Abusive relationships can be hard to spot. Because the abuser will do their utmost to ensure they control the situation. And no one else knows about it so they can trap the victim. 

It’s important you don’t limit yourself to looking for bruises, cuts or scrapes when you suspect someone is being abused either. Abuse can take so many other forms, and they can often be just as harmful as physical abuse can be.

Knowing the signs of abusive relationships could make a huge difference to a victim, and you could be the key they need for support, strength and moving on. 

These are the key signs of abusive relationships that you might not be aware of, and it can really help to know. 

Putting blame on the victim 

A common method of abusers is to play the victim themselves, and make their victim feel as though their behaviour is their entire fault. So a victim might do everything in their power to keep their abuser happy. Even if it means sacrificing their own happiness.

Overreactin to small things

Seemingly small and trivial things are blown up into huge arguments. Or just results in them yelling or sobbing. They’re not willing to list to justification for how the victim is feeling either. It’s all about them and how they feel about a situation.

Playing on insecurities 

This is sometimes an abusive relationship trait that can be spotted from the outside. We all have insecurities about our body and appearance, but what abusers often do is make fun of them. Or talk openly about them in front of other people to play on those insecurities and make the victim feel uncomfortable. It can also be used as a method of getting the victim to want to win them over again. Showing that they have all the control in the relationship.

Denying facts

This is often referred to as ‘gaslighting’ and is a form of mental abuse. As it causes the victim to question everything. They might deny things ever happened to make them believe it’s all in their imagination. Or twist the truth in their favour so they make the victim believe they’re the one who is in the wrong.

Financial abuse 

Taking control of all the money is classed as financial abuse and it can really leave victims in an awkward situation. Especially if they want to leave the relationship, as they’ll have no means of doing so. You could notice this from the outside, if the victim can’t make their bills or buy anything without asking permission.

Thankfully, victims of abuse can claim compensation with the help of CICA UK, and this could be just the thing they need to help them out of an abusive relationship. 

Pass the blame 

Abusers will sometimes make their victim believe that they’re responsible for how they’ve reacted in a situation. Or sometimes instead of acknowledging a mistake, they’ve made they’ll turn it around on the victim and make them feel like they’re to blame or that they’re overreacting. Spotting this from the outside can be difficult, but you might notice that a victim is always worried about upsetting their partner, or sticking to curfews or won’t go to certain places or do certain things.


You can sometimes see someone who is being isolated quite easily. If they’re always cancelling plans, their usual habits have changed, or they are never without their partner. They could be being isolated to make them feel like they have no one.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship there is plenty help out there.


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