There may be periods in our lives where we find ourselves in relationships that are no longer healthy for us or no longer fit out needs. Many of these relationships can escalate into dangerous situations for us and our children, and sometimes the ways these relationships form are slow and insidious, where we may not realize we are in a domestic violence situation until it is too late.
Domestic violence is more than just situations of physical violence. It can be emotional abuse, verbal abuse, financial abuse, or psychological, spiritual or sexual in nature. Many times more than one type of abuse is present. Domestic violence situations typically begin when one partner uses force to assert his or her dominance over the other partner. No one in a relationship should use their authority or perceived sense of power to control the behavior of the other party.
Here are some red flags that your relationship might be on its way to becoming a dangerous proposition:
- If your partner wants to move more quickly in the relationship than you do and doesn’t respect your boundaries.
- If your partner won’t take responsibility for their own behavior and blames others for their circumstances.
- If your partner tells you you are unloveable or uses derogatory comments toward you, calling you “lazy”, “crazy” or “stupid”
- If your partner has a history of being abused or being an abuser, or blames the failures of previous relationships entirely on the other person
- If your partner insists you stop participating in activities with other people or choose between them and your other friends or family members
- If your partner says one thing but then does another.
- If your partner needs to be with you or know where you are and what you are doing 24/7 and/or needs to read your emails and other correspondence, listen to your voice mails, etc.
In a real, reciprocal, loving relationship, your partner should respect you for who you are and allow you your personal space and the ability to make your own decisions. You should feel free to express yourself without fear of retribution or retaliation on the part of your partner.
Learning the warning signs of domestic violence and learning to respect your abilities and trust your instincts is important in avoiding relationships that may not be healthy for you. Being empowered to make your own decisions and voice your opinion and not allowing others to sway your view of yourself and the world around you will help you in making sure your relationships are honest, healthy and respectful.