A new romantic relationship is exciting for anyone.

Humans love to feel wanted and needed which is why abusive relationships are sometimes hard to see, especially when you are involved in one.

Love affects the brain in very distinct ways. It affects humans just like a drug would, producing dopamine which is the brain’s reward pathway.

Basically, being in love makes you feel good. That’s why humans find break-ups so difficult.

“The same brain chemicals — large amounts of dopamine and norepinpherine — and the same brain pathways and structures are active when in love, and when being high on crack cocaine,” says an article from Medical Daily.

“Therefore, this leads to the belief that addictive drugs affect the brain in ways similar to love…which can help explain the painful, withdrawal-like symptoms of a breakup.” Medical Daily says.

But what happens when a relationship turns bad and what are the signs to look for?

One of the hardest forms of abuse to identify is emotional abuse. But there are 5 obvious red flags to watch out for, according to beliefnet.com.

  • The first is manipulation. Manipulation is expressed when your significant other asserts power over you by being kind and loving one second but turning around to criticize you the next.

It leaves you wondering what you did wrong and how you can make it better. This can be very emotionally traumatizing and can potentially lead to trust issues in future relationships.

  • The second red flag is isolation. Isolation occurs when your significant other gets upset when you spend time with others, including family.

This is not protective, this is possessive. They want you to have to depend on them for everything, and once you have severed all ties with the outside world, that is what will happen.

This leaves you with nowhere to go if you decide to break up with them and gives them a sense of security.

  • The third red flag is frequent arguments. Every couple has arguments sometimes, which makes abusive relationships that much harder to detect.

Abusive arguments tend to escalade very quickly and your significant other may make wild accusations.

The argument may follow you day to day and you may never come to a compromise or conclusion. Some arguments may even result in physical abuse, but keep in mind that actions do not have to be physical to be abusive.

  • The fourth red flag is feelings of fear or inadequacy. Abusive partners will do what they need to do to assert their authority over you.

They may threaten you directly or threaten to take things away. It is important to listen to your instincts. If you do not feel safe or secure, that is a valid reason to end a relationship.

  • The last red flag is desperation. You constantly go out of your way to make your significant other happy, but not out of love.

You feel responsible if they get angry or upset but you don’t share your feelings because it could trigger a disagreement or an argument.

If any or all of these issues are present in your existing relationship, there is a serious problem. Being in a relationship is not worth the feelings of fear and self-doubt caused be emotional abuse.

More information can be found at thehotline.org, where you can find information on abuse, a domestic abuse hotline and chatroom, and other resources.

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