- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 15 February 2017
- Written by KAITLIN MCGUIRE | STAFF WRITER
Not all relationships are what they seem to be on social media. The couple may be smiling and kissing for the camera, but what about what happens when they are not in front of the lens? Maybe the girlfriend goes through her boyfriend’s phone, or maybe he abuses her. That is an unhealthy relationship.
Emotional and physical abuse cases are much more common and damaging than we think, and are educated on.
In a relationship, one partner does feel more in control and has more power over the other. Jack Demarest, a professor of psychology, said, “Physical and emotional abuse often appear together in relationships. The mental abuse in this case reinforces the physical abuse. In fact, it’s rare to find physical abuse without the presence of emotional abuse (usually referred to as mental abuse).”
Demarest continued, “Often, when the physical abuser cannot physically abuse the victim, such as in public, they can emotionally abuse him or her.”
Emotional and mental abuse ranges from name calling, yelling, shaming, or putting one down. Demarest explained, “Some tactics of emotional abuse include dominance, humiliation, isolation, threats, intimidation, and denial and blame. Emotional abuse’s purpose is, in part, to make the victim completely dependent on the abuser.”
Demarest added that financial abuse is a subtle way of doing this, saying “Financial abuse is a form of mental abuse, it’s where the abuser severely restricts access to money, such as putting the victim on an allowance, preventing the victim from working, or taking his/her credit cards.”
Having a relationship like this can harm someone, and scar them for their future. They feel useless, defenseless, and alone. It starts off with minor comments and name-calling, but can escalate into something bigger, like physical abuse, such as hitting or punching.
Alyssa Viscione, a senior psychology student, observed, “I feel like emotional abuse is extremely common in modern relationships. However, I feel people don’t view emotional abuse as severe as physical abuse. As a psychology major especially, I personally feel that emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse.”
Viscione continued, “One often experiences immense psychological harm due to emotional abuse, such as decreased self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. I feel like warning signs of an emotionally abusive relationship includes a partner controlling who their partner hangs out with, a partner looking through another’s phone constantly, and a partner exerting general power over their partner.”
In college, boyfriends and girlfriends can feel threatened with their significant other going to parties or the bars. I’ve seen couples fight first-hand about who said hi to whom, and who liked their Instagram picture.
There is no reason for someone to bring another human being down, just because of their own insecurities. That is usually the underlying reason; an individual who has trust issues, or has been hurt, uses his or her pain against someone else.
Gary Mortellite, a senior communications student, said, “If two people are in a relationship, they should trust each other, respect each other, and be there for the other. No one should decrease someone else’s self-worth and confidence.”
Mortellite added, “Relationships are created because two people love each other, not two people talking negatively and acting like a babysitter.”
Relationships are not easy. There are good days and bad days, but no days for abuse. No one should tolerate emotional, mental, and physical abuse.
Demarest said, “It’s important to recognize that domestic violence is not normal, and no human being ever deserves to be abused. There is no shame in seeking help or looking for an escape. You are typically not responsible for what has happened, but you are responsible for what happens next. You have the power to help yourself.”
If you are in an abusive relationship, it is never too late to get out and seek help. Relationships need to be healthy and positive. There is help, support, and guidance everywhere. On campus, there are professionals waiting to help in Counseling and Psychological Services, along with the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224. Get the control back in your life.
IMAGE TAKEN from pexels.com.