Am I abusive?
If you are not sure whether your actions could be considered abusive or not, ask yourself the following questions:
- Would you treat your boss, friend or neighbor the same way as you do your partner?
- If someone else were treating your daughter, family member or friend the same way as you treat your partner, would you consider it okay or not?
- Do you get angry or feel suspicious about your partner’s relationships with others (friends, family, coworkers)?
- Do you check up on your partner in unhealthy ways? (Ex. Reading their personal emails, checking their texts, calling them constantly)
- Do you feel like your partner needs to ask your permission get a job, go to school or spend time with others?
- Do you threaten to hurt your partner, or actually physically do so when angry?
- Do you raise your voice, use name calling or put-downs when expressing anger?
- Do you force or try to force your partner to be intimate with you?
- Do you get easily angered at small incidents or “mistakes” your partner makes?
- Does your partner seem nervous or afraid of you?
- Does your partner cry because of something you made them do or prevented them from doing?
- Does your partner seem afraid or unable to contradict you or speak up about something?
- Does your partner isolate or avoid interaction with family or friends in order to avoid displeasing you?
If these behaviors sound familiar to how you act or how your partner reacts, it is likely that you may be hurting the person you love. This is a difficult and painful realization, but recognizing that your behaviors are questionable is a brave step in the right direction.
A lot of the causal factors behind abusive behaviors are learned, and may have been a part of your personality or coping mechanism since childhood. These patterns are difficult to recognize and to break – but change is possible, and reaching out for help is a great first step.
First Steps to Freedom: Taking Responsibility
- Fully Admitting what you have done, to yourself first
- Stop making excuses and blaming others, especially your partner and/or children
- Making amends, genuinely asking for forgiveness
- Accepting responsibility and recognizing that abuse is a choice
- Recognize basic attitudes and control issues
- Identifying patterns of controlling behavior used
- Stop saying or doing things that frighten your partner
- Not demanding credit for improvements you’ve made
- Not treating improvements as vouchers to be spent on occasional acts of abuse (ex. “I haven’t done anything like this in a long time, so it’s not a big deal)
Simple Steps to Transformation: Changing Attitudes & Behaviors
- Developing respectful, kind, supportive behaviors
- Carrying your weight and sharing housework and childcare
- Responding respectfully to your partner’s (or former partner’s) anger and grievances
- Exercising self-control and respect during disagreements or conflicts
- Being supportive, giving compliments and listening to your partner without getting angry
- Accepting the consequences of actions (including not feeling sorry for yourself about the consequences, and not blaming your partner or children for them)
Truly overcoming abusiveness is an ongoing, often lifelong process — only you have the power to break its cycle of destruction over your life, and that of your future generations.
Support of the Journey – Seeking Help:
At the Seeds of Life Foundation, everyone is treated with dignity and respect because we support anyone who wants to take responsibility for his or her actions. Breaking the cycle of unhealthy behaviors leading to violence is essential to yours and your family’s future success. If you are ready for genuine change, we invite you to contact us today:
- Healthy Alternatives to Abusive Behaviors – If unhealthy behaviors in your relationship are identified by you and the advocate, they’ll discuss them with you and then brainstorm healthy alternatives for the behavior. EX: “You can’t change your feelings of jealousy all the time, but you can change how you are confronting your partner about these feelings.”
- Strategies for Healthy Decisions – Advocates can help you identify strategies for calming down and deescalating if you feel yourself getting angry, and discuss how your actions can negatively affect yourself and those around you.
- Referral to our Men’s Intercession Group – Advocates can refer you to the Conquerors Men’s Prayer Group so that you may share prayer needs and connect with faith-filled men that will encourage and support your healthy choices.
- Referral to Resources – Beyond above, advocates are happy to refer you to other resources that will assist in your journey:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
A Call to Men
Men Stopping Violence
Men Can Stop Rape
National Dating Abuse Helpline
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
National Coalition for the Homeless
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
www.nrcdv.org and www.vawnet.org
Futures Without Violence: The National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence
National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health
1-312-726-7020 ext. 2011