You deserve to feel safe in your relationship. Emotional, verbal, or physical abuse is not your fault. Here’s how to recognize the signs of an unhealthy relationship and get help. Sure, nobody’s relationship is perfect, and people make mistakes. But if you feel like you’re being treated badly, you probably are. Listen to your gut. Healthy relationships make you feel good about yourself — unhealthy relationships don’t.
Lying, cheating, jealousy, and disrespect are signs of an unhealthy relationship. So is trying to control a partner. That includes:
keeping track of where they are and who they hang out with
checking their phone or e-mail without permission
keeping them away from friends or family
telling them they can’t do certain activities
preventing them from having money
What are the signs of an abusive relationship?
Anyone can find themselves in an abusive relationship, no matter their age, gender, or sexual orientation. Movies and TV shows that depict abuse might give you the impression that an abusive relationship is only when someone is getting hit or physically hurt. But there are different types of abuse that can affect your body, your emotions, and your self-esteem.
S-e-xual abuse is forcing your partner to do anything s-e-xual, from kissing to having s-e-x. When you don’t consent to s-e-xual activity, it’s considered s-e-xual assault or r@pe, whether you’re in a relationship or not.
Emotional abuse is when your partner tries to make you feel bad about yourself. That can mean hurting your feelings on purpose, jealousy, blaming you for the abuse, cheating, or continually criticizing you. Emotional abuse affects your self-esteem.
Reproductive control is pressuring your partner to get pregnant, end a pregnancy, lying about birth control, or other controlling decisions about pregnancy and parenting.
Threats and intimidation use the threat of violence or abuse to control a partner. Threatening children, suicide, or physical violence are all ways to control your behaviour.
Isolation is controlling who you see, what you do, and limiting your access to friends, family, and other forms of emotional and financial support.
Each relationship is different, and the signs of an abusive relationship can vary. But all of these behaviours are ways that one person tries to maintain all of the power in a relationship and control their partner.
Sometimes abusive behaviors begin slowly and get worse as time goes on. If you’ve been feeling devalued, afraid, or controlled, get help. Everyone deserves to be in a relationship where both people feel safe and are respected, trusted and loved.
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