Look at your current relationship and note whether or not any or all of the following apply:
- Is possessive or jealous toward you.
- Bossy or demanding in attempts to control you.
- May have a quick temper and/or is violent.
- Attempts to isolate you by cutting you off from friends, family, and other social contacts.
- Abuses alcohol and/or drugs.
- You feel pressure sexually and/or demands sexual activities you’re not comfortable with.
- Tells you you’re responsible when he mistreats you.
- History of bad relationships.
- Friends and family are concerned for your health and safety.
- You worry about your partner’s reactions to what you say and do.
- Partner makes “jokes” that embarrass, humiliate, or shame you privately or around family and friends.
- Partner has angry outbursts when they feel hurt, shame, fear, or loss of control.
- Partner witnessed abusive parental relationship and/or was abused as a child.
- In order to cope with the pain of the relationship, you and/or your partner have developed or progressed in alcohol or drug dependence.
- You repeatedly leave and return to relationship against the advice of your loved ones.
- You are not able to leave the relationship even though you know it is in your best interests to do so.
If you are thinking about leaving a destructive disturbing or otherwise unworkable relationship know you’ll most likely always struggle with claiming a sense of self while with this person. It will zap you of your energy and for all your effort you’ll still feel a sense of loss and emptiness. If your partner agrees to couples therapy and both of you are sincerely interested in making positive changes then go for it.
Just be prepared that it might not work and in the end you’ll need to get out so you can begin living a normal life.
Remember to expect respect. It takes practice, and trust in yourself, to know when something someone says to you, or wants you to do, isn’t right. Stand up for yourself and realize you have great value. Don’t let other people push you around, embarrass, or in some other way make you feel inferior. People who are cruel to you are not worth having in your life.
Above all, don’t be so dependent on another person, that the value you place on yourself is determined by the attention they pay to you. You are a separate person!
This article has been edited and excerpted from the book No Contact: Ending a Destructive Relationship with permission by Outskirt Press, Inc, copyright © 2008, Penny L. Haider. Penny L. Haider is a survivor of domestic abuse and grateful to have had the opportunity to change her life. She is a strong advocate for women, wanting to help others move forward in their lives by leaving destructive relationships behind. Penny is a licensed teacher with a Bachelor of Science in Community Service and Public Affairs from the University of Oregon. For more information visit www.nocontactbook.com
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