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Are You Abusive?

Dillon shoved Janet and took off shouting. He was sick of her accusing him of cheating.

Now, Janet was worried he was going to break up with her. She called him at work so many times to check on him that he got fired.

She loved him so much it hurt. She called her friends for support. They rallied round her and trashed Dillon awhile, then started sending him text messages saying he should apologize.

By the end of the day, after many back and fourths, tears, begging, and apologies, Janet and Dillon got back together.

First ...

Dillon was wrong to shove Janet. In his anger and frustration, he could have hurt more than her ego.

But Janet has some real issues with jealousy and possessiveness. She also used her friends to help place all the blame on Dillon.

Janet and her friends may not be aware of it, but she has abusive traits which can escalate and drive her into something as serious as homicide.

      Abusers Have a Few Things in Common

They get their power from controlling people and situations.

Losing power makes them desperate or furious.

And while abuse among couples is most commonly discussed, abuse can extend to siblings, friends, parents, and anyone who threatens the abuser's control.

      What are the Characteristics of an Abuser?

- They Intimidate Victims -

Abusers use intimidation to control their victims.

They smash or throw things as displays of their strength. They make threats or stare down their victims to make them fearful. Sometimes, they'll even display weapons to show their victim that if all else fails, they can take them down.

Abusers also use silence to keep victims fearful and anxious about what's coming next.

         What does intimidation sound Like?

          "Shut up, or I swear I'll ..."
         "Don't you ever forget ..."

         "Never ever ..."


- They Play Mind Games -

Abusers play emotional games and twist things to confuse their victims.

They break down their victims self-worth with insults, shaming, and making jokes at the victim's expense. They make try to make the victim believe that they cause the relationship problems.

         What do mind games sound like?

             "I was just kidding, you're not ugly."
         “Did you really think you could pull of wearing that?”

         "Hey, you pissed me off so I threw the lamp."

- Everything Triggers Jealousy -

Abusers can't contain jealousy. Even a victim's job and family obligations can trigger an abuser's jealousy.

They don't want their victim to have a life of their own and get accusatory, angry and sometimes depressed when the victim tries to make a move without them.

         What does jealousy sound like?

         "If you go to the mall without me, I'm going to break our date for Saturday."

         "Why didn't you text me at all today? What were you doing instead?"

         "You never have time for me. All you think about are finals."

- Abusers Isolate Their Victims -

This is tricky because abusers don't necessarily force a victim to stay close or isolate themselves.

They might convince their victim to stay home on a Saturday and talk on the phone with them because they got grounded, and say things like, "I'm so lonely. I miss you." Or, they could use love as a means to instill guilt.

        What do isolation tactics sound like?

        "Come on, blow off softball practice, and we'll go to the movies."

        "If you loved me, you would leave your family's picnic and come over right now."

        "I know you're late. But please don't hang up. I really miss you."


Any Of These Sound Familiar?

If any of the above sound like things you've said or done, you might need help in sorting out your feelings, but first understand that abuse is your learned method of coping with stress.

People use coping strategies that have worked in the past.

Now is the time to start learning new ways to deal with your stress. Even if you are out of a relationship, it's likely your next relationship will be the same if you don't change the way you deal with things.

To gain control of your feelings and your life, it's necessary to find help and follow the treatment recommendations of a professional.

For help, it's best to start with your family, a trusted adult, a physician, or clergy.

If a teen and your family is unwilling or unable to help, contact: The Boys and Girls Town Hotline by phone or on the web. They will offer you immediate support, and give you referrals.

And take this with you.

Leave your past wrongs behind and look forward to the better person YOU are choosing to become by taking steps to improve yourself.

For more on abuse visit:

Abusive partners

Boys and Girls Town Hotline 1-800-448-3000

Copyright (c) 2009 Sangay Glass All rights reserved.