Abusive relationship signs

5 signs you’re entering an abusive relationship

by Fran Creffield - December 2, 2013

No one wants to be in an abusive relationship but many people who’ve been the victim of one say that, with hindsight, many of the signs were there at the beginning. Here are 5 to look out for

We want to prevent as many people as possible going through the pain of an abusive relationship. If you are able to identify the signs quickly and end a potentially dangerous relationship before it becomes abusive, then you’ll save yourself a lot of heartache and pain in the long run. One place to start is Clare’s Law, which was been rolled out across England and Wales in 2014. This law allows people to check the police records of their partners to find out whether they have an abusive relationship history.

What is Clare’s Law?

The law is named after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton at her Salford home in February 2009. Clare had met George through Facebook and had no idea that he had a history of violence against women. Had she been aware of his record she may have never entered an abusive relationship with him and could still be alive today.

As Theresa May wrote in a statement to the House of Commons: ‘Claire’s Law provides people with the information they need to escape an abusive situation before it ends in tragedy.’

You can trigger the disclosure of someone’s domestic violence history in two ways:

  • Right to ask: the law allows people to apply to police forces in England and Wales for information on a partner’s domestic violence history (even if complaints did not lead to a conviction)
  • Right to know: police can proactively disclose information in prescribed circumstances.

A panel made up of police, probation services, and other agencies will check every request to ensure it’s necessary before trained police offices and advisers provide support to victims.

Some critics fear that women will not use the law to find out about their new partner’s history. They say that if a woman feels the need to check, it could indicate she’s already in an abusive relationship. Hopefully, it is seen by most as a sensible precaution – an extra safeguard when meeting people. In time, it may become as acceptable as checking out a new partner’s sexual health.

5 signs of a potentially abusive relationship

1. It’s too good to be true

Sadly if your relationship seems too good to be true, it often is. Abusive people are very good at being extremely attentive early in a relationship. They can make you feel special, as if you’re the only person who could mean this much to them. They may seem larger than life; dazzling, entertaining and energetic. These partners can’t get enough of you.

2. They’re jealous and controlling

Do they want to know where you’ve been and who you’ve been with? Have they started to control how you spend your time away from them?

3. They lack personal responsibility

Do they blame everyone else for their mistakes and feelings? If they’re hurtful towards you, you could be persuaded that it’s actually your fault and you may end up apologising even though you did nothing wrong.

4. You walk on eggshells around them

Abusive people are often hyper-sensitive and may fly off the handle about the smallest of things. You find yourself feeling tense and changing your behaviour so you don’t trigger them.

5. They don’t respect other people

Although they’re sweet and charming to you, they’re very rude and dismissive to service staff, cruel to children, or bitter about their ex.

These are all signs that this might become an abusive relationship. There’s a lot more information on what constitutes domestic violence and abuse at www.womensaid.org.uk and www.mensadviceline.org.uk.

If in doubt, check it out.

It’s better to listen to your instincts and take action before you get in too deep or your self-esteem has taken such a battering it’s hard to escape.