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      “Am I in an abusive relationship?”   All relationships have their ups and downs, so sometimes it can be hard to know if you’re experiencing a rough patch or if your relationship is truly unhealthy. What’s more difficult is that abusers often come off as electric, passionate, and attentive, making it easy to get caught up in their charm. However, it’s important to be able to recognize warning signs of abuse. Without intervention, abuse will always escalate and can result in emotional trauma, physical violence, and irreversible tragedy.    But no relationship is perfect, so how can a person know if they’re experiencing abuse? Here are 10 red flags to look out for:    1. “Love bombing”   Abusers don’t usually show blatant warning signs in the beginning. In fact, they often appear to be perfect at first to hook their partner in. They might do something called, “love bombing” where they shower you with compliments, gifts, and attention to win you over before showing their true colors. Abusers are often quick to get involved, saying, “I love you,” early on and rushing to move in together, get engaged, or have a baby. The more serious they can make the relationship, the harder it is for their partner to leave.   2. Prohibited privacy   Abusers don’t respect their partners’ right to privacy. They come off as paranoid and may frequently accuse their partner of cheating, often because they’re hiding something themselves. If your partner invades your privacy in any of the following ways, they’re not exhibiting a healthy level of trust and respect:    Constantly questioning where you’re going and who you’re with    Expressing distrust every time you aren’t with them    Demanding to know your passwords     Monitoring your phone, email, and social media    Expecting you to call or text them around the clock     Telling you to snap pictures to prove your location      Calculating mileage and time frames to verify your whereabouts    Asking friends to spy on you or showing up at inappropriate times to monitor you     3. Isolation and possession   In healthy relationships, both people maintain friendships and identities outside of one another. In an abusive relationship, the abuser creates an “us against them” mentality, guilting you for any time spent away from them and vilifying those who you were once close to. They may discourage you from seeing your friends and family or create drama to draw a wedge between you and your loved ones.   4. Compulsive controlling   In the beginning, an abuser will say that their controlling behaviors are for your benefit. “I don’t like you working because I want to take care of you.” “I don’t want you wearing that shirt because creeps will hit on you.” But these concerns are often a ruse for the abuser to gain control. Know that it’s not healthy for your partner to demand their permission for your clothing or appearance, hobbies, employment, or spending.   5. Frivolous fighting   Abusers pick fights over anything, starting small and escalating to test how much their partner will put up with. They tend to have dual personalities, being loving one moment and explosive the next. Unfortunately, abusers often only show their “good side” to acquaintances outside of the relationship, causing some friends and family not to believe that they are capable of abuse.   6. Calling you crazy   “Gaslighting,” or manipulating their partner to think that they’re the problem, is a go-to-technique for most abusers. An abuser will blame you for their actions and make baseless accusations to take the focus off of their actions.      Examples:   	“You make me like this!”  “I wouldn’t have to cheat if you weren’t such a nag! All guys cheat – you’re the one with a problem.”  “You think I’m abusive? Listen to yourself! Girls can’t abuse guys - your stupid friends are putting crazy ideas in your head!”   7. Constant criticism   In a healthy relationship, both people want to see each other succeed. Abusers, on the other hand, want their partners to feel worthless so they won’t feel empowered to leave them. They achieve this by criticizing and demeaning their partner, telling them that no one else would want them and belittling their accomplishments. Whether or not abuse ever escalates to physical violence, verbal and emotional abuse can create lasting trauma and present a harmful example to children in the home.   8. Violence or intimidation   Violence and intimidation should be deal breakers in any relationship. Examples may include:    Forcing you to do sexual acts       Breaking or striking things    Abandoning you in unfamiliar places    Making you use drugs or alcohol    Restricting your eating or sleeping    Preventing you from calling police or getting medical help    Driving recklessly with you in the car    Threatening or harming you, your pets, or people you love    Punishing animals or children harshly for not performing beyond their abilities, such as hitting a puppy for not being housebroken yet    Using weapons to intimidate    Hitting, pushing, shoving, grabbing arms or wrists, hair pulling or any other type of physical force      9. You’ve made excuses for them   “You don’t know him like I do.” “She didn’t mean it.” “It was my fault.”   Many people stay in bad relationships because they think they don’t deserve better or that they can change their partner’s behavior. Others want to leave but are afraid of the consequences. Know that if you’re afraid of what your partner might do if you leave, you are in an abusive relationship and should seek help right away.   There’s a better future waiting for you   If you’re experiencing abuse, you may feel hopeless and think there’s no way out. But it’s important to know that abuse is never acceptable, and there are safe ways to get help and move onto a brighter future. If you or someone you love is experiencing abuse, call the National Crisis Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233   Subscribe to our blog for a weekly article on topics that affect your life         
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Koehn, B. (2017, October 31). Early Signs of an Abusive Relationship. Retrieved from   https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_588e6c63e4b06364bb1e2730/amp  National Domestic Violence Hotline: Get Help Today: 1-800-799-7233. (n.d.). Retrieved   from https://www.thehotline.org/  New Hope for Women. (n.d.). Retrieved from   http://www.newhopeforwomen.org/abuser-tricks  Signs of an abusive relationship. (n.d.). Retrieved from   https://au.reachout.com/articles/signs-of-an-abusive-relationship   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Am I in An Abusive Relationship?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/test-blog/am-i-in-an-abusive-relationship

“Am I in an abusive relationship?”

“You don’t know him like I do.” “It’s just a rough patch.” “I made her do it.”

Do you know the tell-tale signs of an abusive relationship? Check out this week’s blog to find out.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “How do I Love Me? Let me Count the Ways”  10 Tips for Self-Love this Valentine’s day      Valentine’s Day makes us think of adoring bonds between happy couples, which is certainly something to celebrate. But this V-day, we’d like to challenge you to make another type of affection a priority: self-love. Self-love is not self-centered or narcissistic; it’s about valuing yourself in a way that supports your health, relationships, and emotional well-being. Most people understand the importance of showing love to the people they care about, yet many of us tend to put our own feelings on the back-burner.      But there’s more to self-love than just treating yourself to the occasional spa day or night out with the guys. So what can people do to start truly loving themselves more?    1. Understand it’s importance    Self-love influences who a person picks for relationships, impacts the image they project at work, affects how they cope with challenges in life, and supports their mental and physical health. Loving yourself also provides a positive example for children and teens to understand the importance of self-care.     2. Know it’s not narcissism     Some worry that self-love is vain or narcissistic, but there’s a difference between caring for your well-being and thinking you’re superior to others. Narcissism is a delusional sense of superiority that is characterized by being blinded to one’s flaws. Self-love is about accepting yourself for both your positive traits and flaws while valuing yourself for exactly who you are.      3. Treat yourself as you would others     It’s ironic that we say, “treat others as you would have them treat you,” when we’re usually less critical of others than ourselves! Next time you’re being hard on yourself, think of whether you would be so harsh in judging your friend, neighbor, parent, or child for the same shortcoming. Treat yourself with the same grace and acceptance you offer to loved ones when they are less than perfect.      4. Accept your humanity     Remember that you are only human and making mistakes is part of the human experience. A self-loving person recognizes that being human includes making the occasional error or lapse in judgment. The important thing is seeing yourself for more than your shortcomings and using your experience to grow moving forward.     5. Quit comparing yourself     Stop measuring yourself up to others who are wealthier, wittier, or better looking. Remember that people only publicly share the highlights of their lives and tend to gloss over their challenges and shortcomings. When you compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel, you’ll focus on your flaws and falsely believe that they are worse than everyone else’s.    Check out our blog on how to stop comparing yourself on social media     6. Make life mindful     People who love themselves tend to be aware of what they think, feel, and desire. They make decisions based on self-awareness rather than relying on what other people want for them. Practicing mindfulness is a great way to become more attuned to your true self. Be mindful by reflecting on your feelings without judgment. Practice deep breathing and stay focused on the present moment; when your mind starts to dwell on the past or get anxious about the future, redirect your focus to the sensations of the present.      7. Ritualize self-care     Caring for your basic needs is a great way to show yourself love every day. Make it a daily ritual to nourish yourself through healthy activities such as exercise, sound nutrition, proper sleep, intimacy, and fun time with friends. Keep your scheduled appointments for physicals, dental screenings, and mental health support.      


   
     
      
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      8. Believe in boundaries     Part of self-love is knowing not to try to be everything for everybody. People who struggle with self-love often fear the repercussions of saying no to requests, but the truth is people respect those who know how to set healthy boundaries. Don’t be afraid to say no to tasks or activities that make you feel emotionally depleted.     Click here for our women’s guide to stop people-pleasing     9. Detox your circle     Sometimes your loved ones struggle with their own self-love and may act in ways that make you feel bad about yourself or drag you down. If someone in your life is damaging to your self-image, it’s ok to love them from a distance and limit communication with them. Just as you would want to protect a loved one from harmful influences, remember to protect yourself against toxic or abusive relationships.      10. Surround yourself with support     Positive energy is contagious, so it’s important to surround yourself with people who support you and love you for who you are. Sometimes, however, we need a little extra support outside of our circle of friends. If you are struggling with self-love and making your needs a priority in life, our specialists can help.       
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Attention students and ECPs: Self-care is an 'ethical imperative'. (2011, October).   Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/10/self-care.aspx   Greenberg, M., Ph.D. (2017, June 29). 8 Powerful Steps to Self-Love. Retrieved   From https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201706/8-powerful-steps-self-love?amp  Khoshaba, Psy.D, D. (2012, March 27). A Seven-Step Prescription for Self-Love.   Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/get-hardy/201203/seven-step-prescription-self-love?amp  Shinn. M.M. (2019). Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who’s Most #liked of them all?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from:   https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-whos-the-most-liked-of-them-all     Shinn. M.M. (2019). “Why Can’t I Say No?!” The Women’s Holiday Guide to Stop People-Pleasing.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from:   https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/the-womans-holiday-guide-to-stop-people-pleasing      How to Cite This Blog Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). “How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways”. 9 Tips for Self-Love this Valentine’s Day.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/10-tips-for-self-love-this-valentines-day

“How do I Love Me? Let me Count the Ways”
10 Tips for Self-Love this Valentine’s day

“How do I love me? Let me count the ways!”

One way to practice self-love is to stop comparing your behind-the-scenes life to someone else’s highlight reel.

Whether or not you’re in a relationship, check out this week’s blog to make sure you are doing what it takes to love yourself this Valentine’s Day!