The recent tragedy between Rihanna and Chris Brown has left many people scratching their heads. How could someone as beautiful as her get into such a relationship? How could he do that to her? Why would she put up with it? Why did she go back to him? Abusive relationships are difficult to explain in a simple article. Their dynamics are complex.
Abusive relationships don't start out that way. Most abusive relationships start out with candy and flowers, courting and romance. The abusive slips in, slowly and maliciously. It may not seem so obvious to the person in the relationship that things are getting out of hand because they have slowly progressed to that point over time. How can you tell if you are in an abusive relationship before someone gets hurt? What are some of the warning signs?
You might be in an abusive relationship if:
- You're afraid to break up with them
- You feel tied down, like you have to check-in or account for your whereabouts
- You feel afraid to make decisions or bring up certain subjects because the other person gets too mad
- You are afraid to contradict them
- You tell yourself if you just try harder and love your partner enough that everything will get better
- You find yourself crying a lot, being depressed or unhappy
- You find yourself using more drugs or alcohol to deal with the anxiety or fear in the relationship or to numb yourself out
- You find yourself worrying and obsessing about how to please your partner and keep them happy
- You feel like you are walking on eggshells all the time
- You find the physical, verbal, mental or emotional abuse is getting worse over time
- You are being cut off from family members and friends more and more
- You partner makes decisions about where to go or what to do with little or no input from you
- You are being belittled and called names when the two of you are alone
- You are being embarrassed and humiliated in front of others, or your partner talks about you as if you are not there
- You are having sex that is forced or rougher than you prefer
- You find the intensity you had in the beginning of the relationship quickly waning
- You are being treated like a servant by your partner
- You are prevented from having access to your own money or the family's money
- Money is used to control and manipulate you
- You are made to feel guilty about the children, being told the children need a two parent home
- The children are used to relay messages between you and your partner
- You are being threatened with having the children taken away from you
- Visitation rights are being used to harass you
- Your partner minimizes the abuse, tells you it didn't happen or that you are crazy
- You are feeling intimidated by your partner when they hit objects, abuse pets, brandish weapons, or verbally threaten you
If you are feeling this way in your relationship, talk to someone. Call a domestic violence hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Talk to a friend or family member you can trust. See a counselor or mental health provider. It's important to deal with this before you get hurt. Love should not be about fear.
If you have children, it's even more important to get help. If a parent allows a child to be hurt by their spouse and stays in the relationship they can now be charged with failure to protect in many states. Children also learn their relationship patterns from their parents. If you are being abused, you are teaching your children to either; 1) be abuse victims or 2) be abuse perpetrators. You probably learned this pattern by watching your own parents. This cycle of abuse that is handed down from generation to generation has to stop somewhere. Let it be with you.