You may be worried that you are being abusive towards your partner, but you don’t know how to address your behaviour.
Has your partner accused you of being abusive, and you don't understand what s/he is talking about? Are your children frightened of you?
This checklist below will help you to identify your behaviour and how you can deal with them.
What is a healthy relationship?
A healthy relationship is based on mutual respect - there doesn't have to be someone in charge.
If you are a parent, you want to set a good example to your children and protect them from being scared. But what if they’re scared of you? If you’re abusing or frightening their Mum or Dad, it will be affecting them.
Am I being abusive?
- Do you demand that your partner behaves, acts, speaks, thinks in a certain way otherwise you get angry?
- Do you think your partner is scared to tell you what s/he thinks, or disagree with you?
- Do you put them down, call them names, insult and criticise them unfairly?
- Do you play mind-games by lying and manipulating, making false accusations?
- Do you expect your partner to look after you, e.g. meals, clothes, money, housework, and refuse to do anything yourself?
- Have you ever stopped them from seeing friends or family?
- Do you control when and where they can go out socially - or have you given them such a hard time previously that they don't bother any more.
- Have you ever sulked, got angry, insisted, pressurised or forced your partner to do something sexual?
- Are you unable discuss a disagreement calmly, and agree what to do? Do you simply not consider another point of view?
- Do you lose your temper over trivial matters with your partner, but have no problem dealing with difficult situations with other people or at work?
- Are you jealous and possessive? Do you make unfounded accusations? Jump to conclusions?
- Do you scream and shout, use foul and abusive language, physically dominate or restrain them, smash windows, furniture or destroy objects, throw things?
- Have you ever assaulted them, e.g. pushing, shoving, slapping, kicking, pinching, pulling hair?
- Have you ever hurt them so much that they had to go to hospital or someone called the police?
- Have you ever threatened to hurt them, yourself or someone else if they leave you?
- If you have hurt your partner, do you think that it was their fault, if only they hadn't pushed your buttons, wound you up, or they only have to do as you say?
- Or used excuses - such as it was because of alcohol or drugs, or that you were "just joking"?
- If your partner has left you, have you really let go? Are you still trying to control them, wanting to know everything they are doing, getting the children to tell you, communicating with them when they have asked you not to?
What happens if I answered yes to any of these questions?
Even if you have done only one of these things, you are being abusive. Research shows that abusive behaviour gets worse the longer it goes on. It may start off with verbal and emotional abuse, but eventually it will become physical abuse. Children are hurt, both physically and psychologically by living with domestic abuse.
If you recognise your own behaviour in several of the above points it is likely that your partner and your children if you have any, are frightened of you on a daily basis. They are probably trying their hardest to do just what you want, to avoid the consequences. Victims often say this is like "walking on eggshells". Can you sense this fear?
What can I do now?
Our new service Foundation 4 Change supports people who want to change their behaviour. It's free and confidential and available for both men and women who are concerned about their abusive behaviour. The only person who can change your behaviour is you. Recognising your abusive behaviour is the first step. Calling us to ask for help is the next.
Call Foundation 4 Change now in confidence on 0800 4701505