How To Recognize Signs Of An Abusive Relationship

Abusive Relationship

Abusive Relationship In an intimate relationship, if one partner threatens to or starts to use force to hurt, victimize or dominate the other partner, then that relationship is termed an abusive relationship.

What is an Abusive Relationship?

Abusive relationships are typically characterized by verbal abuse, broken promises, power plays, raging, sexual coercion, infidelity, control games, physical violence and emotional withholding. Abuse in a relationship can start at any time.

While some partners become abusive early on in the relationship, others begin to dominate their companion when they begin to go steady. Some relationships turn abusive only after marriage while in others once a woman becomes pregnant her partner may turn abusive. It is impossible to predict when abuse will creep into a relationship.

Types of Abuse

The common types of abuse which people are subjected to include, physical, emotional, sexual, financial, social and even spiritual abuse.

Physical Abuse

A relationship is termed physically abusive when one of the partners resorts to scare tactics or actually harms their companion or spouse. Use of force in physical abuse may include, but is not limited to throwing, burning or smashing objects, humiliating or bullying the spouse or partner, showing, hitting, punching or kicking their companions or better halves.

Sexual Abuse

A relationship is deemed sexually abusive if a partner forces, tricks or demands his companion to have sex with them. If the partner uses violence or uses alcohol or date rape drugs to make his spouse or companion unconscious or immobile before assaulting or raping them then that relationship is called a sexually abusive one.

Emotional and Social Abuse

If a person constantly resorts to tactics like bullying, threatening or putting down his partner in front of others then that person is called an emotional abuser and the relationship is termed an emotionally abusive one. If a person controls his partner’s choice of friends or stops them from meeting their family, then the person is termed a social abuser. In socially abusive relationships, the dominant or abusive partner wants to make his spouse or companion feel bad about them selves.

Financial and Spiritual Abuse

In financial abuse, the abuser completely controls all things connected with money. If a person is prevented from following his or her religion or stopped from practicing their religious beliefs then that individual is in a spiritually abusive relationship.

Signs of an Abusive Relationship

There are many warning signs, which are initially subtle but become more pronounced as the relationship progresses, which signals whether a person is in an abusive relationship or not. It is extremely important to recognize early on, the signs of an abusive relationship. Through this article we will examine some of the warning signs of an abusive relationship.


One of the earliest signs of what is to come in an abusive relationship is revealed through the use of control tactics by a partner on his spouse or companion. Initially the use of control may be so subtle that the other person may not even recognize the signs. It may start off with what the spouse or partner should wear, to whom they may speak or the amount of time they may spend out.

Later on the control tactics may become so severe that the abuser will expect his companion or spouse to give an account how they spend every minute of their day. The abuser may even exert control as to how and on what money is spent by this partner or better half.


The abusive partner will resort to various spying tactics. Initially if the abuser is caught rummaging through your personal belongings, they will simply brush it aside as checking for something they had misplaced. They may even check on what their partners are doing at a particular time of the day which the abuser will put down as simply keeping an eye on you because they care.

However as the relationship progresses, the dominating or controlling partner will not only keep a close watch on their companion’s daily activities, but will even go through their wallet, check their bank accounts, read their personal e-mail or telephone messages. When an individual’s privacy is invaded upon in this manner by their spouse or companion then they are said to be in an abusive relationship.

Extreme Jealousy

It is not uncommon for the abuser to show a streak of deep jealously. The abuser is jealous of any success that his partner may enjoy in his social life or career. To hide their insecurities and mask the extreme jealousy they may be harboring, the abuser begins to hurl accusations of disloyalty or infidelity on their partner’s part. They begin to emotionally abuse their partners to such an extent that the individual who is being abused begins to cut of links with family and friends.


The individual who is being subjected to regular harassment or abuse may soon isolate himself or herself from society in general. Initially they may make excuses for not seeing their friends. Slowly they cut away from their families as well. This type of self imposed isolation on the part of the abused individual is to protect them selves from the wrath of the abuser.


The abuser will often accuse the victim of flirting or even having sex with another person when in fact the abusers themselves may engage in such amoral activities. Physical violence often follows these baseless accusations which they hurl at the victim who in this case is their spouse or companion.


In an abusive relationship the dominant partner who most often dons the role of the abuser seeks to intimidate the weaker partner or spouse by threats of violence towards their family or towards the children. The abuser often silences their victim by playing on the fear factor. Fear is the weapon of choice which the abuser wields to coerce the partner or spouse into submission. Many cases of domestic violence go unreported each year because of this very fear on the victim’s part of being subjected to further physical violence.

Forced Sex

The abuser may force their partners to indulge in sex against their will. Any sexual act against the partners consent is equivalent to rape even if the abuser and the victim are husband and wife. In many cases physical abuse or threat precedes sexual abuse.

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