"He Always Puts Me Down - Am I In An Abusive Relationship?"
“He’d text me all the time. Initially, it felt good, felt like being wanted. But soon it all came crashing down. Constant patrolling over my whereabouts gave me anxiety issues. Eventually, I preferred staying home with him. That way, I’d not have to deal with the calls and texts.”
This is a real-life experience shared by a SHEROES community member and her story echoes the behavioural patterns in some relationships around us. What many women don’t realise is that they aren’t healthy and are, in fact, examples of emotional abuse. Another member shares her story -
“He’d put me down in front of our friends, make fun of my achievements and then apologize later. He’d do cute things like bringing flowers for me, to make me forget everything. The problem, however, is that he didn’t want anyone else to love me. He would even get envious of my relationship with my parents!”
Emotional abuse is defined as "any act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth." When continuously subjected to such behavior, it can result in mental and physical disorders too.
Healing out of an emotionally abusive relationship is the second step to recovery, the first being what to do while you are still living with your abuser?
Here are some steps in the right direction.
1. Recognise Patterns
Abusers often display patterns of control, humiliation and isolation. They may limit your freedom, be constantly keeping tabs on your meetings and whereabouts, or reject you and ridicule you by putting you down, fueling your insecurities etc. This pattern of a controlling behaviour can spread to monitoring your finances, to accessing your phone/social media accounts.
This pattern in a relationship starts when one partner emotionally abuses the other, typically to show dominance. The abusive partner may show regret for his actions and might make up by being extra charming, apologetic and giving.
2. Identify Erratic Behaviour
A SHEROES community member shares, "He'd taunt me, apart from asking aggressive questions, until there was some kind of glitch in my story or my point. I would tell him that I am trying to tell the truth. But he would call me a liar and that if I would just stop lying, we could be happy. At times I’d just give up and give him a version that he wanted to hear.”
3. Nourish Yourself
Having to deal with emotional abuse takes a toll on the overall health of the victim. It’s important to take care of your body and try to find mechanisms that help, in terms of dealing with the stress of an emotionally abusive relationship.
Nourishing one’s body with healthy food and enough rest, helps in the long term. It’s very important to start taking charge of one’s sanity by engaging in activities that one enjoys. Sometimes starting a new exercise routine, reading a book, practicing meditation helps in relieving stress. Remember, your mind and soul need as much nourishing as you can possibly give it.
4. A Strong Support System
Maintain and develop your relationships with friends and family, as closely you can. Your intimate partner might try to limit your interaction with your closed ones, let them know what’s going on in your life. You need as much support and care as you can get from people who can uplift and nurture you.
5. Set Boundaries
You need to set some initial boundaries with your partner. Do not engage or react aggressively to any of their behaviours. Psychologist Marie Hartwell-Walker's article "Signs You Are Verbally Abused: Part II,” suggests calmly letting him know that you are sorry he feels that way, but that you expect him to treat you with respect.
If your partner still doesn’t understand, simply walk away from the situation - do not interact.
6. Put Your Safety First
The abuse might likely escalate with time and can turn into physical violence. With this in mind, prioritize your safety. You may respond to threats differently if you fear violence, such as avoiding them or not fighting back. While not defending yourself may be difficult or might hurt you, remember that you are prioritizing your safety until you can make you next move.
“The damage and invisible scars of emotional abuse are very difficult to heal, because memories are imprinted on our minds and hearts and it takes time to be restored. Imprints of past traumas do not mean a person cannot change their future beliefs and behaviors. As humans, we do not easily forget. However, as we heal, grieve and let go, we become clear-minded and focused to live restore and emotionally healthy.”
If you feel that you are stuck in between these behavioural patterns, word them out. It helps in realising what’s happening with you. Maala Community on SHEROES has created a space that harvests these communications. Let us know how you feel about emotional abuse. Join the conversation here.
AnonymousDoesnt support me in anything...feel very lonely as married him against all odds...no support from anywhr...really gives me mental tension .i have to change my maids frequently neighbor says i change them frequentlty ..nobody know his actual face or behaviour...lot of headache ...depressed a lot...but i am coping with my positive thought.
AnonymousYes i have been and suffering a lot since 6 yrs ...he makes me angry , emotional by flirting wid any woman of any age.immature , irresponsible behaves very selfish doesnt think abt family...under any condition..
AnonymousAfter reading the article ,am actually shocked that in this five years my hubby n MIL would emotionally abuse me to the core ,ours is a long distance relationship to which communication hampers our feelings n intuition ,my hubby n MIL they both don't have proper rapport between them n both of them come n tell me about each others flaws ,I like a good peacemaker will try to set right the things n later on they blame me saying that After getting married only her son started behaving weirdly ,I have to look like JACK ASS ,( Sorry for using profanity ladies here ) , After several instances like these where in one day he was drunk so I was pissed off n questioned him to which he didn't like so he humiliated n abused me n my parents in front of my MIL ,she never bothered to stop him from abusing my parents , didn't even realize for a second that his wife has been discharged after delivery it still hurts me till date he was never ever there for me for my first delivery too which I never complained to him since he had visa issues ,later on he sends a message to my sister saying he needs divorce God never any women should go thru this trauma ,he just left the very day to abroad without apologizing to my parents I feel so dejected at times ,Iam still going through postpartum depression to which my MIL never tells him or makes him understand that what am going through managing a days old baby and a super active toddler n whenever he calls me or texts me I would be busy nursing the baby to which he doesn't understand , my hubby doesn't believe to what I say n tell him ,he feels am complaining about his mum always , he keeps in touch with my MIL constantly , he wanted me to act normal like before where I could not act ,to which he agreed saying he has no regrets of abusing my parents , my MIL used to give me gyaan saying that wife should call husband very often n things like that , n whenever I used to tell my hubby what his mother told against him he would never believe he thinks his mom is saint which she wasn't , So right now I came to mumz place because they support me n always my family n friends are there for me So is it wise to continue this emotional abusive relationship please help
F*****Thanks for all the comments ladies, do you feel that sometimes coming out of such relations is harder than simply staying in them?
AnonymousDon't waste your time in any of the abusive relationships coz they just grow more painful as time passes. Respect your self and don't let anyone hurt your self esteem. God also helps only those who can help themselves.
V*****these are all traits of partner.
AnonymousI came out of it
D*****Why would you even be with such person in the first place! Stand for yourself lady.
Anonymouseven i dont know whats going on in my relationship
U*****Previously i was in abuse relationship but i divorced X and came out of that , now i am happy with my husband as he supported me from every corner and grown me in both sides personally as well as professionally.
A*****I was in relationship.. but he become change when i was ask for marriage. . Now we r not together. . Wo to apni lyf m aage badh gya magar m bht piche rhe gai.. depression m rhti hu hr waqt.. kese bhr aau is sb se smjh ni ata.. ; (
AnonymousI am in the same situation. He doesn't realize
S*****My sister has felt same feelings. Once we get call from her in-laws that they don't want to continue the relationship between my sister and their son. She was living like a hell. Her husband called her and told her he doesn't want her in his life. After sometime she got the divorced notice from court with lots of unwanted unacceptable allegations. My parents and my sister are fighting with these sort of stupid issues. Thankfully my parents are quite understanding and sister is living with them. But she doesn't believe in anyone.
S*****M happy with my husband....he is supportive
S*****It has happened with me also but now I have started taking my Stand. But still I am very scared of things like what's going to happen and all.
G*****I may think and get out of mine within this year.
AnonymousCurrently m going through it