When a relationship is not healthy

It is important to work towards building healthy relationships. It is equally important to identify if a relationship is not healthy and abusive. Generally people think in terms of abuse as involving physical actions. It is not only limited to the physical; emotional abuse can be just as devastating. Physical abuse is serious and is a valid reason to end a relationship, your safety should always be paramount. Emotional abuse is equally damaging, it can destroy your confidence and self esteem. Below are some signs that one partner may be abusing the other. If you identify some of these qualities in your relationship, you should seek advice through relationship counselling.


Using Intimidation

  • Making your partner afraid by using looks, actions, gestures.
  • Smashing or destroying things.
  • Destroying or confiscating your partner’s property.
  • Abusing pets as a display of power and control.
  • Silent or overt raging.
  • Displaying weapons or threatening their use.
  • Making physical threats.

Using Emotional Abuse

  • Putting your partner down.
  • Making your partner feel bad about himself or herself.
  • Calling your partner names.
  • Playing mind games.
  • Interrogating your partner.
  • Harassing or intimidating your partner. “Checking up on” your partner’s activities or whereabouts.
  • Humiliating your partner, whether through direct attacks or “jokes”.
  • Making your partner feel guilty.
  • Shaming your partner.

Using Isolation

  • Controlling what your partner does, who he or she sees and talks to, what he or she reads, where he or she goes.
  • Limiting your partners outside involvement.
  • Demanding your partner to remain home when you are not with him or her.
  • Cutting your partner off from friends, activities, and social interaction.
  • Using jealousy to justify your actions. (Jealousy is a central concept in abusive relationships).

Minimising, Denying and Blame Shifting

  • Making light of the abuse and not taking your partners concerns about it seriously.
  • Saying the abuse did not happen, or wasn’t that bad.
  • Shifting responsibility for your abusive behaviour to your partner. (i.e: I did it because you ______.)
  • Saying your partner caused it.

Using Children

  • Making your partner feel guilty about the children.
  • Using the children to relay messages.
  • Using visitation to harass your partner.
  • Threatening to take the children away.

Using Male Privilege

  • Treating your partner like a servant.
  • Making all the big decisions.
  • Acting like the “master of the castle.”
  • Being the one to define the role of the male and the female.

Using Economic Abuse

  • Preventing your partner from getting or keeping a job.
  • Making your partner ask for money.
  • Giving your partner an allowance.
  • Taking your partners money.
  • Not letting your partner know about or have access to family income.



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