» Abusive Relationship |Love Matters|Saurabh’s Blog


Relationship problems
Abuse can be of any kind – physical, emotional or sexual. In an abusive relationship, there is a lack of respect, trust and consideration. Abusive relationships can be hard to recognise. Sometimes people stay in abusive relationships for years without realising they are trapped in one.

Here’s a typical case:

Neha and Sameer have been in a relationship for five years. Since she’s been in the relationship, Neha has been gradually retreating from a lot of social engagements – she stops spending time with friends and family and devotes all her attention to Sameer. Sameer is overly possessive of Neha and demands that she spend all her time with him. He gets jealous if she spends time with anyone else. Neha hates being questioned and finds it easier to be around Sameer rather than face his tirade at the end of the day. Sameer controls every aspect of her life. She finds it difficult to break away from the relationship because Sameer threatens to harm her or himself. After many years of harassment, Neha realises that she’s caught in an abusive relationship.

ARE YOU IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP?

You’re in an abusive relationship if…

  • your partner inflicts physical harm on you – like slapping, pulling hair, punching, kicking, throwing things at you
  • your partner forces you to have sex (that’s rape, also if you’re in a relationship)
  • your partner threatens to kill or hurt you or himself/herself

You should do all you can to get out of the relationship.
Signs that you are in an abusive relationship are…

  • you are constantly scared of angering your partner
  • your partner demands that you have sex in ways that you aren’t comfortable with
  • your partner is overly possessive or jealous of you
  • your partner doesn’t like you spending time with your friends or family
  • your partner demands to know what you’re doing at all times when you are not around them
  • your partner demands to know passwords to your email, phone etc.
  • your partner humiliates or mistreats you in public
  • your partner blames you for all the problems or fights in the relationship
  • you feel like your partner twists and turns the truth to manipulate the situation
  • you find it very difficult to leave the relationship
  • you hear yourself saying, “(S)He hurts me a lot, but I love him/her” or “(S)he abuses me, but I can’t live without him/her”

These are classic warning signs that you’re in an abusive relationship. If you recognise yourself in any of them, raise it with your partner if you feel this is still possible and there is room to save the relationship. But if you recognise yourself in several of them you should question whether you should stay with your partner.

HOW TO GET OUT OF AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP?

First you need to acknowledge that you don’t deserve to be abused. Feeling respected is an essential part of being in a loving relationship. If you are in an abusive relationship, it’s normal that you find it difficult to accept you are being abused. But if you feel the signs of abuse (physical, sexual or emotional), it’s time to acknowledge it and get help.

You may have distanced yourself from your friends and family due to your circumstances. The wisest thing to do is get back in touch with them. Start out by making contact safely and securely with someone you think would listen to you and whom you trust. Send them an email or have a phone conversation (again, which is safe and secure from your partner) with the trusted person explaining your situation. Share details of your troubled relationship with them. Tell them your state of mind – if you’re considering giving up on the relationship, working on it further or trying again despite having failed several times before.

If you don’t trust anyone among your circle of friends and family to help you out or empathise with you, you can look for counsellors or helplines that will offer help over the phone.

Also keep in mind that you can call the police to rescue you from an abusive relationship. Though it depends on where you live how much you can trust them and how well they are likely to respond.

If you have decided to leave the relationship, then there are some things you need to keep in mind. There’s no one way of doing this. It might be as simple as not meeting your partner any more, not answering phone calls or SMS’s, cutting contact with his friends and family – all this is possible if you don’t live in the same house as your partner.

If you aren’t sure you can handle this all by yourself, you can call the following helplines to seek help:

Mava India: http://www.mavaindia.org/helpline.html

Between Us: (044) – 32217731; Website: http://betweenus.bharatmatrimony.com/?page_id=16

Sumaitri: (011) 23710763

Sanjeevani (Qutab Institutional Area): (011) 26862222/ 26864488

Sanjeevani (Defence Colony): (011) 24318883/ 24311918

SNEHI: (011) 65978181

Swaasthya: (011) 26274690

Depression Helpline: (011) 55258383

IFSHA – Interventions For Support Healing & Awareness: (011) 26253289

ESCAPING FROM AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP

If you are married to your abusive partner and/or live in the same house as them, then you’ll have to plan more for your exit strategy. Here is a possible step-by-step guide on how to do it:

1. Plan, plan, plan. Plan which day is the best to leave – could be when your partner is away on a business trip or is going to be out all evening with friends. Find a good time to make the exit. If you have children, explain them what you’re planning and gain their confidence. It might even be a good idea to practice or rehearse leaving before you actually do it.

2. Call in someone you trust to help. You need someone to back you up in case something fails. Lay out the plan in from of them. This could be your neighbour or a trusted colleague or an old friend or relative you’re still in touch with.

3. Find a safe hiding place. Don’t leave any clues for your partner to come find you. Look for a place somewhere far from your partner to spend the next few days, weeks or months.

4. Get some money. Look at what savings you have. How many days, weeks or months can you survive with it? If you don’t have any access to money, it’s time to ask for help. Borrow from a friend who understands your situation and won’t add pressure to your already tense life.

5. Take your time to recover. Break the habit of being abused. Get back into a normal life and be around people who don’t have an abusive past. You can reach out to counselling centres and helplines to seek help too.

6. File for a divorce if you’re married. Seek legal assistance and see what you require to file for a divorce.

There are many instances in which victims of abusive relationships continue to stay on. This could be due to many reasons. The most common reason could be because you still love your abusive partner. It could also be because you suffer from low self-esteem. Because you fear what the consequences would be, what people might say about you or your family. Because you grew up in an abusive environment and can’t tell what a healthy relationship looks like. Because people around you also wrongly see abuse as a normal part of life. Or because you want to stay with your partner for the sake of your children.

HOW CAN YOU STOP BEING ABUSIVE?

Are you being abusive in your relationship? Are you being controlling and possessive of your partner? Do you want to change the way you behave, but feel like you can’t help yourself? Well, it’s not easy to break abusive patterns. But you’ve already crossed the first and most important hurdle already – you accept and acknowledge that your abusive behaviour is hurting your partner adversely.

Here are some tips on how you can assess and change the situation:

  • Find someone you can confess to, apart from your partner. This is a bold step and requires courage. But once you’ve done that, you have someone else who knows the reality and can watch out for you.
  • Find out what causes your bad behaviour. Sometimes your partner might just be a target for everything else that’s going wrong in your life. Whether that’s the case or not, find out what is causing stress and what makes you react abusively.
    Are you being overly possessive because of something that happened ages ago? Are you feeling insecure because your partner broke your trust some time back? Or is there something deeper – your troubled childhood or previous marriage? And does alcohol or drugs set off the abuse?
  • Talk openly to your partner. Once you know what is making you behave badly, let your partner know what you’ve found out. Let them know that you’re planning to change your behaviour. Get them on your side. Get their support. Tell them that you need their help to change yourself and your relationship. Ask them how they would like to be treated and see what you can do to match those expectations or come close to it.
  • Work towards positive behaviour. Once you have a guide to good behaviour, start working on it. Set personal targets for controlling your anger and stress levels. Remind yourself that being angry is a decision you make and not being angry will also be a decision you make.
  • Don’t expect your partner to be warm and welcoming. There might be years of anger piled up in them. They might not know how to react to a sudden change in your behaviour and might even view you with suspicion. Be prepared for the worst responses, but don’t let yourself lose steam.
  • Be patient. Don’t expect yourself to change dramatically in a short period of time. Don’t set yourself unrealistic goals. Patterns of abusive behaviour can take a long time to do away with.

If you aren’t sure you can handle this all by yourself, you can call the following helplines to seek help:

Mava India: http://www.mavaindia.org/helpline.html

Between Us: (044) – 32217731; Website: http://betweenus.bharatmatrimony.com/?page_id=16

Sumaitri: (011) 23710763

Sanjeevani (Qutab Institutional Area): (011) 26862222/ 26864488

Sanjeevani (Defence Colony): (011) 24318883/ 24311918

SNEHI: (011) 65978181

Swaasthya: (011) 26274690

Depression Helpline: (011) 55258383

IFSHA – Interventions For Support Healing & Awareness: (011) 26253289

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