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10 Signs Of An Abusive Partner In A Relationship

10 Signs Of An Abusive Partner In A Relationship

Abuse comes in many forms. No two relationships are the same. However, there is definitely a common thread on the patterns and behaviors that we see, I talk from experience.

Some forms of abuse are easy to identify and understand, but sometimes abuse is not so easy to see. Emotional and psychological abuse often fly under the radar, and not considered as abuse. However, they can be just as dangerous. Usually, if someone is getting physically abused there is always emotional abuse. Unfortunately, the two go hand in hand. Knowing the warning signs and prevention is key. Believe me, once you start getting abused it can escalate quickly and unfold before the blink of eye. All of sudden you’re curled up in a ball in the corner of the room wondering how you got there. It’s never as easy as, “Why don’t you just leave.”

The aim of this article is to give you not only an understanding as to the warning signs of abusive behavior, but also tell you how you can ask a question that might save someone’s life. Abuse is not tied to one particular demographic. It affects one in three people and it can be lead to any number of other things, such as mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders, and obesity — or death.

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Certain personality traits in a loved one can be seen as “cute” in the beginning; however, they can quickly turn into abuse. For example, a little jealously or the constant “checking in” to see what you’re doing, is just one sign of an abusive partner. Look to this list for further examples.

They Try To Control You

Whether it is the constant calls, dictating what you do each day and where you can go, your finances, the friends you have, or the clothes you wear, they’re always trying to control you. These are warning signs that they are not letting you be the person you want to be. You just don’t know when the day is going to come when the control turns into something they can’t control.

They Belittle and Humiliate You

They put you down and embarrass you in front of other people. They begin to point out flaws in your appearance or your personality.

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They Make Constant Accusations

They constantly think you’re doing something when you’re not. They think you’re flirting with others, looking at the opposite sex, and having affairs. Or they don’t like how you spoke to “that person” for too long.

They Withdrawal Their Affection

An abusive sign is when the relationship’s affection and intimacy is on their terms. They also might become uninterested in affection, or it only comes with conditions.

They Lack Communication

You can’t talk to them without them getting angry. They also never want to hear what you have to say.

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They Make Threats

If they make threats of suicide, or if they threaten your life if you leave, they’re definitely manipulating you. This is just another form of abuse.

They Commit Adultery

They may conduct provocative behavior with the opposite sex. However, they could also expect you to allow them to sleep with other people, but deny you the same “benefit”.

They Are Sarcastic

They use an unpleasant tone of voice, sometimes even being negatively sarcastic towards you.

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They Are Moody

They have an array of volatile emotions, It seems to swing from extremes, for no apparent reason. Somehow they find a way to blame you for their mood, when it’s not even your fault.

They Only Love You If…

Their love comes with conditions, “I love you but…” or “I will love you if…” Real love is unconditional. It doesn’t verge into abusive territory like this.

In Conclusion

When someone is in an abusive relationship, silence, fear and shame consumes them. This could be your relationship, especially if you recognize any of those listed qualities in your partner. As much as you want to speak up, you can’t. But you want to, more than anything you want to. So ask yourself the question: “Do I think I know someone who is being abused?” If so, ask them to take a seat and have a chat. Simply ask them, “Are you okay?” Their answer could change their world.

Once we empower people to use their emotional guidance system and how to deal with their emotions, the less we will see domestic violence, as well as sexual and emotional abuse in society. The most important thing is to break the silence and open up about our experience, so we can help others.

About Renée Mayne

Renée Mayne came from a life of physical abuse and transformed it into one that is filled with love. She lives life wide-awake.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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