How to avoid abusive relationships

How to avoid abusive relationships
How to avoid abusive relationships

There are many ways a relationship can be abusive, but ultimately an abusive relationship results in the use of force. A relationship is abusive when a partner uses any form of violence, whether physical, sexual, emotional, financial or psychological, to influence or control the other partner. Although women are more often victims of this unhealthy behavior, men can suffer from it as well. Abuse can manifest itself in lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people as well as in heterosexual relationships. If you believe you are in a relationship where you are experiencing violence, seek help immediately, such as calling Femmes Info Service on 01 40 33 80 60. You can also learn to identify the warning signs of a relationship. abuse and we invite you to discover them here.


Part 1 of 3: Recognizing the behaviors of a violent person

Avoid an Abusive Relationship Step 1

Step 1. Watch out for men who look blameless

Violent people often act with false expectations. They think things are always going to work a certain way or meet their particular standards. They have a strong sense of what is “right” and “unfair” and they are generally uncompromising. When things don't work out to their expectations, they can be frustrated, angry, and even violent.

  • A violent person usually leads other people to adopt unfair or unrealistic standards as well, especially their romantic partners. Abusers might say things like, "You are the only person I need in my life" and they can expect you to meet all of their needs.
  • They often become excessively angry even after small situations, such as traffic jams or a child's poor performance during an exam.
Avoid an Abusive Relationship Step 2

Step 2. Be aware that the person has a “fluctuating mood” or other signs of emotional turmoil

Everyone has mood swings sometimes, but abusive people often swing between emotional extremes. It might seem like you are "walking on eggshells" around this person or as if they have "knives drawn" that anything could set off.

  • Violent people can suppress their anger until it explodes. Either way, they could become passive abusers and try to make you feel guilty in some way. Explosive and hypersensitive behaviors are both warning signs of an emotionally affected person.
  • In some cases, emotional instability could be caused by a mental or emotional disorder. If so, your partner needs treatment and psychological support. You shouldn't stay with someone who is abusive just because they need help.
Avoid an Abusive Relationship Step 3

Step 3. Ask yourself whether or not the abuser is taking responsibility

Abusive people usually deny responsibility for their actions whenever possible. They hold other people accountable for their emotional state and their actions.

  • Here's an example of a sentence an abusive person might say: "Rather, it was you who made me nervous that I can't control myself." This type of talk simply puts the blame on the other.
  • An abusive person could also blame other people for the failure of their previous relationships. This can be hard to take as a warning sign, especially if you seem like a good person by comparison. For example, a violent person might dismiss responsibility for the failure of a previous relationship by saying "You are so nice, not like the crazy girl I seduced before."
Avoid an Abusive Relationship Step 4

Step 4. Ask yourself if you are grateful or not

A violent person will often feel that they have a right to do something, as if their needs and ideas are more important than those of anyone else. Even in a relationship where one partner “takes on” certain responsibilities, a healthy relationship should take into consideration the ideas and needs of both partners. Relationships of abuse are often one-sided.

  • If you feel that your partner is not listening to you or is not interested in your ideas and needs, this is a sign that your relationship is not healthy.
  • You need to feel comfortable with your partner on difficult matters, even if you disagree with them. While compromises can be difficult to achieve even in a healthy relationship, both partners should feel heard and respected.
  • A person who constantly invests in being "right" at all costs is not able to pay attention to your needs and wants.
Avoid an Abusive Relationship Step 5

Step 5. Look for signs of jealousy

Jealousy can be flattering at first glance. Other people might pay so much attention to you that they can't accept that someone else is interested in you. However, even minor jealousies are warning signs that controlling behaviors may develop in the future.

Jealousy is different from the fact that the other spouse cares about you. It is not a sign of love. Jealousy is a sign that your partner doesn't trust you

Avoid an Abusive Relationship Step 6

Step 6. Observe the way your partner interacts with others

Violent people are often very egocentric. The way he treats others can be a good indication of how he will eventually treat you.

Abusers may not be nice or they may disrespect others, especially people they perceive to be "inferior" to them. If your partner treats you badly or belittles people in a weak position, they are likely to mistreat you later

Part 2 of 3: Identifying Violent Behaviors

Avoid an Abusive Relationship Step 7

Step 1. Ask yourself if you are free

Even in the most committed healthy relationships, each partner should feel free to express themselves and make their own decisions. Violent people intentionally deprive their victims of strength and freedom. They are usually jealous and want to be in control and may even try to make you feel guilty, just because you want to express your own wishes. Pay attention to the following points.

  • Your partner asks that you follow him all the time.
  • He tries to control what you wear, where you go and who you hang out with.
  • It monitors your internet, phone or social media usage and asks for your password.
  • You don't have easy access to money or transportation.
  • It isolates you from your friends and family.
  • He forbids you to see other people unless he is with you or he expresses his anger when you want to spend time with your friends.
Avoid an Abusive Relationship Step 8

Step 2. Think about the atmosphere in your relationship

Sometimes everyone gets angry with their partner or feels hurt by the other's words or actions. However, these experiences should be occasional and of short duration. If you constantly feel sad, hurt, humiliated, or frustrated with your partner, this is a sign that you are not in a healthy relationship. Consider the following.

  • Do you feel like it "sucks your whole life"? Is spending time with him exhausting for you?
  • Do you feel in bad shape when you are by his side?
  • Are your loved ones trying to blame or blame you for their feelings or actions?
  • Do you feel uncomfortable, embarrassed or underestimated around him?
  • Do you think you have different ways of behaving towards your partner?
Avoid an Abusive Relationship Step 9

Step 3. Pay attention to the way he speaks

Healthy relationships shouldn't involve underestimating, humiliating, disrespecting, or bullying each other. It is normal for partners to offend their spouse from time to time, but this should never be intentional and the offender should admit it and apologize. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if you are in an abusive relationship or not.

  • Is your partner constantly criticizing you?
  • Is he using abusive language towards you?
  • Did he tell you that you “deserve” these insulting words or acts?
  • Does he continue with his actions, although you have made it clear?
  • Do you feel ignored, left out or disregarded?
  • Does your partner often yell at you?
  • Do you feel bad about yourself?
Avoid an Abusive Relationship Step 10

Step 4. Ask yourself if you feel safe

Even the threat of violence is abuse. Threatening to hurt yourself or your loved ones if you don't do what they want is a common tactic among violent people. You need to feel secure in your relationship. If you're not, it's a sign that the relationship isn't healthy and that you need help right away.

Violence can be more than hitting, kicking or slapping you. Physical violence also aims to destroy your property, injure your pets, challenge your basic needs, keep you confined or abandon you in dangerous or strange places

Avoid an Abusive Relationship Step 11

Step 5. Find out if you are having a great sex life

Those guilty of abuse can use coercion, manipulation or force to get what they want and this also extends to sexual activity. Normal sex should be consensual and mutual. If you do not feel respected by your partner who does not take your wishes into account or if you feel pressure from him or if he is forcing you to do things you do not want, this is proof of sexual abuse.

  • You can consent to certain sexual practices and sometimes refuse. There is no love “no contract” that says you must do any sexual activity that you do not want to do. Even if you have had and enjoyed sex several times before with your partner, you still have the right to say "no" and have that wish respected.
  • Pressure or force is abuse. If your partner is trying to manipulate you while you are having sex by saying something like, "If you really loved me, you would do this," this is proof that you are living in an abnormal relationship.
  • You should also be free in regulating births or in choosing your methods of protection against STIs and HIV / AIDS. Your partner should respect your choices and should not try to pressure you or force you to have sex without using your means of protection.

Part 3 of 3: ending an abusive relationship

Avoid an Abusive Relationship Step 12

Step 1. Realize that abuse can “never” be your fault

Unfortunately, it is a common misconception that some people “deserve” to be abused or that they “would be the cause of arguments”. This idea is archival. No matter what you have done (or haven't done), you have the right to be treated with dignity and kindness. Abuse is never the victim's fault.

This is especially true for any type of abuse. Each person is responsible for their actions

Avoid an Abusive Relationship Step 13

Step 2. Confide in someone you believe in

It can be quite difficult and even dangerous to leave an abusive relationship. Don't go alone. Find someone you trust to talk about your problems. This person could be a friend, loved one, counselor, authority, or member of your church. Tell him what you are going through and ask for support.

The more assistance you have, the more likely you are to leave an abusive relationship, and so you can live a healthier and happier life

Avoid an Abusive Relationship Step 14

Step 3. Report cases of violence to the appropriate authorities

There are services that can help you even if you don't have an emergency. They have well-trained staff to listen and help victims think about their situations. They can help you identify ways in which you can manage your situation prudently, refer you to local specialists, and provide people with whom you can speak.

  • In France, contact Femmes Info Service on 01 40 33 80 60 for confidential assistance.
  • You can also contact Viols Femmes Informations free of charge on 0 800 05 95 95.
Avoid an Abusive Relationship Step 15

Step 4. Cut ties with your partner

People who are violent will often try to get back on your good feet by promising to change. It's actually a part of this cycle and you don't have to go through it. Do not interact with your abuser in any way

  • You might also feel pressured by your community, family members, or traditions to ask you to forgive them for their actions. Remember that true forgiveness should be done for yourself and not for your spouse. You can decide to bury the hatchet without allowing the other to continue.
  • It is very difficult to cut ties with an abusive partner unless you erase them from your life.
Avoid an Abusive Relationship Step 16

Step 5. Seek professional assistance

Overcoming the effect of abuse can be really difficult. 31 to 84% of survivors of abusive relationships develop post-traumatic shock. This situation can also trigger depression or anxiety. A mental health professional can help you overcome the effects of your relationship and help you return to a normal, joyful life.

  • Several hospitals, doctors, voluntary women's organizations, and agencies specializing in abusive relationships can recommend qualified counselors or therapists.
  • Look for a therapist who uses "evidence-based" treatments, such as behavioral and cognitive therapy (CBT), exposure therapy (graduated and prolonged), or eye movement desensitization and reprogramming. The technique of desensitization and reprogramming by eye movement is the most common treatment used to cure post-traumatic stress.
Avoid an Abusive Relationship Step 17

Step 6. Build your support network

Victims of abuse may have become accustomed to expecting violence in their relationships and they may find this "normal" or feel that they "deserve" it. This conditioning increases the likelihood that future relationships will also be the same. Surround yourself with people who treat you well, with care, love, and dignity to help you recognize that you deserve to be treated that way.

  • Make new friends. It is common for people involved in an abusive relationship to feel isolated from their friends and family. Making new friends can help you feel stronger and more confident.
  • Join a club or group. If you associate with like-minded people with similar interests to yours, you can feel like part of a larger community.
  • Be open to people you believe in. Some people may judge you and it is unfair and indecent of them. Nonetheless, many people are happy to just be by your side. Talking about your experiences with people you trust can help you get ahead.


  • Remember, being alone is much better than with the wrong partner and in the wrong relationship.
  • You should always be treated with respect and dignity. Never get in touch with someone who doesn't treat you that way.


  • Immediately call 112 or a crisis line in an emergency.
  • Violent behaviors do not "change". This is because they get worse over time. Don't stay in such a relationship just because you believe that you will be able to "love" your partner with their change. The only person who can change your partner happens to be themselves.

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