Am I abusive?
A number of men and women are concerned that they may be abusive towards their partner. You may have read through part of Hidden Hurt and other Domestic Abuse sites and recognized yourself in some of the pages, or your partner may have told you that your behavior towards her/him is abusive and told you how much you hurt and upset them.
If you are not quite sure whether your actions could be considered abusive or not, read through the Warning Signs of an Abusive Personality and search your heart. Are any of those actions or attitudes ones you tend towards? You may also find it helpful to read the article by John Stibbs on healthy and unhealthy relationships: Emotional Boundaries. Does your relationship tend more towards a healthy or an unhealthy one?
Maybe you could ask yourself some of the following questions:
- Would you treat your boss, mate or next-door-neighbor the same way as you do your partner?
- If someone else were treating your daughter, son, brother, sister or friend the same way as you treat your partner, would you consider it okay or not?
- Has your partner told you that your behavior is unreasonable or abusive?
- Has your partner either left you or threatened to leave you if you don't stop being nasty to her/him?
- Have previous relationships gone to the wall due to your behavior?
On Taking Responsibility
First of all, if you have realized that some of your actions and attitudes towards your partner may be abusive, you have already made a very important step toward change and being able to enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship. Well done! It is difficult and painful to realize that you may be hurting someone you love, but it is the first step towards change.
The only person who can make a difference is YOU! One of the main problems with repeat abusers and perpetrators is denial of the abusive nature of their actions and attitudes, and denial of any 'real' effect on their victims. Acknowledging to ourselves that we have a problem, or that we are hurting someone we love is very, very difficult and painful, and many people can never quite admit it to themselves.
A lot of abusive behaviors are ingrained, they may have been part of your personality and coping mechanism since childhood, and they are difficult not just to recognize, but also to crack. Nobody else can do that for you, you have to take responsibility for your actions yourself - fully.
This means recognizing when you are saying something hurtful or doing something harmful to your partner; learning to recognize your reactions within yourself, how you feel when you get wound up, how you feel after an abusive episode; the thoughts and excuses you make to yourself to allow you to deny you are really doing anything wrong. Ask yourself some of these questions:
- do you regularly vent your frustration on your partner?
- do you tell yourself that your partner is overreacting to 'being told off'?
- do you tell your partner they are 'making a fuss about nothing' or 'making a mountain out of molehill'?
- do you tell yourself what you do is not that bad, so-and-so would be far worse?
- do you think that if your partner just didn't 'wind you up on purpose' then the abuse would not happen?
- do you tell yourself that your partner deserved the abuse, coz they are not perfect either?
- do you tell yourself that because you only get nasty when you are drunk, it isn't really the same as if you were really abusive?
Check out these helpful links .
Are You Narcissistic?
Do You Have A Co-dependnt Lifestyle?