There are many signs of an abusive relationship. For some people within abusive relationships it can be difficult to recognise certain signs or even accept that their relationship is abusive because they have become so accustomed to their partner’s behaviour. In many cases the abuser will make the victim feel as if the abuse is his or her fault, manipulating them into blaming themselves rather than the abuser. Those who abuse their partners physically or psychologically are doing so to gain control over their partner, using fear, guilt, shame and intimidation to exercise their power. No one should live in fear of the person that they love, and there are several signs to look out for if you suspect someone is being abused within a relationship.
People who are being physically abuse may have frequent unexplained scars and bruises on their bodies. Victims are also known to frequently miss work, school or social occasions without explanation. Often injuries are described as ‘accidents’ even when it may be obvious that this is not the case. If Individuals showing these signs of abuse have also mentioned their partners frequent mood swings and short temper, some form of abuse is likely to have occurred with their relationship.
Abusive relationships will often be defined by one partner’s need to control the life of their partner. Controlling behaviour usually manifests itself in excessively jealous and possessive behaviour, which leads to the individual taking steps to limit what you can do without their supervision. A partner will control where you go and what you do, refusing to let you see certain friends or go places alone. Other signs of controlling behaviour include preventing you from seeing your friends or family, limiting your access to money and even controlling your access to your phone or car.
Violent behaviour in the form of physical and sexual assault is a clear sign of an abusive relationship, with the physical scars of such violence often alerting others to the danger a friend or loved one might be facing at home. However not all abuse is physical in its nature and sometimes the threat of violence is enough to create fear in an individual. This fear of violence is used as a form of control alongside other threats, such as threatening to take children away, destroy a person’s belongings, hurt pets, or even harm family members. He or she may even threaten to commit suicide, file false charges against you or report you to child services.
Those in abusive relationships will often be isolated by their abuser, as the controlling nature of their partner encourages them to restrict their social activities. The abusive partner’s need to control is fuelled by a need to always know what their partner is doing and who they are seeing. If an individual is rarely seen without their partner, feels the need to get permission to do anything, is always being checked up on and has no control over their own finances, it is likely that their partner is attempting to control their life. By cutting someone off from the outside world an abusive partner is trying to increase his or her dependence on them, in an effort to gain even more control in a relationship.
Psychological warning signs
People who are being abused by their partner may have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident. Major personality changes can be related to abuse as confident outgoing individuals become more withdrawn because of the abuse they suffer. An increase in anxiety can also occur as living with fear and intimidation leaves victims afraid of their partner.
Debapriya Choudhuri is a specialist domestic abuse Solicitor at Hattons Law, providing legal advice on all aspects of family law including divorce, child and financial settlements law. We at SM are delighted to have him provide this much needed post, we hope our audience pays close attention to this very important issue.