The basis of every healthy romantic relationship is love, kindness, mutual respect, acceptance, friendship, ease in communication, trust, dependability, security and healthy intimacy. And to this if you can add playfulness, lasting mutual attraction, laughter, finding joy together and celebration of each other then you’ve got yourself a winner!
Here we have our expert, Rohini, talk about Abuse in Relationships and the signs to watch out for.
- How do you recognize abusive patterns early in a relationship?
Unfortunately, some of us are in relationships that are driven by insecurity and low self-worth, which leads to a need to control in one partner and the need for attention in another. This is a toxic combination which is the starting point of an abusive relationship.
Given below are a few early warning signs which should not be ignored or over looked:
A: TWO-FACE: When your partner is overly appreciative of something you did when in public and extremely critical to a point of being hurtful, over the same issue, when alone with you and you are unable to understand which of the two personalities is the real one…
B: MONITOR: When your partner abuses technology to spy on you… constantly keeping tab on your calls, reading your messages, emails and oversees every kind of communication that you have with the outside world, do not mistake it as their way of looking out for you…
C: THE BIG “J”: If he/she is unreasonably jealous of your friends, especially of those belonging to the opposite sex, including the members of your family and reasons it out with you saying ,”I love you too much to share you with another”, Do not fail to see the writing on the wall.
D: SUSPICIOUS SOMEONE SPECIAL: If your partner doesn’t trust you, is always suspicious and accuses you of having various affairs every time you talk to someone (even on the phone), or when you come home late from work or text someone etc. it can never be a good thing.
E: THE THREAT: If your partner threatens to leave you at the drop of a hat and holds you to a carrot of his/her love (only if their conditions are met), beware of getting sucked into a traumatic world of emotional manipulation.
F: FLIRT TO HURT: If your partner openly flirts with another or crosses a line of decency with others in your presence, with an intent to hurt you and criticizes you for not being good enough or worthy of them, tries to convince you that he/she is doing you a favor by being in this relationship with you and ensures that you do not walk out because you have no options left, please understand that it’s not the truth and it’s a sign…
G: THE BEAST: If your partner is not gentle in the way they deal with you, if they physically assault you and get sexual without your consent, even once in the relationship; if they threaten to hurt someone dear to you(parent/child/sibling/pet) if you do not comply to their wishes and holds you to ransom, it is not something that you should overlook in love.
H: THE COVER-UP: If there is something secretive about your partner inspite of knowing him/her for a long time, which when questioned by you makes them extremely aggressive and irrational in their response; if you get a hint that there is more dishonesty in your relationship than you are comfortable with, then its time to carefully move out.
I: THE DEFINER: If your partner defines how you should live your life, what job you should take up, whom you should or should not speak to, where you can and cannot go, what you can and cannot wear etc. the compliance to which is binding for you to make your partner ‘happy’ and feel ‘loved’, however humourously conveyed, it is a red flag. Recognize it early.
- In a survey conducted by Times of India and Jaago Re in India, 51% of men and 54% of the women respondents found it OK for a man to hit his spouse/partner.
Where are we going wrong?
Gender has always played an important role in allocating responsibilities in society and women were almost always entrusted with the responsibility of infant care and household chores. The non-compliance to which resulted in severe admonishment of the women by their partners and senior members of the family (both male and female).
In the past, the male leader of the family exercised control over the rest of his clan, most often than not, using force.
Unfortunately, even today, ‘hitting’ is considered a culturally acceptable form of punishment right from childhood, both at home and in schools. Children submit to violence without questioning it, even if they feel deeply hurt, due to the fear of being chastised further. According to a UNICEF report, even a little slap carries the message that violence is the appropriate response to conflict or inappropriate behaviour or simply to exercise control over another person. Children subject to severe physical punishment over extended periods of time are shown to be aggressive towards their siblings, bully in school, take part in aggressively social behaviour in adolescence, more violent towards their spouse and children to the extent of committing violent crimes in their adulthood.
Abuse, a learned behaviour, is the direct aftermath of a relationship in which love does not mean respect. Accepting abuse as the natural consequence of seeking affection and validity from their partners also has its roots in intrinsic insecurity and learnings from the past.
Only a radical change in the mindset of people and the way in which we bring up our children- by inculcating respect for self and others, developing their self-esteem and sense of self-worth, teaching them to say NO and accept NO, leading by example that love means respect, trust and security; teaching them that we have all been created equally and it is our right to be treated as equals; making them understand that a romantic relationship is a partnership where your consort is your ally and not your enemy…is the only way to right the wrong!