Age makes no difference when it comes to relationship abuse. We tend to think that abusive relationships generally happen to the young because they are naive and do not have enough experience in relationships to know better. Many older people will have stayed in abusive relationships for many years, and there are others that may have got into an abusive relationship after losing their spouse through divorce or death. This is a time when many are at their most vulnerable and make decisions based more on desperation than what is best for them.
Abuse in relationships can come in two forms: Physical and Emotional. There are relationships in which the other partner inflicts emotional pain to the other. This type of abuse is emotional. However, there are also relationships, which are underlined with physical pain or violence. This form of abuse is labeled as physical.
Often a combination of physical and emotional abuse can happen in a relationship. It can be said that abuse is present in a relationship when one person endeavors to take dominance over his or her partner’s life in many or all aspects using fear, force, pain, intimidation, shame or guilt.
The perpetrator of abuse can be a man or woman and the abuse can happen in homosexual or heterosexual relationships. The following 10 signs can be a determining factor whether yours is an abusive relationship.1. Dominance. The abuser finds satisfaction in being in-charge of the relationship. This can be accomplished by depriving the other partner the right to make personal decisions and other matters that are relevant to their lives, relationships and family. Frequently, the abusive partner acts as dictator and expects the other partner to obey without questions.
2. Possessiveness. If the partner makes baseless accusations—such as cheating, lying and flirting—against the other partner, then such over possessiveness may result to abuse if left as it is. Also, incidence such as getting jealous when the other partner spends time with his or her friends, family, relatives and co-workers can be a breeding ground for abusive relationship.
3. Intimidation. It is common for the abuser to use intimidation to force the other partner into submission. Examples of intimidation tactics include but not limited to making threatening gestures, destroying properties, hurting the pets, breaking things in front of his partner.
4. Humiliation. In an emotionally abusive relationship, the perpetrator uses humiliation to hurt the emotions of the other partner. For the abusers, it gratifies them to see their partners enduring emotional pain or turmoil. It satisfies them when they successfully get their partners to feel worthless and that no one else will love them.
5. Freedom Restricted. To make their abuse effective and long standing, abusers usually want to keep it a secret. This means to say that they often impose restrictions on their partner’s freedom. At times, the victims are seen less and less during friend’s outing or family gatherings. In extreme cases, they are locked in their home or a room to prevent them from going to out to seek comfort or help from someone else, or prevent them from attending school, work or to escape.
6. Undeserved Punishment. When a certain request is not granted, the abuser may punish their partner by giving them the silent treatment or verbally and physically abuse them. There are also incidences when intimacy or sex is deprived as punishment.
7. Denial and unwilling to take the blame. Abusive partners never admit that they have been wrong. In fact, they justify their abusive behavior as suitable to their partners for the mistakes that the former believe their partners have committed. They also blame everyone else except themselves for their abusive behaviour.
8. Threats. Threats such as killing their family members, friends or pets are very common tactic used by abusers. It can even go as far as threatening to kill their children before they—the victims—are killed.
9. Mood Swings. Often, the abusers have mood swings from being aggressive and physically abusive to being meek and apologetic particularly after the abuse has initiated.
10. Superiority. Beside dominance, the abusive partners are always right. Their partner’s opinion does not matter. For them, only their word has real value.
If this sounds like your relationship you may need to get help before things get any worse.
By Vanessa Tabor