Is This Abuse?

Is this abuse?

Does your partner…

….show signs of being emotionally abusive?

  • Look at you or act in ways that cause you to be afraid or frightened?
  • Cause you to feel like you have to “walk on eggshells” to keep peace?
  • Embarrass you in front of others, perhaps even your children?
  • Ever prevent you from doing things you want to do?
  • Control what you do, who you see or talk to, or where you go?
  • Do things to keep you from getting the sleep you need?
  • Ever follow you when you leave the house?
  • Make all the decisions? Treat you badly?
  • Make you account for your time away from home?

….show signs of being psychologically and mentally abusive?

  • Often seem hard to please, irritable, demanding, and critical?
  • Cause you to feel confused, frustrated, upset, or on guard all the time?
  • Often neglect to give you phone messages?
  • Cause you to doubt yourself or distrust your own feelings or perceptions?

….show signs of verbal abuse?

  • Yell at you, call you names, tell you there is something wrong with you or make comments that hurt you?
  • Disrespect, criticize, blame, belittle, dominate, or threaten you?

….show signs of physical abuse?

  • Ever threaten you, destroy your property, or harm your pets?
    • Ever push you around or hit you?
    • Injure you enough to require medical treatment?
    • Punish you, such as locking you out of the house?

….show signs of sexual abuse?

  • Force you to have sex or do sexual acts that you dislike?

….show signs of financial abuse?

  • Take your money, make you ask for money, or refuse to give you money?


If you have answered “yes” to some of these questions, you are likely in an abusive relationship.

Abuse is defined as “any act that imposes our will in a way that denies a person’s dignity, safety (emotional or physical) or self worth”.

The United nations defines abuse as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”.

Abuse is a pattern of behaviour used by an abuser to establish power and control over another person. Underlying all abuse is a power imbalance between the person and their abuser.

                                    Abuse IS about…

  • A pattern of coercive and assaultive behaviors, including physical, sexual and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion that men use against their intimate female partner
  • A pattern of behaviors including a variety of tactics – some which cause physical harm, some which do not, some criminal and some not – carried out frequently and sometimes in daily episodes
  • An abusive man believes two things: he is entitled to exclusive rights and privileges that do not apply to his partner or children, and that he must actively maintain power and control in his intimate relationship
  • The maintenance of power and control is usually imposed in 3 central areas: arguments and decision-making, her personal freedom, and parenting.


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