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Am I in an abusive relationship?

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You feel that something is wrong in your relationship, but wonder if the situation can really be called “abusive.”  Your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse is telling you that the problems between you are your fault, and you believe that the relationship would improve if you worked harder to please him or her.

Like many people who are in abusive relationships, you may be confused about the abuse, especially if your partner has never physically hurt you and has blamed you for everything that goes wrong.  If your partner sometimes acts loving and attentive, it can be even more confusing.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself if you suspect you may be a victim of partner abuse.

 Questions about your partner’s behavior:

  • Does your partner control much of what you do, such as who you spend time with, how you spend money, or where you go?
  • Does your partner seem extremely jealous? Does he/she unfairly accuse you of being unfaithful?
  • Do you have to ask permission to spend money, participate in activities outside the relationship, or socialize with friends?
  • Has your partner ever threatened to hurt you or your loved ones?
  • Has your partner thrown or broken objects, or used force during an argument?
  • Does your partner call you names?
  • Does your partner blame you for almost everything that goes wrong, including things you have no control over?

Questions about your behavior and feelings:

  • Are you afraid of your partner?
  • Are you spending less and less time with other people, including family and friends because of your partner?
  • Do you often doubt your judgments or wonder if you are “crazy”?
  • Do you express your opinions less and less openly?
  • Have you lost confidence in your abilities?
  • Have you lost interest in activities that you used to enjoy?
  • Do you feel trapped and powerless?

 If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be a victim of partner abuse.

One in three women and one in eight men have been victims of partner abuse in their lifetime.

The good news is, there is help.

Most communities have counseling, support groups and shelter available for domestic violence victims.  You can find the nearest location by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.  If you live in McHenry County, Illinois call Turning Point at 815-338-8081 any time, day or night.