3 hidden signs of abuse in relationships

There a many cases of abuse that aren’t easily identified or understood by victims, especially among young people. The following are frequently asked questions from youth about abusive relationships.

  1. My partner tells me that if I ever leave the relationship, they will commit suicide. I couldn’t live with the guilt if that happened. How can I leave a relationship like that?

Many people who have experienced abuse suggest that their partner threatened to commit suicide so that they wouldn’t leave. This is a form of emotional abuse and more often than not, this is an empty threat to make you feel guilty so that you will stay. This is unsafe and unlikely to stop. Threats may also be made to hurt your pet.

There is also support available for your partner if they have a genuine mental illness. Perhaps there’s a friend or family member that you trust that you feel you can talk to. It’s important that you can identify that this behaviour is not ok, and there are people who will listen and support you and your partner to get the help that you need.

  1. My partner always makes fun of me when we are out socially, but passes it off as a joke and everyone else laughs too. It makes me feel uncomfortable but if my peers think it’s funny, perhaps I’m over reacting, my partner says I’m too sensitive. Is this abuse?

If your partner’s behaviour makes you feel uncomfortable, is repeated and you have asked him or her to stop then this is abuse.  Perhaps friends have expressed a concern, you’ve noticed the insults are more frequent or the insults happen alone as well as in groups or there is other types of threatening behaviour occurring.

Abusive people will often make jokes that others believe are funny, but you know that they are really threats or put-downs in disguise. Sometimes you are the only one who will recognise this so friends may wonder why you get so upset. This is not ok and it is abuse.

Perhaps there’s a friend or family member that you trust that you feel you can talk to.

  1. My partner keeps logging into my Facebook account without my permission and then making threats based on what they have read in my private messages. Is this ok?

You deserve to feel safe in your relationship both in person and online. If your partner is being digital abusive, this behaviour is not tolerable and could be illegal. You should always remember that you can keep your passwords private – sharing passwords should never be a requirement of being in a relationship. You can visit Facebook for helpful information on how to respond to online threats and harassment.

If you feel as though any of these questions related to you you can find out more information on identifying abuse and how to seek help by downloading Oi from the App Store or Google Play.  Available to download at: http://www.oiapp.org.au/