Are you afraid of your partner?
Yes / No

Do you feel as if you have to walk on eggshells to keep your partner from getting angry?
Yes / No

Does she/he emotionally abuse you ie insults, belittling comments, ignoring you, acting sulky or angry when you initiate an action or idea)?
Yes  /No

Does she/he tells you who you may be friends with, how you should dress, or tries to control other elements of your life or relationship?
Yes  /No

Does she/he get jealous when there is no reason?
Yes  /No

Is he/she physically violent to you or others, even if it only seems like grabbing and pushing to get his/her way?
Yes  /No 

Does she/he have extreme mood swings from being kind one minute and cruel the next?
Yes  /No

Is she/he angry and threatening to the extent that you have changed your life so as not to 'provoke' him/her?
Yes  /No

Does your partner make all the financial decisions without consulting you?
Yes  /No 

Is it impossible for you to freely express your values and opinions?
Yes  /No

If you have said 'yes' to two or more of the above then you may be in an abusive relationship.
These warning signs should make you wary but rather than focusing on single acts, look for patterns of behaviour that show control, restriction and disrespect. No-one should be frightened of their partner or prevented from making choices about their life.

Remember also that abusers are often very charming and convincing to everyone - including their partners, until the abuse starts - and then they often continue to be very charming to everyone else except him or her.

This often has the effect of making the woman or man think 'oh it must be me, it must be my fault', especially since the abuser is usually telling him/her it is. It can also make her feel awkward about telling other people because she won't seem plausible because they only know his or her 'nice' side.

The single biggest warning sign is:

  • If he or she have been in a violent relationship before. Abusive men and women rarely change.
  • Don't make the mistake of thinking 'it will be different with me - he/she didn't treat him right'. It's also worth remembering that although there are some men or women who are abused, almost without exception, every abuser claims that he/she was really the victim.

Other possible warning signs are:

  • He/she puts your friends down and / or makes it difficult for you to see them.
  • He/she loses his/her temper over trivial things.
  • He/she has very rigid ideas about the roles of men and women and can't / won't discuss it reasonably.
  • His/her mood swings are so erratic that you find yourself constantly trying to assess his/her mood and only think in terms of his/her needs. A healthy relationship has give and take.
  • It's difficult for you to get emotional or physical space away from him or her - even if you directly ask for it. And if you do get it, he/she 'grills' you about where you've been and who you were with.
  • He/she criticises you all the time - about your weight, your hair, your clothes, etc.
  • He/she makes all the decisions in your relationship and ignores your needs or dismisses them as unimportant.