5 Signs you’re in an abusive relationship

If movies and music videos are to be believed, relationships are passionate escapades that involve things on fire, car chases, tears and possibly violence. Not true chomas. Real relationships take effort, are loving and don’t end in suicide pacts, bruises or restraining orders. Here are signs you could be in an abusive relationship.

  1. He treats you like a possession. Like a toddler with a toy, he is jealous if other people play with you, behaves as though you belong to him and tells you what to wear, how to speak and what to like. It might even seem charming in the beginning but it soon gets ugly.  These are not signs of love. These are signs of controlling behaviour.
  2. He picks on your weak points. When you get into a fight, does he go for the jugular – saying mean things he knows you are sensitive about? While it’s normal to argue in a relationship, it’s not normal to intentionally hurt the person you claim to love. Strike two.
  3. It’s always your fault Whenever you fight, he manages to convince you that it was your fault. Abusive people are often very manipulative and can cleverly spin things so that you end up feeling guilty apologising. You might not even realise it’s happening.
  4. Blackmail is a regular occurrence Does he ever say things like “If you love me, you’ll do this for me” or “If you don’t do this for me I’ll take something away from you”?  If so, his mama didn’t raise him right because in a real relationship you do something for someone because you love them, not because you want something in return.
  5. He gets physical While an abusive relationship doesn’t always have to be physical, abusive people often battle to control their emotions.  Whether he’s punching a wall or your face, he has anger issue that have nothing to do with you. What starts with slamming doors and breaking dishes can escalate to pinching, punching and choking you. Don’t wait until it gets that far.

If any of this sounds familiar, then it’s time to move on. We know it’s hard but you alone won’t be able to change him.  No matter how many times he says he’s sorry and he won’t do it again, an abusive person often needs professional help to break the cycle. Speak to someone who you trust and find a safe place to stay.

For help contact POWA (People Opposing Women Abuse) by visiting their website www.powa.co.za or giving them a call on 011 642 4345/6