Do any of the following statements sound familiar?

·   There is blaming, cursing, or name calling.

·  One person controls the finances.

·  There is control of outside interests and friendships.

·  I see a “Jekyll/Hyde” personality.

·  I make excuses for their behavior.

·  Sex is not a “mutual” agreement.

·  Household responsibilities are not shared.

·  There was violence in our families while growing up.

·  There are mind games, hostile humor, and/or put downs in public.

·  I cannot express my own opinion.

·  I have trouble communicating.

·  I live in fear.

·  I have unrealistic expectations for myself and others.

·  I feel isolated from my friends and family.

·  One person makes all the decisions.

·  I feel intimidated by looks, actions, and/or voice tone.

·  They threaten suicide or to leave me.

·  There is undue jealousy of my friends, family, and/or my time.

·  There is destruction of my personal property and/or abuse of pets.

·  My children are being used against me in any way possible.

·  I feel angry, on edge, depressed, trapped, and/or suicidal.

·  I find myself yelling at others, especially those I love.

·  I have been a victim of verbal, sexual, and/or physical abuse.

·  I feel alone with absolutely no one to confide in.

·  I struggle with feeling rejected.

·  There is no respect for privacy in our home.

·  Whenever I share things, it’s eventually used against me.

·  I am constantly guessing what is wrong or what I did.

·  My partner/friend seems to tune me out and never really communicates with me.

Consider this scenario: 
     Your partner claims to love you, yet often "puts you down" in public. Your partner does not seem to value your opinion or feelings. When you want to do something special, your partner is unavailable, but will later demand all of your time and attention. When you express unhappiness at certain actions, you are told,

  "This is just the way I am, and if you love me you will understand and accept it." 
                                              Is this abuse, or just the normal personality differences for which people must make allowances?

Most people would just convince themselves that they need to accept the abusive behavior, "love and understand" the abuser, and just go on with their lives. But we are learning that abuse can take many forms. Most of us will recognize the obvious signs of abuse, such as hitting or beating.  More subtle forms of abuse, which can be as damaging as physical violence, are often overlooked, such as verbal and emotional abuse.

"If only I were a better person ... smarter or better looking ..."
"If only I was a better cook or cleaned the house better ... "
"If I only handled the children better ..."
"If only ..."

     Most people continue to believe that it is their fault they are abused. "If only ..." feverishly sweeps the mind of the one being abused.  They are convinced their actions are provoking the abuser and it can be controlled, if only …
     The first thing to realize is that the abuse is not your fault. There is no justification for abusing another person, whether physically, sexually, emotionally, or verbally. The abuser needs help.  The abusive behavior is not to be excused.

Know the 7 Deadly Signs and the red flags  of abuse in a relationship, and exercise your options. There are ways out of this kind of situation.  Personalize the conviction that you do not have to tolerate abusive behavior.
                                              WHAT IS ABUSE
Physical Abuse:   Any touch not given in love, respect, and dignity.
Emotional Abuse: Any communication, admonition, reprimand, or reproof that does not uplift, edify, or bring
                                   conflict resolution.

Are you aware that there are
21 forms of abuse? Some forms of abuse are so subtle that people accept them as normal. All forms of abuse are devastating and destroy individuals and their relationships.

                                    IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO YOU ARE, ABUSE IS NEVER OKAY!
                                                                  CALL US … WE’VE BEEN THERE!
Helplessness often results when one partner assumes full control over the relationship and attacks the other partner’s competence.  One person makes all the decision.  That person does not hesitate to ridicule or criticize the other in public and in private.  Words like “stupid,” “ignorant,” or “incompetent ” are common.

The abusing partner offers no reassurance, stability, or commitment.  It is impossible to predict either the behavior or the feelings of the abusing partner or of the relationship.  It may be characterized by the “off-again, on-again” pattern or by the abusing partner being frequently unavailable.  Actions that produce pleasure one day may provoke verbal or even physical abuse the next.

Hostility typically takes the form of aggression, anger, rage and irritability.”  The abused person responds in kind to the partner’s behavior, either openly or privately.  The open hostility would be characterized by a raised voice, hurtful or angry words, or accusations against the partner.  Private   hostility includes such things as hidden resentment, plotted revenge, and private negative fantasies.  The hostility may also be internalized as guilt or anger.

Frustration results when the abusing partner fails to satisfy needs for affection, intimacy, attention, acceptance, approval, reassurance, praise, or any other emotional need.  No matter how hard the partner tries to please the other, it never is enough.  They will praise others but never mention your own achievements.  They “work the room” but leave you standing alone in the corner.

Any action which constitutes a betrayal or abuse of trust is likely to result in cynicism.  Obviously having an affair with another person fits into this category.  Additionally, patterns of borrowing money which is never repaid, making promises which are seldom kept, or sharing information given in confidence will likely produce cynicism.

This sign includes feelings of diminished self-worth, inadequacy, negative self-image, reduced self-confidence, and deterioration of self-respect, with associated depression.”  Choosing to remain in a relationship in which a person feels devalued inevitably leads to increased loss of self-esteem. 
Loss of self-esteem happens through a cycle of faulty logic:  First, you recognize that you are in a relationship in which you feel unloved, unworthy, and mistreated.  That you would choose such a relationship causes you to doubt your judgment.  Your try to “fix” it by changing yourself or your partner, but when that doesn’t work you conclude that you not only have poor judgment, you also are inept at relationship skills.  Thus, you  reason that “people get what they deserve,” and since you are being treated badly, you must deserve it.  Obviously, then, the only thing for you to do is to accept the treatment since you “don’t deserve nor could hope for a better relationship.

Hopelessness usually results after numerous vain attempts to communicate the need for a change, with the partner ignoring all approaches.  A person who recognizes a lack of responsiveness is their partner can be warned from the beginning that the relationship is developing in an unhealthy manner and there is likely trouble ahead.