Domestic Abuse

Abusive Behaviours

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Perpetrator means a person who carries out a harmful, illegal, or immoral act.

The types of behaviour a perpetrator might show include:

  • Destructive criticism and verbal abuse: shouting; mocking; accusing; name calling; verbally threatening.

  • Pressure tactics: sulking; threatening to withhold money. Disconnecting the phone and internet, taking away or destroying your mobile, tablet or laptop. Taking the car away. Taking the children away. Threatening to report you to the police, social services or the mental health team unless you follow their demands. Threatening or attempting self-harm and suicide. Withholding or pressuring you to use drugs or other substances. Lying to your friends and family about you. Telling you that you have no choice in any decisions.

  • Disrespect: persistently putting you down in front of other people. Not listening or responding when you talk. Interrupting your telephone calls; taking money from your purse without asking. Refusing to help with childcare or housework.

  • Breaking trust: lying to you; withholding information from you; being jealous. Having other relationships; breaking promises and shared agreements.

  • Isolation: monitoring or blocking your phone calls, e-mails and social media accounts. Telling you where you can and cannot go; preventing you from seeing friends and relatives; shutting you in the house.

  • Harassment: following you; checking up on you; not allowing you any privacy. For example, opening your mail, going through your laptop, tablet or mobile. Repeatedly checking to see who has phoned you. Embarrassing you in public; accompanying you everywhere you go.

  • Threats: making angry gestures; using physical size to intimidate; shouting you down. Destroying your possessions; breaking things; punching walls; wielding a knife or a gun. Threatening to kill or harm you and the children; threatening to kill or harm family pets; threats of suicide.

  • Sexual violence: using force, threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts. Having sex with you when you don’t want it. Forcing you to look at pornographic material; constant pressure and harassment into having sex when you don’t want to. Forcing you to have sex with other people. Degrading treatment related to your sexuality or to whether you are lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual.

  • Physical violence: punching; slapping; hitting; biting; pinching; kicking; pulling hair out; pushing; shoving; burning; strangling, pinning you down, holding you by the neck, restraining you.

  • Denial: saying the abuse doesn’t happen. Saying you caused the abuse; saying you wind them up. Saying they can’t control his anger. Being publicly gentle and patient; crying and begging for forgiveness; saying it will never happen again.

Perpetrators  - changing your abusive behaviour

Do you recognise that you are abusive to your partner?

Are you concerned that your behaviour towards your partner is costing you your relationship?

Are you worried your children are witnessing too many arguments between their parents? 

It's important to face up to how your behaviour affects your partner. The more you can understand what your behaviour is like for them, the harder it will be to behave badly towards them in future.  Most people get into relationships because they care for their partner. You may not intend hurting them, but you are. You may be feeling bad about how you've behaved, ashamed or guilty.

Your behaviour is likely to be having a serious effect on your partner's health. If you've used physical violence, you may have caused injuries.

These might include:

  • Soreness,
  • aching,
  • numbness,
  • headaches,
  • cuts and other wounds,
  • black eyes and bruising,
  • burst ear drums,
  • broken bones.

In some cases people have been killed or permanently disabled by their partners. Even if you haven't been physically violent, your partner may have developed physical problems as a result of your abuse. Such as:

  • Feeling physically tense,
  • having difficulty sleeping,
  • feeling exhausted,
  • having panic attacks,
  • palpitations,
  • being physically sick.

As well as the physical effects, abuse also has an impact on a person's emotional well-being. They may feel:

  • Stressed,
  • vulnerable,
  • depressed,
  • ashamed,
  • drained,
  • terrified,
  • confused,
  • nervous,
  • hurt,
  • unloved,
  • worthless,
  • destroyed,
  • scared,
  • humiliated.

It is likely that your relationship will suffer as a result of your behaviour. It may even result in the relationship breaking down completely. Your abusive behaviour will also be having an emotional and a physical impact on your children.

One of the first steps to ending abuse is to take full responsibility for your behaviour. If you are committed to changing your abusive behaviour then there is help and support available.

The Hampton Trust can work with you to change these unsafe behaviours. You can contact them for local support by visiting their website www.hamptontrust.org.uk .