I feel deeply obligated to pass this knowledge on to others and I wish to discuss a more serious matter.
I have parents who love me dearly. I have the nicest siblings. And I couldn't ask for better best friends. They love me as I am (and if I do something wrong, they put it nicely if I haven't figured it out). I never imagined in my life I would have to majorly encounter this issue because I have been very lucky to have such wonderful near-and-dear ones. In fact, one of my brothers said to me when I was born, "and if anybody hurts you I will beat them up" so I was extremely comfortable with my living circumstances.
Thus, let me tell you why I care about abuse so much:
Abuse as a salient issue to me has hit strong this last year. Somebody very close to me had her husband cheat and lie to her, he moved out, took a great deal of money, and in the long run she realized later that he was in various forms abusing her. Watching her day by day going through this, it made me realize just how awful it truly is and how nobody deserves this crap. I personally decided I was not going to accept or marry anybody that was capable of hurting me like her ex-husband did. Thankfully she quickly learned to stand up for herself and I am glad to say she has not only taken a stand on her situation, but she has also chosen much healthier relationships to associate with, and I am grateful for her marvelous example to self-respect yourself.
Well, time passed and I thought this stuff was over. But it happened again, to somebody else,I was in Germany when I found out. A dear friend of mine was shot and killed by her boyfriend. I couldn't believe it. It was the boy that took her to prom, that came into my house to pick her up, who I watched creepily hover over her all that night, who tried to keep her alone from everybody else, and the guy who I thought was a bit creepy but imagined she would get rid of him eventually like she does with all her past boyfriends. But he shot her through a passionate fit of rage when she wouldn't let him into her house, she didn't get out soon enough.
Though I did the most that I could according to my knowledge at that time to help her, I realized that I was also obligated to help all my friends out if I was aware that they were being abused.
But here's the catch: it isn't so easy to spot these things. We people have a very high unintentional tolerance for this kind of behavior, and these people make it feel like we are making a big deal if we object to their wrong-doings.
Well, I never thought I would personally have to deal with this because I have seen all of the signs objectively and had clearly learned my lesson, right?
There is this guy in my ward who when I first met, I thought nothing of. And a few weeks later I thought he was sleazy arrogant flirt who I didn't want anything to do with because frankly he had nothing good to offer me. Ironic.
Well, he persistantly tried to talk and flirt with me, and at the time assertiveness was the most attractive feature of a guy in my mind. I remember one point I asked him if he was flirting with me just to be nice or if he meant what he said, he hesistantly told me he was serious. We began to talk and hang out a lot more, but something never felt quite right. Finally one night he admitted he liked somebody else and we fought until three am...via text, extremely lame. But I told him he couldn't lead women on like that and he shrugged off what I said.
One day later I already decided to move on and was more upset that I wasted those two months on him than him actually rejecting me. One or two weeks later I was normal, completely healed thanks to constant prayer to God and an amazing support system, and I can honestly say that I never did miss him and I realized just how crappy of a relationship I had with him and how awful he made me feel.
So I basically erased him from my mind and my life for almost two months, and I had an incredibly happy two months. And I quickly became more worried for the girl he liked and hoped in my heart that she would realize she would be happier if she ditched him. Well, a week or two later she did, and it sounded like she was much happier as well. However he came crawling back not only to her, but to me! And she got the worser end of it.
A mutual friend of me and this girl informed me that he got possessive of her, and he opened his big fat mouth and was dissing all of her good friends and those who mean a lot to her.
So I pitied him because he was very skilled at making a sad face and I thought maybe he was truly sorry about lying to me, thinking he was right about everything, hurting this girl and myself, so I talked to him...but he clearly hadn't changed.
He began saying things like "I'm right about everything" and right then I knew I could never be friends with him again. He said lots of other things, but eventually after criticizing the way I walk...THE WAY I WALK, he said "Just wait and see, Hillary, I'll make it so I have complete control over you and you will walk in line with me and go the right directions and stuff"and then he touched me behind my back and tried to make me walk faster.
Once I got to class, I knew this guy had to go. No talking to him because I feel sorry for him, because he won't change. So I sent him a text to never talk to me again or I would report him.
I knew him for what he is and I honestly can say I don't feel too much hurt or longing in myself. I just think he is a sleazy arrogant flirt who I don't want anything to do with because frankly he has nothing good to offer me.
Well my mutual friend came home last night and told me how the girl I have told you about that he liked has gotten the worser end of this guy. He has been uncontrollably calling her and calling her, showed up at her house, and has told her to take him back.
So my fair warning is gone, I am going to report him.
Not for my personal vendetta, but rather to help her live comfortably again. As well as any other girls that I am not aware of have suffered through.
So back to the title, here are the signs I learned from personal experience before you have to go reporting him/her (let's not discriminate, boys get abused too):
- He/She is persistant to get your attention, even to a tacky level, where he makes you feel bad for ignoring him so long. Generally speaking, if a guy makes you guilt-trip to hang out with him or to go on a date with him, keep saying no. It's desperation, not long-suffering devotion.
- He/She gets all emotionally intimate very quickly. Even if you keep saying no and he keeps staying this way for months at time, it's not him developing an actual emotional connection to you, it's once again his need for attention and gratification.
- He/She gives really good compliments, and seems very sweet, but even after talking to him you think less of yourself. As in he throws in critical details of yourself in the most subtle way: he makes it really jokingly, he mostly says good things, and he makes it sound like an observation, not like a initial attack.
- He/She makes you feel really special, like you two are together...yet you feel more alone then when you were actually by yourself
- Or I guess the opposite as well, if you are being smothered with affections, no time for space, he/she insists you only hang out with them or at least imply it, disconnects you from friends and people of the opposite sex.
- Gradually tells you what your faults are, even miniscule things like how you eat, live, or let's say walk...and makes you feel bad if you don't change. And exceptionally does this when you do something "wrong" and hurt his/her feeelings in the friendship/relationship
- Runs or avoids the issue when you address something, tries to make him/her appear like the wronged person when a conflict comes up
Please, people, if you think you aren't in a good relationship, please understand that YOU DON'T DESERVE THIS, you completely deserve to be loved by somebody who won't hurt you. Even if you did make mistakes and think you hurt that person in return, don't apologize for your character but for specific actions and move on. Decide you will treat the next person better because of what has been done. It's going to hurt, like every hard thing is, but if you don't look back, you will quickly realize how much happier you are being yourself and being alone if you were in a genuinely abusive relationship.