Ten signs you are being abused
Domestic abuse can take many forms, and it can be hard to tell if you are in an abusive relationship or not. Here are ten signs you might be being abused
Domestic abuse can leave you feeling physically and emotionally exhausted, says Naomi Jones, founder of domestic abuse charity Safe Lives. The physical effects of abuse include injuries such as bruising or broken bones. You may also be left with emotional scars if your abuser controls how you spend your time or threatens to hurt those close to you. If any of these symptoms sound familiar, it might be worth seeking help. To talk confidentially to someone about domestic abuse, call National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline 0808 2000 247 at any time. If there is an immediate risk of harm, call 999.
If your partner is abusing you, it is likely to have severely affected your confidence and self-esteem. You may feel that they have more power than you and be afraid of what they will do next. In some cases, abusers threaten to use violence against their partners if they try to leave. If left untreated, domestic abuse can result in long-term psychological problems such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Domestic abuse includes coercive and controlling behaviour, not just physical violence. Threats or force to make someone stay in a relationship might be enough for abuse to count as domestic abuse – even if there is no bodily injury. Someone abusive may use threats to try and control what their partner does and says, where they go and whom they see. This can include threats about money, access to children or isolating their partner from friends or family.
If your partner controls what you do, whom you see or speak to and how you spend your money – including taking it from you – then you may be experiencing domestic abuse. Abusers often try to isolate their partners from friends and family by controlling their access to mobile phones and computers. Suppose a partner is isolating or monitoring your access to communication equipment. In that case, they could be trying to prevent contact with someone who can help, like a friend or family member, and limit connection with emergency services.
If your partner tries to keep you away from friends and family or dominates conversations and decisions about where you go, what you do and whom you see, they likely want to control your behaviour. Isolation is a common way of undermining someone’s confidence and self-esteem. Control over money: If your partner holds how or when you spend money, it can jeopardise your ability to make decisions for yourself.
Anxiety is an emotional and physical state characterised by feelings of fear, worry, unease, and nervousness. An individual suffering from anxiety may experience restlessness or feel like their mind goes blank when they try to concentrate on a task.
7) Low self-esteem
When we don’t feel good about ourselves, it can be easy to take on other people’s negative attitudes towards us and begin to believe them. When we internalise these attitudes, it can lead to self-loathing and deep unhappiness. Recognising low self-esteem in your own life is a big step towards making changes to build your confidence and improve your relationships with others.
How do you know if someone is a perfectionist? Look out for people who regularly self-sabotage, get irritated or feel anxious when things don’t go exactly to plan. People who have low self-esteem often take criticism very personally and have very high expectations of themselves.
9) Shame and guilt
You might be ashamed or feel guilty if you have been abused. It can be hard to admit to yourself, let alone ers, that someone close to you is hurting or controlling you. If it’s happening in your home, where your children see what’s going on, it can be even more challenging. You may fear that no one will believe you and that they will see your partner as a victim too. Your abuser may also tell lies about how and why things happened so that they look innocent.
10) Financial abuse
This includes controlling what money is spent on, limiting or stopping access to bank accounts and credit cards, taking cash or demanding access to wages. Financial abuse can cause its victims to be financially dependent on their abuser and make it difficult for them to leave an abusive relationship.