I just experienced the first moment I realized I was in an abusive relationship. This time around. I have had similar realizations in past relationships, but each has presented itself uniquely. I’ve began reflecting on why I have ended up in this situation repeatedly and how I, as an intelligent, emotionally aware person can progress so deeply into a relationship before realizing I am the victim of emotional abuse.
Yes, we are talking about emotionally abusive relationships instead of physically abusive ones. Many people cannot grasp how women repeatedly subject themselves to physical abuse in relationships, including myself at times. Hopefully this list helps to bridge the gap between “girls who take a lot of shit from their boyfriends” and women who stay in situations where they are battered.
Hopefully it also prompts others to reflect on their own relationships and recognize if they are in a position where they are being abused – or perhaps being the abusive party. After battling bouts of depression, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness for months, it is extremely empowering to identify the cause of those feelings and realize it’s not me.
I could go on and on about what’s wrong with my relationship, how this issue has manifested itself with each individual who has wronged me, and what happened in my childhood to make me this way, but this is Thought Catalog and here we’re all about short posts and lists. So, if I haven’t lost all of you somewhere in the five paragraphs of solid text, here are five signs you may be the caretaker in an emotionally abusive relationship:
1. You do not want to see your partner upset. I suppose no one wants this, but some people will sacrifice their own emotional well-being for that of another person. If you internalize or absorb pain to keep your partner happy, you are being manipulated and abused emotionally.
2. You are always wrong, even when you aren’t wrong. You apologize first, and come to believe you are at least partially responsible for all conflict, even if you are 100% innocent or correct.
3. You avoid conflict. This is a direct result of #2, because conflict means a fight, which you will inevitably end up taking full responsibility for. So even if something irks you, you keep your mouth shut most of the time.
4. You Explode. This, is a direct result of #3 and is not pretty. Eventually you get tired of holding everything in and let it all out. It doesn’t always happen, and there are other paths that #3 can lead you down.
5. You get called “crazy”, “psychotic”, or something similar if you even suggest that your partner is wrong. Everyone knows bitches be crazy, so maybe you even start to embrace it a little. This may not be a direct result of #4, but a #4 is sure to lead to a #5.
6. Depression, Anxiety, general emotional distress. Your relationship is good sometimes, maybe even most of the time. But that’s only because you internally bear the weight of all of its problems, to avoid external conflict. You attribute these feelings to your own personal issues, because things have been going well in your relationship and the other party is happy.
There are many forms of emotional abuse in relationships and I have described my personal experiences with the form I most recently encountered. Each person will treat you differently based on their own unique personality and things will progress differently as our past experiences influence our actions. As soon as I recognized that I was in this situation, the healing process started.