Relationship or domestic abuse can happen to anyone. Around 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will be affected at some time during their life. Abuse from a partner or ex-partner can take many forms including physical, sexual, psychological, financial or emotional. Acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship is the first step to ending it. If you see yourself (or someone you know) in the following descriptions of abuse, don’t (let them) suffer in silence – get (them) help now. The helpline numbers are listed below.
You are afraid of them most of the time
No one should live in fear of the person they love. An abusive partner can use intimidation to scare you into submission. They might do this through aggressive behaviour, hurting you or threatening to hurt you or someone or something you love.
You have been physically hurt
Assaults often start small, maybe a push during an argument, or forcefully grabbing your wrist, but over time usually become more frequent and more severe. If you have been hurt once there is a very good chance that it will happen again.
You feel helpless, scared or unable to leave the relationship
The aim of emotional abuse is to chip away at your feelings of self-worth and independence, leaving you feeling that there’s no way out of the relationship, or that you are nothing without your partner.
Your friends or family would be horrified if they really knew how badly your partner treated you
Abusers often control themselves until no one else is around to see what they are doing or saying. They may act like everything is fine in public, but turn on the abusive behaviour as soon as you’re alone.
Your partner controls what you do, what you spend or who you see
An abuser’s goal is to control you and make you dependent on them. They might do this by isolating your from friends and family and by monitoring or controlling your finances, your phone or your diary.
Your partner is regularly putting you down, criticising you or humiliating you
Abusers mess with your head. Insults, name-calling, shaming, and public put-downs are all weapons of abuse designed to erode your self-esteem and make you feel powerless. You’re less likely to leave if you feel worthless and that no-one else will want you.
The above isn’t an exhaustive list but if you suspect that you are in an abusive relationship then help is available at the following national helplines.
Women’s Aid UK 0808 2000 247 or Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327