Are you hurting your partner?
Have you ever thought that you may be behaving in a way that could be physically or mentally harmful to your partner?
These behaviours are often difficult to recognize if you’re the one doing them — but acknowledging that you may be hurting your partner is the first step in moving toward a healthier relationship.
If you’re looking for someone to lend a confidential, impartial ear, the mental health and addictions line is a great option. Their phone number is 1-888-737-4668. They’ll listen, withhold judgment and help you begin to address what’s going on in your relationship.
Check in with yourself: How do you act toward your partner?
- Get angry or insecure about your partner’s relationships with others (friends, family, coworkers) and feel possessive?;
- Frequently call and text to check up on your partner, or have them check in with you?;
- Check up on your partner in different ways? (Ex. Reading their personal emails, checking their texts);
- Feel like your partner needs to ask your permission to go out, get a job, go to school or spend time with others?;
- Get angry when your partner doesn’t act the way you want them to or do what you want them to?;
- Blame your anger on drugs, alcohol, or your partner’s actions?;
- Find it very difficult to control your anger and calm down?;
- Express your anger by threatening to hurt your partner, or actually physically or emotionally doing so?;
- Express your anger verbally through raising your voice, name calling or using put-downs?;
- Forbid your partner from spending money, or require that they have an allowance and keep receipts of their spending?;
- Force or attempt to force your partner to be intimate with you?;
- Blow up in anger at small incidents or “mistakes” your partner makes?
How does your partner react?
- Seem nervous around you?;
- Seem afraid of you?;
- Cringe or move away from you when you’re angry?;
- Cry because of something you don’t let them do, or something you made them do?;
- Seem scared or unable to contradict you or speak up about something?;
- Restrict their own interaction with friends, coworkers or family in order to avoid displeasing you?
If any of these behaviors sound familiar to how you act or how your partner reacts, it could be a red flag that you may be hurting them. This can be a difficult and unnerving realization to come to.
By acknowledging now that your behaviours might be questionable and taking responsibility for them, you’re a step ahead in beginning to correct them.
How to get help
We frequently speak with people who identify as abusive, or who are concerned about behaviours that may be unhealthy.
We treat all callers with dignity and respect, and talk to people with these concerns because we support anyone who wants to take responsibility for his or her actions. Every call from someone who is becoming more aware of their unhealthy behavior is an opportunity to plant a seed for change.
No matter what the situation, our advocates are supportive and remain empathetic.
- Depending on what you’re calling about, our advocates will talk to you about different courses of action, and referrals. If throughout the call you and the advocate are beginning to identify unhealthy behaviors in your relationship, they’ll discuss these red flags with you and then brainstorm healthy alternatives for the behavior.
- EX: “You can’t change your feelings of jealousy all the time, but you can change how you are confronting your partner about these feelings.”
- They’ll talk about strategies for calming down and deescalating if you feel yourself getting angry, and discuss how your actions can negatively affect yourself and those around you.
- Our crisis calls are referred to our local community partners found here.
If you’re looking for someone to lend a confidential, impartial ear, the mental health and addictions line is a great option. They’ll listen, withhold judgment and help you begin to address what’s going on in your relationship.
If you’re questioning your own behaviour at all, or if someone else has brought it to your attention, acknowledging it is a step in the right direction. Give us a call today at 709-757-0137, or reach out to the Mental Health and Addictions line, 709-737-4668.
Is change possible?
Absolutely, the following are some changes that could indicate you’re making progress in your recovery:
- Admitting fully to what you have done;
- Stopping excuses and blaming;
- Making amends;
- Accepting responsibility and recognizing that abuse is a choice;
- Identifying patterns of controlling behavior used;
- Identifying the attitudes that drive abuse;
- Accepting that overcoming abusiveness is a decades-long process and not declaring yourself “cured”;
- Not demanding credit for improvements you’ve made;
- Not treating improvements as vouchers to be spent on occasional acts of abuse (ex. “I haven’t done anything like this in a long time, so it’s not a big deal);
- Developing respectful, kind, supportive behaviors;
- Carrying your weight and sharing power;
- Changing how you respond to their partner’s (or former partner’s) anger and grievances;
- Changing how you act in heated conflicts;
- Accepting the consequences of actions (including not feeling sorry for yourself about the consequences, and not blaming your partner or children for them).
Truly overcoming abusiveness can be an ongoing, often lifelong process — but change is possible. Acknowledging that your behaviours might be unhealthy or abusive is a great first step in beginning to change. It’s never too late to seek help.
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