It can be hard to analyze a situation when you’re involved in it day-to-day, especially when you’re emotionally involved in it and even more so when it’s a situation which plays an important role in your life, such as a key, personal relationship.
If, however, something doesn’t feel quite right, if you’re not happy in a relationship, then you have to work out what the problem is and see how it can be fixed. Many relationship problems can be fixed, where there is the desire to do so on both sides, but your own physical safety and mental health should be your top priority at all times (along with those of your children if you have any).
With that in mind, here are 3 signs of an abusive relationship.
Unreasonable lack of trust
Let’s put this in context. If you have done something to hurt your partner, then they may have good reason not to trust you and the more you hurt them, the harder you will probably have to work (and the longer you will have to wait) before you win back their trust. If, however, you have not behaved unreasonably to your partner and yet they express distrust towards you, then this is a concern. It may well be a sign that they have been hurt in the past by someone else, but they should not be taking this out on you.
An unreasonable lack of trust can also lead to isolation, so if they display signs of wanting to cut you off from your family and friends or they try to control your freedom by depriving you of your phone or car then this is a clear sign that there is no trust in the relationship, which could lead to abusive behaviour down the line if you start to challenge their lack of trust.
Controlling behavior can stem from a lack of trust rather than a desire to dominate, but it is still inappropriate. At a low level, controlling behavior can be masked as genuine concern, for example, calling your work to check that you have arrived safely. Again, this needs to be put in context, checking on your welfare is one thing, but more extreme signs of controlling behavior like checking the mileage on your car, asking to see receipts or screening the calls or texts made from your phone is unreasonable.
Does your partner have a genuine reason to be worried about you? If they do, then fair enough, but if they do not, then there is an issue to be dealt with. At a higher level, controlling behavior can reach the point where it literally takes over a person’s life and can become life-threatening.
Humour is very subjective and most definitely a matter of taste, it should, however, never, be aggressive, meaning it should never reach a point where it makes someone feel uncomfortable. There are some instances when a joker could reasonably be given the benefit of the doubt, provided that they stop their jokes when you make them aware that they are upsetting you. If however, they flip the situation around and blame you for your lack of humor and not seeing the joke, then the doubt can be removed and the situation classed as abuse.
In some cases, however, the only reasonable interpretation of a joke is that it is a thinly-disguised form of verbal bullying. For example, anything which carries a threat of violence is not a joke, it’s a threat, even if it’s followed by “just joking”. Similar comments apply to sex games, if your partner breaches the boundaries of your comfort zone, then you should let them know and they should stop if they don’t then this is abuse.