Avoiding Mentally Abusive Relationships:
A Woman's Guide

Why do so many women struggle to avoid mentally abusive relationships?

It's a universal problem, and nearly every woman finds herself in an unhealthy relationship at one time or another. A new romantic interest will usually put his best foot forward, and it can be hard to tell if he's trustworthy, and a good fit. It takes time to see a person's true colors. If a woman feels she has found a new love relationship, and is lonely or in need of validation, she may not see through him, until later.

Also, many women were exposed to their parents' mentally abusive relationships, and never received solid guidance about what constitutes a good, healthy relationship. If your mother or father had a difficult time with relationships, you may find yourself walking in their footsteps.

To help you identify a potentially unhealthy relationship, look for the red flags, or Ten Signs,  I've listed below.

Man and woman talking and holding hands in a therapy session

If You are in an Abusive Relationship

Get counseling and face the problems in your relationship. Calling them out into the open is a good practice. You can then begin to deal with them.

If you're in a dangerous or physically challenging relationship, take steps to protect yourself. Call the Abuse Hotline or police, if you are under immediate threat.

For help with abuse, go to the nearest mental health center, women's center, church or synagogue, and ask for help. Do something, don't just take it. You will be at risk, and so will your children or other family members and pets. Controlling, abusive men can endanger your entire network of friends and peers. Do something about it. You don't have to take it. Take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones  today.

Ten Signs Of A Mentally Abusive Relationship

Look for these signs or red flags . . .

  1. A controlling attitude . . . he attempts to control or influence your thoughts and decisions.
  2. He tries to "own" you or limit your access to other relationships, such as with friends and associates.
  3. He seeks to cut you off from your family or isolate you psychologically. 
  4. He exerts a negative affect on your spiritual life/ideals/values.
  5. He's threatening or domineering and rough with your kids and pets. 
  6. He encourages your dependence upon him.
  7. He persuades you to do things you don't want to do.
  8. If you have an argument or tiff, he stays mad at you for days or attempts to punish you.
  9. He is quick to anger or has trouble calming down.
  10. He has a drinking, drug or sexual addiction problem, or attempts to hide one.  An addiction can put a terrible drain on your relationship, constituting a type of affair that leaves you alone most of the time.

Avoiding Mentally Abusive Relationships:
Healthy Relationship Tips

  • Relationship Tip #1) Don't enter a relationship thinking you can change him. You probably can't. In fact, the harder you try the more he will resist. Many problems that cause mentally abusive relationships are deep seate For example, if he has a history of mentally abusive relationships, he will most likely continue on the same path with you . . . especially after the honeymoon!
  • Relationship Tip #2) Remember if he is controlling or mentally abusive now, he will probably stay that way. No matter what you may do to help him.
  • Relationship #3) Take your time and get to know him; just don't rush! Recognize the infatuation phase of a new relationship can last for one to two years . . . infatuation will make you view him through rose-colored glasses. It is often after this phase that a person's true habits and ways will be revealed.
  • Relationship Tip #4) Make sure he doesn't take advantage of or use you, and does not adopt a mentally abusive attitude with you, to begin with. You deserve better. It's sound relationship advice to demand respect and safe treatment from every man you meet.
  • Relationship Tip #5) If you want your love relationships to be healthy and enjoyable, a source of strength and pleasure, you'll need to avoid any relationship that puts you at a disadvantage. Or leaves you in-empowered, violates your full rights as a person and woman, and puts you in an uncomfortable role.
  • If your marriage or relationship has become problematic, perhaps due to an "emotional affair" or porn addiction, you are not alone. You'll need to take action to address the issues leading to the problems right away. Affairs and addictions often flourish in secrecy. Acknowledging and addressing them is the first step in your journey toward resolution and healing. 
Couple on the beach at sunset.

In Closing

Do the right thing for your children and yourself. Free yourself from an abusive relationship that will take a toll on your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.

Take your time in getting to know your new romantic interest, no matter how interested you may be, and gently guide your new relationship into a responsible, mature phase, over time. You'll avoid getting into a mentally abusive relationship . . . or an unhealthy relationship that may be hard to get out of or end.

Concentrate on building a healthy relationship, free from controlling and abusive behavior, and your healthy relationship will stand the test of time.

Discover the secrets of keeping true love alive. Don't think your relationship is over, if you do have problems. Affairs and other issues can be overcome. And your relationship can grow stronger, especially if you deal with the underlying issues that have contributed to the problems at hand. 

But . . . be prepared to walk away if your relationship proves to be unhealthy, and you cannot solve the problems. I have seen hundreds and hundreds of abusive relationships in my professional practice, and I know the pitfalls of rushing into a relationship that looks good on the surface . . .

yet proves to be a source of agony and despair in time.

In Sum

Follow my healthy relationship tips and you'll safeguard your prized relationships and avoid forming mentally abusive relationships. You'll be happier and better adjusted, and your healthy relationships will bring you great personal satisfaction and joy.

If your partner is struggling with an addiction, try to listen and understand, and give them the support they'll need in their recovery. Avoid judging them, which may only fuel more addictive behavior. Get the secrets into the open and begin the process of dealing with them. 

Subscribe to my monthly newsletter, Happy Relationships Matter!, and you'll get more professional relationship tips and advice, plus valuable offers. And you'll find ways to get help without having to pay the high prices for therapy.

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