Abuse comes in all shapes and sizes. When you think about abuse in a relationship, you’re probably picturing a man physically hitting a woman (or vice versa, let’s not pretend women can’t be abusive too) during a fight. While that’s definitely the easiest idea to conjure up in your head, it’s not the only type of abuse that takes place within relationships. In fact, he doesn’t even have to touch you in order for him to be abusive.
That’s right – not all abuse is physical. There are a bunch of small things your boyfriend could be doing that you never would’ve thought are actually considered abusive. If you realize your boyfriend has been doing any of the things on this list, it’s not necessarily time to break up – he may not realize he’s doing them (though the fact that he is speaks volumes in the first place), and so a conversation a-la “Hey stop being a piece of shit” is in order. If he doesn’t take you seriously or thinks any of these seven things are “no big deals,” then I take that back – kick his ass to the curb and don’t look back and he drowns in a storm drain.
Constantly Talking About How Guilty He Feels About ThingsHas your boyfriend ever brought up something from the past, just to talk about how “bad” he feels about it? If he has, think of all the times he’s done it – how did you react? Did you give him sympathy and pity over it, or dismiss him and tell him to shut up? If you realize you gave him sympathy every time, there’s a good chance he’s just doing it for attention, to make you feel bad for him and to make himself look like he’s remorseful over his actions. In reality this is just a ploy for your attention and to make himself look better in your eyes; don’t fall for this form of manipulative emotional abuse. Source: iStock
Making Rules In Your RelationshipDoes your boyfriend impose a set of “rules” on you that he came up with all by himself without any input from you? Are you only allowed to hang out with certain friends, or maybe he says you can only wear certain clothes/outfits when you’re around him? If you answered “yes,” this is just another way of him exerting control over you – but you’re not five, and he’s not your father. No relationship should have any rule aside from “Don’t cheat on each other” and “Don’t be abusive,” and yet he’s managed to break one outta two already. Source: iStock
Giving UltimatumsHave you ever been told the phrase, “If you do XYZ I will break up with you”? That’s an ultimatum and it’s abusive. In a healthy relationship partners don’t threaten each other with punishment for their actions, they communicate their differences through discussion and come to either an understanding or compromise. Saying things like, “If you go out with your friends tonight I won’t talk to you for a week” count as well – it doesn’t necessarily have to end in breakup. If you find yourself giving into his demands just to make him happy while you wallow in misery but feel forced to act like you’re happy, it’s probably a good time to find a new, better boyfriend. Source: iStock
Turning You Against Your FriendsThere are some girls who drop off the face of the earth when they get a boyfriend because they devote 99 percent of their time to hanging out with him, and that’s fine – annoying for your friends, but hey, no one is perfect. But if your boyfriend is actively trying to get you to ditch them on a regular basis? Nuh-uh, NOT okay. If he's always talking about how much they suck as friends and how you'd be better off without them, he might not have your best interests at heart. If he tells you you can't hang with them, he definitely doesn't. By isolating you from your friends he’s slowly making you dependent on him for any and all social needs, which is not only unhealthy but also abusive. Source: iStock
Constant CriticismIf you find your boyfriend constantly shitting on you for even the smallest things, i.e. “Why did you do your hair like that,” “Your friends are lame you should find better ones,” “You’re such a buzzkill all the time why can’t you be more fun,” then get rid of him. I’m not even going to explain how this is abusive because regardless, you deserve someone who lifts you up instead of puts you down. If you find that your self-esteem has dipped since you started dating him, this is a surefire sign that he’s not the right one for you…or anyone, for that matter. Source: iStock
GaslightingGaslighting is when you manipulate someone into questioning their own sanity. It can be something as small as asking, “Hey, didn’t I leave my keys on the table?” to which he responds “No,” even though he knows you did and it just so happens he was the one who moved them. Even if you KNOW you left your keys on the table, you start to wonder if you're just remembering incorrectly. It could also be something bigger, like lying about a fight (“What are you talking about? I’ve NEVER picked you up late from class before, YOU’RE the one making things up!”). In a case like the keys, it all depends on why he chose to lie; was he deliberately screwing with you, or was he just too lazy to explain why he moved them so he let it slide? But when it comes to gaslighting about serious stuff, it’s not nearly as much of a grey area – if he tries to change what happened in the past by purposefully lying to you to make himself look better, maybe it’s time for a change in boyfriend. Source: iStock
He's Always Super JealousIf he gets all worked up over you “liking” Neighbor Bob’s Instagram photo, whatever – that’s some annoying petty shit and he needs to get over it. But if he’s constantly accusing you of cheating on him even after mundane shit like leaving the house for 30 minutes to grab groceries, that’s NOT okay. That’s excessive, and it’s abusive. The key here is that he might phrase it like he’s doing it for your own good, saying things like “You can’t go outside today because Neighbor Bob is out there and I don’t like the way he looks at you,” or “You’re not allowed to hang out with Katie anymore because she sleeps around and it’s gross.” In reality, there’s nothing wrong with Bob or Katie – your man is just an abusive douche. Source: iStock