Abusive Relationships

Abusive Relationships
by Bob Narindra

You'd be surprised at how many people suffer through abusive relationships… and not just women. Both emotionally and physically abusive relationships are happening with increased frequency. Abuse can take many different forms. Of course, the most famous type of abuse is physical abuse. Mental abuse, however, can be just as harmful, if not more so. Mental abuse is becoming increasingly prevalent in society. For this reason, in this article I will concentrate on how to detect and handle mental abuse.

Mentally abusive people have one goal - to destroy your self-worth. They do this by a variety of methods including, but not limited to, verbal threats, demoralization, alienation of friends and family, and by putting down any positive impulses you have.

Some examples of mental abuse are:

* Telling you that you are worthless.
* Not allowing you to have any contact with you friends or family unless cleared by them first.
* Threatening to leave if you don't do what they say.
* Making it seem like the whole world is against you with sayings such as "Everybody knows you are a failure." or "They are all talking about how messed up you are."
* Withholding good news from you about your friends, family, neighbors and associates. However, at the same time, making up or embellishing bad news about those same people.
* Putting up roadblocks to any of your own personal goals that do not involve them.
* Telling you how lucky you are to have them because no one else would love you.
* Telling you how messed up you are and how much you need to get help while, at the same time, putting up all kinds of roadblocks on you doing anything to improve yourself.

Those are just a few examples but I am sure you can see the under-lying trend. The basic tool is control. They have to have control over everything you do, who you see and who you talk to. Through this control, they are able to keep your self-worth at a minimum so that you don't leave. They also very often play the pity card:

"I will kill myself if you leave."

"I am so sorry, I love you so much."

Realize that these types of control methods are calculated to keep you around. When they feel that they have gone too far, they will back off on putting you down just long enough to make you have doubts about whether they are that bad. Once they feel more secure, the abuse starts right back up again.

The effects of mental abuse are often more devastating than physical abuse because they are hidden and there are no outward signs, such as bruises etc. that happen with physical abuse. Very often, the abused person is unwilling to tell anyone about this, which makes it even harder to spot. However, depression, anxiety, nervousness and lack of self-confidence are common results of this type of abuse.

Sometimes, however, the partner is just being overly controlling and not actually being intentionally abusive. When you are looking at a situation, make sure you look at the broad picture and not just isolated incidents. Every single person has used one or more of the methods described above at some point in their life, particularly when under stress. It is important when looking at this to look at the real long-term motives of the person in question. Are they actually being abusive, or are they simply being over-protective? If the latter is the case, then that can be handled simply by communication. Take a look at the article on handling conflicts for some ideas on how to deal with this.

If, however, it does turn out to be real abuse, then you owe it to yourself and your children (if applicable) to get out of the relationship. Don't use the kids as an excuse to stay. They are smart and probably already know what is going on. Do you want them to grow up thinking that it is ok to be physically or mentally abused?

So, what do you do if someone you know is in an abusive relationship? Well, the ideal situation would be to get them away from their abusive partner. Get them alone and talk with them about it. Start with a soft, concerned approach and make sure they know that anything they tell you is in strict confidence. Then, work out a plan to get them out of the relationship permanently. If kids are involved, you have to be even more careful as the abusive partner will use them as leverage if they find out what you are doing.

If you are in an abusive relationship talk to someone you can trust, a close personal friend or a family member. Make sure that the person you talk to is trust-worthy and will not betray your confidence. Listed below are some resources and telephone numbers of help-lines to contact. If you feel you are in an abusive relationship, get out and get help!

Source: http://www.lovingyou.com/content/love/dating.php