It can be hard to know if you’re being abused. You may think that cruel or threatening words are not abuse. They are.
And sometimes emotional abuse is a sign that a person will become physically violent. It’s a common myth that domestic violence only occurs between a husband and wife. It can occur between partners of the same sex, between partners in a current relationship or one that has ended. Nor is domestic abuse just about violence – it’s about control. If your partner tries to control your finances, your movements, your relationships, your access to information and even what you wear, you are experiencing domestic violence.
Below is a list of possible signs of abuse. Not all forms of domestic violence are crimes, but they will still affect your quality of life. All of them are wrong.
You are being abused if your partner/ex-partner or family member persistently and intentionally:
- undermines your decisions and opinions
- criticises your appearance
- blames you for everything that goes wrong
- is jealous and possessive and continually accuses you of being unfaithful
- controls your money
- threatens to take custody of your children or prevents you from seeing them
- isolates you from your friends and family and makes you justify any absence
- physically hurts you in any way
- demands sex, coerces or forces you into
- unwanted sexual activities
- intimidates and threatens to harm you or those close to you
- injures or hurts your pets.
If you think someone is abusing you, get help. Abuse can have serious physical and emotional effects. No one has the right to hurt you.
Healthy versus unhealthy relationships
Sometimes a relationship might not be abusive, but it might have some serious problems that make it unhealthy. If you think you might be in an unhealthy relationship, you should be able to talk to your partner about your concerns. If you feel like you can’t talk to your partner, try talking to a trusted friend, family member, or counsellor. Consider calling our 24 hour Domestic Violence Helpline to get the support you need and to explore next steps.
Signs of an unhealthy relationship include:
- focusing all your energy on your partner
- dropping friends and family or activities you enjoy
- feeling pressured or controlled a lot
- having more bad times in the relationship than good
- feeling sad or scared when with your partner.
Signs of a healthy relationship include:
- having more good times in the relationship than bad
- having a life outside the relationship, with your own friends and activities
- making decisions together, with each partner compromising at times
- dealing with conflicts by talking honestly
- feeling comfortable and able to be yourself
- feeling able to take care of yourself
- feeling like your partner supports you.
If you feel confused about your relationship, the 24 hour Domestic Violence Helpline can help. Remember, you deserve to be treated with respect.