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If a woman feels threatened by her abusive boyfriend, or fears that her boyfriend may become abusive, she needs to understand that she is the victim, first and foremost. If she is not yet prepared to exit the relationship, individual or couples’ counseling may be the next step. An abusive boyfriend may never completely change his ways, though. Domestic violence specialists suggest that the best way to deal with an abusive boyfriend is to leave him. There can be many hitches to this plan, however, and a woman should be aware of how to deal with all of them.
Many women deny that what they are experiencing is actually abuse. A woman will often make excuses for her abusive boyfriend, a common excuse being that she herself is to blame. An abuser takes power and control to the extremes, exerting his ability to control his partner's every move. A woman will not be fully committed to leaving an abusive boyfriend until she realizes that she is in an abusive relationship.
Domestic abuse is a pattern of insulting or violent behaviors brought on by one or both parties of a relationship. Physical aggression, threats or harassment, and controlling behavior are all signs of an abusive relationship. It is important to note that a relationship may be classified as abusive even if there is no evidence of physical violence. If a woman has been threatened with physical violence, she should leave the situation immediately.
Abusing a person’s emotions and mindset is also a form of abuse, as such cruelty can do severe psychological damage. Regardless, an abusive relationship to any degree is not a healthy relationship. Before leaving an abusive partner, a woman may need to repeatedly tell herself that it isn’t her fault. Even in relationships where alcohol, drugs, and memories of childhood abuse may be introduced into the equation, the abusive boyfriend is still making the conscious choice to abuse his partner. Dependencies and traumatic childhoods do not excuse an abuser’s actions.
A woman who feels that she must walk on eggshells around her boyfriend may be abused. If she avoids certain subjects and situations just to circumvent a fight, she may be emotionally or physically abused. A woman who has withdrawn from activities she once enjoyed, and who has become secretive and moody, might be being abused. Additionally, a woman who feels guilty for angering her abusive boyfriend may also be in an abusive relationship.
People are allowed to have bad days; it's normal for people to argue. However, a woman should not have to “deal” with an abusive boyfriend. A boy or man who takes out his anger and frustration on someone else needs individual help. Once he helps himself, the relationship could potentially be salvaged. That being said, it is never safe to assume one’s boyfriend is cured after the abuse has ended for a short while.
When a woman plans to leave her abusive boyfriend — either temporarily while he’s getting help or permanently — it’s important that she has a safety route planned out. She should confide in a few friends or family members, so that they are aware of the potential danger. Specialists recommend that an abused woman may feel safer if she can stay with friends or family. Additionally, support groups have proved to be quite meaningful in the leaving and healing process. In cases where the woman feels especially threatened after leaving her abusive partner, a personal protection order (PPO) may be issued against him, which prohibits both parties from seeing one another.
@Ruggercat68, I think you're right about certain women feeling compelled to fix damaged people, or use their maternal instincts to remain dedicated to a troubled man, but the solution is not that easy.
Abusive boyfriends can be very good at emotional blackmail, so even if the woman realizes there's a serious problem, she may not have the fortitude to take action.
I knew a woman at work who was in an abusive relationship, but she would never acknowledge it when she was around us. We'd see the bruises, and we'd hear her end of an argument over the phone, but she insisted her boyfriend was just a passionate person who sometimes got frustrated with people. She swore she wasn't
one of those victims who were too afraid to say anything or do anything.
Three months later, she was found beaten almost to death in her apartment. She finally admitted the attacker was her boyfriend. She told me later that she found out he had a mental disorder that caused extreme mood swings, and he quit taking his medication a few weeks before the attack. She's better now, but she tells everyone to learn as much as they can about their partners, especially any mental health issues or past history of violence against women.
I think some women who are trapped in abusive relationships need to break away from the idea they can "fix" their partners over time. An abusive relationship may ebb and flow, but the violence rarely disappears completely. Recognizing an inability to repair the relationship is preferable to staying in an abusive situation because of pride. Someone might have the skills to solve conflicts at work or settle disputes between friends, but defusing a person with abusive tendencies is an entirely different matter. This is why professional anger management counselors and psychologists exist.
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