Today’s guest post is by Dominica Applegate, who is a freelance writer that specializes in personal development, relationships, spirituality, and poetry. Author of eBook, “You Can’t Be Happy If Your Thoughts Suck: 5 Keys To Creating A Life You Love”, Dominica enjoys inspiring and motivating others to change from the inside out and enjoy life’s journey one day at a time. Feel free to visit her website, Soul.Share.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you’re probably not thinking about “relationship advice”, but more about love, romance, and what you are going to do to celebrate. Valentine’s Day is a day that many couples celebrate their love, which is wonderful, but there are also many couples who don’t celebrate this day because there is very little love shared in the relationship. They may say they love each other, but actions speak much louder than words.
In fact, many people are in abusive relationships and could care less about Valentine’s Day. I’m addressing women in this article because of the prevalence of violence against women, but men fall into this category too. Many women have been beaten down, stripped of dignity, and feel trapped in a prison. They are full of shame, fear, and confusion. The toxicity of a relationship has sucked just about all of their energy and for one reason or another they do not get out of the relationship.
You might think if someone is in an abusive relationship that it ought to be easy for them to get up and leave, but it is more difficult than you think. Today, I’d like to give some relationship advice about toxic relationships that involve domestic abuse, as well as a global problem with violence and abuse against women.
Types of Abuse
There are different types of abuse that can occur in a relationship.
Physical abuse, (domestic violence) that occurs when one partner hits, slaps, or physically harms the other partner in any way.
Sexual abuse occurs when non-consensual sexual contact is made, including rape.
Verbal abuse occurs when a partner uses harmful words toward the other partner.
It is difficult to put a number to how many individuals stay in abusive relationships, but the number is quite high. Many times abused individuals stay behind closed doors and do not admit to the abuse. Those that do come forth tend to have difficulty staying away from the abusive relationship even though it is destructive.
Relationship advice: What to do if you are in an abusive relationship
Recognize it. If you think you are in an abusive relationship, chances are that you are correct. It is easy to spot physical and sexual abuse, but sometimes those who are verbally abused do not realize that they are the victims of such abuse. Emotional abuse is very common and those that verbally abuse are master manipulators.
For example, Danielle kept putting up with verbal abuse- not because she wanted to, but because she thought she deserved the hurtful comments, being made fun of in public, and crude comments. Her abuser would degrade her and in conversations twist things around so that she would feel bad about herself. Yet deep down she knew the truth. She knew her spouse was emotionally abusing her, but she was not strong enough to stand up for herself, which in turn made her feel terrible. She lost her self-worth. She stayed in the relationship and lived like a beaten down puppy: scared, confused, sad, and alone. It can become a vicious cycle.
Tell someone. It may be difficult to let others know your situation, but it is important that you tell someone. You may feel ashamed and fearful, but rest assured that by telling someone and making a decision to do something about it will help you to become free. You will have to dig deep to find courage and determination to take responsibility for your life. Listen to this sound relationship advice: You do not have to stay in a relationship that you are not happy with and you certainly don’t have to put up with abuse of any kind. You might think you love your partner, but love is not always enough.
Prepare to confront or leave. It is important to confront your partner about any abuse that has been going on. If your partner is not willing to get some help or the two of you commit to counselling let him or her know that it is a deal breaker and that you must prepare to leave. It may be difficult to leave, but you must in order for your physical and emotional health. You deserve to be free from abuse of any kind.
I recently learned about the tremendous abuse going on around the world to women. The violence that is occurring toward women is tragic. Rape, incest, sex trafficking, mandatory female circumcision. It must end. One organization that has committed to ending such violence toward women is V-Day. This organization is dedicated to playing a part in freeing women around the world from such atrocities.
Listen to these statistics:
1 out of 6 American women have been the victim of rape or attempted rape.
1 out of 5 college aged girls have been forced to have sex.
In India, 53% of children between 5 and 18 have been sexually abused. Most of them knew their abuser.
In New Zealand, 43% of childhood sexual abuse cases were by family members.
This is serious. V-Day is encouraging millions around the world to stand up and do their part. You can learn more about their global movement to stop violence toward women at V-Day.
Another wonderful website that you can check out is Women’s Health.
Surround yourself with support
Once you have decided to do something about the abuse going on in your life, surround yourself with a support network. See a therapist who specializes in abuse issues, join a support group, and lean on the ear of a trusted family member of friend. You don’t have to go through this alone. The more support you have, the easier it will be to make the necessary changes that you need to make.
There is freedom beyond physical, sexual, and verbal abuse. Rise up with courage to do what you have to do in order to be free. The first step is to admit that there has been abuse. Go ahead and admit it and keep taking steps after that. It will be worth it in the end. Relationships are meant to be wonderful and full of true love. You deserve that!