Love is a roller coaster. That’s what we are told for our entire lives, isn’t it? Love will build you up to break you down but it is all worth it because you will find your prince or princess and live happily ever after.
But where is the line between the normal roller coaster of emotions in a relationship and emotional abuse?
Someone wise once told me that a relationship should be mutual respect and consideration with some arguments rather than consistent abuse followed by apologies.
No one wants to deal with a relationship version of Kingda Ka.
But when you are in a situation where one day your loved one is absent, cold and uninterested and the next day is talking about wanting a future with you, it can be hard to determine whether or not you’re in a healthy relationship.
Personally, I forgive (but never forget), which often times leads to me getting my heart crushed by expectations. In a healthy and serious relationship, the commitment cannot pause when it is inconvenient or when better company presents itself. And lies are just unacceptable.
According to the official website of the U.S. Department of Justice, any undermining of an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is emotional abuse. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities or name-calling.
People have a misconception that because they are not physically abusive to their partner, putting them down or causing them emotional pain isn’t that bad. Wrong.
If someone makes you feel like you are doing something wrong when you speak up, to the point where you are the one who apologizes, it is NOT okay.
It may seem cut and dry on paper, but in reality there are so many emotions, future plans and hopes involved in every relationship that makes it hard to actually see abuse. Ask yourself these questions:
Do you go to Yik Yak to tell people how sad you are because of your partner consistently? Does your partner not notice or care how you feel? Do they tell you that your opinion or feelings are “wrong”? Do they play the victim to deflect blame onto you instead of taking responsibility for their actions and attitudes?
If the answers to these (or most of these) questions is yes, then you are not in a healthy relationship. Plain and simple on paper, yes. But the solutions in the mind of someone being taken advantage of can make it seem like it is all in their head, that they’re overreacting or over thinking.
It is a quite literal case of it’s not you, it’s them.
And if you have had discussions about changing with no success, most likely there won’t be any change in the future.
It can be overwhelming not being in control of such a big part of your life, sometimes this even leads to physical illness from the stress.
Emotional abuse and neglect can make you feel like you want to tighten the reigns tighter and try harder, but the fact is, the only thing you can control is yourself. Your partner ignores your needs? Don’t just accept it anymore.
When you are on a roller coaster, you have no control. You spiral, drop and it can even make you sick.
The only control you have in an abusive situation is yourself. Whether that means taking some time apart, doing more things with friends or focusing on work, you need to take control of your life. In the end it is up to you whether or not you want to end your relationship, do not let other people try to make that decision for you.
I am the kind of person who falls and falls hard and fast. But there is nothing wrong with taking time apart and experiencing how someone else may treat you. Whether it is better or worse, it could give clarity to the situation. Abusive relationships are not worth the stress and physical toll they cause. In order to truly be in a healthy loving relationship, you have to love and be okay with yourself.
No, relationships are not like a roller coaster. They are like the little quarter rides outside of supermarkets. There are some bumps in the road, but you can always take control and get off.
I will always be a believer in happy endings and happily ever afters, but it is not possible to have those things when your relationship is one-sided. If you are a strong enough person to have love to give to someone else, you deserve to be respected and loved in return. Don’t settle for the roller coaster.
If you think you are in an abusive relationship and need to to talk, if you are a student at SUNY New Paltz, you can contact the Psychological Counseling Center at 845-257-2920.