The Counselling Centre

Abusive Relationships


Abusive Relationship

Most people in relationships experience occasional disagreements with their partner - this is normal.

Disagreements can even be healthy for a relationship when they are resolved constructively and peacefully in a reasonable period of time. Sometimes, however, disagreements become abusive, which is unhealthy or even dangerous to the overall relationship or an involved partner.

Abuse in relationships can take the form of physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, or economic abuse and typically includes threats, intimidation, intense criticism, forced isolation, and/or physical violence.

The overwhelming majority of victims of relationship violence are women, but violence has been known to be perpetrated against men as well. Relationship abuse and violence occurs among all races, ages, classes, and religious groups.

Types Of Abuse

1) Physical abuse refers to behaviours such as slapping, punching, pushing, kicking, and choking.

2) Emotional abuse can be difficult to recognize because it doesn't leave any visible scars. It includes threats, intimidation, putdowns, isolation, harassment and betrayal. This form of abuse can really hurt, not just during the time it's happening, but also longer after.

3) Sexual abuse occurs when you are forced into any type of sexual experience that you are not comfortable with.

Are You Being Abused?

Does he/she…

__ get jealous when you're around other people?

__ make fun of you in front of your friends and family?

__ destroy or threaten to destroy your possessions?

__ praise you one minute and put you down the next?

__ call you names or threaten you?

__ ignore you or not take you seriously?

__ make you choose between your friends/family and him/her?

__ blame you when things go wrong?

__ push you around or hit you?

__ harm or threaten to harm your pet?

__ threaten to kill or harm him/herself if you leave, call the police, or tell someone?

Do you think that…

__ you have to ask permission to spend money or go out?

__ you are at fault when things go wrong?

__ you have to "make things right" just for him/her?

__ you have to do what he/she wants… or else?

__ you must make excuses for your partner's behaviour?

__ you have to check in if you go out anywhere?

__ you have to put your dreams and goals on hold?

__ he/she is trying to run your life?

__ maybe all the terrible things he/she says about you are true?

Do you feel…

__ afraid to make decisions for fear of his/her reaction or anger?

__ isolated from friends, family, and activities?

__ afraid to tell him/her if you have a good time?

__ afraid to express your own opinions or say "no" to something?

__ trapped, unable to go out without his/her permission?

__ your joy in life diminishing?

__ afraid to break up with her leave him/her?

Barriers to Leaving the Relationship


Abusive Relationship

You may believe:

  • the violence is temporary
  • your partner will change because he/she promises that "It'll never happen again."
  • it is your fault that he/she is acting the way he/she does
  • you do not have the resources to live on your own
  • threats of hurting or killing you if you leave
  • things will get better when he/she begs you to come back
  • you will disappoint your family or community if you don't work things out

Studies show that over time, without intervention, the abuse gets more frequent and more violent.

Abuse happens to people of all races, and socio-economical status. It is never the victim's fault.

What Can I Do If I Am In An Abusive Relationship?

If you think you love someone but often feel afraid, it is time to get out of the relationship.

You deserve to be treated with respect, and you can get help. First, make sure you're safe. Stay with a friend or go to a shelter if you don't feel safe staying where you are. Get medical attention or call the police if you have been attacked physically.

Avoid isolating yourself from friends and family. You might feel you have nowhere to turn or embarrassed about what is going on, but this is when you need support most. People like counsellors, doctors, family, and friends will want to help you. Do not rely on yourself alone to get out of the situation. Those who love and care about you can help you break away. It is important to know that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It actually shows that you have a lot of courage and are willing to stand up for yourself.

No one deserves to be abused.

The Counselling Centre offers individual and couples counselling to help with these issues. For more information, call us at 902-420-5615 or drop by our office on the 4th floor of the Student Centre.