What is Love? Baby don’t Hurt Me
By: Mary O’Hern
Have you ever found yourself so wrapped up in the feelings of love that it feels like your head is spinning? But then you wake up one day feeling like you are on a carousel of anxiety, guilt, hurt, and anger, but you can’t get off the ride if this sounds like your life to you, you might be in an unhealthy, toxic, or violent domestic relationship. When relationships are sick, there is a power struggle to control the other partner’s beliefs, ideas, and behaviors. Below are the different ways a person gains control over another:
- Verbal/Emotional Abuse- If you or your partner engage in put-downs, making the other person feel guilty, name-calling, playing mind games, or gaslighting, then it is abuse.
- Intimidation- when you or your partner use looks, gestures, smash things, destroy property, display weapons, or abuse pets.
- Threats- when you or your partner make threats to hurt the other, level, hurt themselves if you leave, or try to get you in trouble with the law.
- Isolation – when you or your partner tries to control what others do, who they see, what they read, and where they go. Usually, jealousy justifies this, but jealousy is not love.
- Economic Abuse- when you or your partner prevents the other from having money, a job, or knowledge about the finances.
- Using Children- when you or your partner make the other feel guilty about the children, use children to relay messages, or threaten to take children away.
- Minimizing, Denying, and Blaming- when you or your partner make light of the abuse, saying the abuse didn’t happen, shift responsibility for abusive behavior and blame the victim of the abuse.
- Male Privilege- If you have a male partner or are a male, male privilege can be used to treat the other person like a slave, make all the decisions, and define the roles in the relationship.
If you relate to any of this, please reach out for help. Individual therapy could be an excellent way to get support before and after leaving an unhealthy relationship. If you or your children are being abused physically, sexually, emotionally, or verbally please get out. If you are in immediate danger, call 911. If you would like more information, resources, help to get out, or someone to talk to, the national domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-7233, and the website is https://www.thehotline.org/. If you need shelter due to leaving a domestic violence situation, call 211 for information about shelters for survivors of domestic violence.
The above information was taken from the Duluth Power and Control Wheel.