The sad, unfortunate journey to becoming a victim of domestic abuse or violence often starts with small things which develop into big things. At first the events may seem trivial, but they build up into something terrible. The pleasure and enjoyment from living ebbs out of the victim’s life.
Circumstances will be different in each relationship, but some early warning signs that it is on the road to being unhealthy is when one partner:
Key things to look out for are when a partner finds they are under pressure to change who they are, or alter their behaviour, because they feel unsafe or are frightened about how their partner will react. From then on things often escalate into more serious forms abuse or violence.
Signs a relationship has become unhealthy are when the abuser:
Delving more deeply into the signs of an unhealthy relationship, we have outlined some of the ways perpetrators behave to gain control below:
Putting a partner down in front of family, friends or other people; embarrassing a partner in public; not listening or responding when they talk; interrupting their telephone calls; refusing to help with childcare or housework; stealing items or money from them; or damaging their possessions, including heirlooms.
Monitoring or blocking phone calls, e-mails and social media accounts; telling a partner when and where they can and cannot go; preventing them from seeing friends and relatives; making no attempt to get on with their partner’s friends or family; or shutting them in the house.
Making angry gestures; using physical size to intimidate; shouting their partner down; using violent language; threatening to destroy a partner’s possessions; threatening to report them to the police, social services or the mental health team unless they comply with the perpetrator’s demands; pressurising a partner to use illegal substances; threatening to withhold medicines from a partner; threatening self-harm or suicide; deliberately scaring their partner; wielding a knife or gun; or threatening to kill or harm their partner, the children and/or family pets.
Forcing a partner to look at pornographic material; forcing them to perform sexual acts they do not wish to; forcing them to have sex when they don’t want it; or forcing them to have sex with other people.