And your life around you becomes even more distorted if your abuser is into playing mind games and tries to get you to believe that the abuse is your fault.
So often abusers deny being abusive. ("I would never call you names. I love you.")
Or they deflect it. ("But you called me 'stupid.'")
Or they downplay it. ("So what if I called you a f*cking bitch, that's no big deal. People say that kind of thing all the time.")
Or attempt to rationalize it. ("All couples have problems. We're just having a rough patch.")
There's actually an easy online quiz you can take to find out if you're in an abusive relationship. It's on the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence web site, and is a list of 14 questions. If you check even just one question, then you're in an abusive relationship. I just took it out of curiosity, based on my previous abusive relationship, and I checked off 7 questions. Seven. Unbelievable. And yet it took me months to come to the realization that I was in an abusive relationship. Maybe if I'd taken the quiz back when I was with my abuser, it would have been a wake-up call for me.
Take the quiz. Even if you don't suspect abuse. It can't hurt.
But abuse can.