Many who are in abusive relationships have things in common. This may include experiencing isolation and fear as a result of intimidation and threats by a partner as they exert power and control.
It can be tricky to tell if a relationship is unhealthy or will become unsafe. Subtle, ongoing behaviors can appear gradually over time and sometimes rise to forms of physical violence. And since every relationship is different, the signs of domestic violence won’t be the same for everyone.
Are there different types of abuse besides physical?
Yes. To get power and control, abusers may use several types of abuse:
- Sexual Assault or Sexual Violence
- Tech, Digital, and Social Media abuse
- Dating Violence
What are signs that my partner is toxic or being abusive?
Your relationship is unhealthy if your partner does a number of the following:
- Criticizes you frequently
- Shows jealousy about who you’re with and who you talk to
- Ignores your feelings
- Disapproves of or stops you from seeing your friends or family
- Puts you down and calls you names
- Criticizes and jokes about your body
- Dictates and controls what you wear
- Denies, minimizes, and blames
- Makes all the decisions
- Controls the money in the relationship
- Prevents you from working or attending school
- Makes you doubt yourself and feel crazy
- Looks at you or acts in ways that scare you
- Gives you little or no privacy online or on the phone
- Cheats repeatedly and blames you for the behavior
- Pressures you to have sex or do things sexually you’re uncomfortable with
- Pressures you to use drugs or alcohol
- Criticizes your parenting or threatens to harm or take away your children
- Sends threatening text and phone messages
- Abandons you in unfamiliar places
- Destroys property (throwing objects, punching walls, kicking doors)
- Threatens or hurt pets
- Pushes, pulls hair, punches, slaps, bites, pinches, or kicks you
- Threatens to commit suicide or threatens to kill you
- Acts like the abuse is no big deal, denies the abuse, or tells you it’s your own fault
How can I heal from an abusive relationship?
If you think your relationship is unhealthy or abusive, the most important thing is your safety. You likely have mixed feelings about what to do and wonder if you’re doing the right thing. Think about the following points as you consider your options:
Care for yourself. Being in an unhealthy relationship is stressful. Eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep. Take time to be with friends and family. Do things to nurture yourself and gain strength.
Get support. Abusers isolate their partners. Stay in touch with friends, family, teachers, and others. Let them know you’re thinking of leaving. Lean on their support. Advocates are just a phone call away.
You can’t change someone else. Don’t believe it when they say they’ll change. Ignore words and notice behavior. You haven’t done anything wrong and you can’t make your partner act differently by changing your behavior.
Take action to stay safe. Consider seeking safety by leaving your partner before the abuse gets worse. It’s a hard decision; it may not be the right one for you. You know what is best for your life, but we’re here to help you sort out options, offer information, and provide referrals. And, remember, leaving can often increase the level of violence. We are here to talk with you about how to safely plan for your departure if that is what you choose to do.
Find Options through the Day One Network. If you are being hurt emotionally, physically, or sexually by someone close to you, know that you have a right to live without fear and violence. Call the Minnesota Day One Crisis Line 1-866-223-1111 to speak with an advocate (interpreters are available), text 612-399-9995, or click the CHAT NOW button on this site to connect with a Day One advocate. A Day One advocate is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you.
If you are in immediate danger, call 911.