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Over 1.5 million young people were bullied in 2018, according to a survey by Ditch The Label. While bullying is mostly a school problem, it happens in relationships; from teenage ones to married couples. The sad thing is, despite being in a seemingly happy relationship that even includes special dates with your partner, you may be a victim of bullying in your relationship and you don’t know it. The mental and physical health effects of bullying are diverse and long-lasting. That’s why it’s important to explore common signs to look out for and how to deal with bullying in a relationship.
Relationships are supposed to be fun, interesting and generally happy. Planning great moments like movie nights and dates with your partner helps maintain that spark and is generally a good thing for both your lives. However, that does not have to be the sole indicator of a happy marriage or relationship. Other minor details that your partner intentionally does could be indicators of emotional bullying and understanding them is vital. Emotional bullying is hard to identify or admit to and is easily dismissed, especially if there are happy moments. If your partner is exhibiting the following 6 signs, then that is emotional abuse.
Interrupts All Conversations
No relationship is perfect, and that means you will not always see eye to eye with your partner. When disagreements occur, you should aim to solve conflicts through conversation and compromise. If you find that your partner is always interrupting you when you talk, then this is emotional bullying. If you cannot have a decent and productive conversation with a feasible solution, then you are being abused.
Accusations and Blame
“If you love me, you wouldn’t…” Sound familiar? You are being emotionally abused. At the end of the day, you are different people who will select different choices given the same chances. If your partner is always manipulating you using that statement, then that is a sign. Ending every relationship hiccup with tears is also an indicator.
Punishments and Vengeful Motives
Once you disagree and quarrel, the best thing to do is usually to bring it up later when you are both calm and apologize. But with emotional abusers, you will find this is not their default method. They seek to punish you for that mistake, however minor, by either ignoring your calls, hanging up or giving you the silent treatment. In extreme cases, revenge such as going out late, withholding sex, flirting with other people, or refusing to do house chores are common.
Threatens With Suicide or Divorce
When the two methods above do not work effectively, then an emotional abuser will threaten you, especially if you try to leave. If your partner always threatens to divorce you or commit suicide, then you are in an emotionally abusive relationship. Such people also bring up the past a lot during such episodes.
This mostly disguises itself as concern and love but lowkey infringes on your personal freedom. According to Dr Lisa Ferentz on Psychology Today, a partner who insists you spend all your free time with them, dress in a certain way or change certain things in your life is exploiting you emotionally. When you such signs, try to talk it over with your partner to see if it can change. Otherwise, seek counseling from experts.
Isolates You from Friends and Family
This sign of relationship abuse is one of the most extreme ones and usually, you will have gone through a couple of the ones above before you get here. It starts with wanting to spend all your time with them and slowly escalates to not spending time with anyone else. If your friends are complaining they don’t see you as much and it is not out of your choice, then please reevaluate your relationship.
Dealing With Emotional Abuse
Chances are you won’t know it is happening, but knowing signs to look out for can help. Once you spot any of these emotional abuse signs in your relationship, you need to have a deep conversation about it. If one of you is angry, try taking time to cool off before attempting a solution. Counselling, mediation or therapy should also be tried if you are both willing to get rid of the toxicity in the relationship. If it cannot be salvaged, then you might want to consider leaving before it escalates further.
This type of bullying happens in marriages, or with couples who are cohabiting. In some cases, it may be coupled with emotional abuse which makes it harder to spot in the instances it is not. The easiest indicator of financial bullying is you are restricted from using or earning money. Your partner may give you a monthly allowance and chastise you for overspending even by a dollar. You have to seek permission to carry out grocery shopping and necessities especially if your partner makes more money. Stay at home spouses are more likely to experience this.
Once you spot it, have a sit down with your partner and explain how you feel about it. Insist that you also make money decisions where the family is concerned. Making a family financial budget plan with an income and report should be a combined effort. On the allowance, both of you should have a reasonable allowance whose expenditure is fully transparent.
In 2018, over 2 million people were victims of domestic violence in the U.K according to the Office of National Statistics. Physical bullying is where your partner’s aggression escalates to a physical fight that actually leaves bruises on your body. It is critical to note that either gender can inflict physical harm regardless of their size. The earliest sign is usually hurling things all over the house during a disagreement. The anger is then directed at you and may extend to pets and kids.
Leaving may take a few tries but it can be done. The first thing to do is recognize it is happening and take a stand against it. You should then report it through a helpline if it is during one of those episodes. If not, seek out help, speak to someone about it and find an exit strategy. Be sure to protect the kids first if there are any and document the abuse interactions. It sounds dramatic but it will stand up both in family and child custody courts.
Bullying is never a one-time thing. If your partner is bullying you, expect more episodes of the same with an increasing frequency. Do not let it get to the physical bullying stage if you can. Otherwise, take steps to protect yourself out of that toxic relationship. Remember, bullying has a lasting effect on both your mental and physical health. Spotting the signs could save your life, literally.