Not sure if your relationship is unhealthy, or actually abusive?
There can be more kinds of abuse than people realise when it comes to who we try to love.
The classic image of an abused partner is someone with bruises and injuries.
Physical violence is certainly a terrifying kind of abuse. The UK has recently seen a 5-year high in cases of domestic violence related murders, in statistics gathered by the BBC from 43 police forces.
But there are other kinds of abuse which can be very harmful. What are the different kinds of abusive relationships and the signs to look for?
Anybody who intentionally hurts you is physically abusing you, regardless of how much pain they inflict or if it leaves evidence.
Any kind of sexual activity you are coerced into against your will is sexual abuse.
This can look like a partner:
This can be tricky to spot if it is always under the guise of ‘jokes’ or ‘just being honest’.
Emotional abuse means your sense of self and your esteem are purposely eroded by the other person.
This can look like:
This can be the most subtle and difficult to spot but can have serious long-term affects.
Whereas emotional abuse is an obvious put down of who you are and makes you feel unworthy, psychological abuse tends to leave you walking on eggshells and feeling afraid.
It can look like someone:
This is a sort of abuse gaining new attention. It means you partner is controlling or manipulating you through finances.
This is usually done by making you totally dependent on them for any money, such as refusing to let you educate yourself or take a job.
It can also look like:
Often forms of abuse overlap. Someone can use psychological abuse, for example, in order to take your money, which is economic abuse. Or they can sexually abuse you after physically abusing you.
It doesn’t matter what the label is. If your partner is controlling and hurting you, it’s abuse, and it’s time to seek support.
The NHS guide to getting help for domestic violence and abuse is a good resource that details places to contact. It includes free helplines that won't show up on your phone bill, and which put you in touch with understanding volunteers who won't at all judge you but are there to assist and listen.
Abusive relationships can be highly addictive. Deprived of love and positive attention, we become addicted to the small moments of these our partner does offer. This is why so many people sadly stay in abusive relationships until they are broken, or, worse. And why it really is important to seek whatever support you can.
Ready to take the big step of talking to a counsellor about your abusive relationship? Find a counsellor now at a price that suits your budget, and make that first step toward taking care of yourself.