If you still are debating inside your head the old question: “Does he really love me?” then it is better first to take out the trash. Trash is any hidden emotional abuse you might be suffering.
If there is any sustained, continuous emotional abuse, you can be pretty sure that the genuine love connection is missing. WHY? Because emotional abuse and love are opposites: if one is present, the other is gone.
How can you know if you are an abused partner? Stop negating your feelings: the role of a healthy relationship in our lives is to make us feel supported, valued and appreciated. If this is not happening and you get too many critiques, put downs, and negative comments, and no appreciation, you don’t need to look further. Even when you are going to be served any of the followings common comments: “it’s the way I am, doesn’t mean anything,”; “I grew up in an environment where everybody was allowed to put down everybody else,” “my jokes don’t matter, I love you so much,” this is not laughing matter!
The only gauge of the reality of the snide attacks on your self-esteem is how you feel. Do you feel empowered and happy? More secure? More respected?
Anything else is wrong: you have the right not to feel humiliated, ridiculed or diminished by his comments. This person is the person you have selected to share your life and so enjoy the process of your growth and development: anything less diminishes your joy and takes away your self respect.
There is a need to recover our birth right, the right to do our own choices. We are all given equal opportunity to choose what is right and best for us, or to choose what is wrong and not in our best interest but we want anyway.
Even in an abusive situation, you still have the right to choose how you want to feel. If you choose not to respect yourself, then it will be easier to take abuse from your partner, because you set the example by not respecting your own needs. We all need respect and appreciation, and if you feel not worthy of it, then you will not demand to be treated with respect.
This is the first step: ask yourself how do you want to feel when you are by yourself? How do you want to feel when you are in a relationship?
Look at those answers: how much appreciation and love do you need?
Give this appreciation to yourself: know what you are worth, and rejoice on the positive aspects you have created and developed in your life...Give yourself a symbolic pat on your back! This is the way you need to feel!
This is the second step: What can you do if now you are in an abusive relationship, but you want more respect to your needs? Ask for it:
If you have identified them, you begin by asserting your needs in a calm way:
“Every time you criticize me in front of your family or friends, it makes me feel rejected. As I don’t like to feel in this way, I’m asking you to stop this behavior, or I will have to leave the room”
If you are dealing with a person that is slightly abusive and doesn’t realize how painful the impact of his behavior is, asserting your needs will be probably enough to get a change. If this person doesn’t listen to your needs as expressed in such a respectful way, then that is your own reality.
Now, you have another decision to do: do you want to stay with a person who doesn’t give you the love and support you deserve? Even when this place of acknowledging your abuse is painful, is better to be grounded in reality and stop denial, so you can plan for the future.
And, if you need to stay regardless the verbal abuse, could you begin planning how to develop other alternative healthy relationships to nurture your needs? Your happier future is a result of today's choices!