Most people do not realize that abuse does not have one form but manifests itself I’m different ways. The general understanding of abuse is physical abuse where you see a guy hitting a woman and giving her physical wounds and bruises or a woman doing the same thing to a man in a fight. Although physical abuse is by far the easiest type of abuse to remember because of its prevalence and its physical evidence, it is not the only form of abuse that exists at all in a relationship. To be honest, a man does not need to physically hit his partner before he has been said to commit abuse. There are other more subtle forms of abuse that he can employ.
Like I said earlier, there are other forms of abuse. Little things that do not seem capable of taking up the abuse label but truly are subtle forms of abuse in places where the bruises can’t show. Therefore, in this article today, I’m going to talk about seven subtle things your boyfriend has been abusing you with for a while. If you discover that any of them is a staple part of your relationship, then you need to talk with your boyfriend. Don’t be surprised if he tells you that he does not know those things are abusive, it’s possible but also dangerous because that means that he has a much bigger issue. If you see these signs, you need to tell him to stop being low-key abusive to you, and if you do not notice a change or you notice a cavalier attitude towards your complaints, then it’s time to leave that relationship.
Read on below to know the seven forms of subtle abuse that your boyfriend has been using on you.
1. He always talks about how ashamed he is of some actions that he took in the past.
Have you ever been having a conversation about something with your boyfriend and then he changes the topic to a slight he committed against you a while ago and keeps going on and on about how ashamed and guilty he feels. If he does this, then take a minute to think about this, what is your reaction whenever he does this? Do you feel pity or sympathize with him? Do you try to make him feel better and reassure him that you don’t feel bad about it anymore or do you get annoyed and dismissive of his complaints? I’m sure that by now, you realize that you do the former and that is where his abuse comes in. He keeps bringing up his shame and guilt over his behavior because he wants you to feel bad that he has been carrying his guilt for a long time when he probably does not even care that his actions hurt you. He just wants attention. In another vein, it does make him look like a good guy who is so sad that his actions hurt his girlfriend and that he can’t stop feeling guilty. This is a very subtle and very smooth form of emotional abuse, and you would do well to realize that.
2. Your Boyfriend independently makes rules for your relationship.
Do you sometimes feel like a kid in your relationship and your boyfriend, your dad? Let me make it clear, does your boyfriend treat you like a kid by making up rules and regulations governing your relationship without asking you first or without the rules being the product of a mutual effort? To you, it might not be very glaring things, remember these are super subtle forms of abuse. It might seem as if he is looking out for your best interests when he says that you are not allowed to hang out with some of your friends or when he says that you are not allowed to wear a certain type of clothing anymore unless you wear it in his presence. It might even seem cute and sweetly possessive, but it is a form of control. He is choosing what friends you can hang out with and deciding what you can and cannot wear anymore without any apparent reason or input from you. He is not your second dad; he is your partner. No relationship should have rules except the no cheating and no abusing rule, and even if your relationship should have a rule, then it should be made by both partners, not one.
3. Your partner frequently issues ultimatums to you.
Is it a normal occurrence in your relationship for your boyfriend to threaten you with a break up if you do not do what he wants and when he wants it. It sort of goes this way, “ If you don’t stop going for your customary Saturday morning breakfast with Sarah and Jane, then I will break up with you” That is what an ultimatum looks like, and it is abusive. This is a classic form of manipulation and blackmail in which you are coerced to do something or stop doing something via the threat of a breakup. You might end up telling yourself that forgoing that Saturday morning breakfast ritual with Sarah and Jane is a small price to pay for keeping your relationship and that your friends would understand, but you are being abused, and it isn’t a small price to pay. Another form of ultimatum is withdrawing affection from you for a particular amount of time if you do something. For instance, she might say “if you go for the guys night out with your friends then I’m not going to talk to you for a week.” These ultimatums might leave you feeling miserable, and once you begin to feel like that, you should leave that relationship.
4. Destroying your friendships and separating you from your friends.
Usually, most girls get too preoccupied with their boyfriends and sort of spend all their time with their boyfriends especially when the relationship is new. It does get really irritating for their friends obviously because it seems like Boom, you just got a boyfriend, and then they don’t exist anymore for you. Things get hairy if your boyfriend is the deliberate instigator for that chasm between your friends. You realize that he is always urging you to break up your plans with them and hang out with him which might seem so adorable and cute but is not in reality. That’s subtle. A more direct and noticeable approach is him always saying negative things about your friends and hinting at how it would be good to separate yourself from them, he really does not want better for you. It is even worse if he outrightly tells you to stop hanging out with them, then he really has a negative agenda. He is probably trying to isolate you from your friends and family. If you pay more attention and this is a precursor to more glaring abusive actions, the type that messes you up for life; such as physical and emotional abuse. It is not healthy and now would be a perfect time to break up with him before things get out of hand.
5. Nothing you do is ever good.
Before you read further, I want you to take a few seconds to think about these questions. Has your boyfriend ever complimented you for something without adding a but? Like “Thanks for making dinner but it was a bit spicy, and you know I don’t like spicy food” or “You had a manicure today, I hate the color of nails.” If this is a trend that you recognize in your relationship, then it’s time to get a clean break from him. Every girl deserves a man who will support her and her choices and would always lift her up not a man who does his best to tear you down. It is a form of emotional abuse when his statements have an adverse effect on your self-esteem and self-confidence. Your self-esteem and self-confidence should be on an all-time rise with your boyfriend not in the dumps because of him.
Gaslighting 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 just remember 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 a boyfriend.
7. His jealousy is off the charts.
Moment of truth here, every girl likes her man to show a bit of jealousy if not for anything but to make them feel special and wanted. We all know that a reasonable bit of jealousy from your boyfriend makes the heart go pitter patter. However, when things begin to look bad is when his show of jealousy is off the charts. Then it begins to look as if he does not trust you or as if he sees you as his private property. In case you can’t tell between sweet jealousy and abusive jealousy, here are some examples. He gets into a tiff because you liked your male friend’s picture on Instagram and Facebook. That is really silly and childish because liking Jared’s picture on Instagram does not mean that you are cheating on him with Jared. Another example is his constant suspicion of you. Like he is always suspecting you and claiming you that you are cheating on him with someone especially when you had to work overtime at work or had a project to complete in the library. This isn’t jealousy anymore; it has crossed the line into abusive behavior. Funnily enough, these things have probably not registered as abuse to you because he cloaks his abusive actions with the excuse of love and protection which you begin to believe. Some excuses he would give might sound like “ I don’t want you to stay overtime again because it’s your boss’s way of keeping you in the office with him alone. After all, you’re really hot, and you know that he wants you” or “ I don’t like your project partner. You’re very beautiful and I’m sure he has the hots for you and spending time with him will only encourage him.” But the truth is that he has a problem and not your boss or your project partner. This is a red flag behavior in abusive relationships because he might get out of control during one of his rants and hurt you or even hurt your boss and project partner. Better to break up with him now before he goes into full stalker mode.
If in the course of reading this article, you could associate your relationship with one or more of the seven subtle forms of abuse stated, then my candid advice would be to leave that relationship as soon as possible because such a person is not good for you or any other person. Besides that, these seven subtle forms of abuse are just precursors to worse and noticeable forms of abuse and leaving a full out abusive relationship is harder than leaving one that still has signs of becoming a full out abusive relationship.