5 Lesser-Known Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship

A relationship where the intimate partner experiences violence, disrespect, cruelty, harm, force, or emotional and psychological trauma is called an abusive relationship.

An abusive relationship can involve physical violence, with visible signs like bruises, scathes, and scratches. It can also involve emotional and sexual abuse, which may or may not have visible signs.

Emotional and psychological trauma can go beyond the physical indications of an abusive relationship. Domestic violence and abusive relationship can be subtle with no visible signs.

5 signs of Physical Abuse

Let us discuss five early warning signals of physical relationship abuse.

Harming the Intimate Partner Physically

Physical assault causing harm to the partner is appalling and deplorable. It is the first visible sign of a relationship “not going well.” The first time the abusive partner may claim it as an accident or a momentary rage and plea for forgiveness, stating it will not happen again.

The abusive partner may offer extra love and affection to make the situation. On the receiving end, you do not consider it as your fault. Physical assault is never ok.

Abusive Partner Threats to the Victim

Often, the abusive partners will use this tactic to threaten you. They will threaten to harm you or themselves if you attempt to come out of the relationship. Even if it never happens, do not accept such threats, as it could be a beginning of a toxic relationship.

Involve you Forcibly in a Sexual Act

We do sexual acts with mutual consent. It is a divine expression of eternal love and togetherness among the partners. However, no one can force it on you. If your partner often urges you to engage in a sexual act when you do not want, it could soon turn into an abusive relationship. Forcing you to perform unnatural sexual acts that you are not comfortable performing could signal an abusive relationship.

Partner Controlling Behaviour

Abusive partners always try to control or dictate the intimate partner’s behaviour. You will face nagging questions about your whereabouts, why you took such a long time, etc.

The abusive partner will always try to intrude into your private zone. The partner may even cut connections between you and your friends and family and force you to stop seeing them. The abusive partner will force you to take permission to do things even in your personal life.

Isolating or Distancing You

Abusive partners will disconnect you and try to cut your resources, family, friends, job, etc. They will restrict your mobility, talking over the phone without their presence, checking and recording your calls and activities to stop you from calling them. They will create total isolation for you where they would not like you to think beyond them.

If you see any of the following situations happening to you, seek help from friends, family, or local authorities. Let us sum it up in 18 visible signs.

  • Exaggerated jealousy and possessiveness

  • Controlling your behaviour

  • Excessive love and affection

  • Forcing you to commit fast

  • Unrealistic expectations

  • Blames you as the cause of the problem

  • Isolating you

  • Blames you for feelings

  • Hypersensitivity

  • Disrespectful or cruel to you

  • Forcing you to do sex or a sexual act 

  • Frequent verbal abuse

  • Rigid sex roles

  • Sudden mood changes

  • Breaking or striking objects

  • Using force during an argument

  • Does not respect your privacy, property, or individual rights

  • Afraid of your partner

Although these signs of an abusive relationship are visible and quite common for all abusive relationships, it is not always correct to equate abusive relationships with domestic violence and physical abuse.

Domestic violence triggering abusive relationships can be insidious and unacknowledged. There are a few far-reaching types of abuse that do not fall under physical −

5 Types of non-physical Abuse

  • Emotional abuse

  • Psychological abuse

  • Financial abuse

  • Harassment and neglect

  • Stalking and controlling

Deceptive Signs of Abusive Relationships

Abusive relationships may stem from intense loving at the inception. The domestic partner may come as caring, protective, attentive, supportive, and complement you. It can manifest in unusual attention and affection from your partner.

Beginning of an Abusive Relationship

Abusers may try to take quick control over the victim, influence the choices, and increase the intensity of the relationship.

Risk Factors Leading to Domestic Violence

Here are the top risk factors leads to domestic violence −


Isolated individuals have limited resources. They may have no support system and are at risk of experiencing an abusive relationship.

Gender and Color

Researchers of abusive relationships observed women are more prone to face domestic violence. Women who are black or coloured, indigenous, or less educated can bear even higher risk.

Other Risk Factors

  • Personal & family history of domestic violence

  • Financially unstable

  • Traditional gender norms

  • Lack of social and family support systems

  • Low education of victims or the parents

  • Toxic family relationships

  • Immaturity of young age

  • Alcohol and drugs consumption

  • Untrue to you

  • Showing traits f self-centred and double standard

  • Extramarital relationship

  • Jealousy

  • Confused

  • Trust friends than you

  • Anxiety and depression

  • Work-related stress and frustration

  • Has a history of physical abuse in the family

6 Subtle signs of Domestic Violence

  • Possessiveness and caring

  • Insists on accompanying the victim everywhere

  • Gas lighting techniques – making you think mentally not well

  • Live bombing to smooth over emotional attack

  • Victim seeks to please the abuser

  • Constant and frequent breaks ups & make-ups

Seek Help From Legal Authorities

Do not get afraid of your abusive partner. Do not get intimated by your abusive partner. Stand for your right. Do not shy away, proactively initiate the talk with your friends and family, and take social support.

But first, talk to your partner to put your stand upright. Talk to a counselor or take your partner to a counselor to involve a third point of view to see things objectively. If nothing works, then take legal or police help.