I may have said this, directly or indirectly, in one or more of my previous posts, but I think it’s worth repeating.
Abuse is not always “in your face”, leaving you with visible bruises, bloodied lips, black eyes, fractured bones. Abuse can sometimes be so subtle that it’s unnoticeable while it’s happening, but builds up a certain awareness, over time, that something isn’t “quite right” but extremely difficult to pinpoint.
Café Sanctuary wants to RAISE the AWARENESS of every aspect of abuse, no matter how small or subtle. Recognizing red flags is an absolute must in any relationship. Look for patterns. There’s a difference between “one-time” incidents and those repeated over time. Do you experience cyclical abuse: something random triggers an abusive episode, followed by profuse (but hollow) apologies and empty promises that it’ll never happen again? If the abuse is subtle, it may be that something feels “off” or you may have feelings that you can’t articulate; take the time to reevaluate your relationship and act accordingly.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I still trust my partner?
- Do I love my partner?
- Do I feel safe and secure with my partner?
- Do I feel uplifted by my partner?
- Does our relationship have equality or do I feel controlled?
- Do I feel isolated from family and/or friends?
- Do I fear my partner’s temper to a point where I go out of my way to avoid provoking anger?
- When my partner says “I love you”, do I really believe it?
- Do I feel like I’m a priority with my partner?
- Does my partner keep promises or break them?
- Is my partner an open book or are certain aspects of his/her life inaccessible to me?
- Are there any aspects of our relationship that are unfulfilling?
Answering the above questions is an important first step. Answer them truthfully (read: without making any excuses for your partner’s behavior) and explore the reasons for your answers. Once you have all of your answers, ask yourself the following questions:
- Can I approach my partner with my concerns?
- Am I comfortable with voicing my opinions, thoughts, feelings without fear of criticism?
- Can we still effectively communicate with each other, if something is bothering us?
- Are we able to resolve issues effectively, with minimal damage to either of us?
If you’re reluctant to voice your concerns because of fear or because you have any doubts that it’ll improve your relationship, things will probably not get better. In order for a relationship to work, a couple must be willing to openly discuss things, with a view to finding a resolution that’s acceptable to both, before moving on. If you’re in a relationship where everything said in past arguments is dredged up in every new argument, it will seem futile to open a dialogue about anything that concerns you.
It’s up to you to decide what you can/cannot realistically live with. S/he will only change if s/he really wants to. The bottom line is, you deserve a healthy relationship with someone who genuinely treats you with love, respect, kindness and generosity. If the relationship no longer serves YOU, take control of what happens and move on. You can’t afford the time it takes, waiting for your partner to change, especially if there’s little or no communication devoted to resolutions.
If you have read this and still feel uncertain about your situation, please get in touch with us or talk to someone you trust about your concerns. Objective opinions are very helpful. We’re here to offer support, guidance, advice, understanding or a shoulder; whatever you tell us will remain completely confidential.