Signs You May Be In (Or Headed For) An Abusive Relationship

By Dominica


Last Updated: February 14, 2021

Relationships can be quite rewarding, even if there are some ups and downs along the journey. In fact, most relationships encounter conflict every now and then.

It’s quite normal.

However, an abusive relationship in any way, shape, or form is not the kind of conflict I’m talking about. Abuse is not right and/or acceptable, as it can cause quite a bit of damage to a person mentally, physically, and spiritually.

There are various types of abuse, including emotional, verbal, physical, sexual, financial, stalking, and more.  You might think that someone in an abusive relationship would end the relationship the moment abuse started happening. However, that’s not always the way it pans out.

In fact, some people don’t even realize that they are in an abusive relationship.

Others don’t know how to get out.

Here are some tell-tale signs that may be in an abusive relationship and some tips to address what’s going on.

Name Calling

Name calling can be the first sign that you are headed towards an abusive relationship. If your partner calls you demeaning names, it’s not alright. A sad reality in this world today is that many people call other people derogatory names regularly.

Do you explode during a conversation and call your partner cruel names? Does your partner call you derogatory names? If so, that is a form or verbal abuse and you do not have to condone it.

You have every right to setup a firm boundary and let your partner know that name calling is not acceptable.  Let them know that you want and need them to be respectful, even if you’re in an argument. Plenty of people argue without yelling hurtful names at each other.

They may not like this boundary, but it’s something you can set anyway. And, keep in mind that you should follow this boundary too, refraining from calling your partner derogatory names.

Controlling Behaviors

Does your partner need to have full control over you? Are they constantly going through your phone, spying on you, badgering you with questions about your day, or going through your personal belongings?

Do they tell you what you have to do and if you don’t, they freak out?

Some people are ultra-controlling. Not all of them resort to emotional, verbal, or physical abuse, but some do. At the very least, this type of control can cause you to feel stressed all the time, walking on eggshells.

Excessive amounts of jealousy and/or control are two toxic ingredients in a relationship that ought to be dealt with as soon as possible. As you address this with them, be prepared that they may not like to hear about their controlling behavior. But again, you have every right to set and keep this boundary.  You are an adult and when your internal or external boundaries have been crossed, it’s alright to address that. If they cannot oblige, you have the choice to end that relationship.

Physical Violence

If you’ve been hit, slapped, kicked, had things thrown at you, etc., then you’re in an abusive relationship.

  • Have you ever found yourself in a big fight and your partner slapped you across the face?
  • Or put their hand over your mouth to keep you from talking?
  • Yanked you?
  • Pushed you?
  • Has your partner pinned you down because you would not submit to them?
  • Do they threaten to hit you?
  • Do they have an explosive temper?

There are healthy, unhealthy, and abusive behaviors that can occur in a relationship. If violence is happening, it’s abusive. If there is the threat of violence, it’s a warning sign.

If this sounds like your relationship, it can easily turn into bigger and worse circumstances. If physical abuse is occurring, seek professional help. {Some links at the bottom of this article}

Intimidating Behaviors

If you’re feeling intimidated by your partner, feeling fear, it’s a red flag. To intimidate means to cause one to feel afraid or weak.  (Like when police intimidate to question suspects)

  • Does your partner intimidate you?
  • Do they throw things to cause you to feel afraid?
  • Do they kick your animal or abuse it in some other way?
  • Does the way they look at you make you feel afraid?
  • Do they do other things to show you who is in charge?

If you’re being intimidated, you’re in a toxic, abusive relationship.

Help For Abuse In A Relationship

If you are experiencing abuse in a relationship, please know that there are people that can help you.  You can call or chat online with a professional at the National Domestic Violence Hotline. They also have a more in depth description of warning signs of abuse.

One in every four relationships will face some form of abuse. This is a sad reality. However, there are resources and professionals that can help them get out of abusive relationships.

If you have noticed any abusive signs in your relationship, it’s time to think about doing what’s best for you and your future.  If you need advice on the matter, talk to a therapist or someone who is knowledgeable in relationship dynamics.  You never deserve any type of abuse.

In fact, you deserve a loving, safe, harmonious relationship.

Helpful Resources For Abuse in a Relationship

National Domestic Violence Hotline  {1-800-799-7233}

HelpGuide: Domestic Violence & Abuse

VeryWell Mind: What is Emotional Abuse?


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