Dealing with abuse in a relationship

By Sarah Hudson

LOGOS STAFF WRITER

Learning to love can be an adventure filled with high highs, low lows, and can throw obstacles at us that will make it near to impossible to overcome them.

I was extremely excited about the overwhelming amount of e-mails I received regarding (October’s first) article.  Although I would love to address each one of my readers’ situations individually, I couldn’t help but notice there was an overwhelming recurring theme of, “I love him/her…but…”

Though every situation was unique in their own way, I was saddened but not surprised to read many of the instances had some sort of a hint at an abusive tone to them.  And with the already-approved permission of my writers, I will address this dangerous theme with my heart in my hands. As your peer, I promised to extend my personal advice, my personal yet unprofessional advice, which may or may not be of use to you.  So as you read, whether these situations apply to you or not, please be sensitive towards the fact this is a serious issue that affects men and women worldwide.

A study conducted within the last five years by Liz Claiborne Inc. determined one in three teenagers know a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, choked or physically hurt by their partner and unfortunately, nearly 80 percent of girls who have been physically abused in their relationships continue to date their abuser.

This type of behavior in a relationship is related to codependency which is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy mutually satisfying relationship and is often known as “relationship addiction.” This type of addiction more or less names one or both members of the relationship dependent on one another. Although it may sound romantic, it is far from it. Many of these relationships involve some sort of mental, emotional and physical abuse.

My heart was saddened to hear, or read rather, that many of my readers have fallen victim to these types of unhealthy relationships. Although I am a strong believer in true love, I unfortunately am not a fan of codependent relationships and personally refuse to advertise that anyone try and work them out. These types of relationships are emotional and behavioral issues that usually need to be professionally dealt with. I speak from experience when I say that violence — physical and emotional — is an issue that must be addressed before anyone can worry about salvaging their relationship.

I must emphasize many of these relationships tend to spring from a deeper issue of low self-confidence or low-self esteem. Many victims of codependency put everything else in the world first before themselves. Personally, I believe this to be the core of the problem. If you find yourself in a relationship similar to what was described here and are looking for help, first assess yourself before you assess the relationship and what you think you could be doing to make it better. Ask yourself, “What about me?”  “What am I getting out of this relationship?” “Will this relationship take me where I want to go 10 years from now?” Once you’ve answered those questions, assess your specific situation. What helped me in the long run was to hypothetically have a family member evaluate my relationship. “What would my grandmother say if she saw the way he angrily talks to me?” There are many approaches you can take in evaluating yourself in your relationship and every instance is different according to your specific situation, but I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to love yourself wholly before you even attempt to love someone else.

If you find yourself victim to one or more of these types of relationships and you relate with that type of behavior, contact a professional immediately through this 24-hour anonymous hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit www.thehotline.org.

Please, please, please assess yourself and make sure you’re fully taken care of before you attempt to fix an unhealthy relationship. You are who ultimately matters. Love yourself entirely first. Believe in yourself first. After all, that’s where it all begins.

E-mail Hudson at shudson@student.uiwtx.edu

Sarah Hudson

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