Abusive Relationships

Healthy Relationships: 

Non-Threatening Behavior
• Talking and acting so that your partner feels safe and comfortable doing and saying things.

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• Listening to your partner non-judgmentally.
• Being emotionally affirming and understanding.
• Valuing opinions.

Trust and Support 
• Supporting your partner’s goals in life.
• Respecting your partner’s right to his or her own feelings, friends, activities and opinions.

Honesty and Accountability
• Accepting responsibility for self.
• Acknowledging past use of violence and / or emotionally abusive behavior, changing the behavior.
• Acknowledging infidelity, changing the behavior.
• Admitting being wrong when it is appropriate.
• Communicating openly and truthfully, acknowledging past abuse, seeking help for abusive relationship patterns.

Responsible Parenting 
• Sharing parental responsibilities.
• Being a positive, non-violent role model for children.

Shared Responsibility 
• Mutually agreeing on a fair distribution of work.
• Making family decisions together.

Abusive Relationships:

Using Intimidation 
• Making your partner afraid by using looks, actions, gestures.
• Smashing or destroying property or sentimental items.
• Destroying or confiscating your partner’s property.
• Abusing pets as a display of power and control.
• Silence.
• Displaying weapons or threatening their use.
• Making physical threats.

Using Emotional Abuse 
• Criticizing little things – putting your partner down.
• Making your partner feel bad about himself or herself.
• Threatening to hurt your partner or children.
• Playing mind games.
• Interrogating your partner. 
Accusations of unfaithfulness.  
• Harassing or intimidating your partner.
• “Checking up on” your partner’s activities or whereabouts.
• Humiliating your partner, whether through direct attacks or “jokes”.
• Making your partner feel guilty.
• Shaming your partner.

Using Isolation
• Controlling what your partner does, who he or she sees and talks to, what he or she reads, where he or she goes.
• Limiting your partner’s outside involvement, working, or school.
• Demanding your partner remains home when you are not with them.
• Cutting your partner off from prior friends, family, activities, and social interaction.

Minimizing, Denying and Blame – Shifting
• Using jealousy to justify your actions.
(Control and jealousy are primary symptoms of abusive relationships)
• Making light of the abuse and not taking your partner’s concerns about it seriously.
• Saying the abuse did not happen, or wasn’t that bad.
• Shifting responsibility for your abusive behavior to your partner. (i.e: I did it because you ______).
• Saying your partner caused it.

Using Children 
• Making your partner feel guilty about the children.
• Using the children to relay messages.
• Using visitation to harass your partner.
• Threatening to harm or take the children away.

Using Male Privilege 
• Treating your partner like a servant.
• Making all the big decisions.
• Acting like the “master of the castle.”
• Being the one to define men’s and women’s or the relationship’s roles.

Using Economic Abuse 
• Preventing your partner from getting or keeping a job.
• Making your partner ask for money.
• Giving your partner an allowance.
• Taking your partner’s money.
• Not letting your partner know about or have access to family income.