Before you ask ‘can an abusive relationship get better?’, the answer is yes. When both partners are willing to put in some effort and to take responsibility for their own actions. However, this requires upgrading your skill set and your ability to communicate.
Here, we will give you some tips on the signs of a mentally abusive relationship. While spotting a physically abusive relationship should be simple, it is the mentally and emotionally abusive relationships where people seem to have the most difficulty.
Beginning Signs of an Abusive Relationship
The beginning signs of an abusive relationship are going to be incredibly subtle. The person may start to exert more control over you, maybe check your phone every now and then or throw some insults at you.
Once they know that they are winning, then things can get worse. Here are the signs of a mentally abusive relationship that you should be on the lookout for:
- People who are planning on being abusive may want you to move in with them very fast. In fact, they are going to take the whole relationship very fast. This is because they want you all to themselves and don’t want anybody else to get close to you.
- They may indicate that they are very jealous about your friends or activities. This is because many abusers have low self-esteem.
- You may find that they are easy to insult. This, again, is due to the fact that they have low self-esteem although it’s also an indicator that they are often feeling emotionally triggered.
- They will start to isolate you from people. They will question your friends and the decisions you make. They may even be critical of you going out there and meeting your family. Basically, they want to keep you at home.
As the relationship progresses, these things tend to become worse. You will find that he or she becomes more irritated at the very thought of you wanting to go out with your friends. As mentioned previously, they may also give you a few ‘put downs’ to make it seem like only they are going to be able to love you.
How to Change an Abusive Relationship
It may take a while for you to recognise that you are in the middle of a relationship which could be seen as abusive. If you are contemplating how to end an abusive relationship, there are a few things you need to take into consideration before you leave or change your situation.
First of all, have you taken full responsibility for your own actions? Many times we trigger a partner with ongoing annoying behaviours. Every cause has an effect and every action has an opposite and equal reaction.
You need to understand how to support each other’s needs and your modes of communication.
Many times abusive relationships look like they are improving, but without the right strategies in place, you or your partner may fall back into your old patterns.
Understanding the Cause and Effect of Abuse
Many people think they are being abused or are in an abusive relationship when they are merely opposites in their mode of communication.
For example, if you’re an Internally Expressive person you’re going to process most things internally. This can make you slower to answer a question, or more likely to internalise your emotions which makes you appear to have shut down. Your partner may judge you to be passive-aggressive or “not listening” because you are not replying as you don’t feel safe to reply.
An Externally Expressive person processes their triggers externally. They may rant and rave and name-call without any apparent awareness of the consequences. If you are an Internally Expressive person you may judge them to be verbally abusive and critical – when they are simply processing their emotion out loud.
You need to understand if you are an internally expressive (IE) or externally expressive (EE) person to better understand what drives your partner. This and how to resolve your emotional triggers are fully explained in our consulting programs for men, women and couples.