Signs of an abusive relationship

Shadow of couple holding handsWe all know that Mumsnet is about the wisdom of crowds, but some individual posts so concisely sum up sound advice that they're routinely referenced on the Talk boards - Mumsnetter Reality's list of the warning signs of an abusive relationship or, to turn it round, what constitutes a normal relationship is just such a post.

So here it is: 

  • Most people have happy relationships, where disagreements happen and are resolved without resorting to shouting, name-calling or violence, or screwing someone else.
  • Most people's partners are happy for them to pursue their own friendships and interests, work and education, have access to money, make decisions.
  • Most people in a relationship stay faithful. They don't have affairs or cyber-sex or obsessively wank over porn day and night.
  • Don't be fooled into thinking that dysfunctional relationships are the norm. There are many of them on Mumsnet, but then people don't tend to ask for advice on healthy relationships, so we hear less about them.
  • Relationships are not supposed to be hard work, that is a big fat myth. Yes, you should work at your relationship but that is not the same thing at all.
  • Nobody should live their life in fear of angering their partner, or skirting round issues that might upset him. Or put up with cheating and lying for fear of rocking the boat.
  • Nobody should 'stay together for the children', or because of marriage vows. If your husband treats you badly, he has broken the vows. Children are much, much happier being brought up by parents who live apart than in an atmosphere of fear and loathing.
  • Just because you've escaped a level 10 bastard, doesn't mean you should settle for the level eight one that comes along. The only acceptable level of abuse is none.
  • Just because all your friends are in bad relationships, doesn't mean that you have to be.
  • I really want to debunk the myth that all men are bastards. They simply aren't. If you feel that all the men you meet are, it's because you are unconsciously sending out vibes to these men. They can spot a target a mile off.
  • Be on your own. It is much easier than sticking by a tosser. If you have been in more than one abusive relationship, seek some counselling, you may be codependent, or you may be modelling relationships on a warped template, perhaps from childhood.
  • If he abuses you, he is not a good father. Good fathers don't treat the mother of their children with disrespect.
  • It doesn't matter how much he says sorry and makes it up to you, if he continues to abuse you those apologies are worthless.
  • Don't be fooled into thinking the abuse isn't 'bad enough to leave'. If you are treated in any way less than cherished, loved and respected, it is bad enough to leave.
  • There is never a reason to stay with an abusive man. He won't kill himself if you leave him, he won't take your children, and yes, everybody will believe you.


Last updated: about 12 hours ago