There are many forms of abuse that can occur in a relationship. These can range from psychological, emotional, and onto the physical. You may be in a relationship that begins with emotional abuse and if left to progress can end up with the physical. There are also times when intense emotional and psychological abuse can lead you to bouts of self harm.

It’s really important to your sense of self that you identify if you are in an abusive relationship so you can seek help with how to change your situation. We will identify here for you some signs of emotional abuse in relationships that can be a helpful guide to knowing when to seek help.


Signs of emotional abuse in a relationship:

  • Surveillance of your whereabouts and actions most or all of the time.
  • Severe jealousy with no foundation in real actions.
  • Substance abuse leading to aggressive behaviour towards yourself and/or others.
  • Financial control – you aren’t permitted to spend money in normal ways without permission.
  • Rape – forcing you to have sex against your wishes.
  • Excessive pressure to either use birth control or get pregnant.
  • Deflection of blame for behaviour onto you ‘you brought this on yourself’.
  • Physical harm – you are hit, beaten, pushed, shoved, bitten, slapped, or kicked.
  • Puts you down in a public setting – in front of strangers, friends, or family.
  • Makes constant negative comments about your child/children and your parenting.
  • Possessive behaviour such as threatening self harm if you leave them.
  • Controlling behaviour such as determining what you wear or eat.
  • Excessive comments about your physical appearance and belittling you either alone or in front of other people.

If any of these relate to your current relationship you may need assistance in moving forward in a happy, healthy way.

It’s also really important to note that there is a difference between an unhealthy relationship and an abusive relationship. If you didn’t see any of yourself in the above signs of emotional abuse in a relationship but are still feeling uncomfortable and worried you may be in an unhealthy relationship.

Here are some signs that you may be in an unhealthy relationship that if left untended, may end up as an abusive one.


Signs you are in an unhealthy relationship

  • You or your partner are completely focussed on the needs of the other without taking care for your wider life goals and relationships.
  • You or your partner begin to stop seeing people outside the relationship and are no longer taking time to engage in hobbies that you once found beneficial and fun.
  • Your family and/or friends are beginning to ask questions about how you are going in pointed ways that show a heightened level of concern.
  • You or your partner feel a lot of pressure and feel ‘hemmed in’ by their partner and current living circumstances.
  • You or your partner feel sad a lot of the time.
  • You or your partner feel frightened of the other person in the relationship.

Identifying the signs of an unhealthy relationship early and either working on them together to move forward in a healthy and positive way, or moving on from the relationship if that is the correct decision for you, can help to stop the unhealthy relationship from turning into an abusive one.

If you feel like you are in an abusive or unhealthy relationship and would like to find ways to move past it and onto a healthy, happy future call us on 1300 735 030.

Marcus Andrews

Marcus Andrews

Marcus Andrews is the founder and director of Life Supports, which was established in 2002. He has extensive professional experience working as a counsellor and family therapist across a broad range of issues. The core component of his role at Life Supports involves the supervision of other counsellors, including secondary consultations. Marcus has worked in many sectors, including private, government, non-profit, health, forensic and community practice.

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