ARE YOU IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
Domestic violence is not just physical abuse. It can also be psychological
or emotional bullying. If you're worried you may be in an abusive
relationship, have a look at the links below:
* Assess your relationship with our quick test
* Warning Signs
* Common things abusers say
* Common abusive behaviours
after reading this section you decide that you are, or might be,
in an abusive relationship, there's a lot of information on the
rest of this site that will help you to think through your options.
Assess your relationship with our quick test
Answer the 10 questions below to find out whether there are
problems you need to address.
Are you afraid of your partner?
you feel as if you have to walk on eggshells to keep your partner
from getting angry?
she/he emotionally abuse you (insults, belittling comments, ignoring
you, acting sulky or angry when you initiate an action or idea)?
she/he tells you who you may be friends with, how you should dress,
or tries to control other elements of your life or relationship?
she/he get jealous when there is no reason?
physically violent to you or others, even if it's 'just' grabbing
and pushing to get his/her way?
she/he have extreme mood swings from being kind one minute and
cruel the next?
she/he angry and threatening to the extent that you have changed
your life so as not to 'provoke' him/her?
your partner make all the financial decisions without consulting
it impossible for you to freely express your values and opinions?
you've said 'yes' to two or more of the above then you may be
in an abusive relationship. You may find it useful to have a look
at the other articles in this section.
What are the warning signs of an abuser?
This article lists some warning signs to watch out for if
you think you, or someone you know, may be in an abusive relationship
warning signs listed below should make you wary but rather than
focusing on single acts, look for patterns of behaviour that show
control, restriction and disrespect. No-one should be frightened
of their partner or prevented from making choices about their
also that abusers are often very charming and convincing to everyone
- including their partners, until the abuse starts - and then
they often continue to be very charming to everyone else except
often has the effect of making the woman think 'oh it must be
me, it must be my fault', especially since the abuser is usually
telling her it is. It can also make her feel awkward about telling
other people because she won't seem plausible because they only
know his 'nice' side.
The single biggest warning sign is:
* If he's been in a violent relationship before. Abusive men rarely
change, but it can happen.
Don't make the mistake of thinking 'it will be different with
me - she didn't treat him right'. It's also worth remembering
that although there are some men who are abused, almost without
exception, every abuser claims that he was really the victim.
possible warning signs are:
* He puts your friends down and / or makes it difficult for you
to see them.
He loses his temper over trivial things.
He has very rigid ideas about the roles of men and women and can't
/ won't discuss it reasonably.
His mood swings are so erratic that you find yourself constantly
trying to assess his mood and only think in terms of his needs.
A healthy relationship has give and take.
It's difficult for you to get emotional or physical space away
from him - even if you directly ask for it. And if you do get
it, he 'grills' you about where you've been and who you were with.
He criticises you all the time - about your weight, your hair,
your clothes, etc.
He makes all the decisions in your relationship and ignores your
needs or dismisses them as unimportant.
Common things abusers say
One of the oddest things about perpetrators is that so many
of them - presumably without ever talking to one another - say
exactly the same things to their partners.
this can help you understand that many of the hurtful and abusive
things your partner may say, are not true. Often they are attempts
to avoid responsibility or are said to make it difficult for you
Here are some examples:
* You're stupid / useless / ugly / putting on weight.
You can't even keep the house in a decent state / you're a terrible
mother / hopeless cook / frigid / whore / no-one else would want
you, you're lucky to have me.
If you tell anyone else about the abuse... you'll be sorry / no-one
will believe you / I'll report you to social services as an unfit
If you try and leave me... you'll never get away / you couldn't
cope without me / no-one else will have you / I'll snatch the
kids and you'll never see them again / I'll track you down and
find you even if it takes years and then I'll kill you so you'll
never be able to live in peace never knowing when it will happen...
If you leave me I'll kill myself and you'll have to explain to
our children why their dad is dead and it'll be on your conscience
for the rest of your life...
Common abusive behaviours
* Destructive criticism and verbal abuse: shouting, mocking,
accusing, name calling, verbally threatening.
Pressure tactics: sulking, threatening to withhold money, disconnect
the telephone, take the car away, commit suicide, take the children
away, report you to welfare agencies unless you comply with his
demands regarding bringing up the children, lying to your friends
and family about you, telling you that you have no choice in any
Disrespect: persistently putting you down in front of other people,
not listening or responding when you talk, interrupting your telephone
calls, taking money from your purse without asking, refusing to
help with childcare or housework.
Breaking trust: lying to you, withholding information from you,
being jealous, having other relationships, breaking promises and
Isolation: monitoring or blocking your telephone calls, telling
you where you can and cannot go, preventing you from seeing friends
Harassment: following you, checking up on you, opening your mail,
repeatedly dialling 1471 to see who has telephoned you, embarrassing
you in public.
Threats: making angry gestures, using physical size to intimidate,
shouting you down, destroying your possessions, breaking things,
punching walls, wielding a knife or a gun.
Sexual violence: using force, threats or intimidation to make
you perform sexual acts; having sex with you when you don't want
to have sex; any degrading treatment based on your sexual orientation.
Physical violence: punching, slapping, hitting, biting, pinching,
kicking, pulling hair out, pushing, shoving, burning, strangling,
Denial: saying the abuse doesnt happen, saying you caused
the abusive behaviour, being publicly gentle and patient, crying
and begging for forgiveness, saying it will never happen again.
after reading this you think that you are, or might be, in an
abusive relationship, there's a lot of information on the rest
of this site that will help you to think through your options.