10 Ways Relationship Abuse Is Sabotaging Your Life
When in the depths of relationship abuse, you're probably considering how your abuser is sabotaging your life. While being proactive and optimistic are important and beneficial, understanding your circumstances is as well. Relationship abuse commonly consists of many abusive behaviors that are sabotaging to the victim's life, and while not all of the behaviors below may be the case for every abusive relationship, there are certainly many that may feel familiar for different cases. Warning, bleak reality checks ahead.
10 Ways Relationship Abuse Is Sabotaging Your Life
- Relationship abuse disintegrates your self-worth and self-respect. When someone treats you in a way that suggests you are "less than" consistently, it wears you down and you begin to believe you are less than. Not only does your abuser imply he believes you are pathetic by treating you so terribly, if not bluntly saying “you are pathetic,” but you feel pathetic for accepting the treatment and staying in an abusive relationship.
- Your relationships with your family and friends are breaking down. Trying to maintain and control the image others are getting from your relationship is exhausting and humiliating. This is especially true when dealing with the people closest to us because they know us best and know something is simply not right. When you feel yourself dodging social events, ignoring calls and texts, and blatantly lying about your circumstances -- you know your friendships and familial relationships are beginning to fall apart. Commonly at the start of the relationship, when things first start to turn ugly, you may be open with people close to you. As the relationship abuse gets worse and you find yourself deeper entangled, knowing you’re not ready to leave, you may start to pull away and lie for your abuser. You don’t want others to hate him and give you an ultimatum and you don’t want to hear that age-old question, “Why do you stay with him?”
- Your job is not in a stable position. Fights are keeping you from going to work or having you leave early. Arguments may cause a scene on the company phone line or even out front during your lunch break. Your abuser may start to hassle you about the people you work with, especially those of the opposite sex, making you feel uncomfortable interacting normally with your coworkers. You have to make excuses to your boss way more than any normal employee would and you know they suspect something is up. Even working with clients in a professional context has your abuser giving you a hard time. Relationship abuse will weigh on you so heavily you cannot perform your job effectively and constantly worry you’re putting your career in jeopardy. Once you’ve lost your job, you really start to feel like there’s no way out because now you don’t even have the means to care for yourself independently.
- Your potential for growth is at a halt. When you’re engulfed in relationship abuse, your life revolves around that relationship. You can’t take on any new endeavors or invest in your dreams toward a career or higher education because this would threaten your abuser. If you are working toward advancement this is seen as potentially surpassing your abuser and therefore no longer needing them and escaping them with added ease. Typically abusers always find little ways, big ways, subtle ways, and brazen ways of sabotaging any potential for self-growth they perceive as a threat.
- Your quality of life is incredibly low. Your emotions are in a constant state of disarray and you are mentally on a rollercoaster that involves depression, remorse, self-loathing, honey-mooning, denial, happiness, hope, and then back to depression, and round and round you’ll go (The Cycle of Violence Doesn't Tell the Whole Story). You feel alone and alienated from your friends, family, coworkers, and you don’t know the person you once were. You always feel like you’re just not ready to leave even though you wish so badly you would.
- You are losing hope for your future. You feel like you’re so deep in this hole that your abuser just keeps digging, you have no hope to make that climb out. You feel there’s nothing he can do that will convince you to leave and you feel stuck and hopeless. You sense all of the ways the relationship abuse is sabotaging your life. Your bond with him, however toxic, is potent and incredibly difficult to break, in fact, you don’t imagine you can break it.
- You’re missing out on a good relationship. Being with your abuser feels all-consuming, you can’t imagine yourself with anyone else, ever. You probably don’t even wish you could be with someone else but just wish that your partner would treat you the way someone else likely would. You may even fear that if you did find the courage to leave, that dating someone else would only bring disappointment because you’d always feel stuck back where you are now, wishing for change (Abusive Relationships: Devil You Know vs. The Devil You Don’t).
- Your power of personal choice is dwindling. The longer you remain in an abusive relationship, the more you feel you’ve lost your power in the relationship and also as an individual. You stop making choices for yourself and start making choices to adhere to your life’s standards within the constraints of relationship abuse and control. When considering a decision, you start envisioning all of the potential conflicts that could result from the choice you make. You make whatever choice you believe will bring you the least amount of grief and trouble. Your choices are no longer yours, in a sense.
- The way you perceive love is deeply flawed. You probably know you're experiencing relationship abuse and that it is not healthy, but you will likely always defend that at the very least you love one another (Can Love Make Your Abuser Stop Abusing?). You may think that your abuser is just flawed and damaged and that is why he’s so cruel to you but that deep down he really loves you and needs you. This is a flawed perception of love because it is not how love should be; it may feel like love but is more likely love addiction and control.
- You are losing the ability to trust your own judgment. You likely go around and around in your mind, reasoning, rationalizing, and justifying everything that happens within your relationship at one time or another. In the moment, you may feel strongly one way and then when later reflecting back on an encounter start bargaining. You know your life has become something you never meant for it to be and that can be deeply frustrating and confusing.
You Don't Have to Suffer Relationship Abuse
It is always important for me to remind my readers suffering relationship abuse that your life does not have to be this way. This is not a permanent problem, there can always be another option for you. You can make a next move that will have you looking back on this day as the day you decided to change your life. I believe in you.
Sullivan, E. (2018, March 27). 10 Ways Relationship Abuse Is Sabotaging Your Life, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2018/03/10-ways-your-abuser-is-sabotaging-your-life