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Signs of Abuse in a Relationship

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Having relationships can be fun and exciting, especially for teenagers. But sometimes, people can get into abusive relationships. These can hurt you in a lot of ways, so it’s important to learn the different signs of abuse. If any of these apply to you, you might also find it helpful to read this.

Healthy relationships

For many people, healthy relationships can make their lives better. They might feel happy, confident, proud, safe, or loved around their partners. Learning about healthy relationships can help you build the best relationships for you. Here are some signs of a healthy relationship:

  • You feel supported by your partner.
  • You trust each other.
  • Your privacy and boundaries are respected.
  • You can be honest with your partner, especially about problems in the relationship.
  • You have a life outside the relationship. You don’t need to do everything with your partner.
  • No one has all the power in the relationship.
  • No one threatens the other.
  • Your sexual needs are respected by your partner, whether you want or don’t want sex.

Unhealthy relationships

Unhealthy relationships affect people in a bad way. Unlike in a healthy relationship, they bring more negative feelings into your life than positive ones.

One type of unhealthy relationship is an abusive relationship. In an abusive relationship, someone (the abuser) uses their power to control the other person. This can happen in any kind of relationship. Open, poly, monogamous, same-gender or different-gender, casual or serious, long-term, long-distance, online…these can all be abusive. It can also happen between people of any genders, races, nationalities, sexual or romantic orientations, anatomies, and ages.

Abuse can start as soon as the relationship starts. It can even start before that! But a relationship that used to be healthy can also turn abusive over time.

This article will talk about different kinds of abuse in a relationship:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Sexual
  • Financial or economic
  • Digital
  • Other signs of abuse

Physical abuse

Physical abuse involves your body or your partner’s body, or other things that can be touched or felt. Many people will first think of physical abuse when someone mentions an abusive relationship. But this doesn’t mean it’s the only kind of abuse.

Some examples are:

  • Hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, or slapping you
  • Kicking or tripping you
  • Scratching or biting you
  • Pulling your hair
  • Not letting you go places
  • Controlling what you eat
  • Controlling how or when you sleep
  • Making loud noises that hurt you
  • Using or threatening to use weapons
  • Damaging the things around you
  • Locking you in or out of places on purpose
  • Making you sick or not letting you see the doctor

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse tries to make you feel a certain way, like scared or powerless. Sometimes, it can be hard to prove emotional abuse to other people. They might not believe you. Or they might think that if it wasn’t physical, then it wasn’t abuse. But emotional abuse can be just as hurtful as any other kind of abuse. Its effects can last just as long or even longer.

Some examples are:

  • Yelling at you
  • Calling you names you don’t like
  • Making fun of the way you look, speak, or act
  • Always telling you what to do
  • Blaming you for everything bad that happens
  • Trying to confuse you
  • Not letting you meet with people you know, like friends or family
  • Being jealous and possessive
  • Telling you you are worthless, bad, or other insults
  • Threatening suicide to stop you from doing things
  • Not letting you break up with them
  • Hurting your pets or threatening to hurt them
  • Insulting you in front of other people
  • Telling other people your private information
  • Making you lie about what happens in your relationship
  • Making you not trust your own mind, memory, and decisions (gaslighting)

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse involves sexual thoughts, activities, or plans.

Some examples are:

  • Kissing or groping you when you don’t want it
  • Pressuring you to do sexual things
  • Doing sexual things to you when you’re sleeping, drunk, or unconscious
  • Not letting you protect yourself against STIs (sexually transmitted infections)
  • Trying to hurt you during sex
  • Saying sexual things to you that you don’t like
  • Making you have sex with people you don’t want to
  • Spying on you when you’re alone
  • Messing with birth control (like throwing away pills or poking holes in condoms)
  • Not letting you say yes or no to sex acts
  • Not letting you access birth control, if you want it

Financial or economic abuse

Financial or economic abuse involves jobs, money, income, and property. This can make leaving an abusive relationship really hard, because you might not be able to support yourself after.

Some examples are:

  • Stopping you from starting, keeping, or quitting a job
  • Taking your money, paychecks, credit cards, etc. without asking
  • Not letting you use your money
  • Stealing your things
  • Destroying your things
  • Trying to access your bank accounts
  • Making you pay for things you can’t afford
  • Controlling how you spend your money
  • Harassing you at work

Digital abuse

Digital abuse uses technology like texting, calling, websites, and social media.

Some examples are:

  • Putting your private information online
  • Putting your private photos, videos, and recordings online
  • Sending you threatening messages
  • Stealing your passwords or hacking into your accounts
  • Monitoring the websites and apps you use
  • Always checking your phone or email
  • Pretending to be you online

Other forms of abuse

There are also many other kinds of abuse. Some other common ones are:

  • Stalking: following you around and trying to contact you (or people you know) all the time
  • Not letting you have your legal documents
  • Spreading rumours about you
  • Making you do things that are against the law

Even though this article lists a lot of signs of abuse, it doesn’t have everything. If something your partner does makes you feel worthless, scared, or powerless, you might be in an abusive relationship.

I think I’m in an abusive relationship! Now what?

This can be a tough realization for someone. This article might help you.

More info:

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