However, some signs of abuse are more difficult to detect. If you are concerned that your partners’ behaviour is unhealthy or abusive, our quiz might help.
Our healthy relationships quiz aims to help you identify abusive behaviours. However, not all behaviours can be covered in a quiz so even if you answered ‘no’ to every question and scored 16 out of 16, your relationship may be abusive in ways we haven’t covered here.
We can provide practical and emotional support on our helplines, via email or on Live Chat on our web site. If you are ever at immediate risk of harm, please dial 999.
Details of the support we provide and where we work are available here.
Alternatively, please contact the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline.
If you would like to hear from people we’ve helped please visit our Survivors’ Stories.
If your partner says horrible things about your friends or family or makes it awkward for you to be around them, this is a warning sign of abuse, and it can get worse.
If you are isolated from your support networks, it can be harder to make sense of what is happening to you. Talking to one of our trained workers can help to make sense of things. It’s ok to call us to chat things through, we won’t tell you what to do.
This behaviour is about jealousy and control, and it generates mistrust and can lead to feelings that you are ‘walking on eggshells’. Initially, jealousy may feel like that person must really like you, but it can get worse till it feels like they want you all to themselves. They may start to track your movements or monitor you. This is a warning sign that the abuse is escalating.
Our workers are trained to listen and offer advice and support. You could also talk to a trusted friend about what is happening.
Your partner is not showing you the respect that you deserve in a relationship.
People who are abusive may try to justify their behaviour and blame you for their abuse – name-calling and criticising you can be part of this. No one deserves to be treated this way. Over time, the effects on your confidence and self-esteem can be severe.
If you are worried about how your partner speaks to you and you are unable to talk to them about this, this is a sign that they are abusive. We can listen and explain your options.
If your partner tries to control any aspect of your life, such as what you do, who you see, what you wear or even what you eat, this is abusive. If you feel that you are not able to have an equal say in activities this can be a warning sign that the relationship is abusive. This type of control can severely limit your ability to make your own choices and you may feel trapped.
If this describes your relationship, there is support available for you. Please contact us for advice and support.
Gaslighting is the slow and purposeful practice of undermining your own sense of reality until you no longer trust your own memory or judgement and rely heavily on your partner.
People who gaslight do so as a means of gaining control and to get their own way. This can include your partner making you believe that you have done or said things that you haven’t. It may happen when you confront your partner about something they have done.
It is difficult to spot when this starts happening, it can get worse over a long period of time or happen quite quickly. If you are worried, talk this over with IDAS or your GP.
Lying in a relationship is unhealthy and can reduce the trust between you. Telling lies repeatedly can be a red flag that they are covering something up, they find it difficult to confront something in the relationship, or that they are trying to deceive or manipulate you.
Lies can be a form of gaslighting, sometimes abusers create stories to try and justify their behaviours or to distract you from the harm they are causing. If your partner reacts badly to being caught out or tells more lies to try and cover things up this can lead you to feel confused or frightened. If you are worried, talk this over with our trained workers. We will listen and help you understand what is happening.
Your partner is putting you at risk.
People who are abusive may use violence, threats of violence or their physical presence to gain power and control over you. This can include throwing or breaking things as well as hitting, punching, pushing, or biting. Even if they never use violence, but their behaviour makes you feel unsafe, you could be at risk of serious harm.
There is never an excuse for someone to be violent or threatening. You are not to blame if this is happening. It is important to speak to someone about your personal safety and your options. You can speak to a trained member of our team who can discuss ways to help you feel safer.
Alcohol and drug misuse is not an excuse for abusive behaviour. People who are abusive may blame alcohol or drugs for their behaviour. Alcohol and drugs can make someone more unpredictable; they may lose their inhibitions and behave in a more risky or unsafe way. However, alcohol or drug misuse doesn’t cause someone to become violent or abusive and the behaviour may continue when they are no longer under the influence.
Even if your partner only sometimes makes you frightened when they are drunk or high, this is a sign that things aren’t right, and you may be at risk. You can call us for advice and support in confidence.
Your partner is limiting your freedom. This is a form of control and could be abusive.
Abusive people may expect regular calls and messages and for you to reply quickly, this can escalate to wanting to know where you are and what you’re doing. They may use smart phones or social media to keep tabs on you. They may also use trackers, monitor spending, or have people follow you.
Some abusive people claim they are monitoring you to keep you safe, but it is usually about power and control.
There doesn’t have to be any violence for there to be a risk of harm from this behaviour as sometimes this can escalate – particularly if you try to leave the relationship.
Our trained workers can listen and explain your options. We’re here to offer advice and support.
Children can be badly affected by hearing shouting, witnessing one of their parents being put down or seeing people being violent to each other. Children don’t have to be in the same room to feel the negative impacts of abusive behaviour and are recognised as victims in their own right.
If you are worried about these things happening to you, it’s likely that your children are also aware that things are not right.
There is support for you and for your partner if he or she is willing to address their behaviour. If your partner is not willing to change their behaviour, with the right support both you and your children can move on from an abusive relationship and live safely.
We’re here to offer advice and support, we won’t tell you what to do.
Abusive people may make threats against children, threaten to take children away or threaten the non-abusive parent with reporting them to social services as a tool to control their current or ex-partner.
This can make you feel even more trapped into staying in an unhappy, abusive relationship.
If you feel trapped in a relationship to protect your children, talk to us in confidence. We can offer advice and support.
Any sexual activity should be between people who actively consent to it. If you don’t consent or if you are unable to consent, this is abuse.
If you don’t want to do something but you don’t feel able to say so, this is a warning sign that your partner doesn’t respect you and that you don’t feel able to talk openly about your wishes.
Forced or pressured sex can cause long term physical and emotional harm.
It can be hard to talk about your relationship. Our trained workers are experienced and can listen and give advice and support.
Financial abuse is a common occurrence in an abusive relationship. It can include taking money from you, running up debts in your name or refusing to share household bills. Many abusive people perceive their income as their own, refusing to share, or giving a restrictive allowance, even when they’ve decided together that their partner will not work.
Other abusers steal from their partner or put debts in their name. Many people we support have been left in debt or even bankrupt because of an abusive partner. If you are being subject to financial abuse there are specialist organisations, including IDAS, that can provide you with advice and support.
Economic abuse includes any attempt to control or limit your ability to participate in the economy, by working, training, or learning to further your career and economic prospects. Many abusers put pressure on their partner not to work or to start college. This is because of their insecurity and because they seek to exert control in the relationship. Limiting what you feel able to do creates an unequal relationship and it can be emotionally and financially harmful in the longer term. If you have been unable to make choices that affect your economic prospects, we can help you to make sense of things and put you in touch with other agencies that could help.
Your partner is trying to instil fear in you and to control you.
Some abusers use this as a tactic to try to ensure that you stay in the relationship even if you don’t want to.
Some of the people we support were told that no support would be available to them and that they would be forced to leave the country and may even lose their children. Support is available, you are not alone.
If you are worried about domestic abuse and your immigration status, we can talk through your options and put you in touch with organisations who may be able to help.
Threatening to harm someone if they don’t stick to very strict rules about behaviour, relationships, self-expression, friendships, and more is abusive. In some families and communities there are shared rules and people who don’t follow them maybe excluded, punished, or even physically harmed. If you are afraid that your partner, family members or your community may be planning to hurt or harm you seek immediate support to help keep you safe. Our trained workers can talk to you about your personal safety.
IDAS is the largest specialist charity in Yorkshire supporting people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.