Domestic disputes are in the news this week thanks to intense scrutiny around the personal lives of current Tory leadership candidates.
Raised voices are one thing, but full-blown domestic abuse is a very serious issue. It can affect both women and men, and is not just about physical violence. The offence of ‘coercive control’ has recently been recognised in British law, acknowledging that subtle financial, emotional and sexual manipulation is as damaging as punching and kicking.
Domestic abuse is notoriously hard to escape. The abused person often believes that they deserve it, or that their partner’s behaviour is somehow their fault. They might be focused on placating the abuser and exhibit fear and resistance around any suggestion that they might leave.
People who perpetrate domestic abuse have often been abused themselves as children. If this is you then you can get help to manage anger and shame. Victims are also likely to have been neglected or bullied as children, and likewise you can get help to build self-esteem and learn how not to repeat old patterns.
The National Domestic Abuse Freephone Helpline has identified the following signs of an abusive relationship:
- Tries to control me
- Gets violent, loses temper quickly
- Always blames me
- Is sexually demanding
- Keeps me from seeing friends and family
- Make all the decisions
- Embarrasses me in front of others
- Hits me
- Is always checking up on me
- Takes my money
- Threatens to leave me if I don’t do as I’m told
- Teases, bullies and puts me down
In contrast, the signs of a loving relationship are:
- Makes me feel safe
- Makes me feel comfortable
- Listens to me
- Values my opinion
- Supports my goals in life
- Is truthful with me
- Likes that I have other friends
- Tries to understand how I feel
- Makes me laugh
- Trusts me
- Treats me as an equal
- Respects my family
- Understands my need for time alone or with family
- Accepts me as I am
The National Domestic Abuse Freephone Helpline is 0800 2000 247