Would you believe it if I told you that one in every three women are abused in a romantic relationship?

So here’s the real question, how do you identify and recognize “abusive?” Recently, I listened to a Ted Talk by Katie Hood. She touches on topics that not enough people are informed about. Hood goes into detail about how to identify red flags in any relationship and apprises how abuse can come in disguise.

Naturally when people hear the words “abusive” or “violent,” they think that it could never be them in that situation. Most of the time, many harmful and toxic behaviors can go unnoticed. Hood goes over five warning signs that are vital to recognize, this way one can realize that you or a loved one is being abused. 

1. Intensity

Every relationship starts out exciting and in the “honeymoon” phase; it seems that you never want to leave the side of your significant other. What you need to watch out for is when those feelings start to shift. One might go from good times together to feeling suffocated and overwhelmed in the same relationship. It’s crucial to acknowledge when you feel this change in your relationship as it is one of the abusive signs. I personally faced this when I felt my ex had said “I love you” to me too soon. This behavior also exudes intensity. 

2. Isolation

Being isolated from your family and friends by your S.O. is a frequently missed sign of abuse. Isolation doesn’t just have to be verbal, many times it could be displayed physically. For example, if you are at a gathering with friends or family, your partner may pull you away. Another common behavior is to linger near you the entire time, not leaving your side at all. An additional form of isolation can also be to “sew seeds of doubt of everyone” in your mind.  

3. Extreme Jealousy

Jealousy is one of the most frequently displayed human emotions but when taken to the extreme, it can be very dangerous. When your partners’ vehement possessiveness gains an angry edge, you must understand that it’s a red flag.  Notice when your S.O. starts to make false accusations towards you of cheating, or flirting with others when you’ve constantly reassured them that you only love them.

4. Belittling

In any positive relationship you’ve formed, the other person’s words should never bring you down, but instead, always help you rise. In my opinion, this is one of the most missed abusive signs as verbal communication can always be misread. Verbal belittling might just start as a playful joke or a funny story but most can feel in their gut when the “joke” has gone too far. Phrases like “you’re so dumb” or “you can’t do anything right” can seem harmless but intern can imprint into a bad and taunting memory. Being able to perceive this as abusive and stopping it from the beginning will help in the long run. 

5. Volatility

The vicious cycle of extreme break ups and make ups is another thing to avoid. It almost goes unnoticed when couples start to exchange vulgar language in fights and make false promises when they want to get back together. Getting accustomed to this can cause acceptance into abusive behavior. 

Like the saying goes, “easier said than done,” and noticing this behavior in someone you love is not easy. It’s even harder to accept and come to terms that they would do something like this to you in the first place. We need to keep in mind that the time of break up is when violence levels tend to spike up. If you find yourself in an abusive relationship, it is important to contact experts and find out the best next step for you; as not everyone’s situation is the same. 

I highly recommend watching the Ted Talk that was earlier mentioned and help spread the word on abuse in disguise.