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Common red flags for abuse

At the start of a new relationship, it’s not always easy to tell if it will later become abusive.

What is Lovebombing?

Learn the red flags of abuse so you can spot them early on before things get much worse.

  • They say they hate your friends and complain you spend too much time with them.
  • They send you constant texts and get mad if you don’t reply.
  • They criticise how you look and tell you how to dress.
  • They share or threaten to share intimate images / videos of you without your consent.
  • They demand to look through your phone to see who you are talking to.
  • They have a bad temper and you feel afraid to disagree with them.
  • They accuse you of cheating on them all the time.
  • They threaten to hurt themselves if you break up with them.
  • They make you feel guilty if you don’t spend all your free time with them.
  • They force you to do things sexually that you don’t want to do.
  • They are physically violent or threaten to hurt you or someone else.
  • They put you down and criticize you constantly.

Other common red flags for abuse are:

  • They use your disability to shame or humiliate you.
  • They misgender you or use incorrect pronouns on purpose.
  • They use your fear of authorities as a way to intimidate you.
  • They threaten to out you to friends, family or your work.
  • They threaten to have you deported.
  • They try to control how much you work, making you depend on them for money.
  • They use sign language very close to your face or use gestures and threatening expressions to frighten you.
  • They use your children to make you feel guilty, manipulate situations, or threaten to harm or take your children away.

If you don’t recognise any of these signs but something feels wrong it probably is.

Sounds like: “You are perfect, I’ve never met anyone as perfect as you”,  “My life would be nothing without you.” “I want to spoil you”

Looks like: Gifts, attention, constant text messages.

Feels like: You are under pressure to return their feelings, or feeling like you ‘owe’ them something.

Lovebombing is when your partner ‘bombs’ you with excessive attention and affection. The honeymoon stage can feel new and exciting but your partner could use their affection as a way to manipulate and control you later on. This can be dangerous, especially if you feel like you owe them something or can’t say no to them after all their attention and affection. This is a form of emotional abuse.

They might say:

  • “I want to be with you all the time, you spend too much time with your friends”
    This is a red flag. Your partner should encourage you to spend time with friends and family.
  • “I was so nice to you today, why won’t you have sex with me?” 
    This is a red flag. Your partner should not guilt you or pressure you into sex.
  • “I like to check on you because I get worried.”
    This is a red flag. Needing to know where you are and who you are with all the time is very controlling behaviour. This does not show trust in the relationship.

Sounds like: “You’re so emotional” “I didn’t say that” “You’re imagining it” “I was just joking”

Looks like: They deny things that happened. They accuse you of being in the wrong. They make you question everything.

Feels like: You are going crazy. You are confused, unsure, and insecure. You constantly doubt yourself. You apologise without knowing what you did wrong.

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse. It happens when your partner makes you question your own feelings, instincts, and reality. They might say things like “You’re crazy – that never happened.” “You’re being so dramatic.” and “You’re making yourself feel that way.” They might even play the victim themselves. They do this to make you unsure of yourself so you rely more on your partner.

Sounds like: “You’re actually smart, I wouldn’t have guessed looking at you” “You’re really pretty, for a black girl.” “Give me 3 reasons why I should go out with you”

Look like: Banter and flirting. They give you a compliment and insult you at the same time.

Feels like: You feel like you have to prove yourself to them.

Negging is a form of emotional abuse. Negging is when someone gives you a backhanded compliment or an insult to make you more open to their romantic advances. It is often disguised as slagging, flirting or banter, making it difficult to know if a line has been crossed. If negging continues over time you can become desensitised to it and it can have a huge impact on your self-esteem.

If any of the above sounds familiar you might be experiencing abuse. Reach out to us for support.

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