Identifying an Abusive Relationship

Relationships can be complex, and it takes a lot of effort from both parties to create a healthy relationship. Healthy relationships are built on trust, honesty, open communication and being supportive of one another. No relationship is perfect but it is important to identify when you or someone you know is in an abusive one. An abusive relationship includes, but is not limited to, a cycle of physical, emotional or sexual abuse that is directed towards a boyfriend or girlfriend to maintain power within the relationship. A couple reasons why people stay with their abusive partner is because they become desensitized to their relationship; they believe the abuse is their fault and blame themselves for what is happening, or they stay with their partner because they are dependent on them emotionally or financially.

Dating violence is a serious public health issue but victims don’t necessarily voice that they are being abused or don’t believe they are in an abusive relationship. So here are some warnings signs to help identify an unhealthy relationship.

An abusive partner might:

  • make jokes that are humiliating or condescending towards you
  • be jealous and over protective (ie. wanting to know where you are constantly)
  • prevent you from seeing your family or friends
  • coerce you to participate in sexual activities
  • make you feel intimidated or fearful of your partner because they have emotionally, physically or sexually abused you