Posted on: Saturday, November 23rd, 2019
November 25th is International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women, and in light of this, it’s important to think about signs of whether you or a loved one may be in a toxic or abusive relationship. Violence comes not only in physical forms but psychological as well, which can go unnoticed more often than we may realize.
Some signs a partner might have that point to an abusive relationship are: trying to control who you spend time with, where and when you go places, what you wear etc, being possessive, isolating you from loved ones, non-empathetic responses when you need care and understanding, blaming you or circumstances when they act out, and an ongoing power struggle for dominance with money, decisions, and influence. These are clear signs of abuse that can be tainted by the fact that the abuser may also be a loved one (spouse, friend, parent, etc). Phrases like “they only say that because they care” or “they don’t really mean it” may come up often from a victim in order to cope with their situation.
This also brings up the topic of learned helplessness that is common for victims of abuse, which is the perception that one has no control over a repeatedly stressful situation or environment. This can be exemplified by women in abusive relationships, who find it difficult to leave the relationship, and takes multiple attempts to leave despite the presence of social support and help that loved ones may present to the victim.
Study after study shows that Cognitive- Behavioural Therapy and counselling, in general, are effective ways to combat learned helplessness, allowing women to gain the internal courage and resourcefulness to take their power back and make decisions in their best interest which may include leaving their abusers.