Relationships are not always easy, having ups and downs is normal and part of the dynamic between two people developing an attachment towards one another. When things go well we feel lucky and in love, everything seems to go our way and we can take on any challenge that comes with an extra spring in our step. However, when things go wrong, it’s crucial to be able to recognise the signs of an abusive relationship.

Abusive relationships can happen between partners, family members, co-workers or friends, it can happen against women or men, and anybody can be an abuser. If a couple lives under the same roof, an abusive relationships can also be referred to as domestic violence. This can include emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse.

To realise if you’re in an abusive relationship, some useful questions to ask yourself are: have I ever felt afraid of my partner? Have I ever changed my behaviour because I’m afraid of what my partner might do? Here are some common behaviours to look out for when spotting an abusive relationship.
If your partner is:

  • isolating you from your family and friends
  • stopping you from studying or going to work
  • wanting you to give up an activity, even though you love it
  • constantly checking up on you or following you
  • telling you what to wear, who to see, where to go, and what to think
  • controlling your money, or not giving you enough to buy essential things
  • taking your money
  • belittling you, or putting you down
  • blaming you for or denying the abuse
  • threatening to hurt or kill you
  • threatening to hurt themselves or someone you care about if you do not act or do something they want
  • destroying things that belong to you
  • invading your personal space
  • hurting you
  • throwing things
  • touching you in ways you don’t want to be touched
  • making unwanted sexual demands
  • pressuring you to have sex or unsafe sex

If you’re experiencing any of these situations it’s important to seek help immediately and remember you are not alone. You can seek help by:

  • talking to your gp, or health professional
  • in an emergency, call 999
  • for women, call 0808 2000 247, the free 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge
  • for men, call the Men’s Advice Line free on 0808 801 0327 or ManKind on 01823 334 244
  • for forced marriage and “honour” crimes, contact Karma Nirvana (0800 5999 247) or The Forced Marriage Unit (020 7008 0151)
  • Galop provides support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people experiencing domestic violence
  • anyone who needs confidential help with their own abusive behaviour can contact Respect on their free helpline on 0808 802 4040.

Realising you might be in an abusive relationship and seeking help can be very scary, make sure you seek support from your loved ones if appropriate, as well as professional help to guide you through the steps to put a safety plan in place.

For support and to speak to someone about how to help others, download the InsideOut App and book a session today with one of our coaches or therapists.