Before we begin we want to bring a few items to light. The first is that this is an emotional and touchy subject. Secondly, we are a law firm, not a therapist or couple counseling center. This means that we are not trying to give relationship advice, rather our goal is simple, to help you notice signs that you may need help. And last but not least, signs of abuse can be subtle and can grow over time. Men and women can both suffer from physical, mental or emotional abuse and the symptoms can gradually become worse. Below are some of the common attitudes and behaviors that abusive partners tend to show or participate in. If even one person that reads this article is able to save their life or end a circle of abuse it was well worth our time to write these words.
Signs your relationship has become abusive
- Your partner begins to isolate you from family and friends. – Perhaps at the beginning of your relationship, it was kind of cute to see the other person get a little jealous of a close friend or co-worker. Perhaps over time, those little quirks become an unjustifiable means of control. One sign that things are not as they should be is if your partner does not allow you to maintain close relationships with anyone else.
- They manipulate your emotions and make you feel guilty – As we look at emotional and abusive relationships one of the key signs is how that person makes you feel. Do they yell or fight with you for doing things that they themselves do on a frequent basis. One example is fighting with you for spending a little money on yourself, yet they never stop to ask permission to buy a new item for their own enjoyment. Another example could be controlling how you spend your free time vs. how they spend theirs. If they are free to see friends whenever they wish, and you are stuck doing house chores all day long, something might be wrong.
- You are belittled or made fun of constantly – There is a big difference between couples “playing” or “joking” and someone who is constantly bringing you down. In many cases, people are insulted for a variety of reasons and these comments are simply passed along as jokes. Remember that it is easier to control someone who feels worthless or undeserving of love. While a strong and confident person is unlikely to put up with being treated in a poor manner.
- Physical threats or actual violence begins to take place. – Utah is, unfortunately, no stranger to domestic violence. In fact, our home state experiences 1 murder each month that is related to a domestic violence issue. Hitting someone is never an acceptable response to a problem. No one should live in fear of being physically attacked or punished. It is especially important that physical abuse is addressed immediately when children are involved.
What can be done about your situation?
This is just a small glimpse into what an abusive relationship can look like. It is such a personal matter that it is difficult to list all items that can be applicable to your situation. The largest take away is to remember that the signs of abuse are not always as clear as bruises or scars. It is likely that things have gradually gotten worse over time. If you are unhappy with your partner or your living situation take a moment to reflect on where things are compared to where they were when the relationship began. Perhaps you have found yourself in a situation where counseling or marriage therapy has run its course to no avail. Or even worse, you are in a dangerous situation where you fear for your safety or the safety of your children. Regardless of your situation trust that our family lawyers are here to help. Whether you need a simple legal separation, restraining order, or even full custody we are just a phone call away.
Should you be reading this article outside of Utah we recommend contacting a local law office in your area for help.
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