Abuse in relationships is much more prevalent than you might think. Whether it’s physical or psychological, there are many different ways that a partner can abuse their other half. Domestic abuse doesn’t have just to be hitting and fighting, and it’s often the psychological side of things that can do the most damage. Anything that makes you feel victimised or afraid can be seen as abuse, from putting you down all the time, to controlling who you’re friends with, monitoring your access to money or always checking up on you.
This is the big one: fear. Especially if the abuse you are experiencing is physical or violent in nature, there will be intense pressure on you to stay, in case you get hurt (or worse) if you try to leave. Threats of self-harm or even suicide can also cause fear in a relationship, but there is always a way out. Don’t announce to your partner that you’re leaving, save up a little money if you can and make plans to stay somewhere safe with a friend or family member. If needs be, apply for a restraining order, and even if you’re afraid, it helps to document your abuse through a diary, or photographs in case the courts get involved.
There’s always the thought in the back of a victim’s head that they can’t get help because people will think they are weak. They don’t want to go through the perceived humiliation or embarrassment of admitting that they’re being abused. But always remember that the most courageous and brave thing you can do is get out and get help while you still can. Just know that no one will judge you, or think that it’s your fault. You are not the problem.
3. Low-Self Esteem
“I’m not worth it”, “I don’t deserve better”, and “It’s all my fault” are common inner monologues for abuse victims, and it’s just not true. After years of being put down by your partner and told you’re not good enough have a psychological effect that can damage your self-esteem and make you think that you deserve the abuse that you get. No one deserves to be abused or undermined by their partner, and it’s important that you get help in any way you can. Whether you talk to a friend or get counselling, you need to know that no one deserves to be treated that way.
They may claim that they love you and can’t help the way they act, or that they only treat you the way they do out of love. It’s hard not to get swept up in these twisted proclamations of affection, but if you only get hugs and kisses after they’ve laid into you, then you need to get out of there fast. You might believe that they need you, that they’ll change or that it doesn’t matter what they do or say because they love you, but that’s a toxic way of thinking. Love shouldn’t hurt.
Another common reason that people stay in abusive relationships is that they have children with their abuser, and they feel like they can’t leave. Abusive partners often use their children as pawns in the abuse, lying to them or not letting you see them in order to gain control. When kids are involved, it’s vital that you get out of there as quickly as possible before the abuse moves on to them. Consider moving in with a friend or family member, taking your children, and seeking professional advice on how to gain full custody.
Whatever type of abuse you or a friend is suffering, just know that there is a way out. You don’t deserve to be treated this way, seek help, talk to people and get away from your abuser as fast as you can.
If you have experienced an abusive relationship in the past, you may well be suffering from severe anxiety or even PTSD as a result. I am a fully qualified hypnotherapist and BWRT practitioner with experience of helping people in this situation. If you think that I may be able to help, please get in touch with me on 07870 893226 for a free consultation.