Please note: This article is based on my own personal experience of leaving an abusing relationship after 7 years. If you ever feel like you are in immediate danger, call your country’s emergency police dispatch number.
What is an abusive relationship?Chances are, if you are reading this then you already have your suspicions that your partner is abusive in some way.
The exact definition of an abusive relationship is hard to specify, however below are some major red flags.. which shouldn’t be ignored.
Your partner uses phrases like “If you loved me, you would…”
“Well, I guess you don’t love me”, “ I would do it for you”
Even to the extremes of threatening their own life if you decline a request or suggestion or disagree with them.
Arguments that last for hours / days / weeks
Arguments aren’t healthy in adult relationships, as an adult it should be possible to communicate feelings without sprouting insults or bringing up events that happened in the past.
Most often, these issues that the narc brings up would have already been addressed or at least that’s probably what you thought.. that brings me nicely to my next red flag.
Bringing up old issues constantly with a different story or an additional layer. Your partner seems to remember events differently to you, and even though you are sure you aren’t mistaken.. they manage to drive you to question your own memory and sanity.
They will make you feel like you are losing your mind, they might even call you “crazy” or tell you “You’ve lost it”
They tell you what to wear, how to speak, how to act and maybe even what to say. My personal favourite is when they try and tell you how you should be feeling. They are very demanding and insist on you spending ALL of your time with them.. as long as it suits them of course.
The narcissist / abusive person might hold a secret over you, or some sensitive information you wouldn’t want made public. They might threaten to “out you” to your family and friends or even your social media platforms of you do not comply, or satisfy them.
The narc could well have been responsible for the “secret” and even introduced you to drugs / substances or put you in an otherwise vulnerable position with the full intent of using it against you at some point in the future.
Rape and / or Sexual Abuse
A typical example of narc behaviour would be to try and initiate sex after (for example) 24 hours of arguing, with the classic line “I just want to know that we’re okay” implying if you were to decline their advances then that means YOU are being difficult or creating issues.
If your partner tries to make you feel guilty for not wanting to have sex with them, and effectively has to coax you in to intercourse.. then that’s rape. No means no.
It might escalate to them actually physically forcing themselves on you, or threatening it and making you take off your clothes to humiliate you. On the other hand, it could very well end at guilt tripping or advance to them forcing you to perform sexual acts on them and vice versa or forcing you in to sexual activity you are not comfortable with.
Your partner is VERY jealous, you are not allowed any friends or very few and only people they approve. You almost never get any alone time unless they are at work or school.
They might question you about your online friends constantly, or get worried when your phone rings or you get a notification.
Obviously, if you were previously unfaithful then you would expect there to be a lack of trust. However, from my experience it’s usually the other way around. They are unhealthily jealous because of their own infidelities and / or insecurities.
Physical & Mental Abuse
I have grouped these together because I believe they should be regarded at the same level of severity. Physical abuse can be pushing, slapping, punching, kicking, anything that involves your partner physically assaulting you wether it leaves bruises / marks or not.
Mental abuse can also be a variety of things, and the narc will employ various methods to administer the abuse. Name calling, manipulation, (all of the above) body shaming, constant accusations are but a few. If they make you feel bad more than they do good, then chances are they are abusive in some way.
The narc will try to break you down in to a shell of your former self, because you possess every quality that they wish they had!
They were probably your dream partner in the early days of your relationship.. before the mask came off. This is because they mirror your qualities and behaviours to lure you in to a relationship by making you fall in love with them.. which is essentially you falling in love with all of the beautiful things about yourself.
How to Leave An Abusive Relationship?
I finally escaped on New Years Eve of 2012, over something trivial in comparison to the 6.5 years of hell I had previously been through. He kept changing his mind about wether or not he wanted to go out to celebrate, and of course him not going meant I wouldn’t be going. That was the final straw. I left my hair salon, drove to a location where I knew he wouldn’t find me and phoned him. “We’re done”
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a knee jerk decision I had obviously tried leaving 100s of times in the past but always took him back because he promised to change. Not this time! I had to close my business due to the stalking and harassment, but it meant my freedom.
He tried all ways to talk me around, threats, death threats, threats to my family, blackmail, guilt trips but I just had to be strong. I stayed with my best friend’s brother for a few months until the stalking and harassment had died down. I would need to write a whole other article on the events that transpired during this time.
I wish there was an easy simple summary of how you can leave. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all and walking away from an abusive relationship isn’t easy. Below are some tips from my own experience:
- Break up with them over text, email, social media.. via a friend. DO NOT think you have to break up with them in person. They will manipulate you or emotionally blackmail you in to staying with them or physically assault you or worse they could finally snap and end your life along with theirs.
- Block their number and all social media pages as soon as you break up with them. (This should stop them harassing you, if they find a way via a new number or fake profiles, consider changing your number.. if you report the harassment to the police, they will give you a crime number you can give to your mobile phone provider who will change your number free of charge. They will also do it for any family members or friends being affected too. Just quote the crime number)
- Stay somewhere they wouldn’t think to look for at least 2 weeks, the longer the better. (They will likely go around your relatives / close friends houses looking for you or even sit outside waiting)
- Delete all messages from them unless you need to keep them for Police evidence (When and if you ever feel down, you will find yourself reading back through old messages… you don’t need the negativity and mindset you were in before. You are moving on with your life. There is no reason to keep the messages. They do not serve you!)
- Do not post anything about them publicly especially if you have filed any police reports against them. Besides potentially compromising a conviction etc, by posting about them wether directly or indirectly you are giving them your energy.. You have suffered enough my love! They do not exist in your world anymore!
- Do not take them back! Once you have left, please do not make the mistake of thinking they will change. They won’t, it’s yet another manipulation tactic. Things will improve for a few weeks, and then slip right back to how they were.
In order to leave your abusive partner for good, you have to be ready! Stay strong, and although it seems bleak in the beginning.. it will get better! When you are finally free, it will take time but try to think of yourself as a survivor rather than a “victim”.
You need to build your self esteem, self worth and confidence after it has been demolished for so long. I hope you found this article helpful, and wish you the best of luck on your journey to freedom. You’ve got this!