Every relationship involves at least some conflict around opinions, ideas, and life choices. In a healthy relationship, communication is honest and respectful, you trust one another, and you are equal partners when you make decisions.
In an abusive relationship, however, communication is hurtful or tears you down. There is a lack of trust. And your partner may try to control what you do or make all the final decisions alone.
As you think about your own relationship, here are some signs that could indicate your relationship is abusive:
- You are scared of your partner’s temper.
- You are afraid to disagree with your partner.
- Your partner has kicked, hit, slapped or shoved you.
- You avoid seeing friends or family because your partner gets jealous.
- Your partner has forced you to have sex and/or you have been afraid to say no to sex.
- You are forced to explain everything that you do.
- You need to explain everywhere you go and every person that you see.
- You believe that you cannot live without your partner or you cannot get enough of your partner.
- You believe your partner will change for the better or will be less abusive if you get married.
- Your partner makes you feel worse about yourself.
- You have fewer and fewer happy times together.
- You spend a lot of time on apologies, promises, anger, guilt, and fear.
Note: Our intention is to provide the above information as a guide to understanding domestic violence in context. Because every situation is different, and the spectrum of domestic violence is broad, not all of these examples or theories apply to everyone.