At loveisrespect, we talk to a lot of teens and young people who are struggling with relationship issues. They might be going through a breakup, wondering if they should stay with their partner, or they might be experiencing abuse. Our advocates are often asked for specific advice, or what they would do in the same situation. It’s totally understandable to want to be told exactly what to do or how to handle a situation, but at loveisrespect, we’re very intentional about not doing that. Here are a few reasons why:
By Bri, an advocate. Adapted from the original post at thehotline.org.
“He’s really a great guy, though.”
“I know this isn’t okay, but she’s made me feel so special, and I just love her so much.”
“They were so loving and sweet, and the good times are the best I’ve ever had.”
We often hear people say these kinds of things. Many of them struggle to understand why their partners, who were once so kind and loving, now treat them in hurtful and abusive ways. It can be so confusing because the abuse isn’t happening constantly. Most partners aren’t abusive all the time, so it makes sense to think they could go back to being that “kind and loving” person and stay there. In most of these relationships, though, when a partner acts nice, it’s really just that: an act. Thinking about their behavior in this way can be helpful by allowing you the space to prioritize your safety and well-being.
By Suzannah Weiss. Originally published on Everyday Feminism.
“I think I do it to distract myself.”
I was telling a friend about my newly acquired habit of picking the split ends from my waist-length hair.
“Anger.” I thought about it. “I’m angry all the time.”
My eyes darted around the room. I was scared to admit it. “My boyfriend.”
At loveisrespect, we know dating abuse can happen to anyone – including guys. One in 10 men has experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, but unfortunately that’s a fact a lot of people aren’t really aware of. Although people who identify as male make up a smaller percentage of callers to loveisrespect, we know there are likely many more who do not seek help for their abuse. So why the silence? Here are a few of the common misconceptions and stereotypes that can make it tough for guys who are experiencing abuse:
This post was contributed by Jessica, a loveisrespect advocate
“What you said made me act that way.”
“You hit/shoved/pushed me, too.”
“You started this.”
“You’re abusing me, too.”
Has your partner ever said things like this to you? Here at loveisrespect, we talk with a lot of people who are able to recognize that their relationship is unhealthy or even abusive, but they also believe that the abuse exists on both ends, or that both partners are at fault for the abuse.
Many times, we speak with survivors of abuse who want to address concerns they have about their own behaviors. They will often express that their relationship is mutually abusive, a concept used when describing a relationship where both partners are abusive towards one another. But the thing about “mutual abuse” is that it doesn’t exist. Abuse is about an imbalance of power and control. In an unhealthy or abusive relationship, there may be unhealthy behaviors from both/all partners, but in an abusive relationship one person tends to have more control than the other.
So, why doesn’t mutual abuse exist?
By Ashley Truong. Originally published on Everyday Feminism.
At first it was only little comments.
Your partner would shake their head disapprovingly after you dyed your hair. They’d scoff at your taste in music.
After a while, though, you couldn’t just laugh it off, pretending it didn’t bother you.
Your partner was belittling you in front of friends and family – even strangers! They told you it was just gentle teasing, and for a while you agreed and chalked it up to you being overly sensitive.
It didn’t stop stinging though.
On Monday, Aug. 10, varsity football players from one of the largest high schools in Texas huddled up with members of the loveisrespect team and our partners to talk about how to prevent and end dating abuse. The guys shared their personal experiences with dating and digital abuse in an intimate setting inside Skyline High School’s cafeteria. Surrounded by their coaches and a small number of guests who advocate for healthy teen relationships, they opened up about the relationship challenges they face.
You’ve probably heard teachers or parents say it a million times:
But what if your partner is pressuring or forcing you to do it?
A recent Indiana University study indicated that one in five young adults who sext experiences sexting coercion. Sexting coercion is when someone pressures or forces their partner to digitally send explicit pictures or sexts. It’s a form of digital and sexual abuse and, as the study found, can be very traumatizing to the victim. We know that digital abuse is serious not only because it is traumatic, but also because once you send something electronically to someone else (whether it’s words or pictures) it’s no longer under your control. It can be copied, altered or shared with anyone else, and never completely erased. This can often intensify the trauma that a victim feels.
This post was written by Alexander, a digital services advocate
A lot of people who contact loveisrespect assume that abuse is caused by their partner’s mental health condition (for example, their partner might have bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), narcissistic personality, borderline personality or antisocial personality). While these are serious mental health conditions, they do not cause abuse, although there are a few mental illnesses or disorders that can increase the risk of abusive patterns to show up in a relationship and in other areas of life. Mental illness tends to affect all areas of a person’s life, such as work or school, interactions with friends or family members and personal relationships. In contrast, abuse primarily affects personal relationships and typically not the other areas of life. Abusive behavior in an intimate or dating relationship and mental illness are two separate things.
“I’m sorry. I won’t ever do that again…”
If your partner is abusive, you’ve probably heard your share of “I’m sorrys” and excuses for their behavior. When it comes to people making apologies and justifications for their unhealthy actions, it can be difficult to see through their words or recognize them for what they are.
Why do we accept an abusive partner’s apologies over and over again? Why do we want to believe the excuses a partner makes when they’re treating us badly? Sometimes the justifications sound really good. Especially when we’re looking for something — anything — to help make sense of how this person we care about is acting toward us. It’s normal to want to rationalize what’s going on because abuse is pretty irrational.
Loveisrespect is the ultimate resource to empower youth to prevent and end dating abuse. It is a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
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© 2016 – National Domestic Violence Hotline
This project was supported by Grant Number 90EV0426 from the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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