An abusive relationship doesn’t always come in the form of physical abuse -- it can be mentally and emotionally abusive. Usually, however, physical and mental or emotional abuse go hand-in-hand. Some 95 percent of abusers who physically abuse also psychologically abuse, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Even if someone is not physically abusing you, if you find that you are unhappy in the relationship but are unable to leave because your partner is controlling and manipulative partner, find the strength to break away from this abusive relationship.
Re-Build Your Self-Esteem
Most mentally abusive relationships start out normal before the abuser starts to insult and lower your self-esteem, warns registered clinical counselor Jill Arnold. The abuse slowly starts to creep in, so you “acclimatize” and get used to the mental abuse, which can include your partner constantly putting you down, belittling you, humiliating you, being controlling or getting jealous for no reason. This lowers your feelings of self-worth and can cause you to believe that no one else would want to be with you, besides your abusive partner. She suggests that you build up other areas of your life outside of your partner to help rebuild your confidence so you can break away. Take care of your body and mind. Having good physical health, a strong support network and high self-esteem can lessen the effects of psychological abuse.
Many people find it hard to leave their abusive partners if they are living with them because they are financially dependent on them. Usually, the abusive partner has control over the money and credit cards, as well as things like the vehicle. As the abused partner, you may feel you do not have the financial resources to leave the relationship. Start saving and hiding money in a safe place, so that you can eventually have money to feel confident enough to leave.
Go to Trusted Family and Friends
Another way a psychological abuser works is by isolating you from your family and friends in order to create a dependency on him. Recognize that he will do this by criticizing them and turning you against them, or discouraging you from seeing and spending time with them. It is important to tell somebody. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. The best way to get away from your abuser is to let other people know what is going on. By letting your friends and family know, you will be able to get the strength to leave through the support of your core network.
Recognize Manipulative Patterns
Abused partners find it hard to leave their abuser because of manipulative behavior. It is important to recognize the patterns: Your partner will abuse you to an extreme. When you threaten to leave, she will apologize in a grand way to convince you to take her back. She will then be a loving partner, which will lead you to believe that things are getting better. Then she will slowly start the abuse again and the cycle will continue. “Understand that with that person, it’s probably never going to be different,” says Arnold. Another manipulative way an abuser gets her partner to stay is by threatening suicide or saying something like, “If you leave, my life will be miserable.” Don’t give in to the guilt. “Your responsibility is to yourself and to get healthy and to get out of there.”
Seek Professional Help
If things get bad, don’t wait to get out of the relationship. Call a helpline such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline. You can also contact them anonymously through an online form. This hotline is not limited to physical abuse. If you want to narrow down help to your state, visit the site’s “Help in Your Area” page, which offers a listing of domestic violence hotlines across the country.
Sarah Casimong is a Vancouver-based writer with a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She writes articles on relationships, entertainment and health. Her work can be found in the "Vancouver Observer", "Her Campus" and "Cave Magazine".