Dating and marriage violence is a reality. Courtship is a facet in the relationship in which people get to know the other person and meet their families and friends. It is supposed to be a time full of good moments. However, it is also when abusers start to show certain signs of dating and marriage violence that need to be identified immediately before falling into their manipulations.
Signs of Dating and Marriage Violence
From subtle to the most obvious signs of dating and marriage violence, these are some of the signs that a courtship is unsafe1:
Insecure and possessive attitudes
A woman or a man who is stuck in an unhealthy courtship will be constantly watched by his/her counterpart. The initial excuses may sound somewhat consistent, such as the need to protect the other person or ward off bad influences, perhaps showing concern for the partner’s safety. However, the rationale behind each of these excuses will be lost as time passes.
The blame will always fall on a single party
A relationship comprises two people who share the same burden of duties and rights. The key to maintaining fruitful and healthy relationships is sharing responsibilities when something goes wrong. But for an abuser, disputes or bad times are never his/her fault, it is always someone else’s.
Pressuring their partner to do certain things
Manipulation and pressure to show “love” is what leads many victims to submit to situations they do not want. This is why they are in a vulnerable state, and what is much worse, a state where they do not know how or if they will be able to say “no.” For example, going to certain places, meeting certain people, or even pushing them to do things God does not accept. Everything is about control, control the victim will give without realizing it in order to see their partner happy.
Mocking and humiliating situations
We are usually vulnerable to what others say or the opinion that others have about us. That is why when a person goes to a social gathering with someone he/she appreciates, that person should take the other person’s side if there is an awkward moment.
But abusers do the opposite because they never miss an opportunity to humiliate someone or to let others know implicitly that their partner is irresponsible, imprudent, or not smart. While in a courtship relationship, all these offenses may be disguised with passive-aggressive words, not spoken in a direct or explicitly violent way.
Sometimes it is a matter of “harmless” expressions or comments when they are not, but, they need to be nipped in the bud. Most importantly, when the victim explains that he/she is hurt by the abuser’s attitude, he/she will minimize the situation.
1http: //www.gentediversa.org.mx/documentos/noviazgoSeguro/GuiaPrevencionViolenciaNoviazgo.pdf The abuser will not take the victim’s pain into consideration because he/she thinks that the victim caused the situation and is overreacting.
How to recognize signs of dating and marriage violence
Emotional violence within married couples creates a much greater sense of suffocation for the affected person, since the sacred union of marriage makes it difficult to face the dark side of the other human being.
By joining two lives, a man and a woman create this bond. It is thought and intended to be for the rest of their lives. Despite this, when emotional violence occurs, questions raise that should not be denied:
- Is pain love?
- Do I deserve to go through this?
- Don’t I deserve happiness?
It is essential to understand that marriage is a loving bond, but is also a commitment and a space to grow. Therefore, when one of the parties does not want to admit that there is a problem and does not make an effort to change, it is that person who is failing, not the person who is trying. Trying is the key to overcoming many negative situations, because it is a team effort.
The symptoms of emotional violence within marriage are usually more aggressive and notorious. There is no longer just an emotional bond, there is also a legal one. If there are children, hundreds of important factors add. And hundreds more depending on the number of children the couple has. Each child is unique and each child may react differently to witnessing this kind of violence.
Children internalize everything they see around them. They may not immediately understand what they’re feeling, but they keep it inside their memory and heart. The following are signs of violence within marriage relationships:
- Irritability when facing any situation: Hostility and frustration exercised by the aggressor due to unjustified situations. Disguising the behavior or showing restraint is no longer as necessary as it was during courtship.
- Intense verbal abuse6: Loud insults, provocations, and trampling their partner’s feelings. All of this will happen in marriages where emotional violence occurs.
- Manipulating children: When children enter the picture, everything gets a lot worse. Why? Because abusers tend to turn children into tools to blackmail the partner and make them take sides. When the victims file for divorce, for example, the abuser might ask for custody of the children’s. They also make false allegations to the authorities.3 Unfortunately, when the necessary advice is not available, abusers may get what they want.
A suggested reading in these cases is “Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder” by Bill Eddy.
I would like to know what you think about this article. I invite you to share it if it has been a blessing. If you are experiencing violence in your relationship, do not hesitate to seek help. You can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 407-618-0212.