Is my partner abusive?
Oh, Hi. Thank you for your kind response to my last post. It was scary to publish, but it brought me a lot of peace to share my story and I live in hope that it may bring comfort to someone somewhere. I decided to follow up the post with this one, but I truly hope that you never need the words that I am about to share.
Is my partner abusive?
If you really are asking yourself (or anyone) this question, it's a pretty good indication that the answer is going to be yes. I appreciate though that relationships can be confusing, especially in those early lazy hazy crazy days (of summer), and sometimes you might need a third party opinion.
Ultimately, only you can know if your partner is behaving in a way that makes you uncomfortable. Leaving an abusive relationship will give you the best chance of having a happy, healthy and safe future. I don't know of any abusive relationships that have ever improved, I'm sure that these anomalies can be found somewhere out there, but please know that the odds are that the abuse will become worse in time.
Here are some red flags that could indicate an abusive partner:
1. Things are intense from the off
They come on a little strong. Paying you more attention than is appropriate for how long/well you know each other. They compliment you incessantly, using phrases such as "I've never felt like this before" very early on.
They put pressure on you to make commitments that you aren't ready for yet. They put pressure on you to become emotionally and/or physically more intimate than you would like. They might appear to adore you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or they seem to have you on a pedestal. This is very dangerous and will ultimately lead to unrealistic expectations of your behaviour - demanding perfection when it comes to meeting their needs.
2. They are unreasonably jealous
What begins as "checking in" and "making sure you're safe" starts to become overwhelming. They constantly text/call you when you're apart. They demand to know who you are with and where you are. Initially they might pass this off as genuine worry for your well-being, but it will become apparent fairly quickly that they are merely serving their own agenda/ insecurities.
There might be certain genders/ people/ groups that can trigger an adverse reaction in your partner. Guilt tripping, persuasion, pressure, loss of temper and withdrawal of affection are all ways they might attempt to control your social interaction. They will attempt to limit your engagement with certain people - if this engagement does occur, they subject you to interrogation - wanting a bizarre level of detail.
You might start changing your own behaviour to accommodate your partner's demands. Their responses to certain situations are so unreasonable, that it is easier to avoid the situation and/or lie about it afterwards than to incur your partner's reactions.
3. They are hypersensitive
He/she finds it difficult to laugh at themselves. They take offence easily. Their egos are incredibly delicate and they surround themselves with people who massage these.
They tend to think that the world is against them, constantly blaming others for the problems that they are facing (their boss, their friends, their family, their teachers - nothing is ever their fault.) In time you will be forced to take responsibility for their problems.
They demonstrate sudden and intense changes in mood. This is often unpredictable and difficult for you to understand. You feel like you are treading on egg shells. You spend a lot of time and energy trying to foresee minor mishaps in order to avoid "setting them off".
Last but not least, here is a list of specific abusive behaviours to look out for.
While you may love your partner, if they are doing any of the following they do not love or respect you.
- They demand access to your phone, your email, your private devices and/or your social media accounts
- They demand that you allow them to track your location/communication
- They secretly track your location/communication
- They limit your communication
- They manipulate/intimidate you into making certain decisions (e.g. choosing your job for you)
- They monitor/control your private finances (aside from at your request for help)
- They steal money from you
- They use money to control you
- They control how you dress
- They constantly criticize you
- They take intimate photographs/videos of you without your knowledge
- They share intimate photographs/videos of you without your specific consent
- They engage in sexual activity without consent (this includes when you are unable to consent i.e. you are asleep or drunk)
- They force/ pressure you into engaging in sexual activity
- They force/ pressure you into engaging in sexual acts you don't want to engage in
- They perceive monogamy as having a monopoly on your body
- They manipulate you into drug/alcohol abuse
- They force you to comply with rigid gender roles
- They demand you end communication with certain people/groups of people
- They attempt to isolate you from friends and/or family
- They humiliate you
- They insult you
- They send you abuse over text/email
- They manipulate you
- They refuse to communicate
- They ignore or exclude you
- They tactically withdraw affection
- They use love and affection as a bargaining chip (e.g. "I love you but...")
- They lose their temper during an argument
- They damage your property and/or your home
- They threaten you with violence
- They frighten you
- They punch walls/ doors/ windows
- They lock you outside the house during an argument
- They drive recklessly to scare you
- They call you names
- They shout at you
- They spit at/on you
- They throw objects at you
- They pinch you, bite you, push you, kick you, punch you, poke you, slap you
- They put you in dangerous situations
- They show disregard for your emotions
- They threaten to hurt themselves as a bargaining tool
- They threaten to commit suicide if you leave them
- They deprive you of your basic human needs (e.g. food or sleep)
- They never accept responsibility for their wrongdoings
None of the above behaviours would be considered as acceptable or normal in a relationship. It's also worth noting that aside from your partner, anybody else who shows these behaviours towards you would be showing a lack of care, love and respect for you.
Leaving is the safest thing to do if you find yourself in an abusive relationship, romantic or otherwise. It can be a scary and difficult decision to make, but it is the best way to ensure you'll go on to live a long and happy life.
2 people in England and Wales are killed every week by a partner or former partner. Don't be another statistic.
You can find more information about domestic violence and abuse here.
If you're unsure, please contact your local authority to find help in your area.