Abusive relationships can happen to anyone. Regardless of age, race, income level, or gender, anyone can find themselves the victim of an abusive partner or family member. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more than 10 million men and women are physically and emotionally abused each year in the United States.
Abuse can take on many forms, so it’s not always easy to label. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the main thing all types of abusive relationships have in common is that the abuser is trying to have more power and control over the person being abused. Abusers use physical violence as well as mental and emotional manipulation to gain power over their partners. Here are some of the ways to tell if your relationship is abusive.
1. Your partner controls what you can and can’t do. An abuser may keep you isolated from your friends and family. They may seem overly jealous and text or call you too often. He or she may also control money.
2. Your partner puts you down. In a healthy relationship, your partner supports you and makes you feel good about yourself. Emotional abusers often tell their victims they are stupid, no good, and not physically attractive. They may embarrass or humiliate you in front of others.
3. Your partner blames you for everything. According to your partner, everything that goes wrong in his or her life is your fault. This is a sign that your partner is not emotionally mature, and that they are gaining power by manipulating you into feeling guilt.
4. Your partner destroys property. Everyone gets angry now and then, but anger that often erupts into physically destroying objects, such as punching holes in walls or breaking dishes on purpose, is not normal. According to an Orlando domestic violence attorney, this shows your partner has a lack of physical control.
5. You’re afraid of your partner. Do you look forward to seeing your partner, or does dealing with them fill you with dread? Physical or emotional fear of your partner is a sure sign of an abusive relationship.
6. Your partner physically or emotionally forces you to have sex. Many abusers use sex as a weapon. Anyone who forces you to have sex with them by using guilt or physical means is an abuser.
You have the right to a safe relationship that makes you feel good. If you are in an abusive relationship and live in the U.S., you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline for support at 1-800-799-7233. Victims of physical abuse may also benefit from a consultation with a criminal attorney.