Most people who are violent or controlling can also be very charming and manipulative. It's common for a person to be super nice and generous right at the beginning when you get together. But there are often early warning signs too. You can read more about the signs to look out for here.
If you're with someone who isn't nice to you, it's not worth staying no matter how charming and sweet the person may be at times. We know it can be hard to leave, but trust your gut!
Talk to your friends about the warning signs. Everyone needs this knowledge, it can be vital.
Signs that your partner may be violent:
- Your partner speaks badly about previous partners and can't see that they have done anything wrong in the relationship. It's all the former partner's fault. Your partner talks about past relationships in a bad way, and may even claim to have been abused by their former partner.
- Your partner says you're the only person who understands it. But it won't be long before they also say "you're just like everyone else". They may even do the opposite: they may talk about their former partners in a way that makes you feel inferior and that you can never "be like them", in order to gain power over you.
- Your partner disrespects you by making jokes at your expense, perhaps even in front of other people. They are mean to you and look down on your opinions and experiences.
- Your partner is helpful to you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable. They constantly make you feel indebted to them and get angry if they are not allowed to help you, for example if you say no.
- Your partner is controlling and shows jealousy. Your partner has opinions about how you should dress or how you should wear your hair and what you should say in different situations. They find it hard to accept that you have your own tastes and style.
- They don't like your friends and have opinions about who you should hang out with. They may also find it difficult to accept that you talk to other girls/guys/people (depending on your sexual orientation).
- Your partner pressures you to have sex or makes you do things you don't want to do when you have sex.
- Your partner may treat you in a way that they would never think is okay. Your partner may feel entitled to be cared for and nurtured but cannot do the same for you. These people often have unrealistic expectations of their partner.
- Your partner wants to move in together or get married very early in the relationship. This may be a way for the person to control and "own" you. They find it hard to accept if you want to wait to do these things.
- Your partner abuses drugs or drinks a lot of alcohol.
- Your partner scares you when they get angry. Your partner may say threatening things, push you or approach you in a threatening way. They may kick the wall or break things when they get angry, often objects that you like or own. Your partner may say: "if you hadn't made me so angry, I would never have had to do this to you".
- Your partner is drawn to vulnerability and chooses girlfriends who have recently gone through a crisis or loss of some kind. They may actively choose to get together with younger girls or girls who are in very bad shape.
- Your partner treats you differently when you are with other people. Your partner treats you disrespectfully when you are alone, but speaks well of you when you are with others. Or the other way around. You might say things like "they're so nice when it's just the two of us, I don't know why they're behaving this way now".
- You start to blame yourself if your partner behaves badly or insensitively towards you. You think you're probably overdoing it, that maybe it was your fault, that they can't help it.
- You think that your love for your partner might change their mind. Here it is important to know that your love for your partner will not make them change. No love can change someone who behaves in a controlling and violent way. The truth is that most people who are violent and behave disrespectfully do not want to change because they enjoy feeling powerful and in control.
- You think that if you are only kind and loving to your partner, they will eventually change and treat you as well as you treat them. This is a very common way of thinking for people who are keen to treat others well themselves and who are warm and want to be understanding. The truth is that the person who is abusive will not treat you better even if you treat them well. Your partner will take advantage of your kindness instead of being kind back.
- You've started to notice that your confidence and self-esteem have deteriorated without really knowing why. You blame yourself for the change.
- Your partner tells you who you are or how you are in a negative way. Remember, no one has the right to tell you what you are, what you think, what you like or don't like, or what you need! If your partner does this, it could be a sign of controlling behaviour.
If you read this list and know that several items describe your relationship and the person you are seeing, try to leave them.
We talk to many girls who experience similar relationships and we know how hard it can be to leave. It can feel like what you're going through is completely normal - but it's not. This is part of a degrading process where you see yourself more and more from the other person's point of view.
If you are in a harmful relationship
It is common to feel fearful about leaving the person you are with. But you can get help to get out of the relationship!
It is common to think that you can change the person who is abusing you. But you can't.
However, you can help yourself by telling someone about what you are experiencing. There are many different organisations working to help people leave abusive relationships. Remember that you deserve to feel good!
For example, you can contact the social welfare office in your municipality. You can also contact a women's shelter near you. You can also call various girls' and women's shelters. The women's helpline provides advice and support to people who have been subjected to threats and violence. Their telephone number is open 24 hours a day: 020-50 50 50
Subjecting someone to violence is a crime. This means that you can also report the incident to the police if you wish.
You can also always talk to us in the chat about what you're experiencing. We listen and are always on your side.