When you’re in a romantic relationship, it’s always good to check the health of it, just like you get a checkup for your physical health. I’ve compiled a simple list of 10 questions to ask yourself that will help you determine if you’re in a relationship that’s not in your best interest. When you read each one, think of your relationship. Really think about each question and be honest with yourself. I know how easy (and painful) it can be to excuse away someone’s bad behavior when it hurts to face it.
- Do you have a voice in your relationship? When I was in an abusive relationship, I lost my voice. Not my speaking voice, but my internal voice, my ability to speak up for myself. I felt invisible, unheard, and undervalued. Do you feel that way? Like your thoughts, dreams, opinions are belittled or don’t matter at all?
- Are you afraid? Do you fear your mate? Are you afraid of his or her reactions? Do you feel like you’re walking on eggshells, trying hard not to upset him or her because you’re afraid of what will happen if you do?
- Do you feel nervous or panicked if your mate texts or calls you and you’re not able to respond right away? This is a sign your mate is controlling, manipulative, and possessive. It’s not romantic. Don’t try to convince yourself that it’s “just because he misses me so much.” He’s checking up on you and has a need to know nearly every second, what you’re doing and who you’re with.
- Do you feel like you can’t make an independent decision? Often, this is a major goal of abusers. They want their victims to be so confused, so lacking in self-esteem, that they second guess almost every move they make. They believe they need to be completely dependent on their mate to make even the smallest decisions.
- Are you being insulted? Lied to? Cheated on? Bad, bad, and bad. If even one of these applies to you, it’s a tremendous problem. You’re not being treated well and valued.
- Do you often feel trapped in the relationship? Do you feel as though you’d be harmed in some way if you left the relationship? Or that you’d be helpless to make it in life without your mate? Did someone tell you that you couldn’t handle life on your own? You can. It might not be easy at first, but you can do it.
- Does your mate manage and monopolize your time and attention? If you’re with friends, does he text or call constantly, interrupting your time? Does he punish you or try to make you feel guilty if you spend time away from him? Does he accuse you of not loving him if you dare to make plans with anyone but him? Not cool, friends.
- Does he (or she) put his hands on you EVER? A push, a shove, a fist raised in your face–even if it doesn’t make contact–is still abuse. Nobody, NOBODY has permission to touch you unless you give it to them.
- Do you feel alone in your relationship? Like things go on that no one else could possibly understand. Or maybe they won’t even believe what goes on and you’re too embarrassed to share.
- Are you in pain because of the other person? Physical pain, emotional pain, mental pain. Are they deliberating causing you any kind of pain?
Whether you believe in the Bible or not, the Love Chapter is a perfect reference to stand up next to your relationship. Love is kind (is your mate kind to you? ). Love is not jealous (is your mate jealous, like really jealous over normal mild jealousy?) Love is gentle (is your mate gentle?) Love is patient. It is not arrogant. It does not rejoice in wrongdoing. You can look up I Corinthians 13 if you’d like to dig into this description anymore.
Think on these things. Take care of yourself. You deserve goodness, gentleness, kindness, real love.
Hang in there,
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Please…if you’re in an abusive situation, reach out the safest way you can and find help. If you suspect someone may be in an abusive relationship, be a friend. And keep being a friend. That person needs someone to trust and confide in. Maybe that someone is you.
Melanie Pickett is a mom, second wife, and domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor who’s living her second calling as a writer and speaker. Melanie has battled Crohn’s disease and complications for over 20 years. Having survived a 15-year abusive first marriage, Melanie shares with her readers what she learned through that experience so that she may encourage and inspire others. Melanie has been featured on Huffington Post, The Mighty, Splickety Magazine, Whole Magazine, and Sonoma Christian Home where she’s an Associate Editor. Melanie’s favorite thing to do is spend time with her teenage children, husband, and black pug Gracie. She also loves to read, enjoys the beach and Great Lake near her home, works out (when health allows), and enjoys a good movie. One of Melanie’s favorite quotes is “We were born to be real, not to be perfect.”