Disclaimer: If you or someone you know is in an abusive situation, please seek out help and connect with these resources: Coalition for Family Harmony (805) 983-6014, Interface Children & Family Services (805) 485-6114, or loveisrespect.org (1) 866-331-9474. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 800-799-7233 or text “START” to 88788.


This blog shares information on how to know if you’re in an abusive relationship. It’s thought that only experiencing physical abuse constitutes an abusive relationship. However, emotional and verbal abuse or neglect also define an abusive relationship.


Physical abuse is intentional bodily harm or intimidation. This includes slapping, pinching, kicking, shoving, restraining you from leaving, and rough handling. Furthermore, throwing objects at you or in your direction, breaking things or punching holes in the wall, and more.


This blog focuses on situations demonstrating verbal and emotional abuse. There are many reasons why someone may not leave an abusive relationship. You may be scared that you’ll end up alone, or won’t find another partner. There may have been threats made against you if you leave. You may still have hope that your partner will change and break from their abusive ways.


How to Know If You’re in an Abusive Relationship: You find yourself making excuses for their misbehavior

woman having to justify the physical abuse by her boyfriend but is needing trauma therapy in Simi Valley, ca

If you’re constantly making excuses or trying to find explanations for their misbehavior, you may be in denial of how bad things really are. It could be that you are unaware that their behavior is abusive and unhealthy. 


You may have witnessed or experienced volatile or abusive relationships in the past, which shapes your understanding of love today. Abusive behaviors occurred, but they were excused for reasons such as mental health issues, anger, being under the influence, or it being someone’s fault.


In the present day, you find yourself explaining your partner’s concerning behaviors to others. You may also be minimizing the severity of it, due to not wanting others to judge you, or being indifferent to it. It occurs so frequently that you’re “used to it”. 


By doing this, you’re taking away the necessity for your partner to take responsibility or accountability for their actions. This will make it difficult to differentiate between understandable mistakes and clear red-flag or unhealthy behaviors.


Individual counseling provides you with a confidential space to share concerns about your relationship or seek validation. Make sure to read our blog on 5 Signs It’s Time to Emotionally Detach from Someone.


How to Know If You’re in an Abusive Relationship: You are isolated from friends or family

lesbian couple where one of them is experiencing abuse and feels unsafe. she needs individual counseling in Simi Valley, ca to leave the relationship

You may feel a loss of connection with friends or family. This could be intentional on your partner’s part, to ensure they remain as your main focus. Your friends or family may have expressed concerns about this relationship to you, and your partner knows of their opinions. 


Your partner may try to paint your loved ones in a negative light to prevent you from being in contact with them. Alongside this, they may try to forcefully restrict or cut off contact with them. This could be refusing for them to come over or to drive you to them.


The goal with this is to create a dependency on them, your partner, and not having any outside support. This is a manipulation tactic and can be dangerous to experience. Especially if your partner has main control over finances. You may have a lack of external support with friends or family, and feel that you have no other choice but to stay with them. 


Trauma therapy in Simi Valley, CA is a safe space for you to come up with an action plan to leave an abusive relationship. Your therapist will also provide you with several resources to start living the life you deserve.  Make sure to read our blog on What is Trauma Therapy?


How to Know If You’re in an Abusive Relationship: You worry about upsetting your partner on a regular basis

couple back to back because they are constantly upsetting each other and clearly needing to break up after one goes to individual counseling in simi valley

You find yourself walking on eggshells with your partner. Many things, whether little or big, can set them off. They may be highly reactive, and be quick to show anger, frustration, or disgust. You do not have intentions to upset them, however you have to be careful with your words or actions. 


Harmlessly shared stories or recounts of your day set off alarm bells in your partner’s mind. They go straight to accusing you of things, or force you to defend or prove yourself to convince them otherwise. However, when you feel insecure, your partner may call you names or get defensive themselves.


In short, they are like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. It may not always be an explosive reaction. Your partner may be upset in subtle ways, and show it through a cold shoulder or ghosting you. This is upsetting to you, and you find yourself constantly having to apologize or repair things for them.


Individual therapy in Simi Valley provides you with a non-judgmental space to be understood and heard. Read our blog on How to Stop Invalidating Yourself, now!


How to Know If You’re in an Abusive Relationship: You cannot feel relaxed or safe around them 

gay couple having an argument and one of them feels unsafe, is needing trauma therapy in Simi Valley, ca as a result of this relationship

You always feel on edge around your partner. Similar to wanting to avoid making them upset, your body is always hypervigilant. You may experience increased irritability, tension throughout your body, rapid breathing, or increased heart rate.


For example, you may have been at home during the day by yourself while your partner was out. You find that you’re able to feel calm, and enjoy this alone time by yourself. However, as soon as they arrive home, you jump up from where you’re at. You feel those reactions kick in, as you’re going into fight or flight mode.


You immediately go to them and question how their day/night was. There could be worry that something went wrong, and they are going to displace that anger or annoyance onto you. Your goal is essentially to try to keep them in a neutral or positive mindset. In turn, you’re experiencing high anxiety, worry, panic, or even fear.


Trauma therapy in Simi Valley, CA can help you understand these bodily or emotional responses to stressful situations. Make sure to read our blog on What is Trauma Therapy?


How to Know If You’re in an Abusive Relationship: There are little to no boundaries

woman in an abusive relationship being questioned over her phone, it's clearly not safe, and she needs individual therapy in Simi Valley now

There is a complete lack of boundaries or disregard for boundaries. This could be emotional boundaries, physical boundaries, sexual boundaries, and much more. You may feel that you have a lack of control, or a lack of a voice, with your partner. 


This is obviously very wrong. You are deserving of having boundaries to protect your time, peace, and energy. Without them, you can experience overwhelm, burn-out, and can even get your forgiveness or kindness taken advantage of.


Establishing boundaries can be scary. Your partner may react with confusion, anger, or frustration. They may struggle to accept them, and try to negotiate. Being firm in your boundaries is essential, and shows what you are and are not comfortable with. 


You may need support in finding healthy boundaries to implement with your partner, as well as navigating any reactions from them. Individual therapy in Simi Valley, CA is passionate about providing a space dedicated to supporting and empowering you. In the meantime, check out our blog on How to Set Boundaries.


You are deserving of healthy and safe relationships in your life, whether romantic, familial, or friendships. Please know that you are not alone, and there are many resources available to support you through this.


In-person therapy in Simi Valley is ideal for those seeking a separate, safe space from their home. Check out our blog on Online Therapy or In Office Therapy to understand what format is best for you. Another great blog to read is ours on if you need Therapy or Medication to address your issues, as well as information on Therapy: Where to Start.


By seeking out support, you can begin your journey to feeling relief. You don’t have to go through finding the right level of support alone, either.


Consider calling our therapy group at (805) 774-1506 for a free consultation on how you or a loved one can get started today!


Seek out a validating, safe environment with us today. We will help you get to where you want to be. Our therapists provide trauma therapy, teen therapy, individual adult therapy, LGBTQIA+ therapy, anxiety therapy, depression therapy, family therapy, and more in-office in Simi Valley, CA.

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