If you feel scared or anxious in your relationship, or if you think your partner might be abusive then you are not alone. If you are experiencing domestic abuse, it is not your fault.
If your partner is abusive, he wants to control you. To do this he may physically hurt you, make you scared, stop you doing what you want or force you to do things you don’t want to do. If you have children, he might use them to get at you.
Abuse doesn’t usually happen at the very start of a relationship and it’s not always easy to recognise abusive behaviour; in fact an abusive partner can seem perfect at the beginning.
Possessive and controlling behaviours usually emerge and get worse as a relationship goes on. Many women who have gone through domestic abuse have described these behaviours as developing in a drip, drip, drip fashion over a period of time. Often women feel flattered by the attention at first, because he will explain his jealous and possessive behaviour as being ‘just because I love you so much’.
Below are just some of the common warning signs of abuse. If you think it might be happening to you or someone you know, please reach out and ask for support. We’re here for you.
Domestic abuse isn’t a one off – it usually happens again and again and the abusive partner will try different things to get control. It usually gets worse over time, and for many women it can continue even after the relationship has ended.
Some of the different ways an abuser will try to control his partner include:
- Making threats to hurt her or any children
- Throwing objects at her which causes fear even when if they miss
- Calling her names and making her feel bad about herself
- Making rules about how she does things, like what she is allowed to wear
- Stopping her from seeing, or making it hard for her to see friends and family
- Being jealous of the time she spends with others or doing things without him
- Phoning or texting her all the time and/or expecting her to reply to them as soon as they have contacted her
- Checking her phone and social media accounts
- Hitting her
- Putting pressure on her to have sex
- Being nice to her, buying her gifts and making promises about what they will do together
- Telling her she’s a bad mum and telling the children not to do what she says
Often the abuser will tell his partner that it is her fault that he is behaving this way and that she is making him act like this. This is not true. He says this to make her feel responsible and guilty so that he has more control over her.
Lots of people think that domestic abuse only means physical violence. This is a problem, because it can stop women from asking for help or support because “at least they don’t hit me”. More than anything, domestic abuse is about control.
If some of this sounds familiar, or you are worried about someone you know then please know it is okay to ask for help. We are here for you.