Just because your partner doesn’t physically hurt you, it doesn’t mean that they’re not abusive. These are the telltale signs that you might be in an abusive relationship…


1. They use presents to distract you from the real problems

They lavish you with flowers or presents (especially after an angry outburst) to show how much they love you and just how sorry they are. They also like it when you tell your friends about the gifts or share pictures of them on social media. This makes everyone on the outside of your relationship think that things are rosy, and detracts from the reality of the situation.

2. They get jealous easily

After a little while, they start getting jealous when you spend time with anyone that isn’t them. This could be someone they see as a romantic threat or even your friends and family. It might seem sweet that they want you all to themselves, but it can be used as a form of control.

3. They’re suspicious of you

Even though you’ve never given them any reason to doubt your loyalty, they want to know all your social media passwords and may even accuse you of cheating. They might put this down to a previous bad relationship, but no one should be blamed for someone else’s insecurities.

4. They don’t like you spending time with your friends

It’s understandable that sometimes your partner might not like your friends, but that shouldn’t change the amount of time you spend with them. Often an abusive partner will work to put you off your friends, keep you from contacting them or even stop you seeing them altogether. The same applies to your family too. Watch out for this, as isolating someone from their support network is a key sign of an abusive relationship.

5. They get really angry if you don’t reply to their messages straight away

And the same thing goes for their calls too. It might appear protective and loving that they text and call you all the time to check how and where you are, but it can be in a bid to control your life. This is especially true if they fly off the handle if you don’t pick up or reply immediately.

6. They can be two different people

You feel like they have two very different personalities, and are constantly forced to walk on eggshells around them because you never know which one you’re going to get. When it’s good, you feel like the luckiest, most loved person in the world – and when it’s bad you feel worthless.

7. They criticise you

A little bit of banter within a healthy relationship is fine – but abusers will often slowly chip away at your confidence with cruel remarks. This could be anything – from telling you they don’t like your outfit to making it clear they’re not impressed with your cooking. They’ll often work out your insecurities and target them, lowering your confidence so that you no longer feel worthy of love or attention.

8. They make you feel like it’s your fault

Abusers can completely lose their temper over the tiniest of things – like a dirty plate left on the side – before making you feel so guilty for leaving the plate out that you end up apologising. Or, even worse, they’ll threaten to self harm after they’ve lost their temper with you, making you back down, appologise and make responsibility for their toxic behaviour.


If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic abuse then call the free National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership by Women’s Aid and Refuge on 08082000247. It’s completely confidential and staffed 24 hours a day by fully trained female support workers and volunteers.

Or, take a look at the following links:

For general help and advice: www.refuge.org.uk

To find help in your area: www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic-abuse-directory

For resources on how to support a friend suffering from domestic abuse: www.1in4women.com