What many don’t know is that there are numerous forms of abuse besides physical: emotional, verbal, sexual… However, these types of mistreatment are often hard for the victims to identify.
However, if you wonder whether your relationship is abusive, here are 10 questions to ask yourself in order to be sure.
1. Am I always to blame?
Every relationship is a two-way street.
However, this doesn’t only mean that both of the people involved have to put in the same amount of effort to make it work—it also means that both parties have to take responsibility for its problems.
Nevertheless, when it comes to you and your boyfriend, things are way different. In fact, somehow, you end up guilty for everything that happens between the two of you, even when nothing is your fault.
Even when this guy apologizes and accepts his mistakes, he manages to turn the tables and point out that you caused his bad behavior.
So, either way, he is the victim.
2. Does he bully me?
Does my partner use every opportunity to put me down, when we are alone and especially in front of others? Does he use inappropriate jokes to mask his insults?
Do I feel that his sense of humor is derogatory? Does he treat me like the mean girls treat the unpopular kid in high school dramas?
If the answers to most of these questions are affirmative, let’s be honest and call things by their real name: he is not joking, he is ridiculing you. And there is a huge difference between these two things.
Actually, your boyfriend is bullying you, which is also a form of emotional abuse.
He is trying to convince you that you’re not enough and to make fun of you because that is the only way for him to feel better about himself and to seemingly increase his own worth.
3. Is our sex always consensual?
Is he forcing me to sleep with him even when I’m not in the mood? Am I doing some things in the bedroom I’m not comfortable with?
No matter what someone might tell you, rape in a relationship or marriage is a real thing and it happens all around us.
Sexual abuse is quite common among partners and if this is something you can relate to, you’re not exaggerating for feeling bad about it; you’re a victim here.
4. Is he trying to control me?
Is he overly jealous? Is he constantly telling me what to do?
Is he trying to determine how I spend my money and free time or who I hang out with? Is he controlling my actions, words and thoughts?
Yes, relationships are all about compromises. You’re a part of a couple and it is not OKAY to make big life decisions without consulting your partner first.
However, that doesn’t mean that you’re in a cage or that you’re required to listen to everything he has to say.
You’re not a little kid and he is not your parent, so you don’t need him guiding or raising you.
5. Is he gaslighting me?
Is he constantly convincing me that something didn’t happen, even though I know the truth very well? Does he try to twist all situations which don’t go in his favor?
Is he making me feel crazy most of the time? Does he have a habit of telling me that I’m imagining or misinterpreting things, even though I’m certain of what I heard and saw?
Is he playing with my mind and perception of reality?
Well, if this is the case, don’t worry, you’re not a lunatic; he is gaslighting you.
This is a common tactic most narcissists and abusers use to help them be in greater control over their victim and to get away with their misdeeds more easily.
6. Am I allowed to speak up?
Can I say my opinion loud and clear at all times? Am I allowed to disagree with this man and his attitudes?
Do I have the liberty to call him on his actions? To insult him back, if he does it first?
Or do I always back out and eventually end up nodding my head to everything he says? Am I always quiet about what I think because I don’t want to oppose him?
Even though you might not see it now, these are all symptoms of abuse and things that you shouldn’t keep on tolerating any longer if you want to preserve your mental health.
7. Are we equal partners?
Do we make all the decisions together? Do we both have to agree before acting upon something that will have an impact on our relationship?
Do we have the same rights and duties? Do we share obligations and chores?
Is one person in charge and the other one obeys? Is he dominant and am I submissive?
Forget about the traditional view that the man is the head of the household.
When you are in a healthy relationship, you two are completely equal and there doesn’t exist a scenario in which one person is above the other.
Dominance is only possible in the bedroom and even there, it has to happen on both of your terms.
However, your partner treating you as his submissive wife or girlfriend in real life is definitely abuse.
8. Does he always respect me?
Does he interrupt me when I speak? Does he talk bad about my friends and family?
Does he encourage my hobbies or make fun of them? Does he diminish my past relationships?
Does he humiliate me for earning less than him? Does he insult my education, career choice or decisions?
Does this man respect me as a person, as a woman and as his girlfriend?
And does he do it all the time, even when we’re arguing, even when he is angry at me and even when he disagrees with me?
You see, respect is non-negotiable in a relationship and it has to exist in every possible situation.
A man who respects you for real would never do anything to hurt you intentionally and he would never even think of abusing you in any way.
9. Am I scared of him?
Am I afraid of my boyfriend’s reaction? Am I always worried about what he might say?
Am I trembling before I tell him something he probably won’t like? Am I afraid that he’ll leave me the moment I do something he considers a mistake?
When someone asks you whether you’re scared of your partner, you automatically assume that you’ve been asked whether you expect him to hit you when you don’t do something his way.
However, there are other types of fear as well and if you feel anything remotely similar, it is time to pack your bags and understand that this relationship is not what you need.
Your life doesn’t depend on this man, even though he is convincing you otherwise.
There is absolutely no reason for you to be afraid of him; he is not your master, he doesn’t own you and you can live without him.
10. Has he ever been physically violent?
Has he even grabbed my hand while we’re fighting? Has he ever yelled at me in a manner that made me think he might kick me?
You see, physical abuse isn’t only about him actually punching you in the face.
Actually, it is much more than that; it is not respecting your personal space, talking directly in your face or grabbing you by the chin.
Let’s be honest—if something similar has ever happened to you, can you swear that it wouldn’t have escalated to something bigger and more serious if you hadn’t backed out in time? I guess not.