If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is time to address them as soon as possible. It is usually very difficult to address these problems on your own, and getting help, or in certain cases getting out, if anyone is being abused in the relationship is advisable:-
- You are afraid of your partner, because you’ve learned to expect an angry response that comes with name-calling, crude or abusive insults, or fits of rage.
- You no longer speak to each other beyond the very basic necessities of shared living space.
- One or both of you use indirect, passive-aggressive means to “get to” the other, and you often have the feeling that you’ve been punched in the stomach but don’t know why.
- You or your partner spend nights away from the home without calling to let the partner know where they are or when they’ll be home. A lesser version of this, but still damaging to the relationship, occurs when one or both partners frequently stay out partying with others without their partner until very late.
- Any incidence of domestic violence, including throwing objects, shoving, hitting, kicking, biting, or physical aggression against the other person. “Lesser” versions of this, but still very destructive, occur with violence against pets, or threats of violence against any living being. Still of concern is when one or both partners throw objects at walls, break things in the house, or otherwise destroy property.
- Any incidence of threatening the other partner, suggesting they’ll hurt you (or you’ll hurt them) directly or by hurting themselves. (Some threats of suicide are thinly veiled attempts to make their partner feel so guilty that they become afraid of saying or doing anything that might upset their partner, such as leave the relationship.)
- One or both partners use and abuse recreational drugs, including alcohol, on a regular basis, to the extent that it disrupts the relationship. This is the individuals issue and may not be an indication that the relationship is in trouble – the person is in trouble, and their drinking/using will very negatively affect the relationship.
- One or both partners are using their children to hurt their partner, or using them to send messages back and forth to their partner.
When a couple has this much distress in their lives, people might wonder why do they stay together? But there are many ways a couple feels locked in, primarily because of children and finances. Sometimes there is a real threat that if one partner makes any move to leave, the other partner will actually try to harm them in some way. These are highly abusive situations which are beyond the need of therapy, and a partner may need to use local resources of a safe house from domestic violence.