Are you concerned that you may be abusing your girlfriend or boyfriend? Have friends or family ever told you they thought you were abusive or controlling? Abuse is not part of a normal relationship, even if it doesn’t happen every day. Ask yourself these questions.
Do you ever:
- Call your girlfriend/boyfriend names?
- Text or call them excessively and get upset when they don’t respond?
- Monitor their email or profile on a social networking site?
- Feel you have a right or need to know where they are most of the time?
- Get jealous or angry when they spend time with friends or family?
- Ask them to change their clothes or style of dress?
- Get in their face during a disagreement?
- Push, slap, or punch them for any reason?
- Restrain them to keep them from leaving during an argument?
- Guilt or force them into having sex?
- Threaten to hurt them or yourself if your relationship ever ends?
Help for an Abusive Teen
If you think you’re abusive and want to change – or even if you’re just considering taking steps to change, these tips could be helpful:
- Take responsibility for your actions. Even if your girlfriend or boyfriend sometimes does things you don’t like or that make you angry, no one deserves to be abused or controlled.
- Change for yourself first. You may really want to stay in your current relationship, but even if you don’t, stopping the abuse will help you in your next relationship.
- Find a friend you can be honest with about your concerns and your plans to change. Ask them to hold you accountable if they see you being abusive.
- Take a break. Try spending some time away from your girlfriend or boyfriend.
- Decide now to walk away from an argument before it escalates. Let your girlfriend/boyfriend know your plan.
- Look at the people around you. If your family or friends are also abusive in their relationships, you may want to find ways to spend less time with them. If that’s not possible, at least pay attention to how you feel when you witness others being abused.
- Be patient with yourself. Admitting you want to change your behavior is a huge step; but don’t expect things to change overnight.
- Look for a class or counseling locally. Contact the National Teen Dating Abuse 24-hour Helpline: 1-866-331-9474 or End Abuse-Domestic Assault Line: 1-800-END-ABUSE (24 hrs). A Peer Advocate can help you locate local help and talk to you about your concern.