Sailing Through the Rough Waters of Relationships

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There’s more to a relationship than just being romantic during candle-lit dinners and having an enjoyable sex life.  People involved in a serious relationship should take into consideration each other’s physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. It should be founded in the proverbial understanding, trust, respect, and love.
Although all relationships sail through rough waters, without these ingredients it will be difficult to maintain a healthy relationship.  There are certain situations where a partner may exhibit unacceptable and abusive behaviors. Violence in a relationship is not just physical abuse. It can involve psychological or emotional bullying.
Abusive relationships are characterized by extreme jealousy, emotional withholding, lack of intimacy, raging, sexual coercion, infidelity, verbal abuse, threats, lies, broken promises, physical violence, power plays and control games.
The damaging effects of emotional abuse is sometimes even greater than physical abuse, though it is often harder to recognize, and therefore to recover from. It causes long term self esteem problems and complex emotional consequences for the abused partner. Abuse typically alternates with declarations of love and statements that they will change, in order to “hook” the partner into the relationship.
Although there are some men who are abused, women are more likely to become the victim of an abusive relationship.  Abusers are often very charming and acts very convincing to everyone. This charade usually has a confusing effect on the abused partner, one or both partners think it was their fault.  Telling other people about the real situation makes the person feel awkward due to the image that the other partner man has projected with others.
People should be aware of the following warning signs that tell they may be entering an abusive relationship:

  • When your partner has been in a violent relationship before. Abusive people rarely change.
    Almost every abuser claims that he or she was the real victim.
  • When your partner always put your friends down and makes it difficult for you to see them.
  • Abusive individuals lose their temper over trivial things.
  • The abusive person has very rigid ideas about the roles of men and women and can’t / won’t discuss it reasonably.
  • The mood swings of abusive individuals are so erratic that you find yourself constantly trying to assess your mood and only think in terms of his or her needs. Having a healthy relationship is essentially about having give-and-take between the partners.
  • Sometimes, it is important one or both partners to have some emotional or physical space away from each other.  When the a partner is too controlling, no such space is allowed.
  • When your partner criticizes you all the time – about your weight, your hair, your clothes, etc.
  • When your partner makes all the decisions in your relationship and ignores your needs or dismisses them as unimportant.

    Take note of behavioral patterns that show control, restriction, and disrespect.  No partner should should keep the other person from making his or her own choices in life.  Abusive relationships cannot be changed from one side.  It cannot change without sustained group therapy. Staying in the relationship is to condone the abuse and helping your partner to stay sick.  Removing the abused partner from the situation as well as group therapy and counseling is necessary in healing the relationship.