Toni McLean
Think Twice!

0409 599 887   
02 4800 9311

toni@tonimclean.net.au
Suite 1, First Floor
65 Old Hume Highway

Mittagong   NSW   2575

providing relationship abuse prevention
and recovery counselling for

people experiencing partner abuse
people using partner abuse
parents experiencing abuse from older
   adolescent or adult children

individual and group counselling
emotional regulation workshops
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Copyright 2009 Toni  McLean

What is Abusive Behaviour in a Relationship?

Abusive behaviour is:
  any persistent, repetitive behaviour which serves to make one partner feel disrespected or threatened,
    in their relationship
, or which physically hurts a partner
  any controlling behaviour which serves to keep the other partner compliant and powerless in the
    relationship.

It comes in a variety of forms: verbal, emotional, psychological, financial, social, spiritual, physical, sexual, or assuming superiority or entitlement.

Any of us may have performed some of the behaviours below one or more times, without it being considered partner abuse, although it may still be destructive of the relationship. However, when the behaviour is frightening; dangerous; repetitive; part of an escalating pattern of conflict; or used to control the other; then it can be considered 'domestic violence', and getting help may be essential for safety.

Threatening / Intimidating
Using gestures, looks, actions to intimidate or control your partner
Making and/or carrying out threats to hurt or punish your partner
Frequently threatening to leave
Threatening to kill your partner or yourself
Coercing your partner to comply with your wishes
Coercing your partner to drop a protection order or other charges
Damaging property or abusing pets
Displaying weapons in a threatening way
Using access to the children to hurt or intimidate your partner
Threatening to take the children away
Making your partner feel guilty about the children
Verbal
Name-calling, insults or criticising your partner’s appearance or other personal characteristics
Calling your partner crazy, stupid, useless
Discounting, trivialising or denying what your partner says or believes
Using jokes or sarcasm to cover insults or criticism
Blaming your partner when it is not your partner’s fault
Making false accusations about your partner
Humiliating your partner in front of others
Emotional / Psychological
Using guilt to make your partner comply with what you want
Playing mind games, eg discounting or denying what your partner says, denying having done or said something
Humiliating your partner in front of others
Refusing to discuss issues, or ignoring, sulking, or storming out of discussions
Making light of or denying destructive behaviours
Not hearing/ignoring the concerns of your partner
Withholding important information
Physical
Pushing, shoving, tripping, shaking, choking, pulling hair, squeezing tightly
Hitting, punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning
Throwing things at your partner
Hitting with an object, using a weapon
Sexual
Insisting on sex when your partner doesn’t want to, or sexual behaviour your partner doesn’t like
Unwanted sexual touching or sexual jokes
Forcing your partner to watch or read pornography
Deliberately withholding sex to punish or control your partner
Threatening to go elsewhere for sex
Financial
Making financial decisions without consulting your partner
Keeping control of the money and denying your partner access to it
Preventing your partner from getting a job
Forcing your partner to get a job

Remember that generally these behaviours must serve to threaten, frighten or control a partner and must be used repeatedly to be considered 'domestic violence'. Also, 'domestic violence' is generally considered to exist where one partner is clearly in charge of, and controlling, the other.

Sometimes abusive behaviour may be bilateral, that is both partners are being abusive. If neither partner is significantly dominating or in control of the other this would not normally be considered 'domestic violence',  however, it  is still important for the couple to get help as it is destructive of the relationship, and injury could unintentionally occur.



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