If you’ve ever been in abusive relationship, you know it’s hard to admit it to yourself. You are often distracted by the good things, and you don’t want to see the bad. That’s true even when the person abusing you is yourself.
Unfortunately even if you are the kind of person who is unfailingly kind to others, you may not treat yourself that well. Upon reflection, you may realize that you – like a lot of us – are actually beating up on the person you should love the most: you. Here are seven signs you may be having an abusive relationship with yourself:
1. You’re much harder on yourself than you are on others.
If you treated other people the way you do yourself, would you be popular? Or would you be considered a bully?
Notice the interactions you have with yourself. When you look in the mirror, do you criticize your looks? If you screw up somehow, do you let it go, or do you keep giving yourself a hard time?
You deserve the same loving care you’d extend to any of your other friends.
2. Do you think you’re not good enough to extend love or approval? Do you have the idea you’ll really love and accept yourself when you’re thinner, or more successful? Do you think you’ll be more worthy when you make more money, or have a new car? You deserve unconditional love.
3. Do you isolate yourself?
Isolating someone is a sign of an abusive relationship. We are all social creatures, and we need a loving support system. You need positive people around to keep you hopeful and to counter negative thoughts. If you find yourself withdrawing, encourage yourself to reach out and find someone with whom you can connect.
4. Do you threaten to harm yourself?
Abusers often threaten to hard their partners, or themselves. If you hurt yourself, or think of hurting or even killing yourself, take that seriously. Depression, grief, trauma can all cause the desire to harm yourself, so you need to be your own advocate. Reach out for help.
5. Do you blame yourself for everything?
In an abusive relationship, all blame is attributed to one person. There is no real perspective. In the same way, you may be blaming yourself for everything bad that happens. If you have a problem at work, or someone you know gets hurt, do you say, “I should done something different”?
Reality is that no one person controls everything. Situations are the sum of the actions of everyone concerned. Most of the time, your intentions were good. Cut yourself slack, and treat yourself gently.
Unlike a relationship with any other person, you cannot walk out on yourself. But you can change the way you treat yourself. Treat yourself like your own best friend. Speak kind words to yourself. Reach out for support for yourself. Forgive yourself for anything that needs forgiveness. Take good care of your body. Love yourself, because you are the one person who can always be there for you.