Abusive relationships are not just reserved for romantic relationships. Professional and platonic relationships can also be abusive and toxic. The trick is learning to recognize when a relationship has taken a turn and become abusive. Often for the person being abused it’s a subtle change over time and then one day you look around and think – “How in the world did I get here?” Some people may feel helpless and like they can’t get out or away from the abusive person but I’m here to tell you you can. And the best way to do it is fast and clean. Just cut all ties with the abusive person, move on and never look back.
Remember being in an abusive relationship doesn’t happen overnight. The abuser will take thier time to earn your trust and isolate you before becoming abusive. Here’s some ways you can spot an abusive relationship.
- When you meet someone new, professional or personal, they are extremely nice to you. They treat you like you walk on water. Often times you are amazed at how great they are and you think they are extremely generous. This is commonly known as the “honeymoon” phase. It’s the time period the abuser is winning you over while at the same time isolating you without you even realizing it. They are grooming you for the pure hell they intend to put you through later. You think it’s great to have a new friend you can text and share funny stories with at any hour of the day. Little by little you stop talking to other friends and after a while the abuser is the main person you are talking to in your life.
- They are passive aggressive in how they deal with conflict. One day you make an innocent comment and they don’t like it or take it the wrong way. Instead of talking to you or asking you to clarify they shut you out. Ignore you for a few days. Then they come back and act as if nothing happened and start to showering you with attention again. Here they are conditioning you. If you do something they don’t like they isolate you, if you do as they say they reward you.
- You see them pick on other people. For some abusers it’s a cycle. They will take turns picking on people they call “friends”. You’ll see the abuser publicly shame someone for something that should be kept private. Or they will send screen shots of private conversations to others. But these screenshots will conveniently only be a response from the person they are shaming. The abusers part will be left out. In essence taking a conversation out of context. We all know when you take a conversation out of context it can be twisted and turned into something it never was. What the abuser is trying to accomplish is to isolate you even more so that you are desperate and feel you need them. This often happens when an abuser sees you starting to break free or be independent. It’s the abuser’s insecurities, jealousy and fear shining through. They are trying to reel you back in.
- When you stand up for yourself the abuser tries to hurt you. This can be physically, emotionally or verbally. The abuser will try to punish you in anyway they can. It can be by turning others against you, spreading false rumors or trying to get you removed from social groups or professional groups you belong to. What they are trying to accomplish is to break you. They want you to come and beg for them to forgive you when you’ve done nothing wrong. It’s the abusers desperate attempt to demonstrate power when they really have none. The only power they have is what you give them.
- The abuser does not encourage you during rough times. Instead they kick you when you are down or berate you. Say you are ill and cannot function this is the time a true friend would call and check on how you are doing or send a card or stop by with some soup. An abuser will take this opportunity to demand things from you and when you cannot deliver shame you. Or when you need help with something or have a question. A friend would help you solve a problem. An abuser will tell you to google it or think for yourself. See the difference?
There are various types of abusive relationships. The trick is learning how to recognize them and then walk away. No RUN away. If you try to get out of an abusive relationship slowly it’ll be more painful. When an abuser feels they are losing thier grip on you they will go crazy! They will lash out in ways you have never seen before and try to break you. Don’t let them. Hold your head high. While it may be painful and difficult for a while it will get better. Then you’ll look back and go “Wow! I never realized how toxic that relationship was!!” You will feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Your mood will improve. No longer will your perspective be half empty. You’ll start to see the world as a place of opportunities and a glass half full type of place.
If you are in an abusive relationship and need help please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline. They will help you make a plan and get out.