Am I an abuser?

Are you worried that your behaviour towards your partner or family member might be abusive?

Do you criticise the way your partner looks all the time? Do you act jealously or manipulate your partner to do as you want?

Domestic abuse often starts off small, with lots of different events that gradually chip away or erode a victim’s confidence.

Below is an outline of some of the behaviours that are classed as domestic abuse. If your behaviour fits any of these patterns then you may be being abusive but there is help available before the situation gets out of hand. Your whole lifestyle could be in jeopardy if you don’t decide to change your behaviour.

Mental / emotional abuse

If you are being mentally or emotionally abusive towards your partner or family member, you might be

  • Criticising
  • Using language designed to humiliate
  • Blaming
  • Intimidating and threatening
  • Destroying personal belongings
  • Telling them that they are mad
  • Telling them that you are not being abusive

Threatening behaviours

This can include making threats to:

  • Take the children away yourself
  • Have the children taken away by Social Care or other people
  • Have your victim deported
  • Have your victim sectioned
  • Abuse your victim’s children, family, friends or pets
  • Kill someone
  • Commit suicide
  • Mutilate your victim or their loved ones
  • Stalk your victim (any of which could be in person, via phone call, email or text message)

Intimidation and isolation

It could be you:

  • Repeatedly criticise your victim
  • Tell your victim that they are ugly / worthless / useless
  • Prevent your victim from having contact with family and friends
  • Humiliate your victim in front of others
  • Give your victim a curfew
  • Stop or monitor your victim’s phone calls

Psychological abuse

You may:

  • Act jealously
  • Blame your victim for causing the abuse
  • Lie to your victim
  • Manipulate your victim to do as you want
  • Ignore your victim
  • Undermine or confuse your victim
  • Tell your victim that they are losing their mind

Financial abuse

Being financially abusive may include:

  • Building up debt in your victim’s name
  • Withholding money from your victim
  • Stealing money from your victim
  • Limiting or preventing your victim from having access to money
  • Not letting your victim work
  • Using family money for alcohol / drugs
  • Claiming and keeping your victim’s benefits
  • Selling your victim’s possessions
  • Not paying child support
  • Refusing to pay bills
  • Forcing your victim to earn money for you/ another person
  • Threatening to report to your victim to the Benefits Agency or other authorities

Sexual abuse

Are you asking your victim to do sexual things in return for meeting their basic needs and requirements. Whether in a relationship or not, if someone does not want to have sex, they do not have to. If you are forcing someone against their will, then you are being abusive.

Some forms of sexual abuse can include:

  • Rape
  • Forcing someone to engage in sexual acts
  • Degrading treatment
  • Sexual name-calling
  • Forcing someone to prostitute themselves
  • Making someone wear clothes that they haven’t chosen
  • Forcing someone to take part in or look at pornographic images
  • Forcing someone to have sexual relationships with other people

Sexual abuse of any form is never right.

Violence / physical abuse

You may be directing violence and physical abuse at your victim, or at their family, friends or pets.

An example of this is:

  • Hitting / punching / kicking / shoving
  • Spitting
  • Strangling
  • Pulling hair
  • Making angry or physical threats
  • Biting
  • Burning
  • Using weapons
  • Forcing someone to use drugs and / or alcohol
  • Depriving someone of sleep
  • Hurting a pet
  • Invading other’s space

Forced marriage and “honour” based


Forced marriage is a form of domestic violence and abuse. It happens when you force a victim to marry someone when they do not consent. You may make demands that the victim accepts the marriage proposal through physical, mental or emotional pressure and violence.

Parents who force their children to marry often justify their behaviour as protecting their children, building stronger families and preserving cultural or religious traditions. However forced marriage cannot be justified on religious grounds and forcing someone to marry against their will is wrong.

How does my behaviour affect children around me?

If you are around children they will most probably be affected in some way by your abusive behaviour.  How does my behaviour affect children around me? >

Are you hurting the one you love?

Help is available if you choose to STOP >