Are you in a relationship in which you feel stuck? Does it feel like things aren’t progressing with your partner? Does he or she belittle you and your values? When arguing, does he or she yell hurtful words or even hurt you physically? An abusive relationship can take any of these forms.
Unfortunately, some people are so accustomed to this type of behavior that they don’t realize it’s wrong. When two people don’t have effective communication, trust, and appreciation for each other, the long-term effects are devastating. When these components are lacking in a relationship, abusive tendencies sometimes surface. If you ever find yourself in a relationship that is mentally and/or physically abusive, remember these five things:
1. You are worthy of more. You deserve better.
Your partner doesn’t have to buy everything in the world to show you that they love you. But they should make you feel like they see your worth, your personality, and that they are proud to have you in their lives. They should love your imperfections and your authentic self—not belittle you for being who you are.
2. We accept the love we think we deserve.
That line from The Perks of Being a Wallflower really couldn’t be more true. You won’t find love, respect, or approval from others if you don’t give those things to yourself first. The golden rule might be to do to others as you would have them do unto you. But the rule of self-love is to treat yourself the way you would like others to treat you. This is how you teach yourself that you deserve love.
3. You can’t control anyone else’s actions, but you can control your own reactions.
Do not act out of anger or desperation. Instead, think, speak, and act in congruence with your true beliefs about your own worth. Impulsive actions almost always end in regret.
4. You are not alone. You can always seek help.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your family, friends, mentors, or coaches. They are there for you. They won’t judge you for being in a terrible situation. They are the best people to remind you that you are safe, loved, and strong and that you don’t have to live with abuse. Reaching out and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. But it is a sign of strength.
5. Forgive and move on.
Once you’ve extricated yourself from the unhealthy situation, try to forgive those who have done you wrong in the past. Do not hold onto anger or hatred. It’s not about letting them get away with anything. It’s about allowing yourself to move on. Forgiveness comes with freedom. It takes strength to forgive, to move forward, and to live the life you deserve.