Abusive behaviours

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

Types of abusive behaviour may include:

  • destructive criticism and verbal abuse – shouting, mockery, accusations, name calling, verbal threats
  • pressure tactics – sulking, threatening to withhold money, disconnecting the phone and internet, taking away or destroying mobile, tablet or laptop, taking the car away, taking the children away. Threatening to report someone to the police, social services or the mental health team unless demands are followed, threatening or attempting self-harm and suicide, withhold or pressure use of drugs or other substances. Lying to friends and family about partner, not giving partners a choice or voice in any decisions
  • disrespect – persistently putting family down in front of other people, not listening or responding when family is talking, interrupting telephone calls, taking money from partner without asking, refusing to help with childcare or housework
  • breaking trust – lying, withholding information, being jealous, having other relationships, breaking promises and shared agreements
  • isolation – monitoring or blocking phone calls, emails and social media accounts, controlling where partner can and cannot go, prevention from seeing friends and relatives, shutting partner in the house
  • harassment – following and stalking, checking up and not trusting, not allowing any privacy, for example, opening mail, going through partner's laptop, tablet or mobile, repeatedly checking to see who has phoned, embarrassing partner in public, accompanying partner everywhere they go
  • threats – making angry gestures, using physical size to intimidate, shouting family down, destroying family's possessions, breaking things, punching walls. Wielding a knife or a gun, threatening to kill or harm the partner and children, threatening to kill or harm family pets, threats of suicide
  • sexual violence – using force, threats or intimidation to make partner perform sexual acts, having sex when partner doesn’t want it. Forcing pornography on partner, constant pressure and harassment into having sex, forcing partner to have sex with other people. Degrading treatment related to sexuality, such as being lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual
  • physical violence – punching, slapping, hitting, biting, pinching, kicking, pulling hair out, shoving burning, strangling, pinning partner down or restraining them
  • denial – saying the abuse doesn’t happen, saying partner caused the abuse and blaming others, saying partner winds them up. can't control anger. Only being gentle and patient in public, crying and begging for forgiveness, saying it will never happen again.

Changing your abusive behaviour

People who abuse others need help too – if this is you, you can stop being abusive to others and get help.

  • Do you recognise when you are being abusive?
  • Do you recognise the reasons why you lash out at someone?
  • Are you concerned that your behaviour is costing you your relationship and hurting you too?
  • 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 family and others. 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 to hurt them, but you are. You may be feeling bad about how you've behaved, ashamed, and 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
  • numbness
  • headaches
  • cuts and other wounds
  • black eyes and bruising
  • burst eardrums
  • internal bleeding
  • 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:

  • physical tension
  • difficulty sleeping
  • exhaustion
  • panic attacks
  • heart palpitations
  • physical sickness.

As well as the physical effects, abuse also has an impact on a person's emotional well-being. The person you are hurting 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.

Hampton Trust can work with you to change these unsafe behaviours.