A quick test to see if you are in an abusive relationship.
Abuse doesn’t usually happen at the start of a relationship. It develops over time, maybe a long time, or maybe much more quickly.
However there is a way to see the signs very early on. Rob Andrews, an Australian domestic abuse counsellor calls it the ‘No test’.
Early in a relationship watch out for the reaction when you change your mind or just say ‘No’.
A reaction of disappointment is to be expected and that’s fine, but annoyance or anger suggests that you have no right to change your mind or say ‘No’.
It’s saying, ‘How dare you?’. It shows an attitude of ownership, possession and control.
This often leads to physical abuse as the anger increases.
Why are some men abusive?
It’s the result of our patriarchal (male dominated) society that has existed for thousands of years where women are considered to be second class citizens.
(I know that women can be the abusers but the vast majority are men, and usually they can inflict much more physical damage).
What you can do about abuse
If you see these early signs, these red flags, my advice is, if possible, ‘GET OUT’ as fast as you can. Don’t stay in the hope that your abuser will change. He won’t change for you. He will only change if he wants to, in which case he will probably need outside help.
You are NOT responsible for his behaviour. It’s all his.
If you can’t leave, there are free confidential services available:
Freephone 0808 2000 247 Free 24/7 from landline and mobile
Run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, is a national service for women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf.
If you are in immediate danger, call 999. The police have a duty to help you.