Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. While physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure this kind of pain—and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, then you can get the help you need.
There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.
To determine whether your relationship is abusive, answer the questions below. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that you’re in an abusive relationship.
Does Your Partner. . .
- Tend to use force to “solve” problems?
- Embarrass you or make fun of you in front of your friends?
- Put down your accomplishments or goals?
- Have a quick temper?
- Keep tabs on you?
- Make you feel like they are smarter than you or that you are unable to make decisions?
- Use intimidation or threats to get their way?
- Punch walls or things when upset?
- Tell you that you are nothing without them?
- Treat you roughly – such as keeping you from walking away from an argument?
- Call you several times a day or show up to make sure you are where you said you’d be?
- Use alcohol or drugs as an excuse for saying hurtful things or acting abusive toward you?
- Frequently accuse you of cheating?
- Blame you for how they feel?
- Pressure you sexually for things you aren’t ready for?
- Make you feel like there is no way out of the relationship?
- Play with guns or other weapons?
- Prevent you from doing things you want to do – like hanging out with your friends or choosing to be by yourself?
- Try to keep you from leaving after a fight? Or leave you somewhere after a fight?
- Make you feel like everything that doesn’t go right is your fault?
Do You. . .
- Sometimes feel scared of how your partner will act?
- Make excuses to other people for your partner’s behavior?
- Believe that you can help your partner change?
- Try to avoid doing or saying anything that might cause conflict or make your partner angry?
- Often do what your partner wants instead of what you want?
- Stay with your partner only because you are afraid of what he/she would do if you ended the relationship?
If you answered “YES” to any of the questions above, your relationship may be abusive.
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