Is this an abusive relationship?

by | Jan 10, 2011 | Relationship Help | 1 comment

Being in love is one of life’s most exciting experiences.  Sometimes though the goal of being in a loving relationship, can lead people to do and put up with unhealthy things.  I encourage people to be open and honest with themselves when things begin to feel uncomfortable in their relationship.  If feelings of discomfort are left unattended, it can lead to increased discomfort, distress, and potential crisis.    Abuse is: the attempt by one person to control another using fear, violence, intimidation.   Abuse is not just physical. It may also be emotional, sexual, or psychological.

Your partner is acting abusively if he or she is:

  • acting jealous and possessive
  • keeping you away from your family or friends
  • deciding how you should dress or act
  • hitting, kicking or pushing you
  • using guilt or manipulation to get you to do things you don’t want to do
  • insulting you, degrading you, humiliating you
  • forcing you to have sex

A researcher by the name of Lenore Walker did ground breaking studies on abused women and determined what she called the ‘Cycle of Abuse’ this cycle relates to the typical pattern that occurs in abusive relationships.

Phase 1 Tension Building: Breakdown of communication, victim becomes fearful and feels need to sooth/calm the abuser. 

Phase 2 Incident: Verbal, emotional, physical abuse.  It can include anger, blaming, arguing, threats, intimidation.

Phase 3 Reconciliation:  Abuser apologises, might give excuses, blame victim, promise it won’t happen again, and finally

Phase 4 Calm: The ‘Honeymoon phase’ when there is no abuse taking place.  

The most important piece to recognize from the ‘Cycle of Abuse’ is that the cycle is continuous.  It does not end, until it is broken.  The ‘honeymoon’ stage will not last, tension will eventually build again, and lead to further acts of abuse.

Relationships aren’t supposed to leave you feeling victimized, hurt, insignificant, alone, put down etc. If you are an abuser, or if you are being abused, you need help to stop this destructive cycle.  Help for ending abuse is available, please reach out and find the support you need. 

If you or someone you know is being abused please reach out for support.

  • Distress Centres – 416-408-HELP (4357) – 24 hour help line
  • Assaulted Woman’s Line – 416-863-0511 – 24 hour help line
  • Catholic Family Services – 416-921-1163
  • Victim Services – 416-808-7066
  • Kids Help Phone – 1-800-668-6868

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