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Recognizing the Signs of an Abusive Relationship: 9 Telling Clues

3 minute read


It can be difficult to recognize the signs of abuse in a relationship, especially when you’re in the midst of it. Abuse includes physical violence, but emotional and verbal abuse can be just as damaging, and often harder to detect. Start a search to learn more about whether you might be trapped in an abusive relationship and to get help today.

You Feel Like You’re Walking on Eggshells

If you feel like you can’t be yourself around your partner, or that you’re always on edge and waiting for the next fight to start, it’s a sign that your relationship may be abusive. This is a common tactic used by abusers to maintain power and control in the relationship.

You’re Constantly Being Criticized

Criticism is a normal part of any relationship, but if it’s constant and aimed at belittling you, it’s a sign that your partner is trying to control you. This can include criticism about your appearance, your job, your friends, or anything else that your partner can use to make you feel inadequate.

You’re Being Isolated from Friends and Family

Abusers often try to isolate their victims from their support network as a way to gain control over them. If your partner is trying to limit your contact with friends and family, or is making it difficult for you to see them, it’s a sign that your relationship may be abusive.

Your Partner is Excessively Jealous or Possessive

Jealousy is a common emotion in any relationship, but if your partner is excessively jealous or possessive, it’s a sign that they don’t trust you and may be trying to control you. This can include accusations of infidelity or controlling what you wear or who you talk to.

Your Partner is Controlling your Finances

If your partner is controlling your finances, or making it difficult for you to access your own money, it’s a sign that they may be trying to gain power and control over you. Financial abuse is a common tactic used by abusers to keep their victims trapped in the relationship.

You’re Experiencing Physical Violence

Physical violence is one of the most obvious signs of an abusive relationship. If you’re experiencing physical violence, it’s important to seek help immediately. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for support and resources.

Your Partner is Using Threats or Intimidation

Threats and intimidation are common tactics used by abusers to maintain control in the relationship. This can include threats of physical violence, but it can also include threats to harm themselves or others, or to destroy your belongings.

You Feel Like You Can’t Leave the Relationship

If you feel like you’re trapped in the relationship and can’t leave, it’s a sign that your partner may be using tactics to keep you from leaving. This can include making you feel guilty, threatening you, or promising to change.

You’re Experiencing Sexual Coercion or Assault

Sexual coercion or assault is a form of abuse that can be particularly difficult to recognize. If your partner is pressuring you to engage in sexual activities that you’re not comfortable with, or is using force or threats to get you to comply, it’s important to seek help.

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