Am I in an abusive relationship?

It can sometimes be difficult to know if you are in an abusive relationship as the abuse could develop gradually and the person abusing you may sometimes be very nice to you, may be very apologetic about it, or make excuses for their behaviour.

Emotional abuse can be especially confusing. Someone who is emotionally abusive will often be very manipulative. They may try to explain their behaviour, by saying they are doing it because they care about you.

If you haven’t had many relationships before it can sometimes be hard to know what is normal and what isn’t.

Domestic abuse can be any of the following:

  • Psychological abuse: Making you feel scared or intimidated, or telling you that you are worthless;
  • Physical abuse: This can be pushing you or pulling your hair. It can be more serious and lead to injuries, such as, broken bones. In extreme cases it can result in death;
  • Sexual abuse: Any non-consenting sexual acts, such as: rape, forcing sex or specific sexual acts, unwanted use of pornography or criticising performance;
  • Financial abuse: Taking away your financial independence, e.g. not allowing you to work, or monitoring how you spend your money;
  • Emotional abuse: Attacking your personality, shouting, name calling and threats;
  • Cultural based abuse: Forced marriage or 'honour based violence'. This is when you are punished for undermining a code of behaviour in your family community;
  • Threats and intimidation: Threatening to harm you or your children, family or friends. Also, threatening to make reports to jeopardise child custody, immigration or legal safety;
  • Property destruction: Destroying sentimental objects, breaking furniture or windows, damaging clothes.

See also