All too often when people think of dating abuse they think of sexual and physical abuse. These types of abuse are inexcusable to be sure, but the more subtle forms of abuse such as verbal and emotional can often do more damage and aren't as easily recognized.
If your partner is telling you that you are unworthy in some way, that is abuse and you don't have to take it. When someone does things like that it is really about their own insecurities. They have some fairly serious issues if they feel like they need to do virtually anything to control another person. If they were truly confident in the person they were and what they had to offer, they wouldn't need to use 'scare tactics' to try and maintain their relationship.
The problem is that many people are so hungry for some sort of love and affection that they will accept this form of 'love'. You have to understand the difference between love and abuse before you can ever hope to have a truly loving relationship.
Here are some common misinterpretations of what love is:
1. If your partner texts you hundreds of times a day that's not love. It is controlling and childish. They are worried about what you are doing and who you are with. A true love would trust that their partner loves them in return and wouldn't feel the need to keep tabs on them by texting (or calling, emailing, etc) them throughout the day. Not love.
2. Getting overly jealous when you talk to someone else. Some people may be flattered by the attention and think it means that their partner really loves them. Think again. If your partner is so insecure that they fly into a rage just because you talked to someone else, not only do they not love you, they don't love themselves. Again it comes back to a lack of self esteem and that leads to fear of loss and the need to control, with abuse if necessary. It's not love.
3. Making fun of your friends, the way you dress, your weight, the way you cook, etc. None of these things is a problem if it's done occasionally and with love, but if it's done all the time with few or no times when they are complimentary of you, it's abuse. In other words, does your partner spend most of their time making you feel good about yourself and your life, or do they spend most of their time cutting you down and making you feel like a failure?
4. Playing games by flirting with others and trying to make you jealous. I hate to sound like a broken record but so many of these unappealing behaviors can be traced directly back to a persons low self esteem. The truth is that when someone likes themselves they simply don't need to control others or make them feel bad about themselves. It's only when someone knows that they are lacking as a person that they try to push others down so they can feel better about themselves. Playing games like flirting with others, is just another sign of someone who is not only insecure, but very immature as well.
Don't fall into the trap of thinking that the bad relationship you are in isn't really a sign of dating abuse but rather just the way your partner is. Abuse is abuse, whether it's emotional, verbal, physical or sexual and you don't have to put up with it.