How to know if you're in one, and what to do if you are.
Also what to do if a close friend is in an abusive relationship.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does your boyfriend/girlfriend ever tell you they can't live without you?
- Do you feel like they blame you for all of their problems?
- Has your partner ever hit or broken anything in front of you in order to intimidate you?
- Has your partner ever threatened to hurt themselves or other people if you were to ever break up?
- Does your partner ever act jealous, say jealous things or forbid you from speaking to certain people?
- Does your partner ever use phrases such as "If you love me, you would..." to get you to do sexual things with them?
- When you express your opinion, do you feel like you're belittled or humiliated about it?
- Does your partner often make you choose between them and your friends or family?
- Are you constantly being checked up on, asked where you are, what you're doing and who you're with?
- Does your partner ever threaten to break up with you, or accuse you of planning to leave them?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, there's a chance you're in an abusive relationship. 1 in 11 teens have admitted to being hit in the past year by a boyfriend/girlfriend. You're not alone in this, and the sooner you recognize that you're in an abusive relationship, the sooner you can get out and protect yourself.
Denial: A lot of teens will deny they're in an abusive relationship. They're either afraid to admit it out of fear that their partner will hurt them if they tell someone what's going on, or try to hurt them if they leave. Or they'll deny it out of shame, which is more often in the relationship when the female is the abusive partner.
Recognize: Recognizing that you're being abused is the first step in getting yourself out of the relationship. Realizing that you're not in a healthy situation is the first step. You can't better your situation if you don't realize it needs bettering.
Talk about it: Whether you talk to a friend, a close family member, or someone in your school or in the community that you can trust, you need to talk to someone. Make sure you're safe. No matter what, safety is the most important issue at hand. You need to talk to someone who can help you get out of the situation. Consider seeing this person your safe place.
Get out: No matter what, you need to get yourself out of that situation. An abusive relationship doesn't get better. That side of a person doesn't change. If they've hit you once, chances are they'll hit you again, harder. If they emotionally abuse you, the names will get worse and more hurtful. If they sexually abuse you, it'll go from touching your inappropriately when you don't want it, to full blown rape. Abusive relationships only get worse. So much emphasis needs put on this, because a lot of people don't understand and they'll say "Oh, they'll change. They love me. It'll get better, just give them time." Unless your partner agrees to seek professional help of some sort (Anger management, counseling), the only thing you're giving them time for is to hurt you again and again.
After you're out: After the relationship ends is probably one of the hardest time periods. Your now ex-partner might beg for you to come back, claiming they'll change for you, and that what you have is real. The best thing for you to do is ignore them. Don't take their calls. Don't answer their texts. When they come to the door, have someone tell them you're not home. Avoid them at all costs. Going back to them is only setting yourself up for more pain, more abuse.
Starting again: This is another hard step for people. Beginning a new relationship. You don't know who to trust, you've got walls built up 10 miles high in all directions. You're not letting anyone in. Walls up is okay, as long as you have the intention to bring them down eventually. Not everyone wants to hurt you, although you may feel that way. Do you have to be careful about who to trust? Absolutely. Should you stop trusting everyone in general? Absolutely not. You'll stumble upon someone good in due time. Don't rush things, but let things happen as they should. After being in an abusive relationship, you begin to know the signs of someone who's abusive and you begin to know the people you should stay away from. It does get easier, although it doesn't seem that way to begin with. You just have to have patience.
What if you have a friend in an abusive relationship?
Be their support system. Be their safe place. Be the person they can talk to about things, the person who's going to help them through this tough time and who's going to pick them up when they fall. You can be someone's rock when they need you. Always have a ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on. You can be the difference between that one time their boyfriend/girlfriend shoved them and they left, and that one time their boyfriend/girlfriend hit them so hard they had to go to the emergency room. You can be the one to stop it before it becomes incredibly dangerous to your friend.