By Nurse Diane
There is a saying that you can't teach an old dog a new trick. Well I guess that just depends on the dog, and what trick you are trying to teach him.
When I was in nursing school, I was in class with a lady who was in her mid to late 40's. It was a small group in the class, and we became very close. She had five kids, who were all grown, except for one who was in high school, and they lived with her husband. He was a few years younger than her, and outward appearances made them seem like the perfect couple. Occasionally she would come to class with bruises on her arms, every now and then a black eye she would cover with make up and sunglasses. I never thought anything about it; she was an intelligent person, who blamed it on being accident-prone. One day she called me, asked me to come over to her home. When I went, I was shocked at what I saw. Not only was she bruised up, but had a bloody nose and lip. I immediately took her packed a bag for her and her daughter and took them out to a fishing camp she owned. She confided to me that he would hit her all the time, and any small thing would set him off. She was convinced that she loved him, and he would change, but it took her action of leaving to make him see what he had, and what he was about to lose. Her husband got the help he needed, and 20 years later, they are still together and happily married, and he has not hit her again.
Taking that first step is very difficult. She had concerns about how she could support herself, she was a student, and not working at the time, and she was scared that he would come after her again.
I have another friend who is also in an abusive relationship. Only this type of abuse doesn't leave physical scars, but emotional ones. Below are some signs you are in an emotional relationship from loveisrespect.org:
- Checking your cell phone or email without permission
- Constantly putting you down
- Extreme jealousy or insecurity
- Explosive temper
- Isolating you from family or friends
- Making false accusations
- Mood swings
- Physically hurting you in any way
- Telling you what to do
Some other signs include:
- You're afraid to tell your partner about a normal happening - your car needs breaks, your boss made you work overtime - because you're not sure how he will react.
- When you do talk to your significant other, he puts you down and makes you feel stupid.
- You make yourself available to your partner no matter what the personal cost - just to avoid a confrontation.
- You no longer want to bring your significant other around your friends or family because you're afraid he will berate you and humiliate you in front of your loved ones.
- You've begun to believe that you're the crazy one -- that you're the one with the problem.
- When talking about an accomplishment - a promotion or something equally exciting - your partner sneers at you, putting you down, mocking your achievement rather than celebrating it.
- You feel helpless, like you're trapped in the relationship.
- Your partner treats you like an object, like property, not like a person with real feelings.
- Your partner keeps a tight control on all things: money, the phone, using the car, who you see and what you do.
- If you fight back, your significant other blames you for the abusive behavior. "If you weren't so dumb, I wouldn't have to yell at you."
- You've begun to see yourself as worthless -- just like your partner tells you you are.
- You'll go out of your way to please your significant other, no matter how much you have to sacrifice. If that means staying up all night to wash the floor, so be it. It beats the "lecture."
- You're in complete isolation. Your partner doesn't want you around your friends or family and has convinced you that THEY are the ones who are abusive to you - not him.
- You've begun to feel as though you deserve to be treated badly. If you were a better person, you wouldn't make him so mad!
- You find yourself having to rush to his defense whenever he is brought up in conversation. You make excuses for his behavior regardless of the situation.
She also has the same concerns, how will I live, how can I support myself? I tried to explain that this relationship is not healthy, and she is not happy, and if she wants the relationship to change, she has to take a step. Going along with the way things are will only convince the other partner that you approve of his/her actions.
If some of the signs listed above describe your relationship with your spouse, there are places you can go to for help. http://www.loveisrespect.org/get-help/get-help has a hotline where you can call or chat online. Everyone deserves the pursuit of happiness. Taking that first step in the right direction is the best way to start for a happier, healthier you!
CALL 1-866-331-9474 Now - for help with Emotional Abuse.