My October Blog was all about the four main types of abuse and examples of each one.  If I had a dime for everytime I heard a survivor say something to the effect of - “He never hit me so he wasn’t abusive” or “She only hit me some of the time” - and the list goes on.  First of all as my previous blog illustrates, just because there is no physical abuse doesn’t mean that the relationship wasn’t abusive.

What happens when you go through the list of abusive behaviours and the examples provided and none of them seem to fit your situation?  Does this mean that your relationship is healthy and positive?  Not necessarily.

In this post I will shed some light on other situations that can create an unhealthy and toxic relationship.  These types of dynamics can be difficult to notice at first and oftentimes people don’t realize them until they are deep into the relationship.  Just because these dynamics don’t meet the traditional definition of abuse doesn’t mean that they are any less harmful.

1. Does everything always have to be their way?

  • It is always your partner’s way or the highway (so to speak)?
  • Do you always find yourself apologizing after a conflict?
    • Even though you don’t think it’s your fault or necessary to apologize?
    • Does your partner ignore you or give you the silent treatment until you apologize?

2. Does everything seem to be your fault?

  • Does it seem like you’re to blame for everything that’s not working in the relationship?
  • Does your partner blame you for things that are happening in their life (that have nothing to do with you?

3. Do you find yourself having to change to suit them but not the other way around?

  • Compromise is key in relationships but does this seem to go beyond?
  • Do you seem to be the only one making compromises and they start to seem more like sacrifices?
  • Have you changed so much since this relationship started that you don’t recognize yourself anymore?

4. Are your friends and family worried about you or questioning why you remain in the relationship?

  • Have your friends and family commented that they’re worried about you?
  • Do they often encourage or suggest that this relationship isn’t healthy? Or that you should consider leaving it?
  • Do you find yourself defending your partner and the relationship more often than not?

If you’re reading this post and thinking that this sounds a lot like your current relationship or past ones you should consider working with a counsellor.  If you have not resolved the reasons why many of your relationships end up fitting this partner it is likely that this will repeat itself in your next relationship.  If your current relationships sounds like this you might be able to take steps to repair it or you might need support to end it - either way contact me at and book an appointment so I can support you.

Catherine Sullivan

Catherine Sullivan


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