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Ways to Avoid Abusive Relationships 

A lot of reasons abound why people enter relationships, some to seek companionship, some others seek love and to be loved, some others still seek alliance and synergy on some level but no one ever enters a relationship anticipating abuse of any kind, be it physical, sexual or mental. It is therefore not a surprise that relationships begin on a high note of love and affection.

The both parties are, under normal circumstances, running high on emotions and cannot seem to get enough of each other. They could talk all day and stay up all night because they are in love and nothing else seems to matter in the world besides the both of them.
Many who are yet in the euphoria of this stage in the relationship have proceeded to co-habitation because they are under the assumption that they have found the missing rib. This phase of the relationship cycle is undoubtedly a beauty to behold and it looks like it will last forever, but sooner than later, the parties are brought into the harsh reality that romance and physical attraction no matter how strong and seemingly unending it looks, lacks in itself the capacity to cancel out bad character traits and base attitudes that must be addressed if any relationship will survive.
Many forms of abuse abound. Some are physically violent in nature which involves beating and other forms of domestic violence. Some others are sexual where victims are sexually violated and taken advantage of against their wish. Some others are financial in nature where victim are compelled to produce money or properties against their wish. Whatever form an abuse assumes, the underlying intention is to control, unduly subdue, manipulate and control the victim against their wish.
The percentage of physically abused women are daily increasing in Nigeria, so also is the number of sexually abused men and sadly some of these cases of abuse end in death of the victims and worse still, the system has not done enough in providing justice for these victims neither are sustainable structures put in place to ensure complete recovery of those who manage to make it out alive. Has this decreased the number of abused people? Sadly, NO! Many people are still enduring abusive and toxic relationships and cannot seem to find the courage to get out.
Therefore, to ensure that one never enter into an abusive relationship and that every possibility for such an occurrence is prohibited, efforts should be made in various areas which include but not limited to the following;
CONSTANT EVALUATION AND RE-EVALUATION OF ONE’S WORTH: Imagine going to a supermarket and seeing a wrist watch you like only to find out that there is no price tag. Buyers are allowed to pay whatever they feel is right to possess this wrist watch. Do you think this said wrist watch will ever have its true worth paid for? Your guess is as good as mine. Similarly, when people don’t place a tag on themselves, they become like an open cheque where anyone is allowed to make whatever withdrawals without restraint.
Some people have evaluated and tagged themselves based on the plane at which their partners view them. Some have defined their self-worth based on the things that have happened to them while growing up; possibly a sexual or physical abuse. Some others have grown up being battered on a daily by parents and guardians and this has greatly crushed their self-worth that they think whoever they ever manage to enter into a relationship with is doing them a favor. This is a very destructive self-evaluative scale. Some other people have become so used to enduring physical abuse that it has become their new normal.
Some others also are so dependent on their partners that they feel that they have to endure any form of abuse just to keep their flow of income. They consider the abuse a small price to pay as long as they retain that support system. They rather remain with that partner than to explore their possibilities alone.
It is therefore your responsibility as a man or woman to evaluate and constantly re-evaluate your worth. Keep making adjustments that protect your physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing. The bible says in Proverbs 4:23 to guard the heart with all diligence for out of it comes the issues of life. You must consciously put in effort to protect and safeguard your space. You may appear tough on the outside the need to safeguard your space far outweighs people’s perceptions of your outer demeanor.
FINANCIAL DEPENDENCE IN A RELATIONSHIP: This among other variables is a major factor why many people lack the courage to walk out of an abusive relationship. On one hand, they are enslaved by the seeming financial benefits which have furnished an understanding that without that partner of theirs, they cannot afford the luxury they are currently enjoying even if it comes with a regular slice of physical or sexual or mental abuse or all. The monetary benefit they enjoy has drained their motivation to go out and do something for themselves. Why work when you can get paid for free?
It takes a lot of courage to be in a relationship with someone of higher financial strength and yet not lose your values in the process. It becomes imperative therefore to master how to harness your financial resources and stay within the boundaries of what you can afford. This does not rule out the possibility of being gifted with items above your financial capacity, the issue is not constantly placing demands above what you can afford.
This takes a lot of discipline but it pays off in the long run. Not only does it preserve your self-worth, it proves you a non-materialistic fellow and gives you impetus to not only demand your respect but to courageously walk out of that relationship at any point you notice that your interests are no longer represented.
This is not an easy feat to achieve considering the fact that we live in a generation where moral decadence is at its peak. People have normalized parasitic relationships where one partner has to bear the entire financial burden in the relationship. The outcome is the increasing percentage of abused people and broken people. So to actualize this feat of financial dependence, every individual intent upon entering a relationship should at least,
Have a healthy source of income.
Cultivate a lifestyle of contentment. This means to stay within the boundaries of your financial ability. Instead of trying to exploit your partner financially, seek grounds to expand your financial base. This usually inspires respect from the other party if they are reasonable.
BE VIGILANT: The euphoria of the love stage has made a lot of people ignore vital signs in their partners that later turned out to be strongholds that could not be easily uprooted. During the period of dating and courtship, it is pertinent that extra care and diligence be put in checking the character traits of the other person, not just as it relates to you but as he or she relates to other people. Check how they treat their parents, their siblings, their colleagues, their superiors or subordinates as the case may be. Check how they treat their workers and those in their space. These are major places where they will most likely display their true character.
Try as much as you can not to explain away his/her faults at this stage, rather be at alert so you are not taken unawares when they turn around and treat you in like manner.
SET BOUNDARIES: In the book of Job 1:9-10, Satan told God that the reason Job was serving Him faithfully was because He had put a hedge around him and all that he had. It is important to set boundaries in your relationships, not just your romantic relationships but in every relationship there is. Boundaries are highly ignored and this has ushered in with it unnecessary abuse that could have been avoided if boundaries were set ab initio. In setting boundaries, one has to be,
Vocal: that is say exactly what you want and your limits. For instance, if you don’t want pre-marital sex, you must verbally say that to your partner and set boundaries to that respect.
Specific: identify areas that you want respected. For instance, if you don’t want to stay out late, give a time limit as to when you want the date to end.
In setting boundaries, you protect your space and also make your partner know that you have values that are meaningful to you. Again, setting boundaries requires a lot of discipline because you must be able to bypass your own feelings and insist that those boundaries be respected. Try not to make excuses for your partner when they start exhibiting anger traits. Watch out for how they treat their colleagues, subordinates and workers as the case may be because eventually that is how they will treat you. At any point you start feeling marginalized or coarse, be vocal about it. If you are afraid to voice out your true feelings, that is an indication that you are not in the right environment.
Abuse of any sort be it physical, sexual, financial or even mental always leaves a deep scar in the heart of the victim and if not properly addressed, these victims turn out to be abusers themselves and unconsciously sometimes. So to prevent that kind of experience, ensure
That the person you’re entering a relationship with has people they are accountable to, maybe parents, a guardian or a mentor that they answer to. This will help you when they are out of line, you can always have recourse to someone they will listen to.
Make sure you keep a good distance from the violent partner to prevent fatalities.
For your own good, when matters are frequent, report to a law enforcement agency to protect your life.
If there are threats to life, make sure the authorities are alerted and adequate security provided.
Remember, if you have gone through any abuse that you are not the way your abuser sees you or the image they have painted of you. You are made in the image and after the very likeness of God. That is your identity and it is from that civilization that you should draw your meaning and realign with your purpose. You are not what you have been through. You are a child of God and the very nature of God is domiciled inside of you.
Take time to heal by speaking to experienced counsellors who will help you navigate the path of healing. Remember that you are loved and special and the best of your days are still very much ahead of you.

For personal questions and advice, please follow me on twitter @thevoiceofuche and privately send your questions and share your opinions on my dm. God bless you all.

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