How Can Abuse Affect Relationships?

Vincent Cano, Staff Reporter

Abusive or toxic relationships are quite common. I can almost guarantee that you or someone close to you knows someone in a toxic relationship. I believe it is important to shine light on the subject and explain where the abuse could stem from and what are signs to look out for in a relationship. As a child the most common form of abuse is Neglect. Approximately 64% of childhood abuse is comprised of this. After speaking with our school’s psychologist, Jordan Bales, she said “Childhood abuse, specifically neglect or any form of it, can affect what is called an attachment style. Attachment styles can follow you as you grow and can predict how you form relationships.” Different childhood traumas could lead to different forms of attachment styles.

Another side effect of an abusive homelife is toxic masculinity. Toxic masculinity is something that is being brought up increasingly within recent times and it is a big red flag. When asked about the matter, Bales had this to say, “I think it definitely could pose significant challenges for the person holding in the feelings and the person they’re with.” Holding in feelings can lead to a buildup of a lot of unhealthy emotions. Building up emotions can lead to an outburst of anger and even lead to physical harm.

After discussing how trauma that leads to abuse could stem back from unhealthy childhood circumstances, we moved onto signs of an abusive relationship whether it be from a romantic partner or someone in your family. Bales had to say, “One big thing we tend talk about more now is gaslighting.” Gaslighting is a term that refers to someone manipulating another person into believing they are wrong or crazy. Gaslighting could lead to self-insecurities, anxiety or even depression. Constantly gaslighting from someone you trust can have long-lasting effects that could stay with you for a long time if you do not reach out for help, Another sign of toxic relationships is separation, “If you try to hand out with friends and your significant other doesn’t like you being around your friends or family, that is a red flag.”

If someone stays in an abusive relationship, it could have long-lasting effects on them as a person. Bales stated, “The most severe forms you’ll see is symptoms of PTSD.” She went on about how leaving an abusive relationship could be very scary and that you should never do it alone or without a plan. Trust issues are also very common with victims of abuse. They could become very distrusting of people in their life and often push them away. Some symptoms of an extremely abusive relationship are that they are more easily startled or timid. Victims of a more abusive relationship often hide themselves away from people in their life and have lower self-esteem. Depression is also another common side effect.

Lastly, we talked about the options you have if you or someone you know is an unhealthy relationship. At school, there are many options. The first is to go to a trusted adult. Some staff at the school are trained to deal with situations like this and could guide you on which steps to take. If you know someone who feels trapped in a relationship like that, there are little gestures you could do to help them. “Just reminding them of their self-worth and how great they are as a person and all good things about them.” Doing small things like this could inspire them to find someone who will appreciate them more.

If you or anyone you know is in an unhealthy relationship, please call this number, 800-799-7233, it’s the number to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline. It’s open for 24 hours a day and has trained professionals ready to help you. Help is out there; you just have to be willing to reach out.