How to recognise the manipulation & gas lighting tactics in an abusive relationship & getting the strength to walk away.
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Getting out of an abusive relationship isn’t easy, but you deserve to live free of fear.
Leaving isn’t always as easy as outsiders make it sound. And despite their good intentions, people who ask why victims don’t exit an abusive relationship can do more harm than good.
Abuse in relationships is often insidious and can become dangerously addictive over time.
An abusive relationship relies on a power differential between the two parties and the abuser is typically a narcissist or sociopath.
In the long-term, victims of abuse can end up craving affirmation from an abusive partner who has seemingly taken away their self-worth.
These relationships tend to start with “love bombing” or an abundance of affection, approval and love. You are lulled in to a false sense of safety and security. Then the gaslighting and emotional abuse starts. Which then leads to physical abusive.
When your partner belittles you and tells you that “you imagined” them saying something hurtful or even dismisses your feelings altogether, this is a definite warning sign. Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality.
An abuser may prevent you from getting a job to make sure that you depend on them for basic necessities. Economic abuse could come in the form of preventing you from getting a job, giving you an allowance, making you ask for money, or even taking the money with no warning.
You Feel Like You’re Walking on Eggshells
When you are in a relationship, you should not feel anxious around them. They should enhance your life, not make it worse. An abuser often creates such a hostile, unpredictable environment that the abused person feels extremely unsafe and on edge. If you constantly feel like you have to walk on eggshells when interacting with them or constantly worry if they are going to be disappointed in you, it’s time to let the relationship go.
They’re Emotionally Abusive
When you are with your partner, how do you feel about yourself? Do they constantly belittle and put you down? These are signs that your partner is emotionally abusing you. If the abusive partner excuses his or her attacks as jokes and insists that you are over-sensitive, this is a sign that your comfort is not important to him or her.
They Submit You to Threats, Guilt Trips, and Coercion
Not all threats are created equal. Threatening to commit suicide, threatening to leave, to hurt someone you love, make you do illegal things, or making you drop charges. This is all a form of abuse. Don’t fall for these threats.
They are Violent
On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men, according to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Often violence occurs once there is a certain level of commitment. If your partner hits you for any reason, look for the other signs and know when to call for help and get out of the relationship.
They Can Use Your Children Against You
Abusers in a relationship may want to use children to help them in their endeavors. Abusers may make children relay the abusive marriage, they may dangle visitation hours, or even threaten to take the children away from the mother.
If You’re In An Abusive Relationship
Why doesn’t she just leave? It’s the question many people ask when they learn that a woman is suffering physical or emotional abuse. But if you are in an abusive relationship, you know that it’s not that simple. Ending a significant relationship is never easy. It’s even harder when you’ve been isolated from your family and friends, psychologically beaten down, financially controlled, and physically threatened.
If you’re trying to decide whether to stay or leave, you may be feeling confused, uncertain, frightened, and torn. Maybe you’re still hoping that your situation will change or you’re afraid of how your partner will react if he discovers that you’re trying to leave. One moment, you may desperately want to get away, and the next, you may want to hang on to the relationship. Maybe you even blame yourself for the abuse or feel weak and embarrassed because you’ve stuck around in spite of it. Don’t be trapped by confusion, guilt, or self-blame. The only thing that matters is your safety.
If You Are Being Abused, remember:
- You are not to blame for being abused.
- You’re not the cause of your partner’s abusive behavior.
- You deserve to be treated with respect.
- You deserve a safe and happy life.
- Your children deserve a safe and happy life.
- You are not alone. There are people waiting to help.
Hoping He Will Change
The abuse will probably keep happening. Abusers have deep emotional and psychological problems. While change is not impossible, it isn’t quick or easy. And change can only happen once your abuser takes full responsibility for his behavior, seeks professional treatment, and stops blaming you, his unhappy childhood, stress, work, his drinking, or his temper. You are not to blame.
You Want To Help Him
It’s only natural that you want to help your partner. You may think you’re the only one who understands him or that it’s your responsibility to fix his problems. But the truth is that by staying and accepting repeated abuse, you’re reinforcing and enabling the behavior. Instead of helping your abuser, you’re perpetuating the problem.
He Promised To Stop
When facing consequences, abusers often plead for another chance, beg for forgiveness, and promise to change. They may even mean what they say in the moment, but their true goal is to stay in control and keep you from leaving. Most of the time, they quickly return to their abusive behavior once you’ve forgiven them and they’re no longer worried that you’ll leave.
Worried About What Will Happen If You Leave
You may be afraid of what your abusive partner will do, where you’ll go, or how you’ll support yourself or your children. But don’t let fear of the unknown keep you in a dangerous, unhealthy situation.