1. It’s never just physical.
Do not wait for your partner to hit you before you realize you are in an abusive relationship. The moment your partner starts degrading you, calling you names, accusing you of many things – leaving you all insecure and too careful about your every move – you are already in one. Abusers can be very discreet as they’d first be targeting your vulnerability. They’d make sure to make you feel as if nobody can ever love you the way they did which would lead you to depend solely on your partner.
2. It doesn’t just occur in your romantic relationship.
I grew up in an abusive environment, but I never realized I was until I started dating and fall prey into my past abuser. Abusive relationships can start as early as your childhood. The moment you find yourself walking on eggshells towards your own family member is already a subtle sign that you are abused. This can be tough to see, because they can always play the card of being the parent or a sibling or a relative, etc. They’d always make it seem they want the best for you, so you have to pay attention to signs that ultimately show they want the best for themselves.
3. It will be a never-ending cycle unless you start to resist, but this will really a challenge.
Most victims find it hard to resist abuse simply because their security and whole persona have already been taken away from them. They start to be dependent on their abusers, thinking they’re way too damaged to be saved by those who could actually treat them a lot better. The thing about a narcissist abuser, however, is that they know exactly what to tell you for them to get you to come around. Worse, get them to make you feel and believe that it was your fault you’ve gotten hurt or treated like shit. It is never your fault, and it will never be. There will be countless mind games, and this will always be easier said than done, but not acting on the abuse will only lead you to a pit you will eventually find comfort in. You have to resist. Cutting ties in all ways possible is one step towards resisting. If you’ve done it, it’s only the beginning. Being consistent and not caving to the urges of being in contact with your abuser is the main challenge.
4. There will be a lot of relapses, and it’s okay.
Being in an abusive relationship is like an addiction. It’s hard to get away from it once you’re trapped. And one way to free yourself from your abuser, just like freeing yourself from drugs, is to rehabilitate yourself. There will be a lot of relapses. You will find yourself wanting to get back with your abuser thinking nobody will ever love you the way they did. But get this, you only think that way because they have successfully manipulated you into thinking that way. No matter how great your relationship has been, if it is abusive, it is not love.
5. It will happen.
To some people who think they’ve never been and will never be oppressed, judging the victims for being vulnerable and weak, get this – it will happen. We all get to be oppressed one way or another. It may not be in your marriage, or any of your romantic relationships, but it may happen to your other relationships – family, work, friends, etc. It is important that you are aware of the signs and red flags and boundaries. It will happen. Educate yourself. Do not be complacent.
6. You hold the power to break free.
And that will always be the good thing about it. You hold that power. It may not be easy, but you do have that power to break free from any forms of toxicity and abuse. A lot may judge you for your moves, especially the society. But know that at the end of the day, you are responsible for your own welfare first before the approval of other people. Make yourself your priority. Be your own hero before you decide to be the world’s.
7. You are not alone.
You are not. Many of us have been abused and oppressed. And talking about it with your friends or people you can trust fully is already a good sign that you are aware of the abuse and you are determined to resist it. Do not be ashamed especially now that women are choosing to speak up and tell their stories. Your own story matter, and simply sharing it with a person or two is making a difference.