This is a difficult subject to write about. Sadly, abusive behaviour within relationships is more common than we like to imagine, and it includes both physical and psychological abuse. The bottom line is that abusive behaviour within a relationship is not OK.
As human beings we all have the capacity to ‘act out’ and behave in ways that are not caring or adult. When we ‘act out’ from the child part within us we can forget ‘appropriate’ behaviour and want to hurt the other person, often with words, going beyond our usual adult filters and limits. This acting out can be abusive and very destructive within a relationship, and keep us stuck in unhappy dynamics. A key part of the journey to a healthier and sustainable relationship is for us to learn to be more adult with our partner and recover from the hurt we have caused each other along the way.
In this post though, I want to focus on a more entrenched abuse that comes from a sense of entitlement. It is important to see when abusive behaviour comes from a belief, where the individual feels entitled to behave as they do, as it has a different quality to it. Typically the abuser blames the individual they are abusing for their abusive behavior rather than taking responsibility for it. For example, “ You made me act like this” or “you made me hit you”. The abusive behavior can vary widely in style and range from purely psychological to physical, or a mix of the two often escalating over time. Often at the start of a relationship the partner can seem charming and ‘perfect’ and so it can be especially hard for the partner on the receiving end to see the changing behavior as abusive especially when they are being told it’s because of them.
The key to changing any behaviour is becoming aware of the behaviour and the reasons behind it. In abuse, this means recognising what abusive behaviour looks like and understanding that this is not OK. The starting point for real change is that a partner is able to take responsibility for their abusive behaviour and actions and look at why they might be acting like this. This might mean growing up and making more adult choices, however if the individual feels entitled to behave in this way, it’s likely to be a much longer journey and one that no one else can do for them.
If you are interested in finding out more contact me, or your local Domestic Abuse Charity. DASH covers East Berkshire to East and South Bucks, so Maidenhead, Slough and surrounding areas. Their helpline is 01753 549865.