Surviving Abuse in a Relationship

How To Recognise and Respond To Relationship Abuse

How would you respond to abuse in a relationship? 

Awareness of domestic violence is a huge step in changing someones life. 

Abuse is much wider than just physical violence and the threat can come come in many forms. Would you recognise the signs of abuse? 

What would you do to survive?

Would you know who to turn to for help?

This page will help you recognise the different types of abuse.  This page will help you choose your responce to red flags of abuse in a relationship.  

Signs Of An Abusive Relationship

If you have already read about the red flags in a relationship you will have seen that abuse is one of the most dramatic of the red flags. In any of its many forms relationship abuse is corrosive and potentially dangerous. That is why it is important to recognise if there are signs of abuse in your relationship. 

No one ever set out to be abused in a relationship. I have never heard anyone set relationship goals that included being emotionally abused or verbally abused. And yet, people who find themselves in an abusive relationship, or even worse, experiencing domestic violence don't immediately pack and walk out of the door. In fact, it is not unusual for a person to suffer multiple occasions of physical abuse or coercive control in a relationship before they will seek professional help.

The signs of abuse are often apparent to an outsider looking in even though the victim covers and denies or even defends their partner. 

The victim has their own story. Their own way of rationalising the behaviour. Their own beliefs about themselves and their partner. Their own cognitive dissonance. This is why most domestic abuse awareness campaigners highlight the fact that a woman might be assaulted over thirty occasions before calling the police. 

If you recognise signs of abuse in your relationship you need to act quickly, even if only to reassess your situation. Responsibility is your ability to choose your response to a given stimulus. 

When you assess the stimulus (signs of abuse) you will unconsciously filter with your internal beliefs and values. You will distort, generalise and delete anything that doesn't align with your internal programming. In NLP this known as the Model of Communication. That is where life coaching with NLP can bring the unconscious patterns to the fore to be reprogrammed for your success. You will see with new eyes, hear with new ears and reassess with a clear understanding of what the behaviour means to you. We are on each others team.

One of the biggest signs of abuse in a relationship is when the behaviour pattern repeats itself. Often referred to as the Cycle of Abuse (or the Cycle of Abuse Wheel or Cycle of Domestic Violence). Click the link to read more, or visit the Relationship Abuse lead page for links to other information about abuse in a relationship.

Types Of Abuse In A Relationship 

Abuse in a relationship could also be referred to as domestic abuse or spousal abuse if you are married. Labels are irrelevant from the point of taking action. Labels will open up further problems which can lead to self sabotage because of unconscious beliefs about self judgement and identity. If your unconscious mind is unwilling to accept the identity of a "victim of abuse" you will respond accordingly. It isn't about you anyway.

To help you recognise the types of abuse in a relationship here are some examples: 

Emotional Abuse In a Relationship

Any kind of manipulative, devious, deceptive, confusing, ridiculing behaviour pattern in a relationship can cause you to question your own sanity. 

Gaslighting can be a form of emotional abuse. You are made to feel that you are to blame, you are clumsy, you are useless and so on. The difference with gaslighting in a relationship is when there are ulterior darker motives behind the behaviour. 

Verbal Abuse In a Relationship

Verbal abuse on its own is just foul mouthed name calling. Some might even call it banter. Think of chanting at a sporting event. But verbal abuse in a relationship should be a big red flag. Anything that is driven by ego is not driven by unconditional love and you should question the motives and intentions of anyone who persistently verbally abuses you. If they had a plan, are you even in it?

Psychological Abuse In a Relationship

Psychological abuse in a relationship can take many forms and is similar to emotional abuse, except the stakes are higher.  Psychological abuse is an intentional behaviour to achieve a specific outcome. The perpetrator intentionally creates an emotional response (often fear) in order to coerce and control you. 

Stalking and harassment are forms of psychological abuse. The intended outcome is to drive fear into the victim. When a person is in a state of fear, they are easier to manipulate. At the same time, stalking and harassment are massive red flags because it is criminal form of threatening behaviour. It could even involve a threat to kill. 

Financial Abuse In a Relationship

Financial abuse is a form of coercive and controlling behaviour that cuts you off from monetary resources. It could be someone putting limits on your spending. How much fuel you can put in the car, or how much food you can buy at the grocers. 

Financial abuse will also limit the amount of time you can spend away from home. 

Silent Treatment Abuse In a Relationship

Silent treatment is a withdrawal of affection. It is a form of punishment linked to emotional and psychological abuse. 

If someone is using this tactic against you it is likely that you have found them out over some issue or other. You then get the silent treatment abuse until you change your emotional response. You begin to feel guilt or regret for something you did or said when it was quite clearly the other persons problem. 

Physical Abuse In A Relationship

Physical abuse in a relationship is a red flag for potential danger ahead. What might start as a slap, a punch, a push can eventually escalate into something far more sinister. 

There is a reason why responding to domestic violence is always a key priority for police departments. Seven out of ten homicides are committed in a relationship context.

All types of abuse in a relationship are toxic. 

They are often repeated behaviours across many relationships. It isn't about you. The person poses a risk to whoever they were in a relationship with.

Some police departments offer a disclosure service whereby they will reveal an individuals background if it is believed they pose such a risk. The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme is often referred to as "Clares Law" in the UK.

There may be other factors involved such as addictive behaviours, such as drugs and alcohol. If that is a possibility in your relationship you should seek professional help.     

How will you respond to abuse in a relationship?

How Many Times . . . 

Will you suffer silent treatment in a relationship

Will you suffer emotional abuse in a relationship 

Will you be ridiculed, spoken down to, blamed by your partner

Will you suffer verbal abuse in a relationship

Will you be pushed, struck, or strangled by your partner

Will you suffer physical abuse in a relationship

Will you allow the cycle of abuse to revolve in your relationship?

Leverage To Act On Abuse in a Relationship

It takes leverage, or motivation to leave an abusive relationship, and for very good reason. For survivors of abuse in a relationship, success can mean the difference between life and death. That should be massive leverage to take massive action in my book.

Relationship abuse statistics show that serious domestic violence occurs after the victim ends the relationship.

That is why it is vital to to build your inner resources as well as your external resources. Nobody says ending abuse in a relationship is easy. But if you ask anyone who has done it, they say it was absolutely worth it. 

Protect Yourself and Others From Abuse In A Relationship

Draw inspiration and support from as many sources as possible. Just one person saying that you should leave wont necessarily mean you will, but if you are hearing this over and over again, there is only one thing stopping you. 

If you think the pain of leaving is going to be greater than the pain of staying we need to talk. You can shift your leverage by asking better questions.  

You probably couldn't imagine the joy, pleasure, and freedom you would experience if you were to leave your abusive relationship. The fear stops you. And your fear is real even though it can be overcome.

Be your own life coach. Answer these simple life coaching questions:

Think of a time when you were highly motivated to take action.

What did you achieve?

Whose needs were important to you?

Who else benefited because you took action?

Whose needs are important to you now?

Out of Dark Current Reality comes a Brighter Future 

Imagine one day telling your friends how you turned your life around and how the success of others really inspired you to make changes in your life. Yours could be the inspirational story that somebody else is looking for today.

Domestic Violence Resources

Domestic violence is a criminal offence in most countries. My advice is always to bring any such domestic violence to the awareness of your emergency services. Either by yourself or someone close to you who can support you through the process. 

You could also contact your local Family Justice Center (in the USA) or charities such as Women's Aid (UK). 

Most countries employ a multi agency approach to tackling domestic violence because the stakes are high. You can be appointed an IDVA (Independent Domestic Abuse Advocate) 

They can advise you on all sorts of issues such as restraining orders, and other counselling type services that might be available.  

Relationship Breakthrough Coach Mission

Increase awareness of all types of relationship abuse. 

Change attitudes and perceptions about relationship abuse. 

Expand opportunities for survivors of abuse to SOAR!

Empower people to respond to all types of abuse in a relationship.  

Inspire people to walk away from an abusive relationship.  

Celebrate and share success in people achieving their relationship goals.

Arrange free coaching consultation to break old patterns and habits that no longer serve you. Alternatively, visit the Life Coaching Hub to find out how life coaching can work for you.

Life coaching sessions with the Relationship Breakthrough Coach transforms relationship abuse into relationship breakthrough. I reconnect people with their drive, their heart, and their life. 

Remember, you are the only one in control of your situation. You are the only one who can change. Others in your situation have become free from domestic violence.


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Hope you found your visit to the Relationship Breakthrough Coach of value today. Did you find what you are looking for?

I am adding new content all the time but if you have any idea's or topics you would really love to see here, get in touch and let me know.

In the meantime here are more great pages dedicated to transforming your relationship breakdown or break up into a breakthrough. 

You might like these:

  • Relationship Abuse

    Recognising relationship abuse for the first time can be a blessing and a curse.

  • Relationship Abuse Signs

    How do you spot relationship abuse signs? Bullying, narcissistic, manipulative, even deceptive behaviour patterns can signal relationship abuse.

  • Cycle Of Abuse

    Can you spot the cycle of abuse in toxic relationships? What would you do if you did? How many cycles would you tolerate before you took action?

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