one to blame besides their own mind.
The sad truth is that the abuse becomes normalized, almost familiar to someone who is constantly being manipulated by the person they love. Often times, the partner taking the abuse, will actually blame it on themselves because they feel as if they “deserve it.” If anyone reading this article is going through something like this, I’ll be the first to tell you that you DO NOT deserve this treatment, no one does. You deserve the world. You deserve to be brought up, not torn down. Cherished, not spited. Respected, not taken advantage of. Loved, not abused.
The best thing for a person in a domestically violent relationship to do is reach out. It may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but it will be the best decision of your life. Help is available in every corner. There are people out there, maybe even strangers that would love to help you overcome this. You are NOT alone. This is what Domestic Violence Awareness Month is all about. To bring light to this subject and to remind those affected that they have support – not just in October, but all year round.
Find 24/7 support by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233