Signs your partner is abusive
Domestic violence in Kenya is a problem as in many parts of Africa. There is a deep cultural belief in Kenya that it is socially acceptable to hit a woman in discipline. Domestic violence is a real threat to many individuals who silently suffer abuse.
A demographic health survey carried out by the Ministry of Planning revealed that at least half of all Kenyan women had experienced violence since the age of 15, with close family members among the perpetrators.
These statistics, however, do not tell the full story of the emotional devastation of abused victims. Take the case of a woman in her early thirties, Mary. “My husband abuses me emotionally and physically. Every time I am in distress, he repents, assures me of his love, buys me gifts and we make up. Before long, he finds another reason to build up tension and insult me. I am so confused I do not know what to do.”
Many survivors of abusive relationships have so often said that if they had just known the warning signs, they would never have gotten involved with their abusive partner or they would have at least done something about it before it became a lifestyle. It is important to recognize the warning signs of an abuser and save yourself the pain and anguish that follows the cycle of abuse.
The following are signs of an abuser to look out for to ensure you do not become a statistic.
Many times the abuser will initially try to explain their behavior as signs of love and concern, and the victim may be flattered at first; as time goes on, the behaviors become more severe and serve to dominate, control and manipulate the victim.
Is one of the first signs that an abuser will exhibit. Any time you are out of sight they have reason to accuse you. Who is that? What are you talking about? Why is he looking at you? It even sounds ridiculous but it is true, that is how low they get. You are accused of flirting, of having a boyfriend of being unfaithful while you have never given it a thought. As the jealousy progresses, he may call you frequently during the day or drop by unexpectedly. Jealousy in no way is proof of his love, a sign of insecurity and possessiveness.
An abuser makes every attempt to isolate you; you may not be allowed to interact with others, including friends and family. He will ensure that he curtails your social interaction. He may prevent you from spending time with your closest friends or family and demands that you do it together all the time. He is extremely controlling yet claims that it is his way of saying “I love you”. He may want even want you to live far away from your networks and choose to live in isolation, no visitors are allowed home.
He will play the game of how concerned he is about your safety and concern for your safety, your emotional or mental health, the need to use your time well, or to make sensible decisions. In time, as the abuse intensifies, he will not allow you to make personal decisions about most things including your dress code, your money, hair, children, home, church or who you associate with. On the other hand he may give permission for you to own decisions, become overly critical about your choices, “you have no brains” will become a phrase that is familiar, will penalize you for making the wrong ones. It is in order to be concerned about a partner, but to be overly protective and critical is certainly unhealthy.
Rigid gender roles
An abuser may be rigid in stereotypical gender roles, expecting a woman to serve him, always be home, and never have an opinion even when it violates your values and beliefs. The abuser will see you as inferior, irresponsible, and chooses to make decisions for you always because you are incapable of making good judgement.
Awareness is the heartbeat of therapy.
The writer is a Relationship Coach and Author, Marriage Built to Last. You can reach her on; www.jenniekarina.co.ke