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It can be hard to tell whether you’re in an abusive relationship, especially if the abuse isn’t physical. A reason why abuse can be confusing is that abusers often shift the blame, or deny or minimise the abuse — these tactics are, in fact, part of the abuse. Moreover, an abuser may not be actively violent all the time, and there can be “good” moments in the relationship, which makes an abusive relationship even more confusing.

Here are some questions you can ask to assess if you’re in an abusive relationship:

  • Do you feel fear, or like you’re walking on eggshells when you’re with your partner?
  • Does your partner control you?
  • Is there a power imbalance in your relationship?

If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions, this could be a red flag.

Below are further signs that you may be in an abusive relationship. Do note that the list below is not exhaustive.

  • hitting
  • slapping
  • punching
  • biting
  • choking
  • shoving
  • pulling your hair
  • causing you fear by looks, actions, or gestures
  • forbidding you from eating or falling asleep
  • preventing you from calling for help
  • harming the children
  • driving dangerously when you are in the car
  • forcing the use of drugs or alcohol
  • putting you down
  • shaming and humiliating you
  • criticising you constantly
  • undermining your self-worth
  • name-calling
  • threatening to harm the children
  • manipulating you into thinking that you are becoming insane or making you doubt your perception of reality (Gaslighting)
  • blaming you for the abuse
  • playing the victim
  • denying or minimising the abuse
  • guiltripping
  • threatening to harm themselves if you don’t comply with their demands
  • forcing you into sexual acts without your consent
  • forcing you to dress in a sexual way
  • treating you in a sexually demeaning manner
  • forcing you to view of pornography
  • hurting with objects during sex
  • making you feel like you owe them sex
  • saying things such as: “Sex is the way to prove your love”, “if i don’t get sex from you, I’ll get it somewhere else”
  • refusing to use a condom
  • preventing you from taking contraceptives
  • forcing you to or preventing you from getting an abortion
  • preventing you from leaving home or contacting friends or family
  • undermining your relationship with friends and family
  • monitoring your movements
  • constantly texting or calling to find out where you are and whom you’re with
  • making you economically dependent by maintaining complete control over financial resources
  • withholding access to money or giving an allowance and closely monitoring expenses
  • preventing you from working or preventing access from bank accounts
  • sobataging your career
  • taking loans in your name through coercion
  • forcing you to hand over your salary
  • using technology or sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Whatsapp to monitor, bully, harass, insult or stalk you
  • sending explicit videos or porn without your consent
  • forcing you to send intimate photos
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