Since I wrote The Relationship Trap, I have been trying to understand how someone can remain in an abusive relationship. In my book, fourteen women describe relationships they entered, ignoring the warning signs that said, this guy’s not for you! A number of those relationships were abusive and the women never realized what was happening. What is the common thread?
I found that you don’t know you’re in an abusive relationship until you look at it from the outside. However, here’s one clue: you are constantly defending yourself while you’re in it.
This year, I created an updated edition to The Relationship Trap, in which I discuss the characteristics of abuse since it is so prevalent nowadays. And it all occurs behind closed doors. Outside the home, no one suspects this is an abusive relationship. The minute the door closes, it begins.
Is it possible that you are in an abusive relationship? Do you make excuses and try to be “better?” Do you think: If he hit me, I’d be out of here in a minute. Well, a person can be “hit” with words. And words can hit as hard as a fist. That’s psychological abuse!
The more he demands, the more you try to please. The more you try to please, the more he demands. It never ends. It just gets worse…little by little. You are never right. He is never wrong. The more he criticizes, the harder you try to please.
* PLEASE NOTE: I refer to the abuser as “he,” but there are plenty of abusive women in this world. I am just addressing this to women because there are more abusive men out there than abusive women.
Just ask yourself one simple question: Am I walking on eggshells? If the answer is yes, you may be in an abusive situation. That’s a big clue!
THE CYCLE OF ABUSE
- Tension starts and steadily builds
- Abuser starts to get angry
- Communication breaks down
- Cycle of Abuse or Violence: tension building, acting out, the honeymoon period and calm
- Victim feels the need to concede to the abuser
- Victim promises to be better
- Tension becomes too much
- Victim feels uneasy and a need to watch every move
INCIDENT OCCURS, such as:
- Or other forms of abuse as found in the power and control wheel (below)
- Abuser apologizes to the victim for abuse, some beg forgiveness, say “I’m sorry.”
- Abuser promises it will never happen again
- Blames victim for provoking the problem
- Minimizing, denying or claiming the abuse wasn’t as bad as victim claims
- Abuses slow or stop
- Promises he will change
- Victim believes or wants to believe the abuse is over or the abuser will change
- Abuser may give gifts to victim
THEN THE CYCLE BEGINS AGAIN
So, are you walking on eggshells? Or do you know someone who fits the description?
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233