Research from ”The Crime Survey of England and Wales” revealed that an estimated 4.3 million women aged 16-59 have been victims to abuse since the age of 16. In addition to these figures, on average two women per week are murdered as a result of an abusive relationship.
This data reveals a wider issue within our society, especially in-regards to many females/males being in an abusive relationship (whether physical or psychological) and not even realising it. It is detrimental to the improvement of these figures that awareness is spread about abuse in relationships and more help and support is offered to those who find themselves in one.
Psychological abuse is foreseen as a ‘grey area’ in comparison to ‘physical abuse’. Unlike domestic abuse, coercive control cannot be seen, the only way to describe what has happened and the effects of this is throughout the victim’s thoughts and feelings, which are often confused as a result of the perpetrator. As a result of this, many individuals become bewildered and unaware to the fact that they are a victim of coercive control.
Here are Five of the main signs to watch out for that may indicate that you are in an abusive relationship:
If your partner makes you feel guilty for his/her wrong-doings this is a major sign that something is wrong. In a healthy relationship, your significant other should accept responsibility for their own actions, however in an unhealthy, abusive partnership, you may find yourself feeling confused and blaming arguments on yourself, when really deep down you know they aren’t your fault. Speaking to ‘Emotional abuse UK’ they commented ” It is a typical type of behaviour for an emotional abuser to use the tactic of guilt to put down their partner, if you find he/she is repeating phrases such as ‘It’s your fault that I am like this’ or ‘I am only like this because I love you’, this indicates a major warning sign…Finding yourself confused and to blame after an argument that clearly wasn’t your fault highlights this pattern of abuse described previously.”
Jealousy is a major warning sign for a pattern of abuse, there is a difference between healthy jealousy and abusive jealousy in a relationship. Yes, it is normal for a partner to be jealous, but when this pattern of behaviour becomes obsessive, aggressive and possessive it poses a major threat for coercive control in a relationship. Jade Johns, Kent Domestic Violence Team comments ”Irrational behaviours such as continuous phone checking, jealousy towards your friends leading to complete isolation, control over going out and clothing choices are all prime examples of coercive control, if an individual believes they are a victim of this they should contact the Freedom programme to talk about these issues.”
If your find yourself feeling undervalued by your partner this could be a sign that you are in an abusive relationship. Many abusers will go through mood swing periods whereby they treat you in an ‘ideal’ way and then completely isolate and undervalue you afterwards. This pattern of behaviour can become confusing and leave the victim feeling undervalued and undermined. If you find your partner saying phrases such as ‘You’re not good enough’ or ignoring your achievements and only highlighting their own, this could indicate a pattern of abuse.
4. Physical Abuse
Leading on from the psychological side of an abuser, there are also the more physical attributes that identify an abusive relationship. If your partner is physically harmful to you, disguises anger through ‘playfulness’, leaves marks on your skin or handles you in a violent way, then this is a clear sign that you are in a domestically abusive relationship.
5. You feel nervous around them
Nervousness is a clear indication that abuse may be present in a relationship, watching what you say or acting in a way that is only to please them or stop the abuser from having ‘mood swing’ is abnormal behaviour in a healthy partnership. An anonymous victim of emotional abuse commented ‘When me and my boyfriend met, it was great for a few years and then suddenly things started to go downhill. We would argue like normal couples do, but it would be excessive and over a lot of jealousy…in the end I started to panic and act in obscure ways to not upset him. It was when I realised my whole life had changed that I decided enough was enough.’
If anyone has been affected by issues of the nature described previously contact ‘The Freedom Programme’ by following this link: http://www.freedomprogramme.co.uk.