What are signs of abuse in a relationship? Is it physical violence? Control? Humiliation? How do you spot abuse early enough to avoid entrapment in a toxic relationship?
Jenny Missed Signs Of Abuse
It’s easy to miss the early signs of abuse when all starry-eyed and in love. Jenny missed it. After twenty years, she finally realised all was not as it should be. Jenny didn’t know financial abuse was domestic violence until bankruptcy loomed and it was all too late.
For decades, her husband told her, ‘I’ll take care of finances because you don’t know about such things.’ Statements like this from a partner are a put down, an attempt at humiliation. Particularly because Jenny was more educated than her husband. Such put downs are also controlling. They are emotional abuse.
For decades, Jenny did not know how much money they had in the bank or in their super. She received an allowance, and he checked what she bought. For decades, she signed documents before reading them first. She assumed her husband had her best interests at heart. But he didn’t. He was on his own solo ego trip. He was a gambler, a wheeler and dealer of ‘get rich quick schemes.’ Instead, he got poor fast.
Jenny Found Her Voice
You may say, Jenny was a fool to not see these signs of abuse. But she was a highly educated woman whose relationship eroded her self-esteem, leaving her with no voice or power in the relationship. When Jenny matured and emerged from the child-rearing years, she found her voice and the marriage ended in bankruptcy. Thanks to counselling, Jenny realised her husband’s control was financial and emotional abuse.
Blame and Control
Her husband blamed her and then set about controlling the children, alienating them from their mother because he told them, ‘she was to blame.’ To this day, he has admitted none fault and continues to try to alienate the children.
But now the children are older, they are wise to him and he is losing control. Jenny remarried, has control, self-esteem and a new career. She has forged ahead. Her ex-husband lives on benefits in a room in a share house. Oh, but wasn’t he the one who knew all about finances?
But this ending, though sad, is better than many. Each week, a woman in Australia dies at the hands of her partner. Sometimes the children do too. Jealous, angry partners take revenge all too easily. Spurned by their women, they turn into monsters. Don’t think yours won’t. Seek help early. Be alert for these signs. Be alert for your friends and neighbors too.
Signs of Abuse
Partners taking control in any aspect of your life is abuse, unless you specifically ask for such control. Stay alert for these signs of control. They are all forms of emotional abuse:
Partner tracks your location;
Monitors your phone calls and messages;
Puts you down either at home or with others or both;
Checks your receipts;
Gives you an allowance but spends freely him/her self;
Controls who you see and or what you wear;
Restricts or forbids contact with family;
Blames you for everything!
Emotional Leads To Physical Abuse
The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research found that in 2016, women who experienced emotional abuse were 20 times more likely to go onto suffer physical abuse. Once this happens, it keeps happening, sometimes just to the woman but often to the children too.
Abuse Affects Children
Children growing up in such homes will only copy what they see and the cycle of abuse continues into the next generation, just as drug and alcohol or sexual abuse is known to. Little children have big ears and big eyes. They learn from their parents. A childhood spent in an abusive environment has long-lasting effects well into adulthood, if not for life. Children from such homes have difficulty in relationships and girls often become victims of abuse themselves. Little boys can become violent and later abuse their partners.
Don’t be a victim of abuse. Watch for the signs, raise your voice against control and violence. In Australia, 1800 RESPECT offers confidential counselling and support 24/7. Contact 1800 737 732 or visit Respect.gov.au–Violence against women. Let’s stop it …
Internationally, there are also such agencies, ministering angels that can help you and find you a safe place to go if need be. Police, councils, hospitals and counselling agencies can give you details. Stay safe.
Check out more posts at Whispering Encouragement
Joni Scott is an Australian author with two published novels: Whispers through Time and The last Hotel. She co-hosts a women’s blog; https://whisperingencouragement.com/ and has her own website; https://joniscottauthor.com.
photo source an edit of Unsplash