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The family history of my parents, several observations and the secrets I heard from my friends, later – articles and media attention got me thinking about the nature of abuse in a relationship. There is a lot of research done on this subject, and there are also some dangerous statistics: at least, one women in three will be abused in a relationship, and the majority of them will fall into college students' category. There are also statistics for men, affecting one in seven.
Sometimes young (and not only) people do not even realize that they are in an abusive bond. Often times, even abusers do not understand what they are doing, and how they are hurting their significant other.
Do you feel depressed a lot? Scared? Isolated from friends and family? Find yourself changing your style influenced by another person’s pressure? Do you give in to unreasonable demands? Do you constantly have to respond to attacks of a loved one? Do you hide some whereabouts from her/him? Have you ever had a physical fight (hitting, punching, shoving, and throwing? Note, punching objects around also counts). If you answered “yes” to at least two questions, you might have an abusive partner.
Are you extremely controlling of your mate? Do you think you own him/her? Did you ever dare hitting or scaring your partner? Do you often manipulate, or play your mate’s feelings? Criticize a lot? Prohibit some things? Did you see your parents fighting or abusing substances when you were growing up? I am sorry to say this, but you may act as an abuser.
In college, we learn many things. Sometimes, we discover stuff that not many people like to admit about themselves. If you are a victim in a relationship, and you're scared of your partner’s inadequate responses to some regular and usual events in life – break it. Do not stay isolated, tell someone about your concerns. Abusers often try to isolate their victim, and they are jealous a lot and very demanding. They might require you to wear certain clothes, change eating habits, and send you off to the gym to lose weight by calling you ugly. They will try to lower your self-esteem. Often times, they will drag you into a vicious circle of abuse: ugly fight - apologies involving promises “never again”-good period to calm you down and lose your guard-ugly fight escalating.
In this case – find help urgently, leave this relationship, and do not look back. Do not give in to threats or promises of suicide. Call the police, notify parents. The more people know – the better for your own safety.
Abusers, go for counseling, reach out for help, and go through anger management. Usually, it happens because of some childhood trauma – figure out what it was and do not be so insecure. After all, the abuse may and will ruin your life eventually. You may end up behind bars. If you suspect your partner cheating – ask. If there is an adultery, leave. You do not like the way your girlfriend looks? Why are you even there, if this is such a big deal to you? Leave, find someone who fits your criteria. It's as simple as that. College is a place and time to discover and date.
Girls, do not wait until things escalate. Always watch out for the red flags. Abusers mask it perfectly out in the people, but look for them in private setting. The reason why am I addressing girls is that they are abused more often than men.