All relationships have there ups and downs, but there are certain types of behavior in any relationship that are unacceptable and abusive. If you think that your partner is abusive, review the information below. Recognizing the signs of an abusive relationship is the first step to breaking free.
What is relationship abuse?
Relationship abuse is a pattern of abusive and coercive behaviors used to maintain power and control over a former or current intimate partner. An abusive relationship means more than being hit by the person who claims to love or care about you. Abuse can be emotional, psychological, financial, sexual or physical and can include threats, isolation and intimidation. Abuse tends to escalate over time. When someone uses abuse and/or violence against a partner, it is always part of a larger pattern to try to control him/her.
Self-test: Is your relationship abusive?
- Embarrass you with put downs?
- Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
- Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?
- Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?
- Take your money or Social Security check, make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?
- Make all of the decisions?
- Tell you that you're a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children
- Prevent you from working or attending schools?
- Act like the abuse is no big deal, it's your fault, or even deny doing it?
- Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
- Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?
- Shove you, slap you, choke you, or hit you?
- Force you to try and drop charges?
- Threaten to commit suicide?
- Threaten to kill you?
What to do if you're being abused
If you answered "yes" to even one of the questions above, you may be in an abusive relationship. The first step toward changing things is recognizing that your situation is abusive. For your health and safety – and the security of any children who may be involved – seek the help of a professional counselor who can provide you with support, advice, information and resources to help you break the cycle of abuse. Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a great place to start. We're here to help you.