Am I being Abused?
In a close relationship, it can be difficult to know whether you are being abused, especially if your partner says they love you, gives you a lot of attention, or pays for the groceries or rent. People who are abusive sometimes act loving and supportive as a way to keep you in the relationship. A partner's loving behavior does not make their abusive behavior OK. Forced sex and cruel or threatening words are forms of abuse.
Signs of abuse
There are many types of violence and abuse. Some of these signs are signs of physical abuse or domestic violence. Some are signs of emotional and verbal abuse or sexual abuse.
Signs of abuse include:
Keeping track of everything you do
Monitoring what you’re doing all the time or asking where you are and who you’re with every second of the day
Demanding your passwords to social media sites and email accounts
Demanding that you reply right away to texts, emails, or calls
Preventing or discouraging you from seeing friends or family
Preventing or discouraging you from going to work or school
Being jealous, controlling, or angry
Acting very jealous, including constantly accusing you of cheating
Having a quick temper, so you never know what you will do or say that may cause a problem
Controlling how you spend your money
Controlling your use of medicines or birth control
Making everyday decisions for you that you normally decide for yourself (like what to wear or eat)
Putting you down, such as insulting your appearance, intelligence, or activities
Humiliating you in front of others
Destroying your property or things that you care about
Blaming you for his or her violent outbursts
Physically hurting or threatening to hurt you or loved ones
Threatening to hurt you, the children, or other people or pets in your household
Hurting you physically (such as hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, punching, slapping, kicking, or biting)
Using (or threatening to use) a weapon against you
Threatening to harm himself or herself when upset with you
Threatening to turn you in to authorities for illegal activity if you report physical abuse
Forcing you to have sex or other intimate activity
Forcing you to have sex when you don’t want to through physical force or threats
Assuming that consent for a sex act in the past means that you must participate in the same acts in the future
Assuming that consent for one activity means consent for future activity or increased levels of intimacy (for example, assuming that kissing should lead to sex every time)
If you think someone is abusing you, get help. Abuse can have serious physical and emotional effects.
Signs of an unhealthy relationship
Sometimes a romantic relationship may not be abusive but may have serious problems that make it unhealthy. If you think you might be in an unhealthy relationship, try talking with your partner about your concerns. If that seems difficult, you might also talk to a trusted friend, family member, counselor, or religious leader.
You might be in an unhealthy relationship if you:
Focus all your energy on your partner
Drop friends, family, or activities you enjoy
Feel pressured or controlled by this person
Have more bad times than good in the relationship
Often feel sad or scared when with this person
Know that this person does not support you and what you want to do in life
Do not feel comfortable being yourself or making your own decisions
Cannot speak honestly to work out conflicts in the relationship
Cannot talk about your needs or changes in your life that are important
The Office on Women's Health is grateful for the medical review by:
Kathleen C. Basile, Ph.D., Lead Behavioral Scientist, Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Kathryn Jones, M.S.W., Public Health Advisor, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Sharon G. Smith, Ph.D., Behavioral Scientist, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) Staff
CITATION STATEMENT BY DHHS
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Page last updated: February 15, 2021.
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(c) 2021 Christopher Meyer Law Firm, PLLC All Rights Reserved The information on this video is for general information, entertainment and educational purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney client relationship Please call (281) 845-2472 if you have any questions about this disclaimer.