WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP?
By Guy Stuff
Recognizing the signs of abuse in any relationship can be tricky. While some signs are always there, depending upon the type of abuse and your vantage point they can be difficult to see. For instance, it’s easier to see them from the outside than it is from within the relationship. The victim and abuser always have the hardest time spotting them, partly because it seems normal to them.
A helpful way to look for signs of an abusive relationship is to separate them into two categories – outward and inward signs. With physical abuse the signs are often outwardly evident, but not always. Bumps, bruises, and broken bones anyone can see. Fear, however, is an inward sign that no one can see until it manifests in outward behavior.
Abuse signs are often intentionally hidden. Bruises can be covered over with clothing and explained away. Red, swollen eyes from crying can be hidden with sunglasses or just by avoiding in-person contact with people. These are also most often the signs of an abusive man, yet women can abuse too, just typically in different ways.
Emotional and mental abuse signs can be much harder to spot because they’re more inward than outward. Responses like anxiety or fear can be explained away as having another cause. As a result, the person suffering the abuse, and those close to them, often don’t realize they’re in an abusive relationship. The signs of an emotionally abusive relationship are also much more subtle.
Outward Signs of Abuse
- Bumps, bruises, finger or finger nail marks
- Repeated physical injuries that are down played as just being clumsy or silly accidents
- Shying away from or discomfort with brief physical touch (hugs, pats on the back, handshakes)
- Withdrawal from family, friends or social situations
- Depression or anxiety
- Vocalized apprehension about making your partner angry or displeasing them in some way
Inward Signs of Abuse
- Needing permission from your partner to talk, offer an opinion, or agree to social engagements
- Feelings like you’re stupid or worthless
- Concern about bringing up topics because of the reaction from your spouse or partner
- Not feeling loved even though your partner says they love you
- Feeling like you’re walking on eggshells around your partner never knowing what response you’ll get
- Depressed about your relationship with your partner
- Anxiety over doing anything wrong, especially things within the relationship or household
- Feeling like you don’t deserve anything good, to be happy, or any type of praise
If you think you see some of these signs of abuse in your relationship or someone else’s whom you care about, then it’s time to get help. Abusers won’t usually stop without outside intervention, usually from a professional who can help them recognize their behavior, the damage it’s doing, and learn why they do it. There are many resources available. Counseling can help and can be invaluable for both the abuser and the person being abused as it can help them gain perspective and guidance in how to get things to change.