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Relationships. Something which can make or break a person. Relationships whether romantic or friendship can help a person to come out of their shell, it can complete a person and can heal when time isn’t helping. However, is there a dark side to relationships? Of course there is, just like everything in our world.
Whether you’ve been with someone 1 hour, 1 week, 1 month or 1 year the strong feelings you can feel towards a person can disguise any toxic traits they may have. Of course, not all relationships are toxic that isn’t what I am highlighting. I am simply highlighting that sometimes we can be blinded by love, as cliché as that sounds. We can miss little signs which suggest that something is not quite right… I wanted to discuss them today.
- Emotional Blackmail | This is almost an art. As humans we naturally like to complete a good deed and receive something in return. I think every friend or loved one says something along the lines of ‘If you grab me a glass of juice I’ll give you a massage’. This isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m talking about things such as ‘If you continue to talk to [insert name here], I’m going to meet up with that hot totty from work’ etc. Emotional blackmail is a form of control. It can help control another persons actions from the trivial drink to full on control of everyday occurrences. If you’re within a relationship where emotional blackmail is a normal occurrence this is an immediate sign that this person may not be right for you. It may seem normal or ‘okay’ but it is not. You are your own person, only you can control you.
- Emotional Abuse | I think this is a term often trivialised and dismissed in our society. It almost seems like we should accept that if we haven’t got physical marks on us, there isn’t any abuse occurring. This is totally unacceptable! If someone is consistently putting you down, telling you how bad you look in your favourite dress, picks on all your insecurities all the time and doesn’t help uplift you… HELLO, this is for sure a huge red flag! I have had experience of having severe insecurities about both my body and personality. This made me a prime target. If you already have insecurities you never seem to view where the boundaries begin and end with peoples comments. You’re so used to putting yourself down, it becomes the norm meaning that when someone is negative about those things, it’s hard to distinguish what’s actually being said compared to what’s just thoughts you are having. However, clear your mind and discover where the line is between constructive criticism about that dress you’re wearing and simply emotional abuse.
- Physical Abuse | I want to say ‘obviously, this is the far most outright sign that you are in the wrong relationship’, yet for some it’s not. For some people that first time your partner grabbed your arm too hard and caused a bruise was always going to be the only time. Then when they prove you wrong and it happens again, you can’t leave because they apologised. Then when it gets worse you wont leave because you love them. Then when it happens again you can’t leave because they will ruin your life if you do. It’s a viciously physical ladder towards emotional restraint. It could be gradual or extreme. This doesn’t mean it’s acceptable either. The second someone lays a finger on you maliciously, in the eyes of the law, it is chargeable. No matter how big or small the bruise or pain you felt on the scale of 1-10, if your partner is physically abusing you.. leave. You have children with them? You will stay with them because it’s not hurting your children? It does hurt your children, every time their mummy or daddy has that one bruise too many or that black eye.
There is many, many signs which suggest you shouldn’t be in a relationship. Those are just three. I truly believe that everyone should listen to their gut. Your gut instincts are so important with any kind of relationship. If you are in a relationship where you are not in control of your own actions, appearances or life in general… get out. If you are not only being controlled, or even if you’re totally free yet being physically abused… get out! Can you sense a theme here?
As someone who has been in a controlling relationship which included physical abuse, I can honestly say even though threats to ‘ruin my life’ were involved, I got out and couldn’t be happier. It seems so overwhelming at the time, being alone and not going on those romantic dates which you once enjoyed so much. Or thinking your children will grow up being co-parented or being singly brought up but just yourself. It IS scary. It is weird thinking about taking on the world by yourself, but until you love yourself, no one else will be able to respect you.
Create your own boundaries. Create your own confidence. Most importantly create your own happiness. We only live once, being in any kind of toxic relationship is not worth wasting your time on. There are numbers you can call, people you can speak to and places you can go for refuge if your situation is extreme. Don’t face it alone. Just get out.