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Is Your Relationship Healthy? Identifying The Signs of Abuse

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

**Trigger Warning: Domestic abuse, dating violence and intimate partner violence. 

If you, or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911 

Identifying the signs  

Identifying the signs of an unhealthy or abusive relationship can be hard while you, or someone else, is in the situation. 

Feeling hurt or upset at times is normal, but relationships should never make you feel scared, humiliated or controlled. Respect, honesty and trust are essential parts of a healthy relationship. 

Violence in a relationship can take many forms – physical, emotional, mental and financial. Abusers can be clever manipulators and charismatic in their apologies. 

Remember, no one deserves to experience violence or abuse. 

If you are concerned that you, or someone you know, may be in an un-healthy relationship, review the following questions to see which signs you are answering ‘yes’ to: healthy, warning or danger. 

Healthy signs  

  • Do you and your partner respect each other’s feelings, make decisions together and support one another?  

  • Do you and your partner communicate openly and honestly, accept responsibility for your actions and admit when you are wrong?  

  • Do you and your partner share financial decisions and responsibilities?  

  • Do you and your partner talk through disagreements, make compromises and resolve conflicts in ways that make you both feel comfortable, safe and satisfied with the outcome?  

Warning signs  

  • Does your partner check up on you or act possessively?  

  • Does your partner boss you around, give orders and make all the decisions? 

  • Does your partner blame you for their own harmful behaviour or avoid taking responsibility for their actions? 

Danger signs  

  • Does your partner yell, put you down, call you names or make you feel bad about yourself?  

  • Does your partner claim to be the head of the household and control all money?  

  • Does your partner keep you from getting a job or an education?  

  • Does your partner have a temper or make you afraid?  

  • Do you try to please your partner instead of yourself to keep from being hurt?  

  • Does your partner inflict unwanted touching, kissing, tickling or make sexual threats? Does your partner push, hit, slap, kick or use weapons to harm you?  

People who experience violence often feel ashamed or helpless. But violence and abuse are NEVER your fault. There are people and services to help you.  

Leaving an abusive relationship takes a great deal of courage and strength

Planning for your safety  

Leaving an abusive relationship takes a great deal of courage and strength, and it helps to have a plan in place for when you are ready to leave. Planning for safety means knowing how to access the people, places and resources that can help if you are the victim of violence.  

Ideas for your safety plan  

  • Call or visit a women’s centre to learn about resources available for victims of violence  

  • Tell your friends and neighbours to call the police if they hear yelling, banging or frightening noises coming from your house  

  • Think about where you can go and how to get there if you decide to leave your partner, such as a safe house for women  

  • Memorize emergency service phone numbers  

  • Keep some extra money and a set of keys in a safe place (away from your home or vehicle)

  • Leave an extra set of clothes and photocopies of your personal ID with a friend or family member  

  • Teach your children to use the telephone to call the police and fire department  

  • Create a code word with family and friends to signal that you need help 

Additional tips to keep yourself and your children safe 

  • Ensure your devices – all phones, laptops, ipads,- anything electronic do not have trackers installed under a “family plan” or “find my phone” etc which could lead your ex to your location 

  • Ensure any “gifts” given to children (such as stuffed animals) are free of tracking devices 

  • Ensure there are no tracking devices attached to your car, and if your car has GPS ensure the location can’t be traced by your ex 

  • Let your school/daycare/babysitter know that you are the ONLY person allowed to pick up your child 

  • Teach your children the hand signal for help  


The priority is to get yourself and your children out safely.


However, if you do have time to gather a few things, here’s some helpful items to take with you if you leave:  
Source: Omenica Safe Home Society 

  • Driver’s license or ID 

  • Birth certificates: yours and your child’s/children’s 

  • Money, credit cards 

  • Lease, rental agreement or house deed 

  • Bank statements 

  • House keys, car keys 

  • Social insurance number  

  • Address book, phone numbers 

  • Care cards, medications, medical records: yours and your children’s 

  • Passports: yours and your child’s/children’s 

  • Car registration, insurance 

Planning for someone else’s safety? 

Read more on How to be an Ally to Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence 

Remember, no one deserves to experience violence or abuse. 

Where you can go for help 

If you, or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911 

  • VictimLink BC: 800 563 0808 (multiple language services available) 

  • Love Is Respect: Call 866 331 9474 or Text LOVEIS to 22522 

  • North Shore Crisis Services Society 24-hour Women’s Support Line: 604 987 3374 

  • Haida Gwaii Society for Community Peace Help Line: 877 626 4677 

  • Omineca Safe Home Society: Counselling and Outreach at 250 567 9959 or After-Hours Crisis Line and Transition House at 250 567 9512 

  • Seniors Abuse and Information Line: 604 437 1940 or 866 437 1940 

  • 24-hour Helpline for Children: 310 1234 (no area code is needed) 

  • BC211: Call or text 211 (multilingual service that links people to resources for help) 


Read more



Photo by The HK Photo Company on Unsplash