Not all abuse involves physical violence or threat. Controlling and coercive behaviour can also leave deep and lasting scars. Recognising the warning signs of abuse is the first step but taking action is the most important step in breaking free.
Feeling uncomfortable or being afraid in your relationship is the
number one warning sign that your relationship isn't healthy.
Ask yourself the following questions. If you answer 'yes' to one or more of them, you may be experiencing domestic abuse.
Does your abuser:
- Use physical or sexual violence without warning?
- Tease you in a hurtful way and play it off as a 'joke' or tell you you're being too sensitive?
- Call you names such as 'stupid' and 'useless'?
- Act jealous of your friends, family, or co-workers or coerce you into avoiding or not spending time with them?
- Get angry about or make you change the clothes and shoes you wear, how you style your hair, or whether or not you wear makeup and how much?
- Check up on you by repeatedly calling, driving by or getting someone else to?
- Go places with you or send someone just to 'keep an eye on you'?
- Insist on knowing who you talk with on the phone, check your call log or phone bill?
- Blame you for their problems or their bad mood?
- Get angry so easily that you feel like you're 'walking on eggshells'?
- Do things to scare you?
- Stop you from seeing your friends or family?
- Accuse you of being interested in someone else or cheating on them?
- Read your email, check your computer history, go through your purse or other personal papers?
- Keep money from you or keep you in debt?
- Keep you from getting a job, doing a course or learning to drive?
- Threaten to hurt you, your children, family, friends or pets?
- Force you to have sex when you don't want to?
- Force you to have sex in ways that you don't want to?
- Threaten to kill you or themselves if you leave?
- Act like "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde," acting one way in front of other people and another way when you're alone?
You may want to contact organisations for advice and help or to discuss your situation