If you’ve been feeling unsafe and afraid in your relationship for some time, or even just in recent months, it’s important to consider whether or not your relationship is truly healthy. For some, it can be difficult to tell that abuse is taking place. Denial may form and make it hard to accept that someone you love and who you believe loves you is an abuser, or the forms of abuse may not be what you traditionally associate with the word. If any of these signs of abuse are taking place in your relationship, it’s time to seek help.
Are You Being Controlled?
There’s a difference between a partner who cares about your wellbeing and one who attempts to control your every move and thought. If your partner is attempting to control who you speak to, where you go, belittling you, and controlling details of your life that you would normally manage by yourself, this is a sign of emotional abuse. Constant verbal or emotional attacks are also abusive and unacceptable. Frequent texting is one thing, but if you can’t leave the house without a constant barrage of messages and if your partner tries to prevent you from seeing other people you care about, you need to recognise that their behaviour is not normal. If children are involved, it’s crucial to contact family law advice melbourne to get support and assistance in escaping this potentially very dangerous situation.
Sometimes, this behaviour will initially appear to be within the realms of relatively ‘normal’ jealousy. You might rationalise that they are afraid to lose you, or don’t want to risk you leaving them for someone else because they care about you so much. In fact, this controlling behaviour is emotionally abusive and is often an indicator for more severe abuse in the future.
Is Your Safety Threatened?
For many who’ve experienced abuse, their primary memory of that time is the feeling of intense fear. If you fear for your physical safety and you’re always anxious about how your partner may behave or react in situations, abuse is likely occurring. Abusive partners may make threats, become physically indimidating, physically assault you, threaten to harm you in other ways if you reveal their behaviour to others or leave them, and make threats involving your children or the welfare of other people you love. They may also make you feel unsafe sexually. If your partner forces themselves on you sexually, regardless of whether or not you are married, this is rape.
If you are afraid that your partner may harm you, themself, or others when you attempt to leave them but you understand that you are in an abusive relationship and feel ready to get out, there is help available. Contact a domestic violence hotline (you can always speak anonymously) and discuss a plan of action. You may want to start putting money away into a separate account that your partner isn’t aware of so that you have the financial means to leave, and pack an emergency exit plan suitcase for yourself and your children so you can get out quickly if the opportunity arises or abuse escalates. Remember, the law is on your side, so contacting the police could help you escape the abuse and keep yourself and your children safe.