Am I in an Abusive Relationship?
Authored by Toby D. Goldsmith, M.D., and Maria Vera, Ph.D.
22 Nov 2000
Below are some questions and checklists to help you determine if you are in an abusive relationship. Answer the questions honestly. If you answer "yes" to any of the following questions, you may be a victim of abuse.
- Do you feel anxious or nervous when you are around your partner?
- Do you watch what you are doing in order to avoid making your partner angry or upset?
- Do you feel obligated or coerced into having sex with your partner?
- Are you afraid of voicing a different opinion than your partner?
- Does your partner criticize you or embarrass you in front of others?
- Does your partner always check up on what you have been doing, and not believe your answers?
- Is your partner very jealous and does he accuse you of having affairs?
- Does your partner tell you that he will stop beating you when you start behaving yourself?
- Have you stopped seeing your friends or family because of your partner's behavior?
- Does your partner's behavior make you feel as if you are wrong?
- Does your partner threaten to harm you?
- Do you try to please your partner rather than yourself in order to avoid being hurt?
- Does your partner keep you from going out or doing things that you want to do?
- Do you always feel that nothing you do is ever good enough for your partner?
- Does your partner say that if you try to leave him, you will never see your children again?
- Does your partner say that if you try to leave, he will kill himself or you?
- Is there always an excuse for your partner's behavior? ("The alcohol or drugs made me do it? My job is too stressful? If dinner was on time I wouldn't have hit you! I was just joking!")
- Do you lie to your family, friends and doctor about your bruises, cuts and scratches?
In addition to those questions, consider the following two checklists. The first list includes signs of emotional abuse. You are probably the victim of emotional abuse if your partner:
- Repeatedly gives you destructive criticism, verbal threats and browbeating.
- Always claims to be right.
- Excludes you from making decisions and claims to be the head of the household.
- Abuses your trust by lying, hiding important information and papers, cheating or being inappropriately jealous.
- Minimizes or denies abusive behavior.
- Constantly shows disrespect, puts you down or embarrasses you in front of others.
- Harasses you by following you or checking up on you.
- Prevents you from seeing your relatives or friends or insists on going everywhere with you.
- Monitors your phone calls.
The next list includes signs of physical abuse. You are a victim of physical abuse if your partner:
- Intimidates you through angry or threatening gestures.
- Destroys your belongings or household items.
- Coerces you to have sex or perform sexual acts against your will.
- Kicks, bites, stabs, pushes, burns or chokes you.
- Uses weapons to threaten or harm you or others you love.
If you answered "yes" to one or more of these questions, or experience these forms of emotional and physical abuse in your relationship, you should seek help. Abuse is not acceptable behavior and is not something you should just learn to live with.
Don't be a victim that keeps this a silent disease. Seek help from relatives, friends, law enforcement or community resources. With their help, you may be able to stop the abuse or, if necessary, leave the relationship. Realize that once the abuse has started, it will nearly always get worse. Below is a list of local resources.
If you are in crisis, please call: 1-800-810-0180
Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centre of Peel
24/7 Crisis Hotline available confidential and free of charge; individual and group counselling available, as well as education for the public. Defines sexual assault as any unwanted sexual act, including kissing, touching, oral and anal sex, intercourse and other acts of penetration whether dating, married or otherwise.
Tel: 905-792-0821 or 1-800-810-0180 (hotline)
Caledon / Dufferin Victims Services
Offers fact sheets about sexual assault, noting that sexual assault cases happen when consent is not given. CDVS offers support and tools to deal with the sexual assault, the signs to indicate if a person was sexually assaulted, as well as giving information and advice on the legal proceedings and medical tests to undergo when the assault is reported.
Ontario Women's Directorate - Sexual Violence
Preventing Sexual Violence: Love Shouldn't Hurt info web page on warning signs, protecting yourself and supporting friends, as well as advice for the men who perpetrate.
What every girl and woman should know... The differences between sexual assault/abuse, who commits the crime and who is on the receiving end, signs to watch for and how to protect yourself. Downloadable PDF available.
Smart Start Program - Brampton Safe City
Safety and violence prevention training geared to middle school students; topics include gangs and gang violence, drugs, street proofing, internet safety practices. Students use their new skills as volunteers to create safety project(s) in their school (e.g. anti-bullying)
Distress Centre Peel - Peel Elder Abuse Support Program
24/7 telephone support and one-on-one counselling with older volunteers open from 12 p.m. To 8 p.m. Daily, to identify elder abuse (up to 10% of elderly are abused), including physical, verbal, mental abuse, as well as financial and neglect. Centers on the types of abusers - friend, partner, family member, caregiver. Serves Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon.
Tel: 905-278-7055 - Business Line
Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
Provides insight into elder abuse, what it is and how seniors can protect themselves. Offers a senior's safety line, as well as fact sheets about the types of abuse, what to do and who to contact. Offers list of government and other sites to visit, as well as links to government regulations on elder abuse and seniors' rights.
Tel: 1-866-299-1011 - Senior Safety Line
Copyright© All Rights reserved.2017. No part of this article shall be reused or reprinted without the expressed consent of the author.