Some dating relationships resemble marriages in that the couple spend much time alone, lose contact with their friends and become sexually active very early. Romance may become confused with power and control and jealousy with love.
Below, we'll describe some of the characteristics of abusive relationships, abusers, and the people who are abused.
Characteristics of an abusive relationship:
- Won’t let you talk to people of the opposite sex (or same sex).
- Asks you to stop seeing your friends.
- Won’t socialize with you with other couples of friends.
- Has no other close relationship, friends or family.
- Is very dependent.
- Has to know where you are and who you are with at all times.
- Likes to scare you by doing reckless things.
- Tells other people things you said or did that make you feel stupid.
- Looks through your personal belongings.
- Forces you to do sexual things by physical force, put downs, or threats to leave.
- Makes threats about hurting you or your friends or killing him or herself if you leave.
- Hits you or is physically rough no matter how sorry he/she is after.
- Flirts with other people to make you jealous.
- Criticizes what you wear and do.
- Makes fun of your extra-curricular activities.
- Puts down your friends.
- Tells you that you are stupid, lazy, fat, ugly, promiscuous, etc.
Characteristics of an abuser:
- Has very low self esteem.
- Becomes very angry over trivial things like being late or dressing inappropriately.
- Is often depressed or withdrawn but won't talk about his/her feelings.
- Becomes angry or violent when using alcohol or drugs.
- Has rigid and stereotypical ideas about what men and women should be and do.
Characteristics of the person being abused:
- You can’t live without your partner. He/she have become the centre of your life to the exclusion of others.
- You feel like you have to “walk on eggshells” to avoid confrontations.
- You can’t talk about your worries and fears about the relationship with your partner.
- You stop seeing your friends or family, or give up activities you enjoy.
- You stop expressing your opinions when your partner doesn’t agree with them.
- You feel you can’t tell anyone how your partner behaves because you would be too embarrassed.
- You feel you are the only one who can help your partner and you should try to “reform” or “help” him or her.
- You stay because you feel your partner will kill himself/herself if you leave.
- You believe the critical things said about you and end up feeling bad about yourself.
- You believe jealousy is a sign of love.
Resources and Support:
Local support (group/individual) for abusers and their partners:
- Valley Regional Hospital, Kentville, 902-678-7381
- EKM Clinic, Wolfville, 902-542-4619
- Legal Aid Services, Kentville, 902-679-6110
For support or safe shelter:
- S.A.M.S. Sexually Abused Males Surviving, a self-help support group for men: Kentville, 902-678-2913
- Chrysalis House: Crisis Line (24hrs) 902-679-1922
- Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, Halifax, 902-422-4240 (after hours: 902-425-0122)
What to do about abuse:
- Nova Scotia Family & Children's Services: 902-679-2334
Messages responded to Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm