How Abusive Relationships Affect You

I often write articles on this website purely because the topic is important to me. This is one of those articles. I am going to be discussing abusive relationships.

Obviously this is a sensitive subject and I am respectful of that.

However, I feel very strongly about publishing this article.

I have recently stumbled across blog posts on this matter. These articles are clearly opinion based. Yet claiming, they are based upon factual information and evidence. Unsurprisingly, the so called “evidence” is nowhere to be seen.

Before I dive in, I would like to share a few examples with you. Hopefully, doing so will help me gain your understanding in regards to my reasoning for this post.

Example 1.

Female victims end up in multiple abusive relationships because they like the “bad boy” image.

Example 2.

Male victims repeatedly find themselves in numerous abusive relationships because they find being controlled, ‘sexy’.

Not only do these articles insult victims they also make them wrongly believe they are to blame.

The excuse for these accusations tends to be weak ass ignorant assumptions. Such as..

“There is no other explanation for why a person can find themselves in multiple abusive relationships involving different perpetrators.”

I am an adult. I am accepting of the fact that there are billions of people on this planet and that most will have differing opinions to myself.

I am not one to disregard another’s thoughts and feelings.

However, I refuse to accept a person’s, damaging, opinion as fact. Especially without seeing any of the so called, evidence to support these theories with my own eyes!

I refuse to do nothing but be angry. Instead I’m going to be constructive! I’m offering up a different explanation. One that doesn’t insult or alienate abuse victims.

This is from someone who has experienced abusive relationships with two different abusers. I’m not on the outside of these situations looking in, I have been there and I have come out the other side.

Black and white photo of a girl wearing, jeans and a black vest with the words stop victim blaming!

After having two very bad relationships, it’s not surprising that I’m often asked how I got into such a similiar situation, twice.

I won’t lie, it’s a question that often hurts my feelings. It can sometimes give the impression people think that what happened to me was my own fault and that hurts.

Although regularly asked the same questions, I never fully digested them. Everytime it was mentioned my emotions got the better of me.

I was in bed one night, which is when my brain tends to go into overdrive. I realised, deep down I too believed it was my fault. That I was a fool who hadnt learnt from my mistake the first time.

I was wrong. It wasn’t my fault. Anyone else who has experienced similar situations, it’s not your fault either.

You may not know this but It’s a pretty common occurrence for abuse victims to wind up in multiple abusive relationships with different perpetrators. As if they unknowingly become oblivious to abusers.

Abusers tend to mentally torture their victims. They cause an untold amount of damage. Including an incredibly low opinion of themselves, whilst convincing them what’s happening is okay.

Vctims start to believe their low self esteem is whats causing history to repeat itself. They don’t feel good about themselves so they assume they are unintentionally choosing abusive partners.

Logically, it does kind of make sense.

Subconsciously choosing the type of relationship that their low self esteem makes them believe they deserve.

That sounds plausible right?

So now we need to ask the question..

Is your low self esteem causing you to pick abusive partners?

This is a very complex question and like always I can effectively only give you my views and opinions. I’m going to answer it to the best of my ability using my own experience as well as the experiences of those around me.

Whilst I wholeheartedly believe that abusers do use mental illnesses in others to their advantage.

My honest opinion is that I don’t think low self esteem is the only reason people repeatedly falling into these abusive relationships.

As human beings, whether we realise it or not we gradually build our own habits and patterns.

For examples sake, when eating a cake with a cherry on top, many of us will always eat the cherry before we eat the sponge.

After a while that seems to be the only way you eat your cherry cake. It’s become a habit.

Say you find a shortcut one day when riding your bike to work. Now, everytime you ride to work you go down that same shortcut.

You may also automatically keep your eyes open for other possible shortcuts to cut down your travelling time when you’re riding your bike.

This is a pattern of behaviour.

Repeating the same actions is forming patterns.

Have you ever heard of the saying better the devil you know?

Some people believe the reason that one person can experience multiple abusive relationships is simply shit luck.

I can’t bring myself to fully agree with them. Sure bad luck does have a part to play, because a victim isn’t to blame. Only the abuser.

However, remember I was just talking about patterns? Well, we form patterns because it is what we know. Our behaviour is often learnt.

Meaning, when a person leaves an abusive relationship it has left a pattern of behaviour behind.

The next abusive partner you meet will have similar qualities to the previous one.

This will automatically make them feel familiar to you. Causing what seems like an ‘instant connection’. That ‘click’, when in reality you are just used to their characteristics.

You can often find yourself feeling comfortable and even safe around these people because it has become all you know.

This means whether you realise it in the beginning or not, the early warning signs of an abusive relationship don’t feel like what they are.

They feel safe ‘normal’ even and that draws you in instead of turning you off.

There are many ways an abuser turns their victim into a victim.

I believe without doubt, one of the most damaging ways is manipulating and convincing them to believe abusive behaviour is normal.

It’s not that people are intentionally choosing abusive partners it’s that the warning signs don’t look like warning signs.

Where most people run a mile, a victim of past abuse won’t realise that the behaviour they are witnessing isn’t normal.

From my experience, after you have been in multiple abusive relationships it’s very easy to start believing it’s your own fault.

Think of it this way.. If a complete stranger walked up to you and abused you in the street for absolutely no reason. Is that your fault? Of course it isn’t. Can you control their actions? Of course you can’t.

Following on from everything I have just said, thinking rationally, your best bet to avoid entering future abusive relationships is to research them.

Learn what the common early warning signs are. Instead of feeling familiar or normal you can recognise them for what they actually are.

This list is a few common, early warning signs of an abusive relationship that I and others around me have personally experienced.

• Jealousy. A little jealousy is often normal I’m any kind of human relationship. However, when someone is constantly on your case that’s not a sign.

• Isolation, trying to isolate you from those around is a pretty common sign. After all they won’t want your loved ones explaining that their behaviour is wrong.

• Extreme mood swings. Over friendly one minute and vile the next.

• Controlling. At the beginning controlling behaviour tends to be them trying to force you to change your behaviour and your activities.

There are so many warning signs, I really do feel strongly about you doing research on this topic. Whether you have had prior experience or not.

Bottom line, You cannot control how another person behaves. We all have our own minds, we all think differently and have differing opinions is what being human is.

Trying to change another human beings behaviour would be like trying to change the weather.

Educate yourself and learn the early warning signs of an abusive relationship. You can’t prevent yourself from meeting abusers and you can’t control how an abuser behaves.

What you can do is learn how to recognise them early on.

Never let victim blaming lead you to believe an abusive relationship is your fault. The abuser should feel ashamed not the victim.

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10 Replies to “How Abusive Relationships Affect You”

  1. I’m lucky enough to notice the signs early on before staying in a potential abusive relationship.. I’m glad you made it out and decided to spread awareness, thank you for that.

    1. Oh gosh! I am so so glad you saw the signs and protected yourself! It’s very hard to do, you should be very proud of yourself! X

  2. Thank you for this post, Sarah! This is a serious and extremely important topic. I was lucky enough to notice signs of abusive behaviour before serious relationship began but I had several friends who went through abusive realtionships so it’s kind of a painful topic for me. And thank you for mentioning that men can also be victims of abuse. For some reason, not many articles mention it.

    1. I’m so pleased you noticed the signs but I’m so sorry your friends didn’t. It’s an awful situation to find yourself in. I have noticed that I think it’s very wrong, I have also heard from male victims that people often laugh at them and make fun of the situation which is one of the reasons men don’t speak out. Which is truly heartbreaking!

  3. Your posts are always so eye opening to me. I am a firm believer of research too. Drawing from wisdom of the crowd as well as experts can really help deal with any sort of relationship, whether abusive or otherwise.

    1. Thank you for saying that, sometimes my posts can be tough subjects and I worry about people’s thoughts on them! Exactly! You can never learn too much about anything it’s always helpful to learn how other people have resolved issues so that you too can follow the advice! X

  4. Great post Sarah! It’s sad so many people think there is no way out when their really is. I’m a child from a home like this I struggle ro talk about it but I would never let my children see any of the things I have.

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    1. It’s such a difficult situation sadly these people fully believe there is no way out. The monsters convince them and break them. I am truly sorry you have seen far too much but the strength you are showing just by ensuring your kids never have those experiences you did is incredible. Xx

  5. This was so good written, with so much emotion into it.. Very well done! Such a great post. This is such an important issue that should be talked about. People put these things away, because in this society it’s not accepted to talk about these things. Again, great post!

    1. Thank you so much. I agree it’s such a taboo subject people bounce around it trying to avoid this issue. That’s part of the problem, people get away with it because others are too scared to speak out. It’s a terrible situation. I really appreciate your comment because it’s such a hard thing to get right especially when you are writing and not speaking so thank you so much x

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