Abusive Dating Relationships: Abuse is NOT Love


Abusive Dating Relationships

FACT: 1 in 3 teens know a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, choked or physically hurt by their partner. That adds up to over 2 million women 25 and younger who are being abused by their boyfriends. One female abused by her boyfriend is too many. Two million is a tragedy.

But why? Why does this happen? Why are there so many young women who allow themselves to be abused? I asked you to help me by sending in your comments. What you had to say helped me understand so much better why this tragedy happens. So, let's get on with it.

Abuser is Manipulative

Many abused girls stay in an abusive relationship because their abuser is often charming, persuasive, and manipulative. It's not like an abusive guy walks around with a big A tattooed on his forehead saying, Hey everybody. Look at me. I'm an abuser. No. He looks just like anybody else, and often has a very charming way about him. That is why so many people cannot believe he's abusive. At the beginning of the relationship, everything seems so wonderful. The romance goes into a whirlwind, full of excitement and attention and gifts at unexpected times. Mr. Charming talks much about love and quickly tells his new girlfriend she is the one for him and he is truly in love with her. Usually, the girl has never met someone so amazing. But what she does not understand is right beneath the veneer of charm and charisma is an angry, controlling, cruel, troubled young man who is about to put her through hell. Sooner or later, his true colors show through. Little by little, he turns on her. First in little ways: The put-downs, the jealousy, the controlling of her every move. While this relationship may still be exciting to her, it soon escalates into something ugly, degrading, and heartbreaking. Nobody deserves to be treated like this, not even from Mr. Charming. It took Bekka quite a while to figure all this out:

I was with an emotionally and mentally abusive guy for about a year. I stayed with him because he was a smooth talker and very manipulative. I didn't see it then until the very end. Now I see everything clearly.

Low Self-esteem

Behind every abused teenage girl is the debilitating condition of low self-esteem. Almost every girl who is being abused is basically set up psychologically for it to happen. She often feels so low and unwanted that as long as some guy says he loves her, she will put up with almost anything. She is convinced she does not deserve and will never get a guy any better than the one who is treating her so poorly. Sarah has been there

Girls go after abusive and uncaring guys because they don't think that they deserve any better and/or that they could get any better. Any kind of attention is better than no attention. That's what I thought anyway. A slap across the face from time to time was better than drowning in a room all alone. A few harsh words from a guy who sometimes did love me could be brushed off...when compared to the mouthful of obscenities that would flow from the mouth of my Father.

If you are being abused by your boyfriend, you are suffering from low self-esteem. Your troubled boyfriend wants you to stay that way. But do you really want to stay stuck in that cruel, emotional mud? If not, ask yourself, what must I do to respect myself enough to get away from him?

Abused Think it's Normal 

Most teenage girls who are abused by their boyfriend think it's normal, all just part of their lives. No one deserves to be put down, shoved, hit, controlled, or pressured to have sex. Everyone deserves love and respect as God's children. The only problem is most girls who allow their boyfriends to abuse them don't know that. Because of their dysfunctional family, what is abnormal to everyone else is perfectly normal to them. Jessica nailed it when she wrote

My last relationship was abusive. I gave in because it was what I grew up with. My mother's boyfriend beat her while I was growing up, they were constantly arguing. Then she started hitting me and calling me names. I grew up thinking that was what a relationship was.

Crave the Drama

Is it any wonder why so many abused girls get caught up in sabotaging healthy dating relationships? Let's suppose for a moment a girl who is being hurt by her cruel boyfriend breaks up with him. She then starts dating someone who is kind, loving, and stable. Often, it doesn't take long for her to break off the relationship. Why? A stable relationship is just so foreign to her. There's not enough drama or an adrenaline rush with her new boyfriend. So often she will go back to another hurtful guy. Deb explains this powerful trap so well:

The abusive man and his behaviors is what they have come to know as normal. Therefore when a normal and nice guy comes along, bells and warning signs go off inside them. Something is not right with this guy. They can become untrusting because they do not know what his motives may be. Many times the abusive father says directly or indirectly that nice caring men are wimps. What girl could feel safe with a wimp? Yes safe. Abused girls feel safe with these abusers, believe it or not. The reverse would hold true for a girl who was bought up in a healthy home. Bells and [warning signs] would go off in her head and soul if she went out with an abusive guy, and she would be very distrusting of him.

Think It's Love

It is easy for the abused girl to think she is in love with her abuser, when in fact she's not. What is so loving about being slapped, shoved, cursed, raped, and humiliated? That's not love. No matter what her feelings say, she is not in love, she just feels she is. When you are lost or have low self-esteem, your view of love is distorted. (Tiffany) Why would she feel like she's in love, even when she's being abused? Well, in her heart, at least she's not alone. She has a guy, and he pays her attention, even as cruel as he may be. She is trying very hard in this ugly dating drama to help him and rescue him and that makes her feel better about herself. She doesn't know what he's going to do next, so she's always on edge, obsessing over what he might do. She thinks it's exciting he is suffocatingly jealous of her. She simply does not understand in her warped way of feeling that what she is experiencing is not love. True love shows kindness, respect, understanding, and wants to protect the partner from as much hurt as possible. Sadly, many abused girls don't get it. They truly feel they are in love. How sad.

Get out Now!

There are many other reasons why girls are abused by their boyfriends. But hopefully, this blog will help you get started in understanding why. If you are in an abusive relationship, I beg you to get out of it now. Take some time away from guys. Get to know yourself. Spend time with God. Heal up. And vow never to date an abusive guy again. You're so much better than that.

Have you lost your self-worth? You matter and here are 5 amazing reasons why! 


Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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One comment on “Abusive Dating Relationships: Abuse is NOT Love”

  1. I met a man at the end of my abusive marriage thinking he was sent from God.. he was young well dressed and polite.. we had instant chemistry. he was dying to date me on our first meeting and i was too. He took me to a great restaurant and we chatted about my ex who he was helping me escape from , i fell in love with him after our 3rd date..When on that 3rd date he proceeded to try to get the attractive waitresses phone number. I found out later he was dating her behind my back and acting as if she was just a friend to him...so i ignored it. I ignored so many signs of abuse and bad behavior to escape my marriage to another abuser i thought was sent by God..to "rescue' me. Ladies , men are not sent to rescue you... ever. I found that out the hard way.. this polite man emptied my bank account many times.. and i was working on $12 per hour supporting myself through it all.. he never helped me one bit. No man has ever helped me.. just wanted sex and then left me.

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