What does an abusive relationship look like?

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I saw a comment asking why people stay in abusive relationships and that it was their fault for marrying someone who was abusive because they knew they were abusive beforehand.  That’s not now physical and emotional abuse starts.  If you were to go on your first date with someone and the first thing they did was slap you, you would probably not go on the rest of the date, but if this same person were to hit you three months later, you might react differently then.  Abuse happens gradually over time and can happen to anyone.  I believe there are some persons who are more predisposed to abusing others because they feel inadequate about their lives and insecure with who they are.

Abuse first shows up as small signs of control where they limit their mate’s time with others, want to know where they are at all times, and question their safety.  These can have the effect of appearing caring to the other party because they think they are concerned about their well-being.  There are certainly people who do these things and never abuse any one, but those who are pre-disposed to abusing others will eventually escalate the intensity of these acts.  Soon, they will find they are cut off from their friends and family and feel as if they only have their partner to rely on.  It can then escalate to emotional abuse, where the abuser says unbecoming things to lower their self-esteem.  When the person feels like they have no one left and they are not worthy of anyone, they will be more predisposed to being abused.

It starts out with just one slap. Lots of apologies.  Maybe flowers.  Promises that they’ll never do it again, and then they accidently trip you some time.  They say you make them so angry that they punch multiple holes in the wall, blaming you for their actions.  They ask you to change who you are to suit them and their needs, but you find you can never satisfy them.  You constantly doubt yourself and ask how you got into this situation and feel even more depressed about it.  You barely see your friends anymore and when your family asks about that bruise, you lie that you ran into a wall.  You don’t want them to pity you and stop seeing them.  Physical and emotional abuse are an escalation of a system to control a person’s self-worth.  Every time you make a decision to stay, you unknowingly agree to a an even higher level of abuse to keep your self-worth low. The only way to break free is to see value in who you are.

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