Abusive Relationship

How to Identify an Abusive Relationship

“It’s normal”, these words have been uttered multiple times in a relationship marred with abuse. Normalizing abusive behavior is the foremost sign of a relationship that needs aid.


From heterosexual to homosexual relationships, from casual dating to marriages, from work to home, abuse is tough to identify in companionship. Contrary to myths, humans of all genders are vulnerable to abuse. It’s true that there are warning signs but it’s human to deny them.


In the sentences that follow, we shall be talking about what an abusive relationship entails, the triggers and the signs. This could help us identify abuse and seek help within our own relationship or others around us. 


Abuse is of various kinds, it could be physical, emotional, mental, and sometimes even financial.

Physical Harms That’s Vocal

It’s the most evident and easily identifiable form of abuse. The marks on the body, grabbing, punching, shouting, and yelling combined with the constant cloud of fear amongst all of these. You may often hear the victim label it as a ‘one-off’ incident or something that ‘rarely happens’.


Bruise marks on the limbs, lips, and eyes are the most common ones but there are cases when physical abuse culminates into sexual abuse and the signs may not be readily visible. There are also cases where very subtle acts of grabbing hands and touching inappropriately fall in similar brackets. Not each attack can be termed violent but that doesn’t make it irrelevant.


Even if it feels like a small episode and the intensity reduces when you become passive, it’s still a pertinent form of abuse.

Emotional and Invisible

Emotional abuse is terribly tough to put one’s finger on. It could be happening to your neighbor and you may have no idea. Yet the signs of changes in personality for a person going through abuse are evident.


The toxicity of emotional abuse causes changes that include:

  • Fear and guilt
  • Low self-esteem
  • Constant apologies
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Changing sleep habits
  • Outgoing to reserved 
  • Increasingly private
  • Cutting off family and friends.


Like any other form of abuse, this also entails the victim labeling the episodes as ‘my fault’ and ‘maybe I deserved it’. 

Draining Financial Support

Another prevalent form of abuse in marriages and other relationships involves finances.


Denying access to your own funds, keeping a close check on spends and using it as blackmail, refusing money for necessary purchases such as food and medicines, and draining accounts without prior information, are the most common forms of financial abuse.

Abuse that’s Digital

In the world of today with an overwhelming dosage of technology drifting into our everyday lives, abuse has crept into the world wide web too.


Controlling your online presence, limiting virtual contact, insisting on always having your credentials, using spyware to track your activities, and constantly patronizing you on shared social media channels are all forms of digital abuse.

Triggers to Abuse

The ciphers of abuse are murky but they can be broken down into clear brackets when investigated across factions.


Some of them include:

  • Gaslighting – Your partner is constantly manipulating you into believing that the fault in judgment lies with you. This is done to maintain control in a relationship.
  • Intimidation – Using threats, control, verbal abuse, and emotional abuse to constantly disparage the victim.
  • Shame and blame – Using lies, humiliating names, emotional outbursts, vindictive accusations, and walkouts to shame one’s partner is another trigger. This is also followed by pushing them into conflict situations with an aim to upset them and try getting a reaction while also playing the victim to shift the blame from the perpetrator. 
  • Unpredictable behavior and isolation – Abusers can often disguise usual tendencies, this leads to episodes that have no warning signals. Isolating the victims from their support group and routine lifestyle is also a dangerous trigger.
What do I do?

If you or anyone you know seem to be going through the pattern of abuse, we first request you to step out and seek help. This help can start from confiding in close friends and family that are your support group and then proceed to legal assistance.


If the intensity of abuse is extremely high, calling professional help comes first. There are numerous helplines available that can be contacted with a single click of a button right from home. First and foremost, our request is to not justify the abuse and remain in denial. It’s unhealthy and will rupture the relationship eventually. 


While we agree that speaking up against abuse could be the toughest step one can take, it is also the most important one that you will need in your or another’s step to recovery.