When you are new to a relationship and inexperienced in the concept of love you tend to be unsure of what to expect and what is okay versus what is not. You get conflicting messages from movies and media along with conflicting stories from friends.
I dealt with emotionally abusive and controlling relationships without realizing it. Once I did, I was so far invested in it that it was hard for me to finally break away.
Here are some signs of an abusive relationship that may seem to be loving and cute on the surface but really are red flags of behaviors that no one should tolerate.
1. Always asking you where you are and who you are with
Initially, this may seem like the person you are with is really curious as to what is going on with your life and missing you. However, there is a fine line between curiosity versus keeping tabs and progressing into controlling your moves. Asking every now and again is okay but asking nearly every hour is not okay. Especially when they get upset that you didn’t ‘okay’ your next move with them or tell them exactly where you are at each point of the day.
2. Calling in rapid succession over a short period of time
You missed their call at 3:30PM and you don’t look at your phone until 4:30PM. If you have an outlandish number of missed calls and it is not an emergency, that’s a problem. They may tell you that they missed you ‘just that much’ but that level of ‘missing’ isn’t healthy. There should be respectable boundaries. In one of my relationships, the constant calling was because they were insecure–the other one was because they needed to know where I was because they were cheating on me.
3. Whenever you argue, you get a gift
They said something that was out of line or did something that you both know is wrong and unacceptable, the next thing you know you receive some kind of gift. It can range from a stuffed animal to jewelry, food, or some other token. Wow, they really care! you think to yourself. However, it’s simply a form of manipulation when it happens frequently. Refer to “What’s Love Got to Do With It” outlining the relationship between Ike and Tina. He always came to her with a gift after he did wrong didn’t he? It’s almost like conditioning your mind to associate a negative with a positive.
4. Seemingly positive things are mentioned along with something negative
“I love how you look without makeup,” a seemingly innocent statement, right? But when it comes along with. “You have makeup on, who are you looking good for?! You know I love you without makeup so obviously you aren’t doing it for me.” Is not positive or healthy. Especially when it turns into a big argument.
If you like how you look with makeup, you shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about wearing it. Moreover, it shouldn’t be used to make it seem as if you are trying to look good for others. This can make you feel like you have to go without makeup to prove yourself to the other person. For some, makeup is what makes them feel their best and when you aren’t allowed that it makes you feel bad about yourself and feeds into less confidence.
5. Tells you that they want you all to themselves
It can be endearing to hear someone say they want you all to themselves but it becomes another thing entirely when they force you to ignore or let go of relationships with friends or family.
If you argue whenever you try to spend time with family or friends, or feel like you have to prove your love by ignoring important relationships, that is not okay.
A majority of the time keeping you from friends and family is a way they can continue to treat you badly without the notice of others. Moreover, it adds to the feeling that you do not have support outside of them.
One of the biggest red flags:
“I can’t live or imagine my life without you.”
If the person you are with is threatening suicide or acts as if they cannot function without you, it is not healthy. It serves as a tactic to make you feel guilty if you leave them even though you should. It can also make you feel responsible for their well-being and feel more inclined to stay in a less than ideal situation.
Here are some additional less than loving signs you may be in an abusive relationship:
- Your partner eats at your self-esteem and self-confidence to the point where you feel like you’re such a hot mess.
- You are made to feel like you should feel privileged that someone is with you.
- They make it seem like no one else would want you.
- When you argue they tend to throw things or destroy things important to you.
- You are made to feel like the problems in the relationship are solely your fault.
It can be hard to get out of an abusive relationship. Mostly because you get to a point where you are in denial or you make excuses for your partner’s behavior. Your self-esteem and confidence are lowered to the point where you feel as if you deserve this or that your partner is the best you can get. It can especially be hard if you have been isolated from friends and family who can support you. Understand that no one should be treated this way no matter who they are, what they look like, their orientation, or societal status.
If you believe you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there are hotlines and other resources available to you to get help. I have listed some below.
Abuse Hotline 1-800-799-7233
I hope this helps the move toward the love you or a friend truly deserve.