Is Your Relationship Abusive?

By Dr. Irene Matiatos Ph.D.

      Do you wonder if your relationship may be 
      abusive? Ask yourself the questions below. 
      If you answer 'yes' to more than a few, you 
      may want to take a closer look: 

Does your partner:

 - ignore your feelings?  
 - disrespect you?  
 - ridicule or insult you then tell you its a joke, 
   or that you have no sense of humor?  
 - ridicule your beliefs, religion, race, heritage 
   or class?  
 - withhold approval, appreciation or affection?  
 - give you the silent treatment?  
 - walk away without answering you?  
 - criticize you, call you names, yell at you?  
 - humiliate you privately or in public?  
 - roll his or her eyes when you talk?  
 - give you a hard time about socializing with your 
   friends or family?  
 - make you socialize (and keep up appearances) even 
   when you don't feel well?  
 - seem to make sure that what you really want is exactly 
   what you won't get?  
 - tell you you are too sensitive?  
 - hurt you especially when you are down?  
 - seem energized by fighting, while fighting exhausts you?  
 - have unpredictable mood swings, alternating from good 
   to bad for no apparent reason?  
 - present a wonderful face to the world and is well liked 
   by outsiders?  
 - "twist" your words, somehow turning what you said 
   against you?  
 - try to control decisions, money, even the way you style 
   your hair or wear your clothes?  
 - complain about how badly you treat him or her?  
 - threaten to leave, or threaten to throw you out?  
 - say things that make you feel good, but do things 
   that make you feel bad?  
 - ever left you stranded?  
 - ever threaten to hurt you or your family?  
 - ever hit or pushed you, even "accidentally"?  
 - seem to stir up trouble just when you seem to be 
   getting closer to each other?  
 - abuse something you love: a pet, a child, an object?  
 - compliment you enough to keep you happy, yet criticize 
   you enough to keep you insecure?  
 - promise to never do something hurtful again?  
 - harass you about imagined affairs?  
 - manipulate you with lies and contradictions?  
 - destroy furniture, punch holes in walls, break appliances?  
 - drive like a road-rage junkie?  
 - act immature and selfish, yet accuse you of those behaviors?  
 - question your every move and motive, somehow questioning 
   your competence?  
 - interrupt you; hear but not really listen?  
 - make you feel like you can't win? damned if you do, 
   damned if you don't?  
 - use drugs and/or alcohol involved? are things worse 
 - incite you to rage, which is "proof" that you are to 
 - try to convince you he or she is "right," while you are 
 - frequently say things that are later denied or accuse you 
   of misunderstanding?  
 - treat you like a sex object, or as though sex should 
   be provided on demand regardless of how you feel?  

Your situation is critical if the following applies to you:

 You express your opinions less and less freely.  
 You find yourself walking on eggshells, careful of when 
 and how to say something.  
 You long for that softer, more vulnerable part of your 
 partner to emerge.  
 You find yourself making excuses for your partner's behavior.
 You feel emotionally unsafe.  
 You feel its somehow not OK to talk with others about 
 your relationship.  
 You hope things will change...especially through your 
 love and understanding.  
 You find yourself doubting your memory or sense of 
 You doubt your own judgment.  
 You doubt your abilities.  
 You feel vulnerable and insecure.  
 You are becoming increasingly depressed.  
 You feel increasingly trapped and powerless.  
 You have been or are afraid of your partner.  
 Your partner has physically hurt you, even once.  

If you feel your relationship may be verbally and emotionally 
abusive, talk to people you trust. Talk to clergy, call your 
local battered women's shelter, educate yourself, seek 
professional help. Do not allow verbal and emotional abuse 
to escalate to battery!


Required Reading: (You can purchase from by clicking 
on the book pictures)

 The Verbally Abusive Relationship
Getting Free: You Can End Abuse and Take

as of December 7, 2000