Recognizing the warning signs can help distinguish between a healthy marriage and an abusive one, as outlined by Kanchan Bhaskar, author of the book ‘Leaving – How I Set Myself Free from an Abusive Marriage.’ Let’s explore some early behavioral indicators that may signify an abusive marriage
- Possessiveness and Controlling Behavior: Pay attention if your partner isolates you from loved ones, dictates whom you can interact with, controls your choices, or restricts your independence. These possessive and controlling behaviors can escalate into abuse. If open communication is met with defensiveness and disregard, it’s a concerning sign.
- Dismissive of Others’ Feelings and Situations: If your emotions and concerns are consistently dismissed, mocked, or trivialized, it indicates stonewalling from your partner. Dismissing your achievements or belittling your experiences can create a negative and hostile environment.
- Lack of Respect for Person and Property: Watch for signs of entitlement, where your partner disregards your boundaries and assets. If they undermine your opinions, make jokes at your expense, or make decisions that affect you without your input, it reflects a lack of respect and sets the stage for potential abuse.
- Rigid Gender Roles: When your partner enforces rigid gender roles, insisting on traditional roles without considering each other’s capabilities and aspirations, it allows space for abuse to seep into the relationship. Whether they expect you to conform to traditional roles or limit your choices based on gender stereotypes, it can lead to an unhealthy dynamic.
- Use of Force, Threats, and Verbal Abuse: If your partner resorts to force, threats, or verbal abuse to manipulate your behavior, it is crucial to take it seriously and seek help. Physical and verbal abuse can have lasting effects on your well-being, both emotionally and physically.
“While these are some key warning signs, there may be others that indicate an abusive partner. If they gaslight situations, manipulate you by playing the victim, or dismiss your thoughts and actions, it is essential to reach out to your parents, siblings, close friends, or seek professional help. Remember, it is never too late to voice your concerns and seek support. Don’t let years together dictate your fate; instead, prioritize your well-being,” concludes Kanchan.