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An abusive relationship is an interpersonal relationship characterized by the use or threat of physical or psychological abuse (see battered woman syndrome). Abusive relationships are often characterized by jealousy, emotional withholding, lack of intimacy, infidelity, sexual coercion, verbal abuse, broken promises, physical violence, control games and power plays.[1]. Abusive relationships are often progressive. That is, the abuse gets worse over time.

Warning signs

These are some of the warning signs that may indicate either you or someone else is being abused.

  • physical harm of any kind
  • attempts to control aspects of your life (e.g., how you dress, who your friends are, what you say, etc.)
  • humiliation
  • coercing and/or threats of physical harm to you or those close to you.
  • demanding to know where you are at all times
  • abuses drugs or alcohol
  • individual grew up witnessing an abusive relationship, and/or was abused as a child
  • individual "rages" when they are hurt, shamed, or are in jeopardy of losing control in the relationship

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