Signs of abuse a friend can look for

Updated: Nov 14, 2020

MJ: One scenario that could be happening within a “bad” marriage is abandonment. It is a form of abuse. Lets say I experienced abandonment issues as a child and now here I am in a relationship with a man who has abandoned me on some level inside our marriage. I may know it’s happening, I may not even like it, but I just don’t know how to address it. Heck, I might even think I deserve it. For someone outside looking in to my relationship, are there any warning signs this “outsider” might see that abandonment is happening?

Percell: Some signs and symptoms (red flags) to onlookers of abandonment issues in adults might include:

  • Giving too much in relationships - the relationship seems unusually one-sided; one partner seems to go out of the norm to please the other

  • Extreme indecisiveness - hesitancy to make one's own decisions ; seemingly afraid of the possible outcomes of one's own decisions, directions, or futures

  • Feeling insecure - not only with the partnership but with friendships, as well; having an inability to trust friendships; having a need for continual reassurances of acceptance and love but pushing others away at the same time to avoid rejection

Some signs and symptoms (red flags) to onlookers of abandonment issues in adults not in a current relationship might include:

  • The inability to maintain relationships - moving quickly from one relationship to another; sabotaging relationships

  • Lack of or withdrawal from emotional intimacies

These signs are not categorically exclusive ; some might be interchangeable. Words can often play nasty tricks with the brain. No one 'deserves' to be abandoned in a promised love relationship presuming that the victim is emotionally healthy. The signs mentioned in the first set above would be more relevant in these cases.

Although no one should be emotionally abandoned in a love relationship, if the victim were unhealthy and exhibiting the signs found in the second set, the outcome might be deservant, not of the person but of the actions which caused it. This does not mean that "she got what she deserved", rather that the abandonment would be the deserved end to the cause much like mud is the deserved mixture of dirt and water. There is no relevance to the mixer 'deserving' to get dirty because they are a bad person.

This is why I dislike the term, "just a matter of semantics". Language is a living entity which can create/cause/effect/affect life, and needs to be carefully considered when handling such sensitivities. I have seen many relationships falter or fail over something as trivial as a misunderstanding of words. This is why coaches and counselors are important.


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