1. Select a discrete app icon.
You may not even notice the little things you’re doing that are adding up. Do you ever criticize your partner’s appearance? Do you tell your partner who he or she can and can’t hang out with? Do you take your frustrations out on your partner—sometimes even hitting the walls or throwing things around the room to make your point?
The “Am I Good Girlfriend/Boyfriend?” quiz at LoveisRespect.org can be taken by anyone—wives and husbands included. The questions are simple, like the above, and can be eye-opening. Sometimes, it’s hard to recognize unhealthy behaviors in yourself, especially if you’re filing them under the category of “but I was just mad for a moment.”
The nonprofit says while it can be overwhelming to apply the word “abusive” to yourself, don’t panic. “As long as you want to and are willing to seek professional help, change is possible. Violence is always a choice and it’s one you can choose to never make again.”
In the short-term, there are certain things you can do now to start behaving differently.
If you feel yourself starting to revert to unhealthy behaviors while in an argument with your partner, try one of these tactics from LoveisRespect.org:
- Simply walk away, go to another room and sit down. Breathe deeply. Inhale for a count of five and exhale for a count of five.
- Repeat the word “STOP” to yourself over and over.
- Designate a person you can call during this situation that can help calm you down. If not a friend or family member, you can always call an advocate at calling The National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
- Allow your partner to leave the relationship while you’re going through this process of dealing with your unhealthy behaviors.
If a breakup occurs, before getting back together with your partner, go through this checklist on LoveisRespect.org and make sure you can check everything off. This includes feeling like you can communicate openly with your partner about anything that’s bothering you without getting into an argument, and encouraging each other to spend time outside the relationship with friends and individual activities.
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