I am from India where there is lots of socio-economic disparity. One of the common narratives is that abuse in relationships takes place in the lower socio-economic brackets, spurred by a lack of education and financial frustrations. But this is a myth, as relationship abuse exists behind even the fanciest closed doors.
We also tend to think of abuse as physical, yet it also takes mental and emotional forms. Abuse of any kind has to do with many factors including the mental instability of the abuser. That’s why therapy and spiritual help are of the utmost importance if you feel like you are harming or being harmed by anyone.
In the beginning, you get into a relationship with the best intentions. Those initial butterflies, the new spark, that exhilaration makes you feel like you are the luckiest person out there. While the honeymoon phase feelings naturally subside as time moves along, respect, care and understanding must always stay. This takes effort and is something to be consciously vigilant about in your relationship. Sadly, I have seen these qualities of respect missing in many marriages.
For those unhappy in a marriage, the fear of having to start over, of loneliness and other similar emotions can be deeply crippling, especially if you are living in trauma. This is a reality for many people, and I have seen it up close. However, I want to spread a hopeful message that it is absolutely possible to rebuild and that there are a variety of people who will help you to do this.
See also: Why I Go For Therapy and What I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Started
Below I've outlined three all-too-common scenarios of how abuse can play out and escalate in relationships.
1. LOVE BOMBING
Here, the verbal and emotional abuse creeps in sneakily. You feel confused that the same person who could be so attentive and loving could also put you down in such harsh ways.
So what is love bombing exactly? When your partner showers you with an unhealthy amount of attention, which can come in the form of excessive gifts, compliments, requests to spend less time with your loved ones and sweet forms of manipulation to get you to spend all of your time together—while expecting to be put on a pedestal for this devotion.
It can be easy to confuse this with the honeymoon phase, so here is a tangible way to demarcate. In the honeymoon phase, both partners want to spend a majority of their time together and do sweet things because they are falling in love. Love bombing is when your partner bombards you with affection to the point where you feel smothered. A common initial reaction is not to say anything because it is supposedly all in the name of love. Do not respond like this, however, as it is the beginning of that partner’s unhealthy control.