If you find yourself asking this question or if others have expressed concerns it is possible that you are in an abusive relationship. There are some patterns and warning signs that could be indicators of an abusive relationship. Be cautious if your partner:
1. Is excessively controlling to supposedly protect you
2. Separates you from family and friends
3. Flips from sweet and charming to mean or cruel
4. Lacks empathy
5. Controls all of the finances
6. Is extremely jealous and possessive
7. Blames you for their temper outbursts
8. Controls your choices
9. Controls your access to phones and devices
10. Attacks you verbally or physically
11. Threatens to harm you, others or themselves to control you
12. Insists on always being with you or monitoring you
13. Is hypersensitive or constantly playing the victim
14. Hides their insecurity behind a superiority act
15. Is cruel to animals or people
16. Is extremely arrogant and demanding
In general, men tend to be more violent that women. But not all men are more violent than all women. It is important to recognize that men can be victims of abuse as well as women and that women can also abuse men. It can be extremely difficult for men to admit that they have been abused. They may feel even more shame over this than women. It is critical to understand and accept that no one is ever to blame for the abusive choices of another.
People often feel intense shame after being abused. They may be worn down until they accept the abusers message that they are to blame for the abuse. They may have come to believe the abuser’s message that they are unlovable, stupid, ugly, defective and that no one else would want them.
Pay attention to what your intuition is telling you about your relationship. You may be tempted to make excuses for your partner and to hope that things will improve. But if your instincts are telling you something is not right, it might be time to listen and come up with a safe way out. Ask yourself, “If I stopped protecting my partner, how would I feel.” Often I hear such excuses for the behavior of their partners, “but he is really a good person;” “she has had a rough life;” or “I want the person I dated back, he was so generous and sweet.”
If you are unable to set healthy boundaries with your partner, you may have to remove yourself from the relationship in order to protect yourself. Know that you are worth protecting and that in time, through self-compassion you can and will heal.