Abusive Relationships

Sometimes it is obvious to people in abusive relationships that the relationship is destructive. Other times it is blurry as this may be the type of relationships they are used to. The dynamics feel similar to relationships in their family and in that regard feel normal. How people have been treated can make them feel that is how they deserve to be treated.

Some relationships are unclear as they may have a mix of some healthy aspects as well as unhealthy or even destructive aspects/abusive. Sorting through all this can be difficult.

Some of the aspects of abusive relationships include:

People use intimidating behaviors to maintain control of the other person. They induce fear through actions, gestures, or even facial expressions. Other Methods of creating fear are threatening to break things or having a history of doing so or causing physical harm. They may use silence or rage. Instead of being able to communicate their vulnerable feelings of hurt, shame, and fear, they use rage to deal with these feelings and create these feelings in other people. As children they were shamed for having vulnerable feelings. They learned that these feelings are intolerable and therefore cannot be tolerated in themselves or anyone else. They use jokes that humiliate and embarrass their partner. Often the person is worried about how the partner is going to react to what they say or do.

Excessive jealousy or possessiveness is another aspect found in destructive relationships. They isolate the partner and require them to cut off existing relationships with family and friends as well as sabotage making new connections with people. They do not take responsibility for their demeaning interactions and in fact blame the partner for their mistreatment of the partner as well as the emotions the abuser experiences.

They can pressure their partner into engaging in sexual activities they are not comfortable with. The abuse of drugs and alcohol is related to abusive relationships as well as a history of bad relationships.

Friends and family are concerned about their loved ones safety as the individual leaves and returns constantly. This dynamic is often confusing for loved ones to understand and can try their patience and support. The outside supports of family and friends and community are what will eventually allow the person to emancipate from such a destructive whirlpool.

The person needs to acknowledge they cannot change another person. One can only change oneself and how they react to another person. Communicating how the partnerís actions hurt them and taking their own action to take care of themselves if things stay the same is what is needed.

Anger can be communicated in a healthy way that respects both peopleís boundaries and feelings. The result of the interaction is a clearer understanding of the other personís experience, not the degrading of another person.

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© Patricia McKee M.A.


Patricia McKee M.A.

University Village Area, Seattle, WA