When experiencing abuse you can feel a range of conflicting emotions such as fear, anger, shame, resentment, sadness and powerlessness. It can be difficult to make sense of what is happening. It is common to not recognise that what is happening is abuse. Or if you do, you may think it is your fault. You may love your partner and hope things will change, or have learnt to accept and normalise abuse because it has been around you all your life. These are common experiences. But remember abuse and violence are never OK. You have a right to be safe and to be treated with respect.  

Whenever people are abused, they do many things to oppose the abuse and to keep their dignity and their self-respect. It takes enormous strength to live with an abusive partner or family member. You have to be strong and resourceful, you adopt all kinds of strategies to cope and survive every day.

Remember, your abusive partner is making their own decisions about how to behave, and they are responsible for their use of violence and abuse. You are not to blame. 

Experiencing abuse and violence can cause a myriad of harms. 

  • Domestic violence is a leading cause of ill-health in women. It can lead to anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress. 
  • Two women a week are murdered by a male partner or ex-partner in the UK. Many others are seriously harmed and may suffer lifelong ill-health and/or disability as a result.  
  • Your partner may isolate you and prevent you from seeing family and friends because of their behaviour or jealousy. This can make it even more difficult to make sense of what is going on and stops you from receiving support from others who care about you. 
  • Your partner may have coerced or forced you to lose or leave your job making you financially dependant on them. 
  • It may be difficult to leave because they control the money or it might put you in significant financial hardship. 
  • It is common to lose a sense of who you are in an abusive and controlling relationship. You may experience low self-esteem and lose confidence in your own abilities to cope without your partner as a result. 
  • You may be fearful of your partner and of what they might do if you left. You may feel frightened, helpless and trapped. You may fear for your life or that of someone else. 

Violence and abuse is never OK. Help is available.