Gay domestic abuse is something that should never be accepted, encouraged, or settled into. In the gay community, especially, it is much more difficult to handle. The universal fear of judgment and denial becomes intertwined with discrimination and lack of support.
Abuse comes in various cycles like physical, emotional, psychological, humiliation, and degradation. Often times, the victim feels fearful, isolated, insecure, and even guilty. The shame that comes from being abused (Why did I let this happen? What did I do wrong? Is there something wrong with me?) can prevent one from seeing the truth…
What Are Some Typical Signs Of Gay Domestic Abuse?
- Notice how he speaks to you. Language is one of the many tools an abuser has to keep a victim helpless and submissive. Name calling, degrading insults, and undermining your accomplishments are strong weapons that are commonly used. The more often an abuser calls you names, the more susceptible you are in believing it yourself.
- Ownership of your time. If your partner begins to keep you from friends, family, and things you like to do, it is always going to escalate. He is slowly taking ownership of you, and over time, you may start to loose important people in your life because of it. You are no one’s item or possession.
- Overreaction and Jealousy. Jealousy is the aftermath of possession and ownership. No one should feel like their partner needs to decide all of their decisions for them. When he begins to insist on going everywhere with you, he’s trying to “keep an eye” on you. This is a major beginning to an ultimate imbalance of power.
- Superiority. If he starts to convince you that everything you say and do is wrong and everything he does is right, be aware of an easy transition into possession. Sometimes this is hard to see, because it can feel like “teasing.” However, there’s a difference between a mutual compromise and an abuse of character.
- Investigate his home life. How does he treat his family? We are all a result of how we were raised in some form or another. If he’s rude or slightly abusive towards his parents, just imagine how he might treat your children. During the honeymoon phase, you both are still trying to be on your best behavior. Start trying to see your future. It’s easy for him to hide his behavior in front of parents – whether it’s his or yours – so be aware.
- Does he let you have a stance? When you are always saying “yes” to your partner, you are giving him the message that he is always going to get his way. It’s all in the details. Whether it’s about what movie you want to watch, shirt you want to wear, dates and places you want to go, every resolution needs to be met with compromise. If you never get your way in any circumstance, you are slowly convincing him that he is dominant over your choices.
- Does he pressure you? We all have our limits on things, and if he doesn’t accept yours, it’s clear that he doesn’t respect them. When he puts tremendous pressure on you to move faster than you wish, he may become impatient and will start to show signs of a short temper, especially when things don’t happen as quick as he wants them to. This is a sign of him wanting to control not just you, but the trajectory of the partnership.
- Comparison to other people. When he says things like”You’re just like your mother” or “Why’d you cut your hair that way? You should do this…” or “Why can’t you be like___,” he is attempting to mold you into the ideal person he thinks you should be, because you’re not good enough for him. Don’t let him change you.
- Arguments. How do you argue? Calm? Intense? A few minutes? Way into the night? How long before he starts to call you names? Start taking notes on these things as they happen, you may surprise yourself at what you find. If he escalates to a temper tantrum, he’s trying to get his way and has no intention of compromising.
- Do you hold your self back? No one should be anything other than their full potential in a relationship. If you are constantly feeling like you need to walk on eggshells around him, just to keep from fighting, there is an issue. A relationship needs to be 100% of yourself. Don’t feel like you need to be careful or timid in order to make him happy. Most importantly, never feel like you need to stop growing in your career or other passions to please his ego.
- Fear is the number one sign. If you are truly afraid of him, you should never allow yourself to be around him. When you dread him coming home or hate going over to his place, this is your intuition telling you to run. Love feels good – it should never hurt nor be fearful of.
- Physical Abuse. This doesn’t even need to be with you. Watch how he treats animals and inanimate objects. This is clearly a sign of a very short temper and it’s only a matter of time before he transfers it to you. If he begins to physically assault you, whether it’s a grab, a throwing of an object at you, a push, a shove, a hit, a punch or spitting, it’s NEVER acceptable. Recognize the signs early. Unattended abuse never relinquishes, it always escalates.
If you or someone you know has been victim to domestic abuse, you are not alone. Studies have shown that 1 in 3 people involved in a gay relationship experience domestic abuse. Thankfully, there are wonderful organizations and hotlines out there that will keep all your information private and uphold the maximum of confidentiality. No one should be afraid to speak out.
Contact the GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project