Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone. Yet the problem is often overlooked, excused or denied. More often, this is the case when the abuse is psychological rather than physical as there are fewer concrete pieces of evidence left over by the emotional trauma experienced by the victims. When talking about domestic violence, the first step should be ensuring everyone knows how to identify an abusive relationship so they not only are able to help themselves, but others around them as well. In many instances however, the individual may be so deeply immersed in the relationship that they are unable to clearly see or read the signs that they are in a destructive and unstable situation.
As outlined in the Huffington Post article,‘You’re Not Going Crazy: 5 Sure Signs You’re Being Emotionally Abused’, here are five straightforward guidelines to help you identify whether your relationship is emotionally healthy or abusive. Whilst each relationship is different and these signs may depend on the individual context, their prevalence is worth paying attention to as possible early warning signs.
Are they supportive or discouraging?
A supportive partner respects your decisions, encourages you to try new things and push the boundaries and also share your excitement towards new life adventures and achievements. Whereas a discouraging partner may attempt to isolate you from your friends, family or work, which may leave you with nothing once the abuse intensifies.
Do they admire or do they criticise?
It may be the case that initially they admire all that you do and everything you are however it may quickly turn to criticism. Yet you have been so blinded by the compliments and generosities they once showered you with that you maintain the hope that one day their harsh words will be replaced once more with all those nice things they said.
Are they empathetic or indifferent?
If your partner isn’t there for you in tough times, it may demonstrate either their lack of care or respect for you or their inability to empathise in general, both of which should indicate warning signs.
Is the relationship chaotic?
A constantly turbulent relationship may indicate an erratic or unstable individual.
Do they take responsibility or do they blame you?
A healthy, non-abusive relationship is built on being able to understand and compromise with your partner. If your partner is unable to accept responsibility for their actions and spinning the situation on it’s head so to blame you for the problem, it may be time to take a step back and reevaluate the relationship.