Relationship 101: How to deal with physical abuse

By Blessing Divine

What defines an abusive relationship? Whatever sets the parameters for abuse in a relationship isn’t clear yet; however, if you are in one, you might not need to be told. A person who is being abused knows full well what is going on, this could be applicable to the abuser or not. In a bid to make your relationship with the other person more interesting, you might be going overboard but might not even know! He/she might be complaining about this to you regularly but you keep seeing yourself as the active one and the other person, dormant.

What precisely does the word ‘abuse’ represent? Abuse is the cruel and violent treatment of a person or animal, according to the Oxford Dictionary. You didn’t intend to be cruel or violent? Remember the quote by Shannon Alder, “more often than not, you will never be judged by your intentions because the world can’t read minds.” So, you’re simply being judged by your actions. What you do is what the other person sees, not what is in your mind.

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In a romantic relationship, abuse could come in many different forms: it could be physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse among other possibilities.

A typical scenario for physical abuse could be one of the partners beating up the other person, throwing harmful objects such as a bottle of rum from the previous night across the room, strangling, pulling or tugging at the clothes of the other person, just name it!

Verbal abuse need not be explained. Watering down the abilities of the other person through the use words, shouting at them (both at home and in public), calling of names such as fool, idiot, dog, making unsavoury remarks about the other person, all these represents the common form of verbal abuse.

You could be emotionally abused when your partner stalks you, embarrasses you in the public place very frequently; damages your valuables, keeps threatening to commit suicide if you leave them.

While some partners in relationships are totally free from this, others suffer regularly from what is considered a mild play. Some people have decided to convert the romantic pillow fights into bottle fights, rather than throw pillows, they hurl bottles, books and other things that could cause bodily harm at the other party.

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Just recently, I had to intervene in a relationship conflict and the lady was more interested in how the man verbally abused her during their last fight: how he said he would eventually marry someone more beautiful than her when he gets rich. Which lady hears that and doesn’t get outraged? On his part, while he was sorry for what he said, he said the lady in question physically abuses him by doing all that’s stated in the paragraph on physical abuse. “She says she’s playing with me when I complain but I don’t like such rough play,” he said. A case of contrast! She felt she was steering the ship to fun-land whereas all he kept seeing was danger ahead.

In their case, she was simply trying to spice things up and the man confessed that he was really scared. What sort of spicing up is that? You’re in a relationship with someone and the sight of you scares them? That’s scary to me too!

However, there are cases of outright physical abuse in relationships, these ones make tabloids sell. Any relationship under this condition is headed towards destruction, if the abuser doesn’t bring death, the abused, who is under constant emotional torture is likely to kill the partner or himself. Several stories of women stabbing their husbands or the man beating the woman to death abounds.

What to do?

A person in a relationship that experiences physical abuse is not encouraged to fold arms and relax while hoping that the other person changes. The fact that they may change is possible but it is also possible that this action is  leading to the  death of one or both of the spouses  very soon. Physical abuse is not a joke. What if she/he throws a bottle across to you and you aren’t even aware it was coming?

Communication as key in a relationship cannot be overemphasized. Discuss with your partner why and how you feel you are being abused. As stated earlier,  abusers might  simply be trying to correct some errors in the relationship while, unknowing to them, they’re creating more problems. Point out the character traits that are leaning towards abuse in a very polite manner. A mad person would never want to be called mad.

You also, the abused can research on the ways the relationship can be improved on. While trying to point out the mistakes of the other person, should you be found wanting?

“Baby, I don’t think throwing bottles at me is a way of shoring love. How about we do it this way?” And you come up with a very interesting idea, your partner will likely have a rethink and drop the ‘violent love’. It is better to be safe than sorry; it is better to be alive than dead, speak up, put an end to the abuse.

In the next edition, we’d speak on Verbal and Emotional abuse. Could you be guilty? You can never tell.

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