“In a healthy relationship, vulnerability is wonderful. It leads to increased intimacy and closer bonds. When a healthy person realizes that he or she hurt you, they feel remorse and they make amends. It’s safe to be honest. In an abusive system, vulnerability is dangerous. It’s considered a weakness, which acts as an invitation for more mistreatment. Abusive people feel a surge of power when they discover a weakness. They exploit it, using it to gain more power. Crying or complaining confirms that they’ve poked you in the right spot.”
― Christina Enevoldsen, The Rescued Soul: The Writing Journey for the Healing of Incest and Family Betrayal
RULE NUMBER 1.
LOVE YOURSELF MORE!
By loving someone else more than yourself, you are jeopardizing losing yourself when all hell breaks loose. You put yourself at risk to get hurt beyond measure, you put yourself at risk for feeling like you lost your entire world and life once they walk out of yours. Don’t do it!! Learn to love genuinely but don’t put your partner on a pedestal. Have balance, mutual respect, and trust in your relationship. No need to make yourself second in the relationship.
RULE NUMBER 2.
STAY AWAY FROM GENDER ROLES.
We are living in the 21st century, no reason why females should be responsible for cleaning and cooking, no reason why only males should be responsible for mowing the lawn. You are no one’s slave, nor are inferior to anyone else because you are a different gender. By treating each other as equals you decrease the opportunity to become inferior and responsible to certain duties. Remember your spouse should be your best friend, not your maid or handyman.
RULE NUMBER 3.
HAVE ZERO TOLERANCE FOR DEROGATORY COMMENTS.
I’m not going to lie, I have been a victim to this. Most of the time, brushed it off as a joke, most of all just viewed it as their insecurity or their problem more than myself being the problem. Luckily I’ve always had a really strong self esteem thanks to my mom but there have been times I’ve had my feelings hurt. At one point my ex was under the influence and he tried his best to hurt me verbally. I’ve learned over the years that’s not love. Regardless of what excuse they give you, make sure you are aware of this as unhealthy behavior.
WARNING SIGNS YOU ARE DATING AN ABUSER:
#1 SIGN: JEALOUSY.
Just because your spouse feels jealous, it doesn’t mean they love you. In reality they are feeling guilt or not worthy of your love and fear you will find someone better. Jealousy is a reaction of someone’s insecurity and the need to feel possessive over you in order to not lose you, making it not your choice but theirs. Therefore jealousy is the complete opposite of love. If we love someone we want them to be happy, regardless of where they want to go or be with. This insecurity can lead accusing victim of flirting or cheating. Jealousy is NOT cute, it’s DANGEROUS!
#2 SIGN: CONTROLLING BEHAVIOR
They try to control what you do, what you wear, where you go, what you say, who you talk to. They will say, Don’t say that or people will think x, y and z. They will say, don’t wear that or you others will think you are a slut. No matter what you do or say, it’s never right. You are constantly under criticism. You have no privacy. You are forced to show all your messages, emails, and actions, otherwise you are viewed as if you are hiding something. Manipulating the situation, making you feel untrusted and guilty for any friendships that might not appeal to your spouse, because of their insecurity.
#3 SIGN: VERBAL ABUSE
They will have a short temper with you, and will burst out in insults towards you, trying to destroy your self esteem. They will belittle you and your ability to succeed. They will try to find any thing that you become sensitive to and use it against you, trying to break you. By using you as their punching bag, they will feel powerful, which they need because internally they feel like a “loser”. Abusers lack self esteem.
#4 SIGN: OBJECTIFICATION
They will treat you really good at first, making you feel beautiful, special, entangling you deep in love with them. Be weary of men who try to put you on a pedestal at first. This is a sign of bad behavior to come. Their admiration, will become possessiveness, and objectification, leading to non consensual sex as they view you as their “property, aka theirs”. Most victims are raped within their relationship. Post relationship, this can lead to stalking or revenge actions.
#5 SIGN: CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
Ugh…This one is heartbreaking because there’s no one to defend the animals. If they loose their temper and get very violent and aggressive with an animal, by kicking it, throwing it across the room, or punching it, please WALK AWAY FROM THAT RELATIONSHIP ASAP AND CALL ANIMAL CONTROL! I feel bad for women in abusive relationships but at least they have a choice and voice, animals don’t.
#6 SIGN: CONTROLS ALL FINANCES
One way to keep you put in their control is by removing your sense of stability, income, and freedom. Don’t ever let your partner control your money. Have a shared account for bills and also have your personal bank account. This is your ticket to freedom if the time comes and you need to escape.
#7 SIGN: ABUSER ISOLATE YOU AWAY FROM FRIENDS AND FAMILY
A good way to keep you under their control is to push you away from anyone who can be a support group for you. They will use all the excuses to make them seem bad and like the best decision is to move away from them. DON’T DO THIS! This is one of the biggest moves abusers make and can lead to homicides.
#8 SIGN: SABOTAGE OR OBSTRUCTION TO WORK OR ATTEND SCHOOL
This move makes them feel superior than you. Trying to keep you at home, and away from any opportunity that could lead you from leaving them because they feel incompetent in real life. This is unhealthy behavior and some people might see this as love but it’s not. LOVE IS WANTING YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER TO SUCCEED AND MOVE UP IN LIFE. If your partner is trying to hold you back, this means they are insecurity in themselves as a provider and loving partner.
#9 SIGN: ANTIQUATED ROLES OF WOMEN AND MEN IN THE HOUSEHOLD
Once again stay away from gender roles. This is a tool for an abuser to use against you and make you inferior to them, allowing them to have the upper hand and say, as if they own you. They will have expectations, rather than a shared household environment.
#10 SIGN: HARASSMENT AT WORK
They will constantly text you or call you at work. They will make sure you attend to their messages or calls, otherwise they will accuse you of doing something wrong. They will show up at your job unannounced, pressuring to go out to lunch with them after you express you are too busy. They will ruin any peace you might feel at work, with their pestering messages. They cannot let you feel like you are away from them, therefore they make sure they are very present in your life, even if it’s in a negative way.
If any of these signs spoke to you, please walk away from this toxic relationship, and if you feel like you need help to do so. Please seek help. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) now. Available 24/7.