We've had many Wednesday night groups where it's been about finding your prince charming. If you're dating a frog or a prince. Being in an unhealthy relationship. I've decided to sort of just combine all of those together. I had someone ask me on my formspring a while back how I know about being with the right guy or having to tell someone about them being in an unhealthy relationship and want to help them get out.
I'm going to try to be completely honest and sort of tell you from my perspective. I didn't really realize how much abuse that I did put myself through. I had so many people tell me that I needed to get out of my unhealthy relationship with... I'll just call him J. But there were so many times that it was just comfortable. Everyday I was being hurt but I didn't get out of the relationship until after two years and that's because I was led to believe I couldn't find anyone better.
After being told, time after time, that no one is going to want me after what he had put me through. I believed it. So I stayed. I stayed with being verbally, emotionally, and sexually abused. I'm sure if I stayed longer it would've led to physical abuse.
I'm really trying to figure out where to start all of this.
I wish I could've really looked at my relationship in the beginning and would've been like, "Oh yeah. This guy is a psycho." I know a lot of you don't understand why I can't go to the Temple and believe me and Tayler made this huge mistake. But it's because I hadn't confessed my past and I've been too scared to let it all out. I had put this huge roadblock in my mind to never visit there. And for the time being, I'll let it out. I really just had a long talk with someone last night about it. I'd rather know that I'm worthy to go to the Temple then just go and wonder if I was worthy and pay the consequences later.
J and I started dating my junior year. I was already sort of on an unstable path. It didn't help that I felt abandonment from people that I loved dearly. So I thought he would help fill that void with me. I don't know what I'm feeling right now and if I'll just skim the surface on some topics or be very vulnerable. So please respect me and what I've been through.
You know some people don't understand that verbal abuse is that tough. Please look at this picture and tell me that it doesn't just hurt looking at it.
Verbal abuse is just as bad as physical abuse.
I just sort of grew up in this fantasy world in high school. I felt like my sister's found their soul mates in high school and that's where I was destined to find mine. When I felt I was at a low point in my life. J came along. J knew my deepest, darkest secrets and took advantage of it. When arguments came up he would use that crack of self-esteem that I had in my wall and throw a freaking boulder through it. He made me feel bad about myself most days.
I wasn't the only one living on a fantasy. Except my fantasy was different. I was hoping for love and someone who understood me unconditionally. J's fantasies always involved other women. He was addicted to porn and was curious about everything. J wanted me to change my outward appearance so it would fit his criteria of a perfect woman. I changed my hair constantly the way he wanted me to have it. He always talked about how I should get certain jobs (i.e. boob, butt, whatever). I never got them done, just in case you all are curious. I'm not that rich. Ha.
I always felt uncomfortable but there were so many red flags in our relationship. Do you know if you are in an abusive relationship? Here are some questions that I found that could mean that you're in a potentially an abusive relationship.
1. Does your partner tease you in hurtful ways in private or in public?
2. Does your partner call you names such as, "stupid" or "bitch?"
3. Does your partner act jealous of your friends, family, or co-workers?
4. Does your partner get angry about the clothes you wear or your hair style?
5. Does your partner check up on you by calling, driving by, or getting someone else to?
6. Has your partner gone to places with you or sent someone to "keep an eye on you?"
7. Does your partner insist on knowing who you talk to on the phone?
8. Does your partner blame you for his problems or his bad mood?
9. Does your partner get angry so easily that you feel like you're "walking on eggshells?"
10. Does your partner hit walls, drive dangerously, or do things to scare you?
11. Does your partner often drink or use drugs?
12. Does your partner insist that you drink or use drugs with him?
13. Have you lost some friends or no longer see some of your family because of your partner?
14. Does your partner accuse you of being interested in someone else?
15. Does your partner read your mail, go through your purse, or other personal papers?
16. Does your partner keep money from you, keep you in debt, or have "money secrets?"
17. Has your partner kept you from your job or caused you to lose your job?
18. Has your partner sold your car, made you give up your license, or not repaired your car?
19. Does your partner threaten to hurt you, your children, family, or pets?
20. Does your partner force you to have sex when you don't want to?
21. Does your partner force you to have sex in ways you don't want to?
22. Does your partner threaten to kill you or himself if you leave?
23. Is your partner like "Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde," acting one way in front of people and another way when you're alone?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions then you may be at risk with domestic violence. I'll be honest with you J was 22 out of 23 on those questions.
You're probably asking, if J had all of those characteristics then why did I stay? That's where my self-esteem comes in. I wanted to change for him. If I didn't change for him, he would say it was because I didn't "love" him.
The 7 Cardinal Mistakes of Self-Esteem
by Sol Gordon, Ph.D.
1. Comparing yourself unfavorably to others. There will always be people who appear to be handsomer, prettier, richer, luckier, and better-educated than you. What's the point of comparing? We are all created equal. We are all created to serve in a special way.
2. Feeling you won't amount to much unless... Choose your favorite ending to this sentence: a) someone falls for you, b) someone marries you, c) someone needs you, d) you earn a lot of money, e) your parents are satisfied with your achievements. IN fact, you have to be someone to be attractive to someone else. You have to be self-accepting before you can please someone you care about. If you don't amount to anything before someone wants you, you won't amount to much afterwards, either.
3. Thinking you must please everyone. You must first please yourself... and thereafter, only people you care about. Those who try to please everyone end up pleasing no one.
4. Setting unreasonable goals for yourself. Lower your standards to improve your performance. You can always advance beyond today- tomorrow is always another day.
5. Looking for THE meaning of life. Life is not a meaning, it is an opportunity. You can only find the meaning of life at the end of it. Life is made up of meaningful experiences- mainly of short duration, but repeatable.
6. Being bored. If you are bored, then it is boring to be with you. If you are bored, don't announce it. It is especially unattractive to bemoan how you don't like yourself or that you have "nothing to do." if you have nothing to do, don't do it in company.
7. Deciding that your fate is determined by forces outside yourself. Mainly, you are in control of your life.
And dealing with your self-esteem you put yourself in lifetraps. Finding out the origin of your lifetraps is often a first step in changing them. Lifetraps were developed as appropriate adaptations of relationships we create. When certain of our core needs were not met completely, we develop our lifetraps in response. The problem is that we continue to repeat them later in life, when they have no useful purpose.
The Eleven Lifetraps and how they begin.
When our need for basic safety is not completely met, we may develop:
1. Abandonment- You fear that loved ones will die, leave home, or abandon you.
2. Mistrust and abuse- You expect that people will hurt or take advantage of you.
When our need for connection to others is not completely met, we may develop:
3. Emotional deprivation- You believe that your need for love will never be met.
4. Social exclusion- You feel isolated from the rest of the world.
When our need for autonomy is not completely met, we may develop:
5. Dependence- You depend on others to act as a crutch and need constant support.
6. Vulnerability- You don't feel safe, due to excessive and unrealistic fears.
When our need for self-esteem is not completely met, we may develop:
7. Defectiveness- You feel inwardly flawed and fundamentally unlovable.
8. Failure- You believe you are inadequate in major areas of achievement.
When our need for self-expression is not completely met, we may develop:
9. Subjugation- You constantly sacrifice your own needs in order to please others.
10. Unrelenting- You strive to meet extremely high expectations of yourself.
When our need for realistic limits is not completely met, we may develop:
11. Entitlement- You feel special and can't accept restrictions and limitations.
After I felt like my self-esteem had been battered and broken down and decided to build up a wall where I couldn't get hurt anymore or feel hurt. I just felt numb to everything. I didn't care that I was being used. I didn't care that J wanted to be with other girls while being with me. I didn't care that drugs were going to potentially ruin me or put me in jail. I was still searching for love. I decided finally after finding Nic that he seemed like this night in shining armor (but trust me he had some chinks in his armor. He wasn't near perfect). But it was enough for me to leave the abuse.
J knew I was going to leave eventually. I cried every single night saying that the only way I would stay is if maybe he would do somethings for me and that I didn't have to do it his way. Things were getting pretty serious. He and I sat down to talk to my parents about getting married. Which is completely ridiculous. J told me all the time he wanted to be a polygamist or be swingers. Or just have an open marriage and he can be with whomever and I couldn't be with anyone. Not that I wanted to be, I'm faithful and loyal. The only time I wasn't, was when I was trying to leave J. But I think that's pretty good reasoning.
J would tell me all the time he would kill himself if I did leave him. That's why I stayed a lot longer than I did. And even then, it was still hard for me in the beginning to fully commit to just J or Nic. Because I felt once I left J that Nic would never want to stay with me and realize how screwed up I was. Apparently, it only took Nic 6 months to realize it all.
When I did leave J left a bunch of stuff at my car that I gave him while I was dating and like 8 page letter of how sorry he was and how he should've been a better boyfriend. And of course, when that didn't work out and I didn't want to get back together with him, he called me and told me that the money that he was saving up for an engagement ring he was going to buy a gun and kill me and Nic and then himself. I definitely called the cops. That was in November '08 I believe. After that, J overdosed twice but survived both overdoses.
My advice to those girls who hear that guys will kill themselves if they leave. Just do it. Either they're bluffing or won't go through with it. That was ultimately J's choice. I wasn't shoving the pills down his throat, that was with his own hands ladies.
Are you wondering how do you figure out the warning signs, not maybe in your relationship but possibly in your daughter's boyfriend (or future boyfriends) or sister's husband's? You name it. I'll go through the signs to look for in an abusive personality. The types of abuse (emotional, economic, physical). Finding out if you're in an abusive relationships and the traits and characteristics of violent offenders.
Signs to Look for in an Abusive Personality
Many people are interested in ways to predict whether they are about to become involved with
someone who will be physically abusive. Below is a list of common behaviors that are seen in
abusive people. Many victims do not realize that these early behaviors are warning signs of
potential future physical abuse, such as the last four (***) behaviors. If the person has
several (three or more) of the first 12 listed behaviors, there is a strong potential for physical
violence -- the more signs a person has, the more likely the person is a batterer. In some
cases, a batterer may only have a couple of behaviors that the victim can recognize, but they
may be very exaggerated (e.g., will try to explain his behavior as signs of his love and
concern), and a victim may be flattered at first. However, as time goes by, the behavior
becomes more severe and serves to dominate or control the other person.
1. Jealousy: At the beginning of a relationship, an abuser will always say that jealousy is a
sign of love; jealousy has nothing to do with love, it is a sign of possessiveness and lack of
trust. He will question the other person about whom she talks to, accuse her of flirting, or be
jealous of the time she spends with her family or friends. As the jealousy progresses, he may
call frequently during the day or drop by unexpectedly. He may refuse to let you work for fear
you will meet someone else, or even do strange behaviors like checking your car mileage or
asking friends to watch you.
2. Controlling Behavior: At first, the batterer will say that this behavior is because he is
concerned with your safety, your need to use your time well, or your need to make good
decisions. He will be angry if you are late coming back from an appointment or a class, he will
question you closely about where you went and whom you talked to. As this behavior gets
worse, he may not let you make personal decisions about your clothing, hair style,
3. Quick Involvement: Many people in abusive relationships dated or knew their abusive
partners for less than six months before they were married, engaged or living together. He
comes on like a whirlwind, claiming, “You are the only person I could ever talk to” or “I’ve
never felt like this for anyone before. He will pressure you to commit to the relationship in
such a way that you may later feel guilty or that you are “letting him down” if you want to
slow down involvement or break up.
4. Unrealistic Expectations: Abusive people will expect their partner to meet all their needs;he expects you to be the perfect boyfriend/girlfriend, the perfect friend or the perfect lover. He will say things like, “If you love me, I’m all you need and you are all I need.” You are
supposed to take care of all of his emotional needs.
5. Isolation: The abusive person will try to cut you off from all resources. He accuses you of
being “tied to your mother’s apron strings,” or your friends of “trying to cause trouble”
between you. If you have a friend of the opposite sex, you are “going out on him” and if you
have friends of the same sex, he may accuse you of being gay.
6. Blames Others for Problems: He is chronically unemployed, someone is always waiting
for him to do wrong or mess up or someone is always out to get him. He may make mistakes
and blame you for upsetting him. He may accuse you of preventing him from concentrating on
school. He will tell you that you are at fault for almost anything that goes wrong.
7. Blames Others for Feelings: He will tell you, “You make me mad,” “You are hurting me
by not doing what I want you to do,” or “I can’t help being angry.” He really makes the
decisions about how he thinks or feels, but will use feelings to manipulate you.
8. Hypersensitivity: An abusive person is easily insulted, and claims that their feelings are
hurt when really he is very mad. He often takes the slightest setbacks as personal attacks. He
will rant about things that are really just part of living like being asked to work overtime,
getting a traffic ticket, being asked to help others with chores.
9. Cruelty to Animals or Children: This is a person who punishes animals brutally or is
insensitive to their pain and suffering. He may tease younger brothers or sisters until they cry.
10.“Playful” use of Force in Sex: This kind of person is likely to throw you down or try to
hold you down during making out, or he may want you to act out fantasies in which you are
helpless. He is letting you know that the idea of sex is exciting. He may show little concern
about whether you want affection and may sulk or use anger to manipulate you into
11. Verbal Abuse: In addition to saying things that are meant to be cruel and hurtful, this
can be seen when the abusive person tries to degrade you, curses you, calls you names or
makes fun of your accomplishments. The abusive person will tell you that you are stupid and
unable to function without him. This may involve waking you up to verbally abuse you or not
letting you go to sleep until you talk out an argument.
12. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Many people are confused by their abusive partner’s “sudden”
changes in mood -- you may think he has a mental problem because he is nice one minute
and the next minute he is exploding. Explosiveness and moodiness are typical of people who
are abusive to their partners, and these behaviors are related to other characteristics like
13. *** Past Battering: This person may say that he has hit girlfriends in the past but the
other person “made him do it.” You may hear from relatives or past girlfriends that he is
abusive. An abusive person will be physically abusive to any one they are with if the other
person is with them long enough for the violence to begin; situational circumstances do not
change a person into an abuser.
14. *** Threats of violence: This could include any threat of physical force meant to control
you: “I’ll slap you,” “I’ll kill you,” or “I’ll break your neck." Most people do not threaten their
partners, but the abusive person will try to excuse his threats by saying, “Everybody talks that
15. *** Breaking or Striking Objects: This behavior is used as a punishment (breaking
loved possessions), but is mostly used to terrorize you into submission. The abuser may beat
on the table with his fists, throw objects at or near you, kick the car, slam the door or drive at
a high rate of speed or recklessly to scare you. Not only is this a sign of extreme emotional
immaturity, but there is great danger when someone thinks they have the “right” to punish or
16. *** Any Force During an Argument: This may involve an abusive partner holding you
down, physically restraining you from leaving the room, any pushing or shoving. He may hold
you against the wall and say, “You are going to listen to me.”
• My partner loves me . . . he didn’t mean to hurt me.
• Abuse is about power and control. It is not about love.
• My partner promised to get counseling
• Abusers tend to make promises when they feel they are not in control.
• When you file charges, you have taken control away from your abuser, who is likely to
promise anything to get that control back.
• It is just that my partner was under a lot of stress . . . or drunk.
• You can chose to believe that there are reasons, but there can never be a justifiable
reason for your abuse.
• It will never happen again.
• It might. Chances are, it will if your abuser is not held accountable.
• It’s really not that bad, we have had great times.
All relationships have good and bad times, but violent relationships are not good for anyone.
Healthy relationships are based on caring, equality and respect. They are not about power and
Types of Abuse
EMOTIONAL ABUSE - This is often the first sign of abusive behavior exhibited by someone
who batters. In the beginning it may as simple as the silent treatment, but it often progresses
to angry words and put downs.
• Finding faults in all your friends/family (this is the first step in the isolation process)
• Withholding emotions, not talking or sharing, withholding approval or affections
• Does not acknowledge your feelings
• Continuous criticism
• Name-calling, mocking, put-downs
• Yelling, swearing, being lewd
• Pressure tactics (using guilt trips, rushing you, threats to leave)
• Humiliated in public (including outbursts of anger to insults in public)
• Manipulation by lies, omitting facts, or telling only portions of the facts
• Angry gestures, slamming doors, throwing things, hitting walls or furniture near you
• Threats (to harm you, to not pay bills, to not buy groceries, etc.)
• Using children (making threats to take them or to call DHS, criticizing your parenting
ECONOMIC ABUSE - Again, this begins in subtle ways and develops into the abuser's
dominant control over all economic aspects.
• Insisting that you quit your job (saying he will take care of you, sites faults with
coworkers and bosses - point out how they "mistreat" you)
• Recanting on promises to pay bills (for example, your car payment, insurance, etc.)
• Makes you account for your spending with no accounting for abuser's spending
• Limiting your access to funds (taking ATM card or removing your name from accounts)
• Not paying bills, buying groceries, or taking care of the children's needs
PHYSICAL ABUSE - This is usually first exhibited by getting "in your face" or invading your
personal space during an argument and progresses into offensive and harmful touches.
• Shouting at you
• Invading your personal space
• Pull hair
• Cleaning/displaying weapons
• Refusing to let you leave
• Being locked in/out of house
• Destroying your possessions
• Abandoned in dangerous places
• Driving recklessly
• Disabling car, hiding keys to car
• Refusing medical care
• Hurtful/unwanted touching of sexual parts
• Rape (use of force, threats, coercion, or manipulation to obtain sex)
• Intimidating by blocking exit, making threatening gestures
• Refusing to let you sleep until he is ready to sleep
Are You in an Abusive Relationship?
Answering the following questions may help you determine whether the relationship you are in
is abusive. Check the questions that apply to you:
Does your partner:
• Embarrass you in front of people?
• Belittle your accomplishments?
• Make you feel unworthy?
• Criticize your sexual performance?
• Constantly contradict himself/herself to confuse you?
• Do things for which you are constantly making excuses to others or yourself?
• Isolate you from many of the people you care about most?
• Make you feel ashamed a lot of the time?
• Make you believe he is smarter than you and therefore more able to make decisions?
• Make you feel like you are crazy?
• Make you perform sexual acts that are embarrassing or demeaning to you?
• Use intimidation to make you do what he wants?
• Prevent you from doing common-place activities such as visiting friends or family, or
talking to the opposite sex?
• Control the financial aspects of your life?
• Use money as a way of controlling you?
• Make you believe that you can not exist without him?
• Make you feel that there is no way out and that "you made your own bed and you
must lie in it?
• Make you find ways of compromising your feelings for the sake of peace?
• Treat you roughly (grab, pinch, push, or shove you)?
• Threaten you (verbally or with a weapon)?
• Hold you to keep you from leaving after an argument?
• Lose control when he is drunk or using drugs?
• Get extremely angry, frequently, and without an apparent cause?
• Escalate his anger into violence . . .slapping, kicking, etc?
• Not believe that he has hurt you, nor feel sorry for what he has done?
• Physically force you to do what you do not want to do?
Do you believe you can help your partner change his abusive behavior if you were only to
change yourself in some way, if you only did some things differently, if you really loved him
Believe that you deserve to be abused or punished?
Find that not making him angry has become a major part of your life?
Do what he wants you to do, rather than what you want to do, out of fear?
Stay with him only because you’re afraid he might hurt you if you left?
If you answered "yes" to many of these questions, you have identified an abusive relationship.
If the abuse has occurred during dating, it is very likely to continue after marriage. Once
physical abuse has occurred, it is likely to occur again and to escalate over time. You cannot
change your partner’s behavior. You can only change yourself. It is not necessary to stay in a
relationship of fear. You have the right to choose how you wish to live.
Traits And Characteristics Of Violent Offenders
1. Low Frustration Tolerance - Reacts to stress in self-defeating ways, unable to cope
effectively with anxiety, acts out when frustrated. Frustration leads to aggression.
2. Impulsive - Is quick to act, wants immediate gratification, has little or no consideration for
the consequences, lacks insight, has poor judgment, has limited cognitive filtering.
3. Emotional Liability/Depression - Quick-tempered, short-fused, hot-headed, rapid mood
swings, moody, sullen, irritable, humorless.
4. Childhood Abuse - Sexual and physical abuse, maternal or paternal deprivation, rejection,
abandonment, exposure to violent role models in the home.
5. Loner - Is isolated and withdrawn, has poor interpersonal relations, has no empathy for
others, lacks feeling of guilt and remorse.
6. Overly sensitive - Hypersensitive to criticism and real or perceived slights, suspicious,
fearful, distrustful, paranoid.
7. Altered Consciousness - Sees red, “blanking,” has blackouts, derealization/
depersonalization. ("It’s like I wasn’t there" or "It was me, but not me”), impaired
reality testing, hallucinations.
8. Threats of Violence - Toward self and/or others, direct, veiled, implied, or conditional.
9. Blames Others – Projects blame onto others, fatalistic, external locus of control, avoids
personal responsibility for behavior, views self as “victim” instead of “victimizer,” selfcentered,
sense of entitlement.
10. Chemical Abuse - Especially alcohol, opiates, amphetamines, crack, and hallucinogens
(PCP, LSD), an angry drunk, dramatic personality/mood changes when under the influence.
11. Mental Health Problems Requiring In-Patient Hospitalization - Especially with
arrest history for any offenses prior to hospitalization.
12. **History of Violence** - Towards self and others, actual physical force used to injure,
harm, or damage. This element is the most significant in assessing individuals for potential
13. Odd/Bizarre Beliefs - Superstitious, magical thinking, religiosity, sexuality, violent
fantasies (especially when violence is eroticized), delusions.
14. Physical Problems - Congenital defects, severe acne, scars, stuttering, any of which
contribute to poor self-image, lack of self-esteem, and isolation. History of head trauma, brain
15. Preoccupation With Violence Themes - Movies, books, TV, newspaper articles,
magazines (detective), music, weapons collections, guns, knives, implements of torture, S &
M, Nazi paraphernalia.
16. Pathological Triad/School Problems - Fire-setting, enuresis, cruelty to animals,
fighting, truancy, temper tantrums, inability to get along with others, ejection of authority.
Alan C. Brantley, Traits and Characteristics of Violent Offenders, FBI Academy.
I hoped every single day that J would change his decisions and behaviors. That if I stayed longer with him that I could help him be the man that I knew he could be. They can be a better person but it takes more than just you. It may be with the law (J has been in trouble with the law since all of that) or psychiatric help. But YOU CANNOT be YOUR boyfriend's psychiatrist. He will only lead you down the road to hell.
I know that I said Nic had chinks in his armor. He never was abusive but the only thing that I could really point out that is, he "lost" his job. And he didn't have one the whole time we were dating. He made me pay for everything. He was inconsistent and unmotivated. That is also a red flag for the future.
I'm very grateful to have Tayler in my life to know that he doesn't fit into any of those categories. That he does fit in the fantasy that I've wanted since high school. I may not live in that fantasy world since I was snapped into reality since J. I did have to kiss some pretty nasty bullfrogs to get my prince but I'm grateful to finally find my soul mate even through a rough path.
But I know that there is somebody out there. If you want to know if your man can be a frog or a prince. Pick up this book. I highly recommend.
I'm sorry this post is sort of long. But you know, if I could help at least one person get out of an unhealthy relationship. Or help somebody not start a relationship with someone like that. I'll do whatever it takes. I don't want anyone to have to deal with what I did. Thanks for reading. :)
My formspring is up and running. Please use it wisely :)
If you have topics that you wish I would cover. Anything really. You can tell me on there also.
As of tonight, I'm a certified dental assistant.
Which reminds me, I went to Olive Garden with my parents after and there is some black tie mousse cake left in the fridge. Peace out PEEPS.