Signs of abuse can be complicated and confusing to the victim, because it comes in many forms and isn't always about black eyes & bruises.
Don't ignore the signs of abuse - find out if you're involved in a destructive relationship. If your answer is YES to even a few of these 12 Red Flags listed below - read on because this is for you.
Years ago I read a book that literally saved my life. It was called "Men who Hate Women and the Women who Love them" by Doctor Susan Forward.
My Mom suggested I read it. I wasn't sure if what I was experiencing in my marriage was really abusive or not. It was all so confusing, because I wasn't walking around with visible bruises.
The back cover listed signs of abuse;
- Does the man you love assume the right to control how you live and behave?
- Have you given up important activities or people to keep him happy?
- Does he switch from charm to anger without warning?
- Does he belittle your opinions, your feelings and your accomplishments?
- Is he extremely jealous and possessive?
- Does he withdraw love, money, approval, or sex to punish you?
- Are you walking on "egg shells" and apologizing for everything?
- Does he blame you for everything that goes wrong?
My answers to every one of those eloquent questions was a resounding yes! In fact I found myself not just saying yes - but Hell Yes!!
I was stunned that the author knew so much of what was going on in my life, and was able to put it into words.
That's how I knew that I wasn't the only one - that I truly wasn't alone.
Because she described my life like she knew who I was, and what I was going through; that meant other people were dealing with the same thing.
The book hadn't been written for me - but it sure seemed like it had been.
That was a huge relief just in itself...
Here's what else was on the back cover;
If the questions here reveal a familiar pattern, you may be in love with a misogynist - a man who loves you, yet causes you tremendous pain because he acts like he hates you.
The author explained destructive relationship patterns, and the men and women that find themselves trapped in them.
Reading those impactful words, and understanding the signs of abuse was a pivotal moment in my life. It changed everything as I had come to know it.
Just like I grabbed that book off the shelf years ago, you've opened this blog and decided to read it for a reason...
Have you wondered if maybe your relationship is an abusive one?
I know I didn't understand what I was going through or how bad it really was until I read that list and said YES to every single item listed.
The unfortunate truth is that if you answered yes to even a couple of those items I listed above (let alone all 8 as I did) you are most likely in a destructive relationship.
So why should you trust me?
Because I've been right where you are today.
Filled with mixed emotions like shame, fear and embarrassment. I felt like I was drowning, had tunnel vision and I was scared to death of what might be coming my way next.
I really believed that one day he'd actually kill me.
Worst of all I felt completely alone and isolated - like nobody could ever understand how complicated it all was.
It was a world full of anger, intimidation and control.
I couldn't see how things would, or even could change for me. It left me feeling unworthy, very sad and helpless.
So the title of my blog refers to 12 signs of abuse; and I've only listed the 8 that I read on the back cover of that book years ago.
Let me explain...
The other 4 I'm going to lay out here for you, are also from real life experience, and things that seemed too important to leave out.
I've written a memoir about those 10 awful years I survived long ago.
I'm going to quote sections from my book that describe how I was feeling, and give you solid examples of what might be going on in your world too.
But first, I want you to know that you are NOT alone!
I know it feels like you are - but you're not.
There are ways to get help and find a life of freedom that you deserve.
So read on...
It's really hard to wrap your head around it all when you love someone. How can they tell you they love you, but then treat you so badly?
I also know that it's really easy to second guess yourself, and to make a million excuses for them...
But there are no excuses for abuse. None.
I really do know, because I've made them all.
My hope is that you'll read the rest of this with an open mind. Be honest with yourself and see things for how they really are.
If you're reading this because you think someone you love may be in an abusive relationship then please find a way to share this with them.
Sign of Abuse #9 - Swearing and Calling you Names
This was a daily occurrence in my life, but if it happens - AT ALL - it's a huge sign that your relationship lacks respect if nothing else.
Here's a snippet from the unedited version of my book ~
Can you relate?
I came down the hall, my purse swung over my shoulder trying to appear confident, and of course ready to go. He glanced up at me from the TV and the look that came over his face was dark and instantly angry. "Well, well...look at you," he spat the words sarcastically.
Chad stood and came towards me with a smirk I would dearly have loved to have wiped off his face with a slap. "Since when do you dress like a whore to go out with our friends?" I brushed off his words like they meant nothing to me, and said as calmly as I could manage, "come on, I thought you were ready to go?"
"I'm not going anywhere with you looking like a fucking tramp, and where the hell did you get those clothes? You certainly can't afford them with that shit hole job you have, and you better not be spending my hard earned money" he continued to rant.