Relationships are beautiful and complex because they are, in essence, a declaration of one’s feelings for another. A declaration that says you want to be with someone, that you want to be committed to each other. While that is the ideal perception of what a relationship should be, it does not always reach or take on these romanticized notions we have attributed to it.
Some relationships take on the failings of our shortcomings, replacing a bond of love with one of pain and abuse. This is a heartbreaking and unfortunate reality for a staggering amount of people, irrespective of gender, all over the world. Many are stuck in relationships that once seemed pure but now are corrupted into ones that leave them subject to physical, sexual, emotional, and mental abuse.
It is at times easy for an outsider to look at such relationships and wonder why the abused party/individual does not leave the relationship and save themselves. The sad truth is that there are dozens of reasons why such an individual would continue to stay in such a relationship. Reasons can range from fear of their abusers, being financially dependent on them, or clinging to the desperate hope that they will change.
Ultimately, there are many reasons why someone would remain, often held back because they do not know what to do, either for themselves or for a friend that might be in such a relationship. If you currently find yourself in such a relationship, or even if you think you are in one, please keep reading to learn what you can do to get the help you need.
Recognize the Signs
The first step, to begin with, is to recognize the signs that your relationship is an abusive one. Only once you have admitted it to yourself for what it is can you start to face it head-on. To get to this point, you will need to start recognizing and learning the signs of your relationship and how it is abusive.
What constitutes an abusive relationship often gets narrowed down to physical abuse, which manifests through sexual and/or physical violence. But abuse is not limited to being purely physical, as abuse can also manifest as verbal, mental, and emotional abuse. These forms are more subtle and, consequently, are easier to dismiss or to be less critical of.
Verbal abuse can range from consistent and incessant usage of vulgar, demeaning, or derogatory words targeted at you and are meant to devalue and trivialize you. Or they can become more subtle, appearing only as constant remarks about your intelligence or dismissing anything you think or feel as they deem your idea to be stupid or flawed.
Emotional and mental abuse often comes about as a result of either being subjected to physical or verbal abuse. Both forms of abuse cause us emotional harm as we desperately try to rationalize or figure out why we are being targeted. The abuse also causes emotional pain as one struggles to cope with the fact that someone they thought they could love and trust is now the same person who seems to delight in causing them pain.
The impact this has on one’s emotions can, in turn, lead to mental stresses and wounds that manifest as anxiety, PTSD, depression, lack of self-image, escapism, and other traumas. Even if you are not going through this, do keep these signs in mind if you know of a friend who is stuck in an abusive relationship.
Reach Out and Speak to Someone you can Trust
After knowing what the signs are and accepting the relationship for what it is, you can start to address it. The next step would be to reach out and speak to someone you know you can trust and who will always be there for you. This can include your friends and family, or it can even include registered professionals such as psychologists, social workers, or even departments within the police force.
The sad truth is that one’s abuser will seldom be willing to change their ways, admit to their abuses, or allow the abused to try and escape their situation. It is due to this fact that you can seldom try to hold any form of meaningful dialogue with them. This is especially true for physical and sexual abusers, but there is some room when it comes to verbal or emotional abusers.
The reason is that their actions might stem from wounds that were inflicted onto them as children and, as such, have room to heal and change. However, this should not be used to make them the victim or to absolve them of their transgressions and abuses.
Having established this, you will want to gather a supportive network around you built from those you can trust, communicating with them to help remove you from any toxic environment you might find yourself stuck in. In particularly dire situations, you might need to get the police or the courts involved. Your top priority should be to protect and save yourself, relying on those around you to support you.
Should you Save the Relationship?
Some relationships and marriages can be saved, as videos such as this one show us. But other relationships, the ones which are only filled with pain, cannot be saved, and you shouldn’t burden yourself with trying to do so.
Many abused individuals remain in abusive and toxic relationships because they believe it will get better or that they can somehow fix the relationship and convince their abusers to stop.
This is a ploy employed by abusers to ensure they are still in control and hold the power. These types of relationships should not be saved, and you should only focus on ending them and getting yourself out.
Escaping abusive relationships or providing meaningful advice to those wanting to end one is a difficult but purposeful endeavor to undertake.
This short article could only touch on some of the advice we can offer to abuse victims and survivors. Because of this, we strongly encourage you to keep reading up on what you can do in such a situation. We also cannot encourage you enough to please reach out and inform someone of what you are going through. There is strength in numbers, and this should not be a fight that you have to fight alone.