Unhealthy Relationships and Domestic Violence
In the commercialized world of North America, romantic relationships have been glamorized above all others; but what happens when this glorified passion gets out of hand? The development of strong emotions and commitment with an absence of trust can be hazardous, as it is often the cause for negative emotions that instigate irrational, harmful and sometimes even malicious behaviour. Romantic affairs that are distressed by these factors are deemed as “unhealthy relationships” or sometimes “domestic violence” if one partner takes the roll of the victim. These are causes for lasting harm to many individuals and their families and have become accepted as commonly used terms in our society. However, the reality of these posed threats is unknown to most.
For example, were you aware that approximately one quarter of women in the world experience domestic violence through an abusive relationship? Three women a day are killed by their abusive partner. Although abuse can also be directed against men, an estimated 90% of victims of Intimate Partner Violence are women. This has caused many women’s homes to be the most dangerous place for them and has mounted the danger of domestic violence above cancer, rape, car accidents and many other commonly perceived threats.
So how do we stop domestic violence and unhealthy relationships? For starters, we need to make sure women can see the warning signs of an abusive relationship. Abuse, which generally means the harmful or offensive treatment of someone, can be anything from physical violence to irrational accusations caused by a lack of trust. The first offences, which manifest as warning signs, are crucial to recognize so one can avoid naivety and leave or work on the relationship before things get worse. The signs are abundant, being anything from isolation (you no longer spend time with your friends and family), instilled fear (any kind of threat), jealousy (may make irrational accusations about the time you spend with others), uncontrolled anger (your partner throwing tantrums, hitting things, hitting you) and many more.
It can be difficult for many women to recognize these signs, as they have learned to trust their partner under any circumstances. Also, abusers often have an impressive capacity for making their victim feel responsible, as if they brought the punishment upon themselves. Some victims are pushed to a point where they believe that their partner’s behavior is expected and/or even normal. This type of situation can have many other negative effects on the mindset of the victim. For example, many begin to internalize the critical voice of their abuser which can result in a diminished sense of confidence and self-worth. Some lose so much trust in themselves that they will begin to doubt their own perceptions; thinking that their unhappiness is irrational and that they’re simply too sensitive. Some may believe that they are crazy and even restrain themselves from coming to their own conclusions. Some feel that they’re missing something from their lives and desire to run away, whereas many spend their time dreaming of the future with their partner and imagining how the situation will improve after upcoming events. They often relive moments before an abusive encounter and attempt to justify what caused it. Even after leaving this kind of relationship, many women have intense issues in trusting future partners.
However difficult it is for the victim to accept the reality of their relationship, it is also the most crucial step towards fixing the problem. After making this realization they can reach out for help from other people, such as a family member they trust or a help line to call. There are also shelters in most areas where abuse victims can be away from their partner. After escaping one abusive relationship, it is important to make the journey worthwhile by escaping the abusive cycle altogether. This is the time to reflect and analyze your-self. Figure out what it is that drew you to the relationship in the first place. Many who find themselves victimized in a relationship come from a past that caused them to lack self-worth and feel unloved. Those who grew up witnessing the unhealthy relationship of their parents often feel a sense of familiarity and comfort in the aspect of abuse in their relationships. After developing this degrading relationship, their self-esteem diminishes further and they often find themselves in a state of depression where they are indecisive and without hope. This hope, however, is necessary.
So much is on the line when one finds themself in an abusive or unhealthy relationship. They may be completely oblivious to the fact that their quality of life is jeopardized. In opening one’s eyes they can see beyond such a cold world and find the lighted way towards the better life available. The bottom line is that everyone deserves to know they’re worth something and be treated as a valued partner in all of the relationships they may have.

Written by: Hannah Simard

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