‘…and they lived happily ever after.’
Unfortunately, storybooks have skewed our perception of relationships – they’re not as easy as you may think. Here are some signs that may indicate you’re in an unhealthy relationship.
Marie Stopes offers women’s wellness services if you feel you may be suffering from consequences of an harmful relationship such as contracting HIV/STIs due to non-consensual sex.
Verbal abuse is an umbrella under which lies a plethora of verbal exploitation (such as manipulation). This goes far beyond simple name calling.
In her book, The Verbally Abusive Relationship, author Patricia Evans, explains ‘verbally abusive relationships include more subtle and insidious forms of abuse, including
- Put-downs (Guilting)
- Abuse disguised as joke
Verbally abusive relationships include the misuse of power or what Evans calls “Power Over,” which refers to behaviours and words that disempower, disrespect or devalue a partner. You can learn more about the work of Patricia Evans at www.verbalabuse.com.
Manipulation is a tactic under the umbrella of verbal abuse. According to an article published in Psychology Today, ‘most manipulative individuals have four common characteristics:
- They know how to detect your weaknesses
- Once found, they use your weaknesses against you
- Through their shrewd machinations, they convince you to give up something of yourself in order to serve their self-centered interests
- In work, social, and family situations, once a manipulator succeeds in taking advantage of you, he or she will likely repeat the violation until you put a stop to the exploitation.’
The vicious attacks destroy self-confidence leading to mental conditions such as depression and anxiety. Look out for them!
It should be a no-brainer that a relationship is unhealthy if physical abuse is taking place, BUT this begs the question, ‘why do some women stay in a physically abusive relationship?’
Well, studies suggest that verbal abuse has created so much emotional damage that women’s self-worth has been completely eviscerated and they are too fearful to leave the relationship. Children and financial circumstances also play a massive role in the decision-making process.
How Marie Stopes can help you
Marie Stopes endeavours to empower women to know that they have the right to say, ‘I am in control of my body!’ If physical abuse includes rape, women have a legal right to have a safe abortion at a high-quality medical healthcare facility. You always have a choice.
In South Africa, we operate 17 centres across 7 provinces and are a Section 21 non-profit organisation recognised for the quality of our clinical services and our non-judgemental, client-friendly approach.
You can also receive women’s wellness exams from one of our HCUs based at all three of Dr. David Kathan’s Cape Town clinics:
- Grassy Park
- Mitchells Plain