All couples have power struggles and disagreements at times, but when there is a pattern of control that results in one partner winning on most issues, at the expense of the other’s rights, beliefs and desires, that is abuse.
Here's is a checklist to help you clarify your situation:
Does Your Partner...
- Frequently use put-downs, call you names or belittle the things you do?
- Demand an unrealistic amount of your time, energy, attention or affection and get angry if you do not oblige?
- Insist on having the decision-making power on most issues?
- Expect you to be around constantly, and resent any time you spend pursuing your own interests or seeing other people?
- Keep control of the money and give you an inadequate allowance?
- Treat you with hostile silence and cold contempt for long periods?
- Use punishing behaviour to manipulate you into ‘doing as you’re told’?
- Deliberately make you feel guilty or inadequate by using blame and criticism?
- Harass you or use standover tactics to get you to comply?
- Fly into sudden irrational tempers for little or no reason then blame these outbursts on you?
- Frighten you by smashing up possessions?
- Threaten to harm you or the people you love?
- Restrain you, slap, shove or shake you, pull your hair, kick or punch you?
- Show excessive jealousy and accuse you unjustly of flirting or having affairs?
- Force or coerce you into having sex or participating in sexual practices that you do not feel comfortable with?
- Constantly refuse to take responsibility for destructive behaviour?
- Deny events happened as they did or use other mind games?
- Refuse to give you emotional support, even when you have a major crisis to deal with like a death in the family?
- Humiliate you in front of others or make jokes at your expense?
- Pretend to be kind and caring toward you in front of others but treat you totally differently when you are alone together?
- Undermine your relationship with your children?
- Deprive you of sleep by arguing late into the night?
- Used improved behaviour when you are considering leaving but resume abusive behaviour when the danger has passed?
© Copyright Kay Douglas. Kay Douglas is a registered psychotherapist, counsellor and life coach. She is also the author of four self-help books: Invisible Wounds, Challenged by Childhood, Living Life Out Loud and Power Games (co-authored with Dr Kim McGregor). She is in private practice in Auckland, New Zealand. For more information please visit www.kaydouglas.co.nz
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