Let's be honest, many women today live in an abusive relationship and are not even aware of it. They believe that what is happening to them is their fault, that they have deserved such behavior and that anyhow, this is how things are supposed to be in a relationship. Sure, there are men who suffer the same kind of abuse as well, but women are sadly still the most frequent victims of domestic abuse and violence. How can you tell if you're in a toxic relationship?
First, we need to do away with a myth that only women who walk around bruised and battered are in an abusive relationship. That is most certainly not true. Yes, a large majority of people would recognize a victim of abuse in a woman who has a black eye, a few stitches above her eyebrow, a broken bone or any other sign of physical violence. You know, the women who out of fear claim that they were clumsy and hit their head on the door or fell down the stairs. This kind of abuse is unfortunately all too prominent behind closed door, and it is the most visible demonstration of abuse.
Yet, there are other types of more subtle abuse that are not detectable at first glance. Would you say that you have ever suffered from psychological violence from your partner? Are you sure you haven't? Because it usually starts quite subtly and unnoticed. Every time your partner puts you down, insults you, yells at you, disrespects you, says hurtful things about you, undermines your self-confidence, criticizes how you look, and what you say or think, humiliates you in front of your friends and colleagues, disregards your wishes and puts the blame for everything, including his behavior, on you and you alone, he is being abusive. Often, these acts of violence take place on a continuous basis, and you somehow get accustomed to them, thinking it must be your fault that your partner is behaving towards you in such a horrible way. You try to find excuses for his behavior.
Psychological violence, mind games, blackmailing - all are a sign of violence. Physical violence is just the culmination of all that had previously been going on and you haven't noticed or reacted to it. Of course, there are men who beat their partners black and blue because they feel like it, and don't even bother with psychological torture beforehand. But then there are others who are so vicious and sadistic, that they prefer torturing their partners with insidious psycho mind games, and only resort to physical violence when they completely lose it.
Many women develop Stockholm syndrome and refuse to leave the abusive partner. Many are afraid to leave for fear of retaliation or because they are financially dependent on their partners. Too many are brainwashed into believing they're not worth anything and will fail if they ever tried to leave. Unfortunately, the system still doesn't offer the support women need when they want to leave an abusive relationship. However, that is not a good enough reason not to leave it. Abuse only escalates with time and with each passing day your self-confidence, self-respect and the feeling of self-worth are eroded. Act in time, before you're exposed to physical violence as well. Trust that you have the strength to start over and believe that you're entitled to a loving relationship. Nobody should tolerate abuse and violence.
“If we want to change the world, we need to talk about the elephant in the room. That is why I love real people who say what they mean and mean what they say. No fluff, no lies and no pretence.”