Friday, 21 October 2011

WHY WE MUST BREAK UP: Escaping from an abusive relationship.

  Sometimes relationships linger more than is necessary even when it is glaring that its expiry date is long overdue. People stay longer in relationships often out of pity or lack of courage. Sometimes for fear of being hurt or hurting the other person because they feel an inexplicable obligation to the other person. In some cases, the individual stays longer in a relationship because he or she does not know how to break up with his or her partner.
Such kind of relationship often leads to disastrous consequences. One is forced to endure the relationship instead of enjoying it. When a relationship ceases to be mutual or becomes one-sided it is abusive. A relationship becomes abusive when one is forced to act against his or her will. It may be subtle or outright aggressive.
 Consider the following scenario:
You have been in a relationship for a year and the signs are there that both of you are not making headway. You know you are unhappy with him, but he is clinging to you for everything, he adores you no doubt. You feel you have to let go because the relationship just don't tick. You have tried to make amends for his table manners, silly remarks while hanging out with friends; you hate the way he snores and his unkempt attitude gets to your nerves in such an annoying manner. You have confronted him on so many occasions but he just wouldn't change even when he has given his word to do just that. 
Sometimes he is abusing you physically, he comes home drunk, beat the hell out of you then rape you. You go to bed in pains, crying your heart out, wishing you could get the hell out of the room. He is awakened by your sobs, he shouts down at you again and you cringed in fear. The next morning he is apologetic, telling you he was possessed by an evil spirit or he was too inebriated to act rationally. He comes home with rose flowers, taking care of you like a baby. In the end, you finally warm up to him.
You are confused. You have talked to friends and family about it. Some asked you to quit while others asked you to trudge on. You are in a dilemma. You want to move on but he is just not giving you the opportunity. Anytime you bring up the topic he becomes evasive, giving you all those heart wrenching pleas and mushy love words. You look deep in his eyes, seeing the genuine love he has for you. You are touched by his deep feelings for you. You tell yourself things will get better; no, you hope things will get better. You make up with him by taking him to dinner or perhaps he decides to prepare a sumptuous dinner for you. 
For two weeks (maximum), you notice some improvements in him. You tell yourself that he is indeed changing. All of a sudden, wham! He is back to his old self; you ignore him for a while, hoping with time he will adjust. Yet, a month gone and he is definitely not making any change. In exasperation, you confront him again and the old routine starts all over again.
 Do you find yourself in such a dilemma?
How long are you going to keep up with this?

The above scenario is a typical kind of abusive relationship faced by couples. Understanding the type of abusive relationship you are in enables the abused to break off from the relationship. Some people are in an abusive relationship but hardly aware of it because it looks normal to them. To an average person, a relationship is only abusive when there is physical force or violence. This is a wrong conception because there are various forms of abusive relationship which will be discussed in this article. Once one is able to identify the type of abusive relationship he or she is in, he or she is one step ahead of escaping from such relationship. The following are different forms of abusive relationships.

Most common type of abusive relationship is the physical abuse which involves violence and forceful submission to your partner's bidding. Nevertheless a continuous infidelity in a relationship can be abusive especially when it is being taken for granted. If your partner is the promiscuous type and expects you to tolerate it despite his or her weak attempts to change, you are being abused. 
Such kind of relationship is an emotional abusive relationship. This kind of relationship is not that common because of its subtle nature. The abused hardly knows that he or she is going through such. The abuser feeds on the emotions of the abused such as the abused weaknesses or vulnerabilities. It always kicks off on an innocent note and gradually leads to abuse. Emotional abusive relationship always leaves the abused depressed, isolated, dependent and low self-esteem. The abuser displays all kinds of emotional tantrums and expects the abused to handle it. These emotions range from anger, pride, moodiness, infidelity among others. An emotional abusive relationship could be verbal at times such as name calling, yelling, jesting or an outright disregard of one's opinion. 
Emotionally abusive relationship comes in various forms such as humiliation, denial, intimidation, criticism, over reliance etc. The tricky feature of this kind of relationship is that the abused is unaware of what his or her emotions is subject to. It always looks harmless from the outside. An unfaithful spouse may not know that he is emotionally abusing his or her partner until it becomes a habit. He becomes remorseful and filled with so much guilt. With a determination to change for the better, he confesses his sins to the partner. With a contrite heart he promises not to stray again. He may mean this but; because he cannot control his sexual appetite, he goes back to the game sooner than he had anticipated. 
On the other hand, the abused is hurt by her partner's promiscuity but touched by his humility and sincerity. She feels since he was man enough to openly confess his sins to her, she feels obliged to forgive him. In fact, it was better he told her about his betrayal than for her to have found out from another source. 
Taking his word, she gives him another chance. At first, she notices the change and is proud of herself. She believes he must really be in love with her because of his act of sincerity. And that's how she gives her trust away to him. 
Once the abuser realizes that he has gained the abused trust, he becomes relaxed and in a short while, goes back to the adulterous habit and the whole cycle starts all over again until it results to violence. 
Another form of emotional abusive relationship can be the subjection of one to his or her partner’s emotional needs. In this case, there is over reliance on the abused emotions, at the same time, denying the abused the right to satisfy his or her emotional needs.
 In some cases, the abuse could be subtle and disguised. The abuser may pretend to offer emotional support to the abused meanwhile he is cunningly brain washing the abused. It becomes abusive when the abused becomes dependent on the abuser which can give the abuser the dominion to intimidate, humiliate and isolate the abused from her friends and family.
 In a mentally abusive relationship, the self-esteem of the abused is degraded. The abuser works on the judgment of the abused such that the abused thinks his or her opinion is baseless. The abuser sees his or her opinions as irrelevant as a result of the belittling he or she has suffered from his or her partner.
In this type of relationship, the abused has no say in any issue. The abuser can destroy the self image of the abused through verbal abuse such as name calling, yelling, screaming etc. Through these actions, the abuser constantly finds himself or herself thinking if his opinions or judgments are accurate. When he can’t find an absolute answer to such questions, he relies on the opinion of the abuser which is usually imposed on him or her. The abused in other words does not have a say in any issue in the relationship. All decisions regarding the relationship are made by the abuser with little or no regard of the abuser position in the concerned issue. This makes the abused withdrawn and intimidated. He or she cringes in fear when an argument is raised and becomes unnervingly silent. The self-esteem of the abused is affected as he or she is treated like a non -entity instead of a partner in the relationship.
The general concept of a sexually abusive relationship is usually rape. Though it is the common type of sexually abusive relationship, it goes beyond that. A relationship could be sexually abusive if one is denied sexual gratification or when being subjected to devious sexual practices. Any form of denial in a relationship that is not geared towards a positive outcome in a relationship is abusive.
When one is denied of sexual gratification in a relationship, especially in marriages, it creates room for marital problems. Sex is an important part of marriage. In fact, it is what helps to keep the marriage stronger. Don’t get me wrong, sex is God’s gift to man in marriage. It goes beyond the physical attraction or lustful desires. There is a bonding that takes place when one has a sexual intercourse with his or her partner especially when the feelings are genuine. Sex is not only made for procreation, it is also meant for relaxation and has proved to be therapeutic.
When sex is denied or not enjoyed in a relationship there will be problems as one may be tempted to look elsewhere for sex. If a faithful partner is denied sex in a relationship, he or she becomes sexually depressed. He or she is deprived the joy of marriage.
Sexual abuse also occurs when one is subjected to devious sexual practice by one’s partner. We all have our various sexual fetishes but when It becomes extreme or when one’s partner does not agree to such sexual acts, it becomes a problem. Thus, it is always advisable that couples understand their sexual needs in order to avoid sexual issues in their relationships.
Financially abusive relationship occurs when the financial needs are the sole responsibility of one partner or when one is deprived of his or her financial needs and security. Sometimes, it is in form of theft. A partner can steal from the other with no remorse; this is an abuse to the partner. There are cases where the abused credit cards, financial statement are denied from him or her. The abuser takes dominion of the abused statement of accounts and other financial needs.
In some extreme cases, the abuser controls the way or manner the abused spends his or her money. I was once told a story where a man deprived his wife of making household purchases because he wanted to be in control of all the financial matters in the home. If the wife is to prepare rice for dinner, he denies the wife access to buy the ingredients for the meal. In fact, he prefers to go to the grocery store himself, get the necessary ingredients and bring it home to his wife.
In a normal relationship, the couple can choose to share the financial responsibilities between each other. When the financial needs are met by only person, it becomes abusive. There should be a shared responsibility of the financial needs in a relationship. The man should not carry the burden alone neither should the woman be idle and contribute nothing to the relationship.   
Physically abusive relationship is the common type of abusive relationships. It makes use of physical force or violence such as harsh beatings, excessive bullying, or in some extreme cases, manslaughter. The victims of this kind of relationship are usually the women. There are a high percentage of women who undergo physical abuse from men in their relationships. Such men are considered to be bad tempered, disrespectful and very quick to anger.
This kind of abusive relationship could also be in form of hostage taking. The abuser can hold the abused captive by limiting her movements or activities in the house, isolating her from friends and family, torturing her by instigating fear in her at the slightest opportunity. The abuser lives in perpetual fear until someone comes to her aid or she is brave enough to break up from such relationship  
Break ups are inevitable and are not monstrous as some people had conjured it to be. Break ups gives room for improvement, one way or the other it works out for your own good, and.... there's no rule that says you can't get back together. You just have to make sure that you have worked out your differences. 
Human beings are complex animals. One cannot study an individual completely because we are susceptible to change. Like the popular saying goes, "love is not a destination but a journey" people change in relationships. The man you knew when he began dating you can change overnight. And if you are not careful, he might become a burden to you.

My advice: 
Always communicate with your partner:
Endeavor to know your partner as much as you can and always encourage communication.  Some people rush into a relationship without knowing much about their partner, they allow their emotions to get in the way of their thinking.
Communication is the key to everything in a relationship. You should learn to talk to your partner, thrash out those issues that are causing conflicts in your relationship.  Do not develop the habit of talking only when there is a problem in your relationship. Talk at all times and in any place; look out for some hidden traits that will not be easily noticed. Understand his mood swings and mannerisms. Never hesitate to raise any issue of concern.
When communicating with your partner, do not shout at him or her or try to impose your opinion on them. Communication is not only about one talking, you should also endeavour to listen as well but always talk when he is not making any move to do the talking. Never and I repeat never take any serious issue for granted. Make him listen to you in whatever manner you can. Devise a way to make him listen to your concerns so you don’t appear to be nagging.
Mean it this time:
Break-ups are never easy to handle because it involves a lot of emotions. While you are trying to save your heart, you are also considering how not to hurt the other person. 
Remember, there is no way it won't hurt, so don't give in to the display of painful emotions. Your partner can use this against you especially if it is not the first time you are trying to break up with him. Make sure this time you really mean it, that you are ready to move on and not just acting like you are ready. 
Don't give in to your emotions; don't let his plea, teary eyes, irrational behavior or threats get to you. Stand your ground. Let him know that there is no turning back, that unless he is willing to change you might reconsider him but at the moment, you just have to find your own way. 
Stop looking for the right time:
Some people are always looking for the right time to break up with a partner. They try to figure out the right mood, right environment, right words, and right time of the day.... The fact is that the right time will never come if you keep looking for it. Just have it at the back of your mind that the right time is when you are brave enough to approach him on the subject. It will always hurt so why don't you just get over it once and for all. Whether you choose to tell him before dinner or bedtime or break up with him when he is hanging out with friends, just know that it will hurt and get over with it.

Don't leave a note:
In extreme abusive relationship when the victim is held in hostage, the best option one can take is to leave a note or escape as soon as possible. In other cases, be brave enough to break up that stronghold, those shackles on your feet, set your mind and soul free by letting him know that you are no coward,  that you are strong enough to walk out of this relationship. If you can't do it alone, have a friend to be with you. Your friend need not say anything. Just an occasional nod of the head or a soft stroke on the arm or thigh, a pat on the shoulder or an encouraging look is all you need. Just find your inner strength and use it. 

State the basics:
When ending an abusive relationship, the best advice is to sever any line of communication between you and him for your own protection. However if the reverse is the case, then you have to let your partner know if he can still access you or not. If you think you still carry a torch for him and would love to work things out if he is willing to, and then let him know. If not, let him know too. Don't leave any page unturned. Make sure you got all covered up. Let him know the extent of your friendship with him and make sure you stick to it, though there may be times when you will have to break one or two rules but don't overdo it. 
Always talk to someone:
People in abusive relationships always find it embarrassing to tell friends and families about their ordeal in the relationships. They feel humiliated or pathetic because of their pride or fear. The good thing about telling someone about your experience is that you get help quickly.
Don’t just pretend that everything is alright in your relationship when in reality you are living in a lion’s den. Look for someone you can confide in, someone you know is in a position to help you, someone that have your good interests at heart. Never let fear or ego mar your escape route.  Look for help in any way you can. Share your burden with someone who you can rely on.
Redefine yourself:
After ending an abusive relationship, the next step is to redefine yourself. Take time to go through your past relationship, look out for the telltale signs you ignored, know your vulnerability and work on it. Ask yourself what you want in a relationship; in fact, are you ready to step into a new relationship? Don't waste your time wallowing in self-pity. Have a new start, build your self-esteem, set your new priorities, set standards for yourself, get back on your feet and let the whole world know that you are a survivor.

Relationships are meant to build you and not destroy you. They are to prepare you for future. Don't let anyone, absolutely anyone make your relationship a living hell for you.


  1. hey!!! it's a real deep study of human behaviour n true to a tee... but still we all r emotional fools.. n clinging is something we all do... we r always afraid to come out of any form of relationships.. n so.. thats it... a lovely article ..n it is an eye opener..

  2. Thanks Almas but we have to find a limit to it all. It is never healthy to be in an abusive relationship.

  3. Wright, I know you as someone who never hesitate to bare his mind so why the hesitation now. I'm sure you got loads of stuff to say so spill it out. I'm waiting....

  4. Good efforts but no comments.

  5. That's some cool advice Vay dear. I wish your scenarios next time create a lil balance next time
    'cos men are not always the guilty ones. But in all it is fact-filled piece, and ur advice are just spot on. Good work.