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Recognizing an Abusive Relationship

Recognize Red Flags of Abuse
Learn the red flags of a potentially abusive relationship.

When we are in a relationship, sometimes we don’t automatically recognize red flags or signs of abuse. Abuse can be verbal, psychological, physical, sexual, or emotional. It can be passive-aggressive. Many times there are red flags while dating, but they come in the form of “love-bombing” so we tend to bask in the “love” not realizing there’s a potential problem.

Red Flag #1: Love Bombing

Love bombing is an attempt to influence a person by demonstrations of attention and affection. It can manifest in the form of numerous gifts, spoiling, frequent affection, constant attention, etc. They shower, or bomb, you with flattery and devotion. This is done in an attempt to gain control or influence behavior. It is a form of manipulation and seduction used by sociopaths and narcissists.

Red Flag #2: No Boundaries.

Abusive behavior includes not having and crossing boundaries. If you don’t set healthy boundaries for yourself and stick to them no matter what, an abusive person will cross them.

Red Flag #3: Gaslighting.

A big sign of whether or not you are being abused is if you’ve been labeled as “crazy” by your loved one. This is called gaslighting. Lies are verbal abuse used to break down your boundaries and are usually pathological. If you know something to be true but is something negative about the liar, they will do whatever it takes to make you think you are crazy, that you imagined it, etc.

Verbal abuse can be loud or subtle. It is not just shouting, but also lies or insults.

Red Flag #4: Isolation from Friends & Family.

Mental abuse can be very isolating. Isolation is a sign of abuse. Mental abuse can turn you against your own logic, which can be devastating. Abusers can also turn others against you and make them see him (or her) as “the good guy.”

Red Flag #5: Physical Abuse, Neglect, or Abandonment

Physical abuse is any forced physical contact. It can be punching, slapping, kicking, pinching, hair-pulling, strangling, shoving… But it can also manifest in the form of neglect or abandonment. Invasion of your personal space or being restrained against your will is also physical abuse. Preventing access to required medical care is physical abuse.

Red Flag #6: Stalking Behavior.

It’s not even that they don’t want to leave you alone, it’s that they won’t. They must go everywhere you go. Work, home, the gym, your bedroom… you can’t go anywhere unattended. They are always watching, listening, or hovering.

Red Flag #7: Walking on Eggshells.

If you are in a constantly heightened state of fear, anxiety, fight prevention, or “walking on eggshells” with a partner, you are in an abusive relationship.

Red Flag #8: They Can Do No Wrong.

If any and every time you try to communicate about a relationship problem or one of their flaws they flip it around on you, start screaming, and you end up being the one to apologize and mend the fence… You are in an abusive relationship.

Red Flag #9: Controlling Behavior.

They control the finances, whether or not you can get a job or have a bank account. your feelings are ignored if they don’t align with your partner’s feelings. You have feelings of worthlessness, your partner makes passive insults or neglects you altogether. These are signs of emotional abuse. This can also include racism, sexism, or jokes about another ethnicity. They may even go as far as to control your weight, use of beauty products, or make little comments about your looks so that you will change them. This is abuse.

Red Flag #10: Addiction.

Alcoholism. Drug abuse. Sexual addictions. Pornography addiction. These things have a negative impact on relationships and are abusive behaviors. If your partner has an addiction, seek help.

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