(Editor’s note: This reader submitted article is in response to this post).
Having just read a post on Lovelyish about how to tell if your relationship is abusive, I really started to think about abusive relationships, and my relationship specifically. I have been abusive to my boyfriend.
I know very well that abuse is not always treated with the attention it deserves, and that many women are suffering right now and don’t know what to do. But what about those of us whose anger gets the best of us, and we ourselves, lash out? No one tells us what to do, and we are shamed into hiding for fear of being demonized.
The original post detailed five signs that you may be in an abusive relationship, but it was one-sided. All of the points are completely valid, but if you are doing them to your significant other, you are the abusive one. It is hard to admit and hard to come to terms with, as no one wants to be seen in such negative light. But from personal experience, I can tell you that if you were to see a counselor or therapist, it is likely that there are underlying causes to your fits of anger.
1. Jealousy. It is normal, but at a certain point, if your partner still thinks you’re being unreasonable, maybe you are. This can stem from such things as low self-esteem and insecurities. It makes sense that if your boyfriend’s best friendis some hot chick, you’re going to feel jealous. What you need to do is sit down and put everything out on the table with your partner. Explain what makes you jealous. Look deep inside yourself. If you want the relationship to work, you’ve got to do it.
2. Name calling and verbal abuse. This is somewhere between jealousy and violence, in my opinion. What you have to realize is that words can hurt, they can cut deeply and sometimes it is hard for a person to recover from the wound a word can leave. If you think that you have verbally abused your partner, think about the words you have used. Ask them for their input. It may be helpful to completely eradicate them from your vocabulary, the same way you automatically stop saying curse words around your grandmother or teachers. If you train yourself not to use these words, they hopefully will stop coming to mind when you are angry. Or this extra step will cause you to think about your words and express yourself in a calmer, more rational way.
3. Violence. It is less normal and can stem from unresolved anger issues, substance abuse, and some types of depression, just to name a few. If you have ever slapped, punched, pushed, kicked, scratched, or otherwise injured your partner, you should seek help. Whether it be because you were mad at them, or if the pressures of the day built up until they spilled over at home. If at any time you feel that you must injure your partner, or you both get in a physical fight, you should call someone; campus health centers, local counseling, the police, a hospital or a trusted mediator.
If you feel that you are abusive to your partner, you are not alone. You do need attention and help from a counselor. No one is abusive just because they’re a bad person. There is always some deeper cause, and while the person being abused hurts, the abuser is hurting as well. I want to make it clear that I am not endorsing that every abused individual stay with their partner, but I sure am glad that my boyfriend is helping me, rather than leaving me.
Would you continue to date someone who was abusive, Lovelies?