There are so many resources and books that can help you discover if you are in a domestic abuse relationship. I use to believe it was not abuse because he did not hit me. The truth is, he never had to, the verbal abuse was giving me internal scars.
This website, Warning Signs of Abusive Relationships, lists out many of the common signs that your relationship might be abusive.
- Jealousy – is he jealous or possessive?
In my relationship, my abuser was often jealous, he would say it in a joking way. His ‘jokes’ were his true fears and the ‘joke’ was a disguise to avoid discussing true feelings.
- Controlling – is he trying to control you?
There was control in many ways in my relationship. Commenting about the way I dressed, the color of my hair, if I had a tan. There was more manipulative control where he would talk me out of getting a job or going back to school. He often said things without saying things.
- Isolation – does he try to cut you off from family and friends?
We lived in a state where I did not have any family. His family lived within driving distance and mine did not. The fact that my mother lived in another state that would have required a 14 hour drive kept me from leaving on more than one occasion.
- Violent/Temper – Is he physical or does he lose his temper frequently?
My ex-husband never laid his hands on me. He made comments about his ability to kill a person with a single move because of his kung fu training. At times he kicked holes in doors. He was extremely unpredictable, the times I thought he would be calm he would blow up, and the times I thought he would blow up he would be calm. I never knew what to expect and was always on eggshells.
- Pressure you Sexually or demand it from you?
The only thing he did was come onto me really late at night when he was drunk. He would not accept no for an answer and it was miserable for me. I often gave it because it was easier than arguing with him. Plus when he was drunk he did not last long. I later learned this was rape even though we were married.
- Abuse drugs or alcohol?
He was a chronic drinker and he was really belligerent when he drank. I found pot paraphernalia that he swore he was holding for a friend. I told him, “Grown men don’t hold things from other grown men.” I also question if he possibly used cocaine at times. He would get really irritable, unable to sleep, talkative, and large sums of cash would be withdrawn from our account with little or no explanation.
- Blame you for his emotional behavior?
I was always under the belief that I was somehow responsible for his bad behavior. I actually believed I could keep him from getting angry or make him mad. The truth was I had no responsibility for his emotional state. I have learned since then that I am not responsible for another person’s actions or behavior.
- Has a history of bad relationships?
I knew very little about his past because he really wouldn’t talk about it much.
- Your family has warned you about them or told you they were concerned for your well being?
My mother never liked my ex-husband, but she kept her feelings to herself. I do not think I attracted enough healthy people to tell me about their concern. When we moved here I was pregnant, not working, and did not meet very many people.
- You are worried about the things you say and how they will react?
I was constantly worried about how he would react. I would often rehearse situations in my head for days before having a conversation with him. Trying to think of all the things he would say and how I would respond. Even towards the end I was so afraid to tell him I was divorcing him. I had talked to my attorney about it, planned to meet at the counselor’s office to tell him, and then have my car packed and not go home after. The reality of that day happened a little differently but somewhat like this.
- Do they make jokes that humiliate you privately or around family and friends?
He would constantly tease me privately or around my friends. He would make fun of me in a ‘joking’ way and then say was I was too sensitive if I complained or asked him to stop. The constant jokes tore down my self esteem over time. To this day I am more sensitive to jokes, even healthier ones. I also hear the comments in my head when something triggers a memory.
- Your partner grew up seeing abuse or was abused?
My ex-husband’s mother was very abusive. She was constantly making comments that would leave you wondering if she was joking or if she was putting you down. She would also say many comments without actually making statements. I believe this was a way to not claim the comments she was making. She would be able to say, “What I meant was…” or “What I was trying to say was…”. I wish I had been better at saying to her, “What did you mean when you said…” or “Why would you ask me that?” I would usually keep this inside and complain to my husband who would do nothing about the comments.
- Your partner rages when they feel hurt, shame, fear, or loss of control?
To this day my ex-husband loses it when he feels out of control. Since control is really an illusion he pretty much feels that way all the time. He is constantly trying to maintain or regain control of situations he can’t control. He gets angry when I ask for the weekend I am entitled to in summers. I went back for more child support a year and a half ago so he took our daughter for additional elected time he was never interested in prior to that time. I will be very interested to hear what he has to say when he learns we are moving 30 miles away 3 weeks from today. It falls within what our divorce decree states and it is going to force him to make some changes he will not be very willing to make.
- Both parties may develop or progress in drug or alcohol dependence in order to cope with the pain?
I just kept getting sicker and sicker with the stress of being married to the point I was seeing physicians for my constant ailments. I was always in the doctor’s offices and always on some medication. He was always drinking and as I stated before I believe he was also messing around with one or possibly multiple drugs.
- You leave and then return to your partner repeatedly, against the advice of friends, family, or loved ones?
I left him countless times while we were dating and kept going back. Once we were married and I was so cut off from my family it was not so easy to leave. He also discouraged my working or returning to school, looking back he did not want me having any financial control. When my business I started began to take off he really got upset and started yelling at me. He feared I would eventually leave and that became reality.
- You have trouble ending the relationship, even though inside you know it is the right thing to do?
I had such a hard time leaving him. For multiple reasons; my own insecurity, my own fears, financial reasons, wishing it would get better, etc… Once I had a child and was married to him it became even harder to leave due to financial reasons, being cut off from family support, and the fear he created. He would make certain comments to illicit fear, such as…
one of his co-works just got a divorce and got custody of the kids…
I could be your best friend or your worst enemy…
you won’t be able to survive without me…
without a college degree nobody will hire you…
I don’t want you living in a roach invested apartment…