I remember being at the wedding of a close friend many years ago.
Something was amiss and I just couldn’t place my finger on it. She didn’t
seem to smile as much as the blushing bride did. She didn’t join her
bridesmaids at the bar for a few celebratory drinks, something she
certainly would have done in the past. I remember thinking that she just
didn’t seem to be as happy as what she should be. I had no idea, at the
time, that she was entering into an abusive relationship. Of course, the
abusive relationship had begun the moment that they started dating.
An abusive relationship doesn’t just start out of nowhere. There are
always warning signs that show themselves in even the smallest of ways.
Often times, the person in the relationship isn’t able to see those
little warnings. Often times, it’s the friends and family that notice the
signs but aren’t quite sure how to convince the victim that something
just isn’t quite right. If they are brave enough to speak up and voice
their opinion, they will most likely be greeted with resistance and
hostility. When I first noticed that my friend was in an abusive
relationship, months after the wedding, I spoke up. The moment that I
opened my mouth and asked her about her marriage, she clammed up. A few
days later, she lashed out at me, telling me that I had no right to
interfere or say such horrible things about her relationship. She broke
off our friendship. I didn’t hear from her until two years later. She
showed up on my doorstep one evening, a shell of what she had once been.
She was crying hysterically and collapsed into my arms. The vibrant and
strong friend that I had once had, was now a meek and lost individual.
She wanted a way out of her abusive relationship and with a lot of
support and some drastic changes, her friends and family helped her to
exit that marriage. Years later, the emotional scars remain. She will
never be that person that she was before she was married. Her abusive
husband ruined a huge part of her soul and her existence. Sure,
counseling has helped but it’ll never restore the parts of her
personality that now cease to exist.
Those little warning signs should never be ignored. Whether the warning
signs are happening in your own relationship or you notice, at a
distance, they are happening to a friend, they cannot be ignored. If you
find yourself or notice a friend suddenly withdrawing from normal
activities with anyone other than their partner, this could be a warning
sign. A lot of abusive relationships will force the victim to pull away
from their friends and their family. An abusive partner may make threats
to not only the victim, but children, pets or other people in their
lives. Sometimes, rude comments in a teasing manner are warning signs of
an abusive relationship.
Often times, the abuser has a Jekyll and Hyde personality. The victim may
seem to never quite know what mood the abuser will be in and will mold
their moods or personalities around what the abuser is feeling that day.
Being in an abusive relationship isn’t fun in the least. It is not only
dangerous physically, but emotionally as well. If you can assist someone
in recognizing their own abusive relationship, proceed with facts, but
caution. If you recognize that you are in an abusive relationship, do
everything you can to exit safely and effectively. Seek the help of
family, friends and professionals in order to be able to make a safe
escape and start to rebuild your life.