Here are some warning signs you may be in a controlling or abusive relationship.
Has your partner ever:
Called you names, made jokes at your expense, or humiliated you in private or in front of others?
Told you what to wear, or harshly criticized how you dress?
Insisted you have sex when you don’t want to, or insisted you take part in sexual activities you dislike or that cause pain?
Refused to let you work, or forced you to work?
Refused to let you leave the house?
Constantly demanded to know where you are, what you are doing, and who you are with?
Monitored your phone calls, text messages, emails, Facebook, etc?
Refused to let you phone your friends or family?
Told you who you can and can’t talk to?
Constantly questioned your spending or taken control of your money? If you are financially dependent on them, have they unreasonable limited the money they give you or refused to tell you about your family’s financial situation?
Followed you in a way that made you fearful?
Used physical force (push, punch, slap, choke, shake, use objects/weapons, etc.)?
Physically harmed others (children, pets, family members, friends, neighbours, etc.)?
Threatened to use physical force? Threats aren’t always spoken – they can be silent too, such as looks, gestures, displaying weapons, etc.
Threatened to kill you or others if you leave?
Threatened to kill themselves if you leave?
Threatened to turn you into the authorities (police, immigration, etc.) if you leave?
Used your religious or spiritual beliefs to manipulate or control you, or to justify violence against women? Denied you freedom of religion, by refusing to let you practice your spiritual beliefs or insisting that you follow theirs?
Blamed you for their abusive behaviour, and told you it was your fault?
Destroyed your possessions?
Showed up unexpectedly, when they were not invited and not welcome, to social or work events?
Stolen your money?
Insisted you use drugs or alcohol against your will?
Insisted you take part in dangerous or criminal activities?
Hidden your keys or purse so you can’t leave the house?
Some abusers deny being abusive. Some freely admit they have behaved badly, show great remorse, and promise never to do it again – though they almost always do.
Many abusive relationships develop gradually and, at first, it might be tempting to write their behaviour off as harmless, perhaps just signs of love or jealousy or emotional insecurity.
But as advocates and survivors have said for years, abuse is NOT about jealousy or love – it is about power and control.
The United Nations says, “gender-based violence refers to harmful acts directed at an individual based on their gender. It is rooted in gender inequality, the abuse of power and harmful norms.” It disproportionately impacts women, girls, and Two Spirit, trans, and non-binary people. It includes sexual, physical, mental, and economic forms of abuse inflicted in public or in private as well as threats of violence, coercion, and manipulation.
And when an abuser’s usual methods cease to work – such as when the person being abused tries to leave – the abuse can quickly become deadly. Research shows that the most dangerous time for a woman in an abusive relationship is when she attempts to leave.
The two best tools for ending gender-based violence are knowledge and speaking out. Now that you know warning signs of an abusive relationship, I invite you to learn more and play your part to end gender-based violence.
Signal for Help
Gaslighting: How to Recognize this Form of Emotional Abuse
The Facts About Sexual Assault and Harassment
Most of the accounts of abusive relationships here are fairly recent. I escaped my husband’s abuse 36 years ago in the middle of the night….baby in arms while he slept. I was 26 and had been married/abused for the 6year life of the marriage. The abuse took every form to an extreme…a gun to my head , beating my body black and blue , breaking my nose , his own hand broke after one violent attack….Threats of violence towards my family at large kept me there…until he harmed our baby one night by not allowing me to feed her and him throwing a shoe at her head in her crib.
That night was the worst beating and the night that had me fleeing into the dark night with my daughter once he had passed out.
Those memories 36 years after are seared into my DNA. I
I went into a women’s shelter for a month and then moved on to my own apartment. Fortunately I was employed full time and had the resources to feed and house my child . The abuse didn’t end it simply changed form …but I was in more control to manage it. I know that I would not be alive now if I hadn’t left then as the violence and death threats had excelerated to an extreme. My beautiful daughter has no memory thankfully as I left when she was 6 months old. Leaving is only part of the battle but the start…a good start . I lived like I was mentally unaffected…strong you know…but now 36 years later I know that every single relationship I have ever had has been affected by that ‘strong facade’…which has really just been a wall that kept danger out. It kept out danger but also love , relationship, support…..
Get some mental health support once you leave …Wives, girlfiends were never meant to have the experiences that we have had…and the affects are deep and far reaching no matter how strong and fierce we feel once escaping . Get support so you don’t end up smiling on the outside but having a protective shield around your heart forever.
My doctor said I have PTSD and you may too .
Im a female in Canada who has been in a relationship with many traumatic experiences and some I wont mention. It was terrifying and I had no idea what to do. I was so lost and broken. And I still fight to this day for my life to be back to normal, or at least some semblance of normal which does not look like it will happen. As a country we need to stop victim blaming and helping Mothers in this situation.
It saddens me to see the predicament of the people suffering on account of the toxicity of parents. I hope my prayers help you heal. This blog might be helpful:
I’m really sorry a lot of people are going through this. I’m in an abusive relationship too and perplexed how I allowed myself to be in one and why I’m still in it. I realized that growing up with domestic violence normalized the pattern of abuse in me. I also found out about trauma-bonding. I find that learning the psychology of abuse and understanding our experience are very empowering. I’ve strained friendships because I haven’t left my spouse and feel more isolated, but for now I’m finding ways for self-care so I can have the headspace to think and process and hopefully someday find peace. To the women who stayed long or are still in the abusive relationship, please don’t blame yourselves and don’t think you’re weak. One of the reasons we’re in this situation is because we’re empathetic people to a fault and to our detriment. Having empathy isn’t bad we just have partners who abuse it. Please know that even if family and friends have cut you off or given up on you that you’re not alone. There are people and resources out there who can help you manage while you’re still in the relationship, help you get out and help you recover. I find that mustering up the energy to think and process are important because without them you can’t make a plan or decision that you’ll be confident in. Please find ways for self-care, it may be as simple as positive affirmations, going on YouTube for free energy healings and learning about abuse, meditation, prayer etc. Sending love, comfort, support and healing to anyone going through abuse.
Get out at all cost! I lived for seventeen years with a narsestic husband. I am now FREE to be the ‘me’ that I was meant to be.
It wasn’t easy. And still isnt. It took me five long years to recover from the damage that he inflicted on me…no molded me for his purpose.
It never gets better no matter how much they say they are sorry. My husband never hit me. His tactics were not obvious to anyone.
After I had surgery for cancer, I guess in his mind I was no good. So he loaded his 22 rifle, pulled up a chair in front of the entrance door and waited for me to come home.
There is no end to their abuse. No end….
except putting yourself first!
I am posting tonight because I know now, that this marriage cannot go on. It was our 12th anniversary on Sunday. Of course, he said he had no time for anything. He had time to go to the beer store. I got him a nice gift, nothing extravagant but it’s what people do. On a regular basis now he is becoming agitated very easily. It’s been going on for years, I haven’t always been on my best behaviour but I have been making a consistent ongoing effort to better myself. We have three lovely children. Our eldest receives ongoing emotional abuse, her weight, her phone use, lack of out running and exercising. Her social justice attitude makes him so angry, “kids today”, He’s so oppressive, bigoted, homophobic and privileged. Sadly, this stuff flies around myself and my kids and on top of everything, I’m a terrible housekeeper, my stuff bothers him,, on a better night, I’m fat, stupid, lazy. That I didn’t finish school conventionally, though I’m in college now at 50. I raised our children, he didn’t, I do the accounting, the cleaning, the shopping, the cooking, the dog walking, doctors appointments, dentist appts, school pick up, school drop off, sick days, everything but make any money. “you don’t need to get a job”, but I want autonomy. Hence college, I need to get out of here, I need to protect myself and my children. I have no money, no relatives no friends, no support. I’m scared for the first time of not knowing how to do what I want to do and that is LEAVE!! Thanks for reading. I am resilient, and seen adversity before, this is a heck of a big job and I’m daunted. JA
I want to cut my story short as much as possible. I’ve suffered for years believing that my husand is the only person who will love me.My mental health is in a bad shape right now. I’m far away from my parents and have no means to get out of this suffering because of the pandemic. I don’t have friends here too. They’re all in different countries. He never cared about my feelings and gives more time and attention to his friends. I want to escape but I have nowhere to go.
Thank you so much for sharing your story Jade. We’re so sorry to hear about your experience and hope you can find the help you need. We have a list of resources here that may be a helpful place to start: https://canadianwomen.org/support-services/
I was still in a bit of denial until I read this form…I still can’t believe that I allowed myself to stay in this relationship as long as I did. I was such a strong independent women,,,, I left my abusive relationship on May 20th. I spent 2 months in a traumatized state. Friends and family didn’t even know who I was. My relationship was 1.5 years and the last 8 months of it I was stuck beside him. I had a broken hand – a man made a comment towards me leaving a Halloween party and my partner blew off his handle, I ended up getting pushed by the other male and was in a cast for 3 months and off work. He controlled everything I did, I couldn’t go to the grocery store, the mall, the gas station or Tim Horton’s without him. He controlled my phone and always went on it, he told me that I shouldn’t be working in a male dominated field, he didn’t want me wearing high heels, make up or perfume. The list can go forever…. He had me go to his work with him so he could keep me “protected” after many physically abusive attacks, everything was making sense especially after my 11 year old daughter stood up in a restaurant and called him out one evening saying he wasn’t a nice man, he is mean to me and to please stop doing that to her, that was when I knew I needed to get out. I was ashamed that I failed in this relationship as I had divorced 3 years earlier and felt that if my children’s mother can’t make good decisions how would they ever trust me. I started hiding money he would give me and was waiting to get my income tax done so I could leave. I hide my spare car key in a coat in case I ever needed it. My income tax came in, unfortunately he found out, he said the money would be safest with him and then Covid-19 hit and I was stuck. A week before I left, he pinned me down and strangled me, that was the last time he was ever putting bruises on my body. I was scared and thought I was going crazy, I felt like I was injected with a drug and I couldn’t come off of it. I felt like that for almost 2 months. I left and ended up at a women’s shelter. He was arrested and has 5 domestic charges against him. With all the counselling that I have received and still am, has shown me that it is my patterns that have gotten me to where I am. I am so proud of my daughter for standing up to him when I couldn’t. Now, my ex husband has completely alienated me from my daughter, who was my absolute bestfriend, she will barely talk to me. I can’t explain to her what happened, but someday she will find out and I will be here for her with open arms.
I’m so sorry you’ve been through this, and relieved that you’ve found good support through this difficult time. If you’re looking for more, we have some resources here that may be helpful: https://canadianwomen.org/support-services/
July 19th 2:48 AM
My husband grabbed my hand tightly and hit me on the head in front of my mother while I was holding my 21 months baby in my lap 5 days ago. Before this incidence, we were in the car in our driveway and he was shouting at me. He the phone on the side and when I opened the door, it fell on the ground. He picked it up and smashed it. After he hit me, I called the cops. We both were arrested and charged for assault even though I am the victim. I am in so much of emotional pain. I get nightmares and is suffering from insomnia. I had to call crisis 3 times to deal with my emotions. I am really glad that my mom is looking after my baby and sometimes, she throws salt into the newly, fresh wounds. It is even difficult to find the privacy to cry and talk to people without my mom interfering. I know she means well. Sometimes I regret of calling the police but this is not the first time my husband it me and I never want him to hit me again, especially not in front of my son.
Thank you for your comment. This kind of behaviour is unacceptable and we’re so sorry that you’ve experienced it. We’ll do our best to direct you to an agency that can help, see below, and always remember if you are in immediate danger call to 911:
– Visit this part of our website https://canadianwomen.org/support-services/ and select your province or territory to see what might be available to you for assistance – just be aware that when using the Internet your abuser may attempt to check your search history. You can learn how to make your searches safe by erasing your tracks and you can find out more about that at http://www.awhl.org/security.
– If you live in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, or British Columbia, we would suggest calling 211 – this is a free provincial referral number for thousands of agencies across these provinces.
– If you live in Ontario, another great resource is the Assaulted Women’s Helpline which can be reached online at http://www.awhl.org or by phone at 416.863.0511 or 1.866.863.0511.
– Depending on the province or territory you live in, there may also be a listing in the front or back of your phone book.
– If you have a local YWCA, you may wish to call them to see if they know of local services you can access.
My daughter is in a 3 year relationship with her common law partner. She told me last night that he left for 2 weeks at camp to work. He left her no money and he hadn’t bought groceries in a month. She said she is starving. He also told her if she doesn’t get a job soon that he is leaving. Her mental health is not always the best. A lot of anxiety and worries constantly about her physical health. She always thinks she is dying from something. She sent him a message the other day just saying thank you and a very nice message. He didn’t even respond to it She seen he was on fb. She always has complaints about him. When I say anything about him she blows up at me saying he does everything for her. And gets very mad at me. I only met the guy twice because they don’t leave close but he just didn’t impress me. She said he makes 8 thousand dollars a month and he is always broke. What is your advise to me. He does put a roof over her head. It seems like he is not there for her emotionally.
Hi my name is Rachea (not real name) and for the last three and a half years ive been verbally abused by my boyfriends mother. She calls me names like bitch, f**kbrain, sl*t, whore and gold digger all the time. Its normally when her son (boyfriend) is at work and I cry everytime I go to bed because she calls me names like that almost everyday its a battle and I try to avoid her but I cant I live in the same house with her and the whole family. His step dad doesn’t call me names thank god but I’m sick of the abuse I’m close to literally packing my things and leaving but he tries to make me stay and I stay. What do I do because Im at my wits end.
You make a great point here and it was never my intention to make it sound like abuse is only just physical. It can of course be mental, spiritual, financial, emotional, etc.
This information has been enlightening and straight forward.
I LOVE that you have explained it in easy to understand terms.
Some of these things i honestly thought that i was alone. I thought that maybe i was nuts because i couldnt see how these things were happening.
Thank you SO much again for your wisdom.
Ladies AND Men you are NOT alone!