When you’re in a semi-abusive relationship, you feel like you can’t complain about the person because they have never done anything that horrible. There might have been days when you were terrified of walking through your front door, days when you had to tiptoe around them, days when you were convinced they were going to explode at you.
They have done little things over the years, like broken something you cared about when they were angry or slammed the doors until they shattered the hinges, but they have never done anything worthy of calling the cops or sending you to the hospital. They have never done anything worthy of being arrested like the husbands in Lifetime movies.
When you’re in a semi-abusive relationship, you convince yourself things aren’t actually that bad. You will get used to censoring your words and hearing the other person mumbling beneath their breath about what a piece of shit you are. After a while, it will feel normal. You won’t remember what it’s like to be treated the way you deserve.
When you’re in a semi-abusive relationship, unhealthy habits become standard. You get used to lying to avoid another argument. You get used to hiding receipts so they don’t get mad at how much money you spent. You get used to walking into the other room when they come home. You get used to hiding inside of your own home.
When you’re in a semi-abusive relationship, you feel like you are making a big deal out of nothing. The other person acts like you are being overemotional whenever you get angry with them so you stop getting angry. You wonder whether it’s true — whether you are being too reactive. So you deal with their bullshit. You let them hurt you again and again and you don’t even blink.
There will be times when you casually talk to your friends or your therapist about the things the other person has put you through and they will look at you like you’re crazy. In those moments, you will realize the way you have been treated is not okay. You will realize that you aren’t making a big enough deal out of everything that has happened.
You have trouble accepting that some abuse, any abuse, still makes your situation an abusive relationship. You don’t need black eyes and bruises to convince you to leave. You don’t need to have the worst possible thing happen to you for you to wake up.
If you need to censor yourself to avoid out-of-control fights, you are in an abusive relationship. If the other person gives you orders and punishments, you are in an abusive relationship. If you are scared of the person you should be able to trust with anything, you are in an abusive relationship.
You are not overreacting. You need to leave. You need to remove yourself from the situation because you are not supposed to be anxious around someone who supposedly loves you. You are supposed to feel comfortable. You are supposed to feel safe.