Knowing the signs can save them.
The biggest problem with abusive relationships is that they can be masked. I’m pretty sure, in fact, that when people saw my ex-husband and I, they never assumed our relationship was in any way abusive. But it was. Constant disparaging and tight-fistedness with the finances, I never really felt welcome or at ease in a relationship that almost broke me.
Abusive relationships don’t always translate into black eyes or fear. Sometimes, they manifest themselves in subtle ways that will slowly eat the victim up from the inside without them even realising. But, as a third-party, it’s easier for you to spot some of the signs. In fact, it was a family friend who once approached me in confidence to tell me that she didn’t like the way my husband spoke about me… And she was right.
So, what are the signs to look out for?
Anxiety – Does your friend shut down the minute you mention anything about their partner? Do they seem ill-at-ease when they realise they need to tell their partner something that might anger them? Do they make them feel unloved, unwanted or crazy? If you spot any of these signs, then be aware that this may run deeper than you think.
Words – Words are incredibly powerful, so listen out to what your friends say, how they describe their partner’s behaviour, and how their partner speaks to or about them. Does their partner constantly belittle them or make fun of them? Also, look out for things that are left unsaid, which can sometimes be as telling. Is your friend’s partner unfazed by your friend’s achievements? Do they ignore your friend in public, leaving them feeling embarrassed?
Actions – Jealousy and control go hand-in-hand, and they often translate into actions that raise eyebrows. Does your friend receive loads of phone calls every time they’re out? Do they limit your friend’s finances, use of car, or outings? Do they constantly make them feel guilty about things?
Physical – The most obvious signs are physical. We all hurt ourselves accidentally from time-to-time by bumping into things or being clumsy, but does your friend constantly have bruises? No one’s bothered about having a bruise on their arm from bumping into something, but when it’s the result of abuse, they might try to hide it.
The truth is that there are times when abuse may seem invisible, but the telltale signs are always there. Always.
Are there any other signs you can think of which may indicate that someone’s in an abusive relationship?
Let us know in the comments section below.