But, are you ignoring the red flags of a potentially abusive relationship? Are you viewing your partner with rose-colored glasses?
Most women who find themselves in abusive relationships are repeating patterns from their own history or family history. They don’t heed the warning signs, because they assume the familiar behavior is a normal part of relationships.
Abusive partners can be very tricky. Some entice women by assuring how committed they are, which can be very appealing. If you’re really needy within a relationship, you’ll explain many things away so you can stay in that relationship.
Do you have a bad gut feeling? That’s one of the first warning signs. Don’t try to talk yourself out of the feeling. Don’t try to justify your partner’s bad behavior. If you’re embarrassed to tell your family and friends about it, that’s a good sign you have a red flag on your hands.
Early volatility is not a demonstration of passion. Neither is obsession. Expressing love too quickly or insisting on seeing you every day in the early stages of the relationship may seem sweet. It may also be a warning that your new lover is very possessive.
Over-protection may come across as chivalry. Are you feeling limited by the protection? Are you being kept away from your friends? Is he making comments about your appearance? Is he keeping your from activity? The change may be gradual.
The first six months of a relationship tend to be the courtship and honeymoon periods. Abusive individuals try to ensure your commitment before showing their true colors. Verbal abuse may creep in, chipping away at your self esteem.
Some women settle for an abusive relationship, because they feel they can’t find anyone better. The abusive partner makes her feel worse about herself. The abused woman invests so much in a relationship that it’s hard to cut losses. It’s time to view the relationship like an outsider. Would you want your best friend to stay in a relationship like this?
Learn to trust yourself again. Move slowly in your next relationship. How do you feel about this person during the courtship? Take some time to think between dates. Hone your intuition.
Extracting Yourself From an Abusive Relationship
First, make a list of safe people you can contact. Consider a domestic violence hotline, friends, family members and attorneys as you plan your exit. You may have to dart at a moment’s notice if things become physical. Keep these numbers handy.
Second, pack a bag in case you must flee. Include essentials, medications and daily necessities. Have all of your documentation handy. You don’t want to try to make that plan when you must exit.
It takes a few weeks to plan, but you must be prepared for crisis. Your personalized safety plan will help you. Be prepared to disconnect from this person and end telephone and email communication. Don’t let him try to talk you into coming back or staying.
Can Your Abuser Change?
In many cases, the abuser comes from a transgenerational cycle of abuse, oftentimes witnessed as a child. Abusive individuals may actually feel sorry but return to the behavior. They lack the problem solving skills to resolve stress in other ways.
The motivation for change must be greater than the impulse to lash out. It takes time to undo abusive patterns. It’s best for the abuser to avoid relationships while working on correcting the behavior. This gives less opportunity to return to bad habits. Relationships can resume when the former abuser is prepared for success.
Listen in as forensic expert Dr. Judy Ho joins Dr. Pamela Peeke to discuss warning signs for a potentially abusive relationship.