Following on from yesterday’s blog, as you may know October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, so this blog shows you what healthy relationships look like versus abusive relationships.

Healthy Relationships versus Abusive Relationships

Healthy Relationships

Non-Threatening Behaviour

  • Your partner talks and acts in a way that leaves you feeling safe and comfortable doing and saying things.  You feel comfortable being yourself with your partner


  • Listens to you in a non-judgemental way
  • Is emotionally affirming and understanding
  • Values your opinions

Trust and Support

  • Supports your goals in life
  • Respects your feelings, friends, activities and opinions

Honesty and Accountability

  • Accepts responsibility for themselves
  • Acknowledges past use of violence and / or emotionally abusive behaviour and changes this behaviour, has sought professional help
  • Acknowledges infidelity, changes the behaviour and has sought professional help
  • Admits being wrong when it is appropriate
  • Communicates openly and truthfully, acknowledging past abuse, and seeks help for abusive relationship patterns

Responsible Parenting

  • Shares parental responsibilities
  • Raises your children with love and respect, protecting and building their self-esteem, self-confidence and sense of self-worth
  • Teaches your children life skills
  • Corrects and mentors your children in a kind and considerate manner
  • Does not hit, smack or treat your child with any kind of harmful physical behaviour
  • Is a positive, non-violent role model to your children
  • Mutually agrees on a fair distribution of work
  • Makes family decisions together

Abusive Relationships

Using Intimidation

  • Makes you feel afraid with looks, actions, and gestures
  • Smashes or destroys things
  • Destroys, steals or takes away your property
  • Abuses pets as a display of power and control
  • Extreme silent passive aggressive behaviour or raging.
  • Displays weapons or threatens their use
  • Makes physical threats
  • Intimates the children, threatens and scares them

Using Emotional Abuse

  • Puts you down
  • Makes you feel bad about yourself
  • Calls you names
  • Plays mind games
  • Interrogates you
  • Harasses and intimidates you
  • Checks up on your every move, your activities and your whereabouts
  • Humiliates you with direct attacks or through jokes
  • Makes you feel guilty
  • Shames you

Using Isolation

  • Controls what you do, who you see and talk to, what you read, what you watch on TV
  • Limits your outside involvement
  • Demanding that you remain home when you are not with them
  • Cuts you off from prior friends, activities, and social interaction
  • Uses jealousy to justify their actions

Minimising, Denying and Blame Shifting

  • Makes light of the abuse and does not take your concerns about it seriously
  • Says the abuse did not happen, or wasn’t that bad
  • Shifts responsibility for their abusive behaviour, telling you that it’s your fault, i.e.: I did it because you ______.
  • Blaming you for their bad behaviour

Using the Children

  • Makes you feel guilty about the children
  • Uses the children to relay messages
  • Uses visitation to harass you
  • Threatens to take the children away

Using Male Privilege

  • Treats you like a servant
  • Makes all the big decisions
  • Acts like the “master of the castle”
  • Defines the roles within the relationship

Using Economic Abuse

  • Prevents you from getting or keeping a job
  • Makes you ask for money
  • Gives you an allowance
  • Takes your money
  • Does not let you know about or have access to family income

Irresponsible Parenting

  • Abdicates the parenting and all the parental responsibilities to you
  • Disrespects your children
  • Withholds love and affection from them
  • Disciplines and punishes children with physical violence
  • Physically harms your children hitting, smacking, biting, kicking, pinching, behaviour in the name of ‘love and discipline’
  • Is a bad violent role model to your children
  • Makes all the family decisions, you have no say in the matter
  • Puts the children down, calling them names
  • Teases them relentlessly or uses them as a target for their jokes, laughing at their expense
  • Invalidates their feelings, telling your son to stop crying and ‘man-up’
  • Treats your children like slaves.  Children need to learn responsibility and be given tasks and chores around the house, but they are not slaves
  • Not allowing your children to have an opinion
  • Having any kind of sexually inappropriate behaviour towards your children, touching them inappropriately, fondling them, making derogatory remarks, showing your children inappropriate sexual content, magazines, movies, etc.
  • Making derogatory remarks or teasing your child about their body or the way they look

If your relationship resembles one of abuse and you would like to change it, tomorrow’s blog will give a little insight as to where to start.