Written by: Robert R. Cassman
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and we wanted to offer a series of blog posts on this topic.
There can be many signs or “red flags” that a person is in an abusive relationship. If a woman is being beaten or sexually assaulted that is an obvious form of abuse. But there are also some more subtle ways that abuse can occur. If you feel as though you never know which “version” of your partner you will get from one day to the next, or you feel as though you have to “walk on eggshells” to prevent his next “blow up” then you may be in an abusive relationship. I say “his” because the overwhelming majority of domestic violence perpetrators are male. Here are five common signs of an abusive relationship:
- If your partner is constantly belittling you, humiliating you (especially in public) and purposely going out of his way to degrade you, then you may be in an abusive relationship. Does he purposely embarrass you in front of others?
- If you partner views you as an object or a piece of property that he owns you may be in an abusive relationship. Another form of this is when you are treated like a pet or a child, requiring his “permission” to act or even speak. When you are in a group, do you feel as though you have to be quiet to ensure you don’t say something that isn’t “allowed?”
- If your partner restricts your access to anything outside of him, his or the house you live in you may be in an abusive relationship. He may go out of his way to prevent you from talking to friends or your family. He may restrict your access to the money or even keys to the car.
- If your partner is excessively jealous and is always checking up on you, you may be in an abusive relationship. Each encounter with the opposite sex may trigger not only verbal assaults but even physical assaults.
- If your partner blames you for his own dysfunctional behavior, you may be in an abusive relationship. The abuser loves to say “if you hadn’t….I would never have had to…” The abuser is allergic to responsibility, so he places it on you.
Finally, the predominant factor to think about is the way the perpetrator controls: fear. If you are living in fear of your partner’s temper or anger it probably is time to seek help. In addition to enrolling in counseling, there are domestic violence shelters. The national domestic violence hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-SAFE(7233). Barren River Area Safe Space (BRASS) can also be reached at 270-843-1183.