Is What I’m Experiencing Abuse?

Domestic abuse and violence is a pattern of controlling behavior in the context of a current or former relationship, in which one person purposefully seeks to limit the human and civil rights of their partner. The actions of the abusive person are purposeful and chosen, and are based on a set of beliefs that tell them they are entitled to always put their needs and desires first, and that they get to create and enforce all the rules in the relationship. 

Many people report common tactics used by their abusive partners, and here we share some examples. Remember: abuse can look really different for different people. This list is just a starting place.   

If you are wondering if what your partner is doing is abusive, ask whether they…

  • Call you disrespectful names, or criticize your choices and decisions?
  • Monitor where you go, what you do, and who you spend time with?
  • Physically attack, punish, or “discipline” you by slapping, pinching, biting, hitting, kicking, pushing, strangling, burning, or punching you?
  • Threaten to harm you or those you care about?
  • Make it difficult for you to work?
  • Insist that you engage in sexual activity when you don’t want to?
  • Misuse technology such as phones, computers, and apps to track your whereabouts and monitor your contacts with other people?
  • Use aspects of your identity, like your sexual orientation, gender identity, or race, to put you down or control you?
  • At times apologize, promise to make changes, be a better partner, and affirm that they love you and would never hurt you?
  • Make all the money-related decisions, deny you access to money, or make you account for all the money you have or earn?
  • Joke about or threaten to use a weapon against you or someone you care about?
  • Frequently accuse you of having affairs, or display other kinds of unreasonable jealousy?
  • Act disrespectfully or violently towards your children, property, or animals?
  • Speak or act harshly and then later say that it never happened or that it wasn’t as bad as you are making it out to be?
  • React badly when you try to assert yourself or ask for them to change?

These are signs that your partner is not treating you as you deserve to be treated. Living with these behaviors from someone who is supposed to love you can be confusing, heartbreaking, and scary. Call us to talk. An advocate can offer support and help to examine your options.