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I Have Rights Too, Baby!

Question: Dear Sir: I am in a relationship which I am thinking of ending very soon, because my fiancťe is trying to control what I say, where I go, and what I do. It seems as if he is trying to take away my own identity. Should I end the relationship? Signed: In love, but ending it soon.

Answer: Dear Friend, you are certainly right. If you feel your relationship with your fiancee is one that stifles growth and places a tight noose around your neck then you must end it, and end it quickly. I am saying this in the context that when two become one, there is always some give and take. There will always be a need for adjustments of habits, attitudes, and perhaps acceptance of things you might not like at first. However, I hear you talking about an unusual use of power and control which almost always leads to family violence.

YOUR RIGHTS

In a pre-marriage relationship one has a right:

1. To express his or her opinions and have them respected.

2. To have his or her needs be as important as the partnerís needs.

3. To grow as an individual in his or her own way.

4. To change oneís mind.

5. To not take responsibility for oneís partnerís behavior.

6. To not be physically, emotionally, or sexually abused.

7. To break up and fall out of love with someone and not be threatened.

One of my favorite speakers and writers states that "Love gives the freedom to say yes and the freedom to say no." True love says "I love you the way you are." Abusive love says "I love you the way I want you to be." Dear friend, your fiancťe seems to be displaying the formula for potential abuse. I am glad you are realizing it now because most women tend to turn their heads, deny, or try to change their man. Dr. Len McMillan, Christian psychologist, states that most women marry a man with the idea that she could change him, but he never does. Most men marry a woman with the idea that she will never change, and she does.

ARE YOU BEING ABUSED?

Perhaps it would be good to share more questions one can ask that one may know if a friend or fiancee is abusive.

1. Are you frightened by your partnerís temper?

2. Are you afraid to disagree?

3. Are you constantly apologizing for your partnerís behavior, especially when he/she have treated you badly?

4. Do you have to justify everything you do, every place you go, or every person you see just to avoid your partnerís anger?

5. Does your partner put you down, then tells you that he loves you?

6. Have you ever been hit, kicked, shoved, or had things thrown at you?

7. Do you not see friends or family because of your partnerís jealousy?

8. Have you been forced into having sex when you didnít want to?

9. Are you afraid to break up because your partner has threatened to hurt you or himself?

If your answer is yes to any of these, you are most likely in an abusive or potentially abusive relationship. Therefore, it is wise that you think twice about "living happily together."

ARE YOU BEING ABUSIVE?

It is important for your partner to know if he or she is being abusive. Here are a few questions to consider:

1. Do you constantly check up on your partner and accuse her of being with other people?

2. Are you extremely jealous or possessive?

3. Do you have an explosive temper?

4. Have you hit, kicked, shoved, or thrown things at your partner?

5. Do you constantly criticize or insult your partner?

6. Do you become violent when you drink or use drugs?

7. Have you threatened your partner or broken things in her presence?

8. Have you forced your partner to have sex with you or intimidated her so she is afraid to say no.?

9. Have you threatened to hurt her?

10. Have you threatened to hurt yourself if she breaks up with you or leave?

In the Bahamas family violence is a major problem. Too many people are turning their heads to the subtle signs of passive violence that usually manifest early in a romantic relationship. Usually, domestic violence shows its ugly head first in an unsuspecting manner to the love-starved individuals. It is imperative that young people learn the early signs of abuse and to have the courage to end a relationship that is potentially abusive. I hope these were helpful.

 
 
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 question@soencouragement.org or barringtonbrennen@gmail.com  Phone contact is 242-327 1980.   
 
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