Abuse is not love. It is about power and control over a person. It usually starts small in a relationship and becomes a bigger problem over time. Abuse doesn’t typically begin with physical harm; it begins with emotional harm.
The abuse gets worse as the relationship progresses. He/She may not be hitting you while you are dating, but the controlling behaviors are often evident early in the relationship. Those controlling ways are abuse. That’s why it is so imperative to recognize the signs of abuse before you are in too deeply.
The impact of abuse is much more widespread that people acknowledge.
You may be thinking this doesn’t apply to you because you aren’t being abused, but it does, because someone you know is being abused.
Abuse has no socioeconomic, racial, or cultural barriers. It happens to people who are rich and to people who are poor. It can happen to anyone, in any walk of life. An article on Livestrong.com provides some important information about abuse and states:1
“Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 to 44”.
This means that women in this age range are more likely to be harmed by their partner than they are to be injured in a car accident.
Abuse is not just about physical harm.
Many people associate abuse with physical harm, but there is so much more involved in abuse than physical harm. Abuse is about a person wanting control over another person. That desire for control leads to a variety of controlling behaviors including isolation from friends and family, threats, emotional abuse, and more.
Most domestic violence centers use the “Power and Control Wheel” to show the types of abuse, as they go far beyond the physical. Abuse is about power and control which come in these forms, often far before the physical abuse ever begins:
Most abused individuals who stay in the relationship do so because they hope the person will change. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of research or data that points to abusers changing their ways.
Is it possible? Yes, but many researchers, including well known abuse expert Lundy Bancroft, say that an abuser changing their ways is a lifelong process and will only happen if an abuser is determined to change.2 It is like a disease that never truly goes away but just becomes dormant.
In the case of abuse, it will only become dormant because the abuser seeks help and has decided not to abuse anymore. You also need to consider the likelihood of them changing, which experts say is not promising. The National Domestic Violence Hotline states,3
“There’s a very low percentage of abusers who truly do change their ways.”
It takes a huge effort on the part of an abuser to change their ways. If you…